Qualifiers for Split 2 of the Apex Legends Global Series Pro League have wrapped up, and eight teams have made it through. But one team in particular, Washed, has made headlines after overcoming more odds than most to seal their place in the highest echelon of Apex Legends esports.
“I play on console because right now I don’t have a gaming PC,” says Jeloan, co-IGL of Washed. “But I am looking forward to making the switch soon to compete at the highest level.”
Jeloan and fellow co-IGL ImAntBoi both play on PS4, which is a rare sight in any PC-dominated esport, and unheard of in the ALGS Pro League. Jeloan explains that on console you get fewer frames per second (a maximum of 60 which is only occasionally hit, whereas on PC most players can hit three times that amount) as well as a larger input delay.
“I think it definitely puts us at a disadvantage,” Jeloan says, “because with more frames and less input delay we can react to enemies faster and be overall more consistent. In addition to that, while we compete, our aim assist value is set to 0.4 while on console it would usually be on 0.6… I think maybe when the next-gen update happens for console, it could level with PC, but I just think gaming on a PC to compete is way better.”
Apex Legends developer Respawn has promised that a next-gen update is on the way, and is expected at some point in 2022 after being delayed last year. Until then, however, two thirds of Washed will be at a disadvantage. The eagle-eyed among you will have also noticed that Washed has co-IGLs in their two console players. This is another major difference between this squad and any other Apex team, which all opt for a single in-game leader to call the shots. But this is again out of necessity, rather than wanting to be different for the sake of it.
“Zerbow is just a demon,” explains Jeloan. “He doesn’t use a mic because he never really talked ever since he started gaming. It helps him focus more on the game. Zerbow’s role on the team is just to frag out while me and Ant co-IGL. We use in-game chat to communicate so Zerbow can hear us on his PC because as of right now PlayStation doesn’t have Discord. Zerbow uses the ping system to communicate to us. When we first started playing, I didn’t have chemistry with Zerbow since it was our first time playing together but after a while I got used to just being more aware of what he’s doing and pinging at all times.”
A professional esports player competing without any real communication with their teammates is arguably more of a disadvantage than two members playing on console, but Washed is clearly making it work. Zerbow is a talented player - his Horizon kills have garnered a lot of attention on social media - but communication between teammates is of utmost importance at any level of Apex Legends, let alone on the biggest stage of all. If anything, this shows how robust Apex’s ping system is, that a team can effectively communicate using them at the highest level. But how do Jeloan and ImAntBoi share the responsibilities of an IGL, and does their shared system ever blow up in their faces?
“When we co-IGL we basically help each other shot-call and try to make the best decisions for the team,” Jeloan says. “We give each other as much information as we can since Zerbow doesn’t talk. Ant usually gets our pushes/rotations on foot down since he’s on Gibraltar while I focus on our rotations in the air and get angles for us to make plays since I’m on Valk. Sometimes it has backfired but we mostly have the synergy down.
“Ant kinda says the final word for us while I always have a back up plan. This system is working out for us right now but in the future, things might change and we might mix it up.”
“Working out” is a pretty big understatement, as Washed is going to be fighting with the likes of TSM and NRG come Split 2. With their two consoles, two IGLs, and mic-less fragger, they’re overcoming some serious odds - but making it work. Jeloan and ImAntBoi taking different aspects of the IGL role spreads the load and allows Zerbow to focus on getting entry kills with Horizon - an off-meta pick that further differentiates Washed from its rivals.
Despite their impressive feats as a team, the console situation is obviously not ideal and they’re working on solutions, explains Jeloan. “The goal is definitely to compete on PC as soon as we can. This would definitely benefit the team a ton. I believe that we can be more consistent and even improve with our fights, awareness, and shot-calling.”
As it is, however, Washed represents the best of what Respawn wanted to achieve with Apex Legends, and what EA wanted to achieve with Year 2 of the ALGS. Zerbow’s use of the ping system as the sole method of communication is exactly what Respawn wanted to create for players without microphones, and ALGS Commissioner John Nelson said at the start of the ALGS’ second season, “I expect to see teams that are made up of multiple platforms - and maybe even all three.” Many players scoffed at the idea, but while we’re still waiting for a PC/Xbox/PlayStation team to make waves, Washed is proving that competing with PC teams on console is possible.
Whether they’ll be competing on console or PC in Split 2 and on remains to be seen, but Jeloan is excited for the team’s future either way. “After not making Pro League Split 1 because we had missed one of the qualifiers and our lack of experience, we knew we had to step it up and prove ourselves. Our goal for Split 2 is to make Playoffs and play in a LAN tournament. That would be insane.”
No, you come up with a cleverer headline