TSM are the kings of North America in ALGS playoffs

The original Apex dynasty is back on top.

Photo via Electronic Arts

In a thrilling and dominant performance, TSM’s Apex Legends team are on top in North America once more.

The trio of IGL Phillip “ImperialHal” Dosen, Jordan “Reps” Wolfe, and Evan Verhulst delivered a statement of intent in the very first game of the playoff series and carried that high level throughout the seven matches of the day. After a first Pro League split full of questions about the team, a high-profile departure, and a relatively green addition to the squad, TSM definitively proved that they’re still one of the best teams in the world and were the best team in North America on Sunday, Jan. 23.

Starting in fifth place due to their performances in the Pro League’s first split, TSM charged into the lead after the first game thanks to a third-place finish and 15 kills, made even more impressive by 11 of those kills being secured as a duo, with Verhulst being taken down before the chaos of the final rings. It was ultimately NRG, however, who took the victory in the first match, taking priority in the tunnel below Landslide and biding their time, waiting for the perfect moment to emerge.

The match saw NRG and TSM tied in points for first place overall, and the two teams battled at or near the top of the leaderboard for the rest of the day.

Games two and three allowed the rest of the lobby to even the playing field somewhat, while NRG and TSM were forced to settle with low point totals. Perhaps a surprising finish in the second game was seeing Noble and PremierGG as the last two teams left standing. Both squads finished outside of the top 10 in the Pro League and wouldn’t have played in these playoffs at all had the original international LAN tournament been held, rather than regional online tournaments. Noble came out on top, but both teams gained 20 points, a much-needed lift. Game three took the lobby south to Thermal Station. And in North America, Thermal Station is synonymous with one team: G2.

A perfect Ash play from IGL Tyler “Dezignful” Gardner to reposition his squad in the circle allowed G2 to take full advantage of the remaining teams in the lobby fighting each other, and ultimately, it was Dezignful who clutched up as the last man standing for his team. G2’s tournament was ultimately disappointing for a team considered a favorite entering the event, finishing in eighth place, but game three was a reminder that even on their worst days, G2 are dangerous.

TSM wouldn’t be kept quiet for long, however. They became the first team in the lobby to reach match point after game four, where they took the game win and the overall lead. 

In past match point tournaments, this would be a signal for the rest of the lobby to crash into TSM whenever they saw their names in the kill feed, effectively throwing their own games to keep the tournament going since it wouldn’t end until a team who reached 50 points won one more game. These playoff series were the first to implement anonymous names in the kill feed for the players, however. It’d still be an uphill battle to climb for TSM, but they wouldn’t have quite the target on their backs that they normally would have in past tournaments.

Games five and six added to the intrigue since several other teams reached match point behind TSM, while TSM couldn’t quite manage to secure a victory. Big victories for Torrent and Sentinels allowed both teams to reach the cusp of the first split playoffs on match points, while consistent placements for NRG, ESA, PremierGG did the same.

In the end, however, TSM wouldn’t be denied and they stamped their name on the first split playoffs emphatically in game seven. The team registered 16 kills, a feat that would be nearly impossible without anonymous mode, and won a cool $100,000 in the lava fields to the south of World’s Edge.

The final game was quintessential TSM. ImperialHal scouted forward on his trademark Wraith, finding angles and laying down massive damage to open fights for his teammates. Reps provided excellent anchor work and Gibraltar mechanics, steady in his fights and quick and accurate with his dome shield placements. Perhaps most impressive was Verhulst, who registered eight kills in the final game and almost saw off the final remaining team in game seven, Renegades, by himself. As the newest addition to TSM and a player who only burst onto the pro scene last summer, these playoffs signaled Verhulst’s arrival into the upper echelon of Apex players around the world.

For a team that faced serious questions after the departure of Eric “Snip3down” Wrona for pro Halo, and one that hadn’t won a major Apex tournament in nearly a year, yesterday was a moment of vindication for the members of TSM.

NRG took home a deserved second place on the day, while ESA, Sentinels, and Torrent rounded out the top five. The high finishes for teams like Torrent and PremierGG, who took seventh, were a bit of a surprise after their Pro League performances and roster changes. But that goes to show the talent of the region and how difficult it is to be consistent in pro Apex. That goes double for the other end of the leaderboard since defending ALGS champions 100 Thieves finished the day dead last. The three points 100 Thieves received to start the day because of their eight-place finish in the Pro League were actually more points than the team earned in six of the seven playoff matches.

In the end, however, the day belonged to TSM, who proved once again that they’re the kings of North America. And if their form from the split one playoffs has anything to say about how they’ll perform in the second split of the Pro League, with the possibility of LAN playoffs and the ALGS championship to follow, they might just be the kings of the world as well.