Underdogs NEW Esports prevail in marathon ALGS EMEA Playoff series

They outlasted the field and clutched up when they needed it most.

Image via Electronic Arts

NEW Esports won a marathon 10-game series in the Apex Legends Global Series (ALGS) today. The underdog squad rose to the top of the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) ALGS Playoffs, which had a total prize pool of $250,000. Alliance and Gambit came in second and third, respectively.

NEW Esports’ 16th-place finish in the EMEA Pro League would not have qualified them under the original competitive format of a planned global LAN, but they snuck into the field when the postseason tournament moved to an online regional format. They persevered over the long series and beat teams with stronger overall performances to win a $100,000 check. The powerhouse Alliance got second place and $50,000, while their rivals Gambit took third and $25,000. 

Alliance, with 116 points, were one of several teams in the lobby that outscored NEW Esports. NEW only notched 77 points over 10 games, but took the series because they were the first to win a game after reaching the 50-point threshold for the league’s Match Point system. The format, which rewards a single clutch performance more than consistency over time, has been criticized by fans and players in the past. But those more consistent teams—Alliance, Gambit, and Invictus Gaming—all had several games of eligibility to win and couldn’t quite get to the finish.

These matches debuted a host of new features meant to improve the ALGS experience for both fans and players. The new Multiview feature on Twitch is a way for Apex fans to watch and listen to any of the 20 teams at any time. Multiview also offers a handy option to see a real-time map with the position of every team revealed. New stream overlays showed what was in each player’s inventory and the total amount of kills per team. These features made for a large improvement in the viewing experience, leveling up the production quality. 

Players also benefited from a new innovation in Apex esports. These matches were played with an anonymous kill feed, meaning competitors couldn’t see who’s getting knocked down or killed in games. That’s a big change from previous ALGS tournaments that used the Match Point format. At other high-stakes tournaments in the past, savvy players would pay attention to the kill feed and use the info to strongly focus teams who’d already passed the eligibility threshold, often dashing their own hopes at success to deny someone else glory.

Teams like Gambit, Alliance, and Guild started the day’s competition with points for their performance in the first split of the Pro League. Invictus Gaming had the strongest start, wiping Reply Totem early in the first game. In a final circle that featured a great bit of multilevel terrain right outside Lava Siphon, Invictus prevailed with 14 kills, giving them 29 points overall.

Alliance just squeaked out ahead of them thanks to their higher Pro League regular season performance, with 30 points of their own. Game two saw both Alliance and Invictus get a lucky break with a similar circle pull, and both settled in near Lava Siphon. As the late game developed, Invictus wiped a team near their home base and took an excellent position overlooking the action. They also got their hands on a Kraber, but couldn’t fully stabilize, ending up in fifth place. Gambit and Alliance, two giants of the EMEA Apex scene, survived the chaos to fight each other in the endgame. Alliance got an early knock and clutched up with a win and a bundle of kills to reach 52 points after just two games. That allowed them to just reach the Match Point threshold, which would give them the tournament win if they could put together another victory. 

In game three, Alliance received a near-ideal win condition with the zone pulling straight into their drop spot at Thermal Station. They stayed safe and even picked up some kills, but had to use their Valkyrie ultimate to reposition as zone four closed in at their back and the number of enemy squads quickly dwindled. Their tiny hunk of cliffside ended up less safe than they hoped after other teams in the back of Thermal Station challenged their position. Gibby ultimates and sustained pressure drained Alliance of healing items, and Hakis had no shields as they set up another, more desperate Valkyrie ultimate in an effort to reach a stronger position.

Other teams seized on the opening, and the would-be champions were shot down in a hail of coordinated fire as Valkyrie’s ultimate launched them upward. Their rivals Gambit prevailed with an 11-kill win, sending them over the Match Point threshold. Invictus Gaming were right on their heels, clearing the Match Point threshold as well. The team’s performance was all the more impressive considering they started the day with only three Pro League regular season points, compared to Gambit and Alliance’s 10 and nine points respectively.

Game four gave those three teams—Gambit, Alliance, and Invictus—a cushion to grab a win today, and fourth-place Guild Esports were still twenty points away from the magic 50-point threshold. 

A quick end to the competition was not in the cards, however. Alliance went out early in game four, dying to a boatload of grenades in the tight space of a Geyser zone. That left Invictus and Gambit alone to try and grab victory. Gambit were set up on the hard edge of zone sniping, while Invictus, at the center, attacked with confidence. They wiped Kungarna with a well-timed Crypto EMP and a Wraith Portal to nip in and out for the clean-up. Gambit died after a tough rotate into the late game, leaving just Invictus. They got their hands on some loot after another brilliant EMP-assisted wipe and stayed safe in their Geyser building. 

They made it to the top two with some world-class fighting. Only the talented team MajorPushers stood in their way, and it came down to a final one vs. one. Patience and two well-placed Mastiff shells allowed MajorPushers to deny Invictus the win and let the competition continue.

Game five left those same teams in line for a win, but teams like MajorPushers were coming on strong. Invictus went out fairly early. Alliance survived into the late game at Staging, where they took a crucial Valkyrie ultimate to set up safely. With four squads battling it out in the final circle, a series of Gibraltar and Caustic ultimates left Alliance dead and 69iQ on top of the podium, sending the tournament to yet another game. 

Those results kept the top of the scoreboard fundamentally unchanged. Invictus, Alliance, and Gambit remained the only teams past the Match Point threshold. Game six would likely be the final game where those three squads alone had the opportunity to wrap it up and go home before anyone else caught up to the Match Point threshold. GMT Esports only needed three points to reach the 50-point milestone, and others were closing in as well. 

Invictus went out somewhat early, while Alliance again used their Valkyrie ultimate to get a great position in the late game outside The Tree. Alliance’s Yuki laid down punishing damage from a Kraber and Longbow combo, but a well-timed Gibraltar ultimate left them caught out, and Rebel clutched out a win from high ground with a fairly easy clean-up.

By game seven, 69iQ had joined the teams eligible to win, making 10 percent of the lobby able to win the tournament at any time. Alliance and 69iQ survived into the late game, but Magicians pulled off a big trick to get their first win of the day.

Game eight had six teams who could win. Alliance ran into trouble early and got wiped on a tough rotate into zone. Gambit found themselves in a desperate situation and used a Valkyrie ultimate to try and find safe space in the final circle. Clinging to the edge of a cliff above lava was not safe enough, though, and they got shot to pieces by another team also hiding inches away from a river of free-flowing lava. NEW Esports charged into the winner’s circle with a 15-kill statement.

The EMEA playoffs could have been a sprint: Gambit, Alliance, and Invictus were sitting on Match Point since game four, and Invictus in particular were one shotgun shell away from a big payday. Instead, the day turned into a marathon, stretching almost six hours and seeing a variety of different teams each take a moment in the spotlight with a great win. 

The games also showed the consistency of the top teams—Alliance, Gambit and Invictus were still the top three after eight games. Game nine moved into a final circle between Countdown and Trials, where 69iQ were thwarted from taking the day by the newly signed squad Solaris, formerly LCDF.

Game 10’s circle was another lucky break for Alliance, with a game centered around Thermal Station, the team’s home turf. But they failed to capitalize, leaving rivals alive. That’s when NEW Esports ended the tournament—a bit of an anticlimax for viewers since they had been sparsely mentioned in the competitive conversation on Saturday.

These matches were the second-longest Match Point format event, outdone only by 2019’s Preseason Invitational in Krakow, the last LAN the Apex scene enjoyed.