DarkZero go back-to-back in winning ALGS Championship 2022

by Brian Bencomo

DarkