Season 7 has been in swing for about a month now, and players have had their fill of Olympus and new legend Horizon. Today, we spoke to professional player TeQ (3 Brains, 1 Controller/2 Brains, 1 Controller and bumping Russian tunes during stream) about his thoughts on the new season including changes and his experiences in the scene.
How did you get into the comp scene? Can you tell a little bit about your experience?
TeQ: My first debut in competitive was ALGS Online Tournament #3 which was back in March earlier this year. I played with Euriece and Supra. The three of us had no competitive experience other than literally 2 games of scrims the day before the tournament. We were just a bunch of friends who played ranked together and thought we’d give it a shot.
I was always the IGL in ranked games, and I had watched people like Hal and the old NRG squad play scrims. Also, I think being an engineer helped with my critical thinking skills, which goes far in competitive Apex. With those three things, as well as my previous competitive experience in other FPS games like Halo, COD, PUBG and Overwatch, I felt confident I could try it out myself and do well with it. We were able to make it to the finals of that tournament against all the big players. I was so proud of myself for making finals of my first ever Apex tournament, and it was a great feeling watching myself on the PlayApex mainstream. I was addicted to that feeling, and I’ve been playing with ever since then.
It’s been a couple weeks since Season 7 launched. What are your thoughts on the season so far regarding the map, ranked, weapon changes, and new legend Horizon?
TeQ: I have enjoyed Season 7 for the most part. I personally enjoy ranked on Olympus, but I don’t really enjoy it for pubs. I don’t get any East frag or Skulltown vibes anywhere on the map and that was a little disappointing for me. For ranked/pubs, cars promote third partying, and it can be frustrating. I don’t think it will be much of an issue for competitive though, it feels like a high risk medium reward type deal.
Regarding the map for competitive, I am not sure how I feel about it. The map is VERY open and there seems to be one or two spots you can hold for end circle. If you’re not one of those few teams that are in end circle early on, it seems you’re going to have a difficult time. There’s no spots like Skyhook where you can fit every single team in the lobby in circle 3 or even 4 sometimes. The map seems like it is forcing a Gibby meta, and now we have a map that requires a 100% pickrate for 2 characters out of your comp, as opposed to 1 (which was Wraith, now it’s Gibby and Wraith). I think that takes away creativity in comp if you’re forcing a must have pick for 2 out of the 3 slots. However, it's too early to tell how competitive the map will be, but I guess we will just have to wait and see.
As far as weapon tuning goes, I applaud Respawn for throwing the Prowler in the care package and bringing the R99 back. For competitive, I would like to see the Kraber completely vaulted and the PK back on floor loot, just for more variety. Gold Devo or a fully kitted Hemlock should go back in the care package. The Hemlock is still too busted, and it seems to be too hard to find a good spot for it. It’s either too strong or too weak.
An interesting note in the patch notes at the beginning of the season was the change to the storm damage as the game progresses. A couple of clips have showed it’s not been well received as late game circles seem to be turning into a heal off. Granted they have changed it in a recent patch, do you think the change to the ring damage was warranted or was it just unnecessary?
TeQ: I think the change to zone 2 was fantastic. It was pretty frustrating getting knocked to zone 2 and not being able to pop a syringe. Other than the zone 2 change, I believe the other zone damage changes were completely unnecessary. I think Respawn had good intentions to prevent chaotic end games and/or to allow teams to take their time and provide out of zone rotates (if that was their design intent), but being able to sit out of zone and craft 30 medkits and get second place is just simply uncompetitive. There is no skill in that, and I’m glad they reverted the changes fairly quickly.
There’s a possibility that we could see Revenant getting a buff for Season 8, as he totes the second worst win ratio scoring to Respawn’s Senior Game Designer. How do you think his buffs should be handled as to avoid any overly toxic situation?
TeQ: It’s really tough to address an issue like this. It seems like Respawn REALLY likes to mess with characters based on pick rate and engagement rates, which include individual and team fight win rates (if I’m not mistaken). In pubs, it’s not as team oriented as comp so you have to be careful because a change in a character's kit could be good for pubs, but bad for competitive and vice versa.
Individually, Revenant is pretty bad, but you put him with two well rounded coordinated teammates, he can be an absolute nightmare. I think in order to make good and competitive changes, I think Respawn should start shifting away from damage dealing abilities and move toward team utility abilities. Wraith and Pathfinder are perfect examples; their ultimates do zero damage, but they are important utilities for positioning, information and relocation. Currently, Revenant can pop his ultimate and go rush a team. As long as your totem isn’t being camped, that’s a low risk, tremendous reward, and I don’t think that’s competitive. One idea I have for Revenant: for his totem, you should be able to be invincible for 10-15 seconds, but you cannot use any of your abilities or guns. This can work as a safe rotate option, just like Wraith's portal. However, a change like this would be very good for comp and bad for pubs.
To follow up on that, I just don’t want character design to follow in the footsteps of low risk/high reward. Look at Bloodhound. Bloodhound makes things shift way too much in your favor at zero risk, and that’s not competitive.
