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This weekend played host to the biggest Apex Legends tournament of the year with the Apex Legends Global Series as they returned to LAN play in London. 40 teams from around the world battled it out to prove their dominance and take home the lion's share of $1,000,000. With over 18 nationalities across the finals, it’s one of the most diverse groups of players in ALGS history. But at the end of the day, there can only be one champion and it was TSM led by ImperialHal with Reps and Verhulst that clutched out the win.

ALGS Group Stages

Despite ImperialHal being known as the CEO when it comes to his prowess in the battle royale, the path to victory was not easily won. Their first order of business was making it out of the Group Stages and into the Finals. Their first game on Thursday started with a heart-pounding bang as, at one point, Imperial Hal was eliminated and Verhulst was downed. The collective sigh of the crowd was deafening as they thought TSM was about to fall out of the first match in the top 10, but Reps was able to clutch up and finish the fight. Luckily, no other teams wanted to risk pushing with the ring set to shrink in one minute and 30 seconds. In that time, Reps gets Verhulst back up, they are able to drop a mobile rez beacon and get Imperial Hal back in the game. With less than 30 seconds on the clock, they take a risky Valkyrie ultimate into the sky to reposition and end up riding out the round to a 2nd place finish.

The rest of round one in group stages was tough for TSM, never placing higher than 11th and ending the day in 8th place with a total of 38 points. But the CEO brings TSM back into round two of the group stages with a fury and starts the day off strong. In the final circle of match 1 on World’s Edge, TSM is able to situate themselves perfectly to take advantage of the final fight in progress. They sweep in cleaning up Team Passion from Finland. TSM standing strong with all three of their squad, then makes quick work of Northeption and Flora Esports. They’d go on to take a second, fourth and sixth place finish in the remaining rounds, along with a 13th and 18th. But it’s enough to put them at 54 points total for the day.

On the last day of group stages, we got TSM’s best performance yet, despite them not taking any wins on the field. Though Hal came close as the fourth match came down to a 1 v 1 with Alliance’s Yuki and was decided by only 6 bullets as Hal was out of ammo and trying to finish the match with his fists.

With two fourths, a second, a seventh place and two placements in the bottom 10 it was their massive kill count of 37 across all six matches that put them in the number one spot for the group stages. With all three rounds in total, TSM came out on top as the highest scoring team in the group stages.

Check out the latest on Season 16 of APEX Legends

ALGS Bracket Stage

Despite some stellar games throughout the group stages, TSM struggled to make as big of a splash throughout the winner’s bracket. They needed to stay without the top 10 in order to make it into the finals, otherwise, they’d be fighting their way out of the loser’s bracket.

They managed to take two 5th place finishes, a seventh and a ninth and the rest were all in the bottom 10. Overall for the day, they landed in 8th, only 6 points shy of 11th. But it was all they needed to secure their spot in the Stage Finals for $1,000,000.

ALGS Finals

For TSM, the final stage was feast or famine, as they raced neck in neck with another legacy organization in NRG. It was a battle of the Letters, with NRG hitting match point first, despite TSM taking a big lead in match one.

It’s important to note that for the Final Stage, a champion is determined not based entirely on point totals like in previous stages. A team must first hit 50 points, which is done through a combination of kills and placement. Once a team has done so and they’re on match point, they have to win a game to be crowned champion, regardless of their point total or kill count.

TSM had a great start in match 1, where they held the advantage on the high ground overlooking the structure that Ganbare Otusan and Esports Arena were fighting in. As the final circle began to inch closer, the two teams withdrew to stabilize and TSM was forced to take the roof. This was enough for Esports Arena to turn their attention to TSM and as they beamed down each other's health, Ganbare Otusan came from the low ground to steal the win. Obi-Wan has never been so embarrassed. But despite the third place finish, TSM still had the most points with an astonishing 14 kills.

In Match 2, Imperial Hal is the first player to fall in the lobby at the hands of Luminosity Gaming, with his squad-mates following him soon after following up their 3rd place win a 19th. It takes a few games for TSM to get their legs back under them going out at 15th place in Round 3 and seventh in Round 4.

