[Apex] The road to the Semi Finals

Season 3 is set for a epic conclusion as the final 4 have been decided

2 great seasons of Apex are behind us but their presence is very much felt with this seasons final 4 teams. We have 2 previous winners and a runner up among the final 4, all battling each other for the right to meet in Busan. While the quarter finals ended up being slightly lackluster, we were still privileged to some great action and now we have the top 4 teams ready to go head to head.

S.F 1 Afreeca Freecs Blue Vs Lunatic Hai

Looks like meat is back on the menu boys!

Afreeca Freecs Blue are a team that has yet to be challenged during season 3. Their roster changes adding both IDK and Lucid before the start of season 3 has really boosted their support class. Now having a solid all round team with good players in all rolls across the board, the Freecs have been totally dominant. As one of the premier dive teams in the competition they will be looking to go a step further than their season 1 runner up placing. However they have yet to face another top tier dive team like themselves and could come undone with over confidence moving forward. They haven’t lost a map yet this season and this could work either for or against them. Surprisingly enough, regardless of their form, other Korean teams still want a piece of the Freecs. It seems Korean teams still view them as week, which is surprising given the likes of Arhan and his insane Genji, charging ults almost as fast as Sombra or the mechanical skills of Recry. With Conbox out, the chance still remains for Kongdoo to get their wish, but seriously, would you really want to take them on? With their current form, we could very well see a repeat of that season 1 Final match up.

A very happy Lunatic Hai after defeating LWB 3–0

Lunatic Hai have had an up and down season but they are still one of the strongest teams in the comp and they know it. Miro’s trash talk has been a fun highlight during pregame interviews. However a lot of their problems seem to stem from their massive fan base, which has really turned into a double edge sword. Their fans have become so vocal that the team has even had to reverse their decisions on early team signings because their fans did not improve. And now they have the added drama of WhoRU being sidelined for unknown reasons except that he breached the teams conduct policy. (I am glad that they have kept this in-house, they need to reclaim some of the power their fans have over them) This has meant Gido has been bought into their DPS slot and some reshuffling in their hero pools. While he is by no means a bad player, his inexperience on LAN really cost Lunatic Hai at first going down 1–3 to Kongdoo. Their second game against Conbox was slightly better taking the win 3–1 against a lower team. However they really came into their own again facing off against an albeit weakened LWB. Gido played much better alongside the team destroying LWB 3–0. It now seems Lunatic Hai has found their cohesion again and is more than ready to move forward in attempt to be back to back winners.

The verdict: This is a really tough one, Lunatic Hai seems to have settled in now to their roster change and Gido looks extremely comfortable now with the team, they will be firing on all cylinders whilst Afreeca has been unstoppable. This should be an epic encounter, the unstoppable force verses the immovable object. I am going to give the slight edge to the Afreeca here 4–3, I don’t think Lunatic Hai can get away having to reverse sweep all the time and the promise of Korean BBQ is an even greater motivator than you might think!

S.F 2: Kongdoo Panthera Vs EnVyUs

Fissure is relieved after booking their spot in the semifinals, taking down LWB 3–1

Kongdoo came into the quarter finals as a team out of sorts in places. Their final round game was a surprising loss and while it had no bearing on their placements, it was still a worrying sign in their lack of effective communication. They have managed to address this somewhat during the quarters picking up some very good wins over the 2 teams everyone wanted nothing to do with. Picking up 3–1 victories over both LWB and Lunatic Hai is no small feat. As their communication improves, so does their game play and they are a team already well known for the ability to flex and have good depth in their hero pool. They are comfortable running outside of the standard 2–2–2 dive, switching up with either triple DPS single support with Luffy on Soldier or running triple Support with Rascal flexing to Ana. Void has been great on D.Va and his timing with Fissure was deadly in their Lunatic Hai match. Add Rascal into the mix and you have a very strong team moving forward.

An elated Mickey raises his fists after a much improved performance, crushing X-6 3–0 to advance to the semifinals

Envyus as season 1 champions have been rather downplayed this season. However they have shown they are a force to be reckoned with. The addition of Effect to their roster has really balanced out their team to suit the current Apex meta. Their problems off screen seemed to take their toll at the start of the Quarter finals with their surprise loss to X6 even after choosing them as opponents. The burnout issue and being on the road for most of the year coupled with team and personal matters seemed to boil over before and during that game. However it seems that the team has addressed those issues and turned themselves around taking down Meta Athena 3–1 and routing X6 in their rematch 3–0. Effect has been on fire throughout most of the series. Teams have been trying to focus more on him, but in doing so they leave themselves open to Taimou, this 1–2 dps combo from EnVyUs has been working really well and even better now that Mickey has stopped over extending and is hanging back more to look after his supports and dps. With Coco’s Winston improving and Chips and Harryhook all playing extremely well, EnVyUs could very well book their spot in the finals.

The verdict: Even thou Envyus has struggled finding scrims and dealing with the psychological pressures in previous matches, their mental state now seems much more solid and those struggles are far behind them. Both teams have expansive hero pools but I feel as thou EnVyUs is technically better at those heroes across the board than Kongdoo is. But as the match goes on and fatigue kicks in, the mental state of both teams will could be a big turning point. However I still give EnVyUs the edge here, taking this out 4–2.

A moment for those who didn’t make it

Janus looks on after dropping out of the finals. Hopefully now he can rest and fully recover

Luxury Watch Blue is great team with some bad luck. Losing Janus was a sad and terrible blow to the team. While it is a 6 man game, losing a front line tank of his caliber is near impossible to recover from in such a short space of time let alone less than a day. What was once a contending team, is now taking their seats on the stands watching on. Their 1–3 loss to Kongdoo was unfortunate timing and even with Janus back against Lunatic Hai he was still far far from 100% and the team itself just couldn’t get any cohesion together with other roster changes and character shifts. They still have a lot of top tier players and will no doubt be back in season 4 looking for redemption.

Hoon and the rest of Meta Athena will now have time to reflect on their season

Meta Athena is a team that showed us so much in season 2 yet has really come up painfully short during season 3. Without their triple tank Zarya comp, they look lost. Arhan really called it when talking about Meta Athena, season 2 is gone, you need to wake up to the season 3 meta. They aren’t practiced enough on dive and have really struggled to gain any consistency, they have some top players but have not being able to string things together to make any headway during the quarter final series, loosing 0–3 to the Freecs and 1–3 to EnVyUs. They have tried to avoid it but it seems they are now use to losing and will now have a long break to reflect on things.

Timeboy looks to console Chohyobin after their crushing defeat to EnVyUs

X-6 Gaming is a team that has had a really mixed bag this season. From the infamous run it left strategy to upsetting EnVyUs in the first round of the QF’s 3–2, X6 has proven they can learn from their mistakes but has failed to adapt from those mistakes and move away from their set strategies and have been punished for it, getting destroyed by Afreeca 0–3 and again 0–3 in the EnVyUs rematch by their rematch, seeing them drop out of the finals.

Back to the drawing board for Conbox

Conbox Spirit was by far the under dog team in the quarters and they knew not much was expected of them. Also having to face off against 2 of the top dive teams in the comp, their job was never going to be easy, falling prey 1–3 to both Lunatic Hai and LWB. While they failed to pull of any upsets, they sure as hell put up a fight, Gamsu played great despite tough opposition but the team as a whole was just not up to the task in a difficult group.

Marcus Powell has been living and working in South Korea since 2010. Aside from writing for Gangnam Gamers, he is also a popular club DJ, English Teacher, gamer, sports and esports fan and anime enthusiast.

Photo credits: OGN Global, follow them on their twitch stream for live games

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