Along with Revenant, it seems Wraith might be getting some changes too starting with hit boxes. What are your thoughts on the repeated buff/nerf cycle? Do you think they should look at increasing other legends to par?
TeQ: From my understanding, the need to nerf Wraith’s hitbox stems from her high engagement win rate. Now you can’t argue against data, and it seems like Respawn is pushing to get all or most of the characters on a similar engagement win rate. If that’s the case and design scheme for “balancing”, then fine. But if they are attempting to reduce her pick rate, it’s not going to change anything. Wraith is just the coolest character, and people will always pick her. She’s like the Genji of Overwatch.
Now, I agree with the sentiment that they should stray away from nerfing popular characters and lean towards buffing unpopular ones, but it’s not easy because low popular characters are probably bad individually but great in a coordinated team environment, like Gibby. Instead of looking at raw data, I think they should look at the community for sentiment of heroes and other balancing. No one plays the game more than their community and understands what feels good and what doesn’t.
I think having a set platform for feedback from the community is a better approach to balancing than looking at numbers and percentage for reference. Also, it’s just strange to me that Wraith got targeted once again (just like Pathfinder); I never heard any casuals or pro players complain about her. There’s constant complain about Gibby and Bloodhound - those guys don’t have high win rates individually, but they are too strong in team engagement, especially Bloodhound. Sometimes I wish Respawn would consider that maybe the game doesn’t revolve around 1v1 engagements and more so team engagements where BH provides a ridiculous amount of value.
You’ve opened up time on stream to review comp players’ gameplay to help them become better players. When you watch gameplay what are you looking for as far as areas to improve in? What makes a good player?
TeQ: There are a lot of things that I like to look at in a VOD review, but it’s probably easier to start with what I don’t look at: gun skill. If you are having issues with gun skill, that can be resolved fairly easily through aimtrainers like Kovaaks. The good news is, if you’re not a great aimer, it’s not a big deal. That’s brings me to my next point, gun skill doesn’t win games - good rotates, decision making, composure, awareness, and effective, clear communication does.
One of the main mistakes I see are teams taking bad fights, if they can help it. When taking a fight, it always has to have a purpose: you should never fight just to fight. You must identify that purpose and agree it’s worth fighting for. Whether it’s a meaningful fight to secure a rotate or to clear your back or whatever else could be the reason just do it with purpose. When making these decisions, I look for teams to follow a proper procedure for risk analysis or action-consequence. I want to hear teams theorize potential consequences for their actions - “if we fight this, we will get thirded from that team, so we shouldn’t do it” or “we cannot overextend or a team might walk up on us, hold the spot down and forget about getting greedy for the other teams”. Too many teams get caught in the “now” and not the future. I tend to see a lot of new teams play second by second rather than minute by minute. I want to see teams understand how what decision they make now affects them 3 minutes down the road. This generally covers rotates, decision making and awareness.
Now the last two things I look for, composure and clear communication, are two underrated and underappreciated characteristics in competitive players. You need to be able to be composed at all times during tournament - the instant you’ve lost composure is the instant you’ve lost the tournament. Poor composure dominos into poor communication, and a team with poor communication is simply nothing.
There are many ways to define a good player, but generally, your ability to communicate your (good) ideas clearly, effectively and assertively, your ability to maintain composure, your ability to think 5 minutes ahead, and a high level of confidence are all defining characteristics.
You did a casting for the Juka Bowl semifinals and you did pretty well offering insight and being humorous. Have you thought about casting more events or even coaching especially after doing more player reviews?
TeQ: I think it would be really neat to cast for an ALGS, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to compete if that was the case, and I don’t see myself retiring anytime soon. Maybe they might have me as a special guest if I don’t qualify for one of the finals (which shouldn’t be a problem!). I might do coaching on the side, as I do enjoy and learn a lot from it.
For the future, I am still deciding how I want to re-integrate back into the work force. I was previously working as an aerospace engineer before I decided to take some time off the real world to figure out what it is I wanted to do exactly. I’m still figuring that part out - I would love to integrate my background and engineering (as well as the stability of that career path) with my love for eSports.
Couple of pros did a list, so it’s only natural we ask you. Who are your top 10 players currently? (doesn’t have to be ranked)
TeQ: Wow, that’s a tough one. It’s too hard to break down. IGLs tend to stand out on teams - look at Hal, Madness and Sweet for example. Incredibly talented and smart players, but their teammates, who don’t get as much spotlight (such as the support players) absolutely cannot go unnoticed. How about this - I’ll give you my top 5 teams (in no specific order): NRG, TSM, CLG, COL and HPS. I’d say our team, 2B1C, is a top 8 team. We get better and better each tournament, it just takes time to get to that top 5 threshold. Even though I clash with my teammates sometimes, I love those guys and I truly believe we can be one of the best and respected teams in NA over the next 4-6 months.
Anything you’d look to conclude with?
TeQ: Watch our for 2B1C! Keep an eye out for us at Playoffs - we are going to do amazing!!
We want to thank TeQ for taking the time to partake in the interview and wish him the best of luck as he and his team look forward to dominating the scene!