During those three short rounds, NRG managed to do hard work with their aggressive playstyle and strategy landing a fifth place finish and a first place with 20 kills in a single game. With them on match point, TSM needs at least 15 points in the next game to reach match point as well. Luckily, in game 5, NRG goes out in 8th place and TSM almost goes the distance as they have a final showdown against Onic and Team Singularity. Onic ends up with the win, but Imperial Hal does get a final kill on Team Singularity that gets them the points they need to enter match point.

Over the final few matches, two other teams managed to hit match points status in Ascend and XSET. But all eyes were on TSM and NRG as they raced for the win. An important strategy to note for the match point system is that it doesn’t matter how many kills you get in your final game. The only one that matters is that last one and the champion wins.

Some teams might elect to play it a bit more safely and employ a harder defense than offense to ensure they make it to the final fight. If you avoid all fights, however, this also means you’re going to be down resources compared to other teams and likely be at an armor disadvantage as well. But neither TSM nor NRG seemed intent on resting on their laurels and letting the win come to them.

In Match 6, TSM And NRG actually meet on the battlefield and the ensuing fight comes down to a 1v1 between both teams. Unfortunately, it’s short-lived as Moist Esports pushed in to try and claim some free kill points for themselves.

Both TSM and NRG let their foot off the gas in Match 7 and go out in the bottom 10. With four teams on Matchpoint going into Game 8, with more teams getting close, someone had to close out the game. NRG fell early at 14th and TSM buckled down and focused up.

The final circle of Storm Point ended just east of Thunder Watch and TSM played more of their game inside. It’s not the worst position to be in, but there are several entrances that other teams could have utilized to launch an offensive against them. Imperial Hal and his team played it slow and patiently. When a fight breaks out in the room, they use Hal’s gravity lift to get in on the action as it started to subside, taking the high ground, earning some kills and most importantly, getting themselves plenty of death boxes to replenish their ammo and meds.

But they didn’t stop there and used the momentum to clear Onic off the Thunder Watch POI and have a clear view of the rest of the battlefield. Had TSM stayed there, they would have continued to hold some ground for the next circle, but they elected to take a risky Valkyrie Skyward Dive to reposition into the ring where several other teams were currently fighting.

This Valkyrie ult and reposition proved to be a stroke of genius as it placed them in a God spot for the final circle. They had rocks for cover, a slight height advantage thanks to the slope of the hill and plenty of boxes for armor swaps for the upcoming fight.

The final battle comes down to Acend and TSM, both of who are on match point. K4SHERA of Acend makes the first move in to try and get a shield break on TSM but can’t quite get the job done. As they fall back and push to the other side with PostkiLL, TSM lay down their Seer ultimate and sees them coming. They’re more than ready and they make quick work of both players before finishing up the final member of Acend and becoming ALGS Champions.

ALGS impresses but has room to grow

The ALGS is only in its third year and with a return to LAN the production was as impressive as it’s ever been. They’ve got a ways to go and plenty of room to grow if they ever want to rival the big hitters in the esports scene like Riot Games. But as far as battle royale esports goes, they’re top contenders.

Among ongoing issues, there were occasionally brief audio cuts when listening in on team comms and some lag between the player feeds on the Commander Center and the Main Feed, but little else to complain about.

With a return to LAN, there are a lot of matches and a lot of coverage to squeeze into one weekend. The two group stage events ran simultaneously, which meant if you had multiple teams you wanted to watch, but they were in different groups, you were either trying to follow two games at once or missing out on some of the action.

One of the benefits of online play, or being Riot with a top tier esports league, is being able to spread group play out over multiple weeks. But, being in person on LAN has no equal when it comes to the energy of the crowd and you could feel it even from home.

Finally, the production from the ALGS to highlight the big players and teams is always a welcome addition to the finals. Whether it’s getting a look inside the heads of the soon-to-be champs or seeing the undying support from their parents, it helps to bring the entire story full circle. The only question that remains is whether they will be able to defend their title in the Split 2 playoffs later this year before aiming to be ALGS 2023 Champions for a $2,000,000 prize pool.