In most FPS games — and in battle royale-style games in particular — players who have the high ground have serious advantages. High ground positioning makes it easier to spot enemies, to block their shots using the jutting edge of the terrain and to more easily get headshots against opponents.
This is certainly true in Apex Legends. Unfortunately, unlike competing Battle Royale game Fortnite, players who are stuck on the low ground can’t simply build their way to even terrain when competitors have the high ground.
So, what's a player do when they’re up against a solid squad with a Kraber perched on an impossible-to-reach ledge? Here are some strategies to help gamers survive the fight.
But First, an Offensive Tactic: Get to the High Ground First
Ultimately, players that can secure the high ground within a closing circle can benefit from better vantage points, shot angles and cover. For instance, a player perched on the mountains to the east of the redeploy balloon at Slum Lakes can spot opponents from just west of Containment all the way through the tops of the houses across Slum Lakes. Because of view obstructions, players situated in lower ground positions will have a harder time spotting opponents and tracking locations of enemy squads, making them ill-prepared to spot and track their opposition.
Because there are so many advantages to an elevated map position, players should generally seek to have the high ground as much as possible and should have guns that work well at the right distance for the situation. There are exceptions, such as when playing as trap characters such as Caustic and Wattson, but even with those characters, many would argue that high ground advantage is superior to setting traps in enclosed spaces.
As far as weapons, it can be hard to know whether to choose to run with a long-range sniper rifle or a short-distance shotgun before a player hops into battle, so it’s important for a player to know their own strengths and weaknesses with each weapon type as well. A weapon like a G7 Scout can serve both purposes as a player can affix a sniper scope for longer distances or use iron sights for better targeting at range. Many players have success using scope-free sniper rifles Longbows and Triple Takes at close range as well.
Scenario: Player Can Easily Match An Opponent’s High-Ground Position - Push
There are few benefits from being exposed on lower ground, so if there’s a chance to push, the best bet is to push to take over the high-ground position rather than trying to take the fight from below. This may mean following the opponent’s zip line, having a team’s Pathfinder throw its own zip line or climbing on ledges as quickly — and stealthy — as possible.
If possible, coordinate with squadmates to make sure team members don’t arrive to fight the opposing squad one by one, making each player an easy target for a series of consecutive 3v1s, all in the opposing team’s favor. Teams will often have a player standing lookout to spot teammates from specific directions, and sometimes players throw traps if they know the terrain has limited access points, such as a Wattson fence at the end of the zip line that gets a character to the mountain area. Anticipate this, and be prepared to engage in zip line hopping tactics or try to use the traps the squad’s advantage. For instance, a team member playing as Caustic is immune to the damage effects of enemy Caustic gas traps and can still see players through them, so a player playing as Caustic can set off the enemy trap and leverage the low visibility to their advantage.
One added benefit of a coordinated push in this manner is that it makes it harder for opponents to shoot the pushing player’s team. When players are close to the side of a mountain or platform means the enemy often has to look straight down to shoot, making it tough for them to line up the perfect shot and requiring them to stand right on the edge to get a good line of sight. The pushing team can use this to their own advantage to laser a player trying to line up their downward-facing shot.
Scenario: Player Can Match An Opponent’s High-Ground But Has to Traverse the Terrain to Do It - Flank
While the options in this scenario tend to reflect play style choices, the reality is that exposing the squad across the terrain is a sure way to draw attention. Consider that a Kraber can knock a person in a single shot, and that taking the time to heal them leaves a team member availing themselves to another sniper shot.
The strongest option here is to try to stay as covered as possible, even if it means going a longer distance rather than taking a direct line to the opposing team’s high ground position.
In gaming, “flanking” describes the process of using the terrain to exploit an enemy blindspot. Frequently, in Apex, this means traveling the perimeter of the circle to reach the opponent rather than taking a direct path.
It’s worth knowing that seasoned players may anticipate a flank, so try to consider secondary ways to flank the opponent that might catch them off guard, such as coming at them from unusual positions or flanking from two separate locations at once.
Scenario: Player Can Get to High Ground, But Will Have to Shoot From a Distance - Climb
This option comes with a strong caveat, being that distance-sniping tactics aren’t always effective. It’s not uncommon to find someone who can deals 1000+ damage with no kills because they’re sniping halfway across the map and can do just enough damage to annoy opponents, but not enough to get knocks or kills. Balance whether it’s worth it to take a sniper distance fight that will also give away the squad’s position, and also consider that the high-ground opponent may have powerful sniper rifles as well.
That said, if a player is confident in the team’s ability to aim and critically hit its opposition, getting as high as possible and taking advantage of environmental elements such as rock formations and plants that give cover is a strong way to counter a mountaintop camper. A Kraber is the ideal weapon in this situation, but both the Longbow with the Skullpiercer and the Triple Take with the Precision Choke are effective as well.
It’s Impossible for the Player to Reach the Opponent’s High Ground Position, but Player has Circle Advantage: Hide
If a team has circle advantage in a later phase of the game, there’s rarely a reason to try to take on a high-ground opponent. Because the circle’s closure will require them to have to drop down and push toward the circle anyway, fighting them when they’re on more level terrain is the way to go. If an opposing team waits until the circle is closing to move from the high ground position, this is a great time for a Bangalore’s or a Gibraltar to use their ultimate. This can provide a major impediment as the team must now face a barrage of damage within the circle or risk getting caught in the area outside the circle, which rapidly depletes players’ health.
Frequently, near the end of the game, there’s no good way for a low-ground player to match an opposing team’s high ground position. This may be because the final circle formation leaves no way to match the opponent’s position without venturing into a high-damage storm, or that any means to reach the opponent is heavily guarded.
In the last few rings of the game, it’s especially important to keep an eye on the location of each upcoming circle. Players who know the map well can anticipate endgame situations that provide opportunities for both high-ground and low-ground positioning. Players who want to win should aim to do everything they can to take out their opponents before this happens, even if this means pushing the fight from a lower level.
However, in cases where this is simply not possible, find cover and try to anticipate opponents’ moves. The majority of time, due to the circle constraints or simply the desire to take down their opponents before the final circle ends the game, they’ll drop from the high-ground position. Be ready for it and take advantage of the situation by having shotguns on hand.
If levels truly are split, the game can come down to a situation where the end of the game depends on whether a player has full health or a Gold Knockdown Shield, which lengthens the amount of time they can take storm damage without dying. Further, a player playing as Wraith won’t take damage in the storm while phasing, and players in the character’s portals also don’t take damage while in it. These seemingly minor advantages can be the difference between a win and a loss.