While competitors put up a good fight, the members of Team SoloMid took each home gold medals and a share of $30,000 in tournament earnings on Day 2 of the ESPN EXP Apex Legends Invitational at the X Games in Minneapolis.
Throughout the tournament, TSM_Reps, TSM_ImperialHal and TSM_Albralelie set a high bar for competitive Apex Legends, relying on coordinated plays, intelligent strategies and skillful player kills to earn a total of 125 points in the series.
The win came down to twelfth game race for points between TSM and Reciprocity, a team led by Halo champion and 2016 X Games winner Snip3down. For its efforts, Reciprocity will take home $24,000 of the event’s total $150,000 prize pool.
The official winner of the event’s Apex Predator award for most kills in the series, an honor that comes with an additional prize of $3000, has yet to be announced.
As predicted, strategic shifts led to more aggressive gameplay as teams focused on bolstering kill counts to gain additional points. The format rewarded players points for placement with up to 12 points for a win, as well as an additional point for each kill.
Just as in Day 1, the teams primarily stuck with lineups of Pathfinder, Wraith and Wattson, though there were a few Lifelines and, at some points, a Bangalore. In many cases, the end game came down to player strategies that involved effective use of Pathfinder’s and Wraith’s ultimate abilities, proving why they’re so integral in a competitive Apex Legends setting.
The day started with game seven of the series, which saw NRG’s Aceu single-handedly defeat all members of Tempo Storm in an impressive early game squad wipe while his teammates were both downed (watch the clip here).
But, while the highly favored team held on as long as they could, eventually leveraging Wraith’s phase ability to withstand storm damage as the final circle closed in, they were unable to defeat Sentinel. Sentinel won in a fully closed circle due by leveraging additional hit points granted legendary knockdown shields.
The next game went to TSM, which defeated Reciprocity in a standoff in Airbase. While Reciprocity went down fighting, a 3v2 squad advantage, strategic spatial positioning and some perfectly-timed Mastiff and Wingman shots from TSM_Albralelie gave TSM the win.
Sentinel earned its second win of the day in game nine after an intense final circle brawl in a small, open space. The team exercised solid zip line strategies, using height advantage to stay out of others’ way until it was the right time to drop suddenly for a final circle swoop. However, while the win and the team's six eliminations gave them 18 points, Misfits earned 23 as a a result of its second-place finish and 14 kills.
The following game also went to Sentinel, which this time had 13 eliminations, gaining an additional 25 points in the series. A hectic endgame came down to the team's simple ability to outlive opponents, using cover strategically and allowing the other remaining teams to fight among each other until it was time for Sentinel to push for the win.
Overall stats going into the final game of the day showed Reciprocity and TSM tied with 109 points each, while Sentinel trailed just behind with 105.
However, Sentinel went down early in game twelve. Then, in a showing of strong, aggressive gameplay, Reciprocity took down nine players but couldn’t quite secure the placement needed to rise to the top. And, while Fnatic took the game win, TSM became the series champion due to its consistently high placement and high number of kills.
The ESPN Apex Legends Invitational may be over, but the future looks bright for those betting on an active competitive Apex Legends scene. Earlier this week, game developer Respawn Entertainment announced the Apex Legends Preseason Invitational, which will take place in Poland from Sept. 13-15. Teams hand-selected by Respawn will have a chance to compete for their share of a prize pool of $500,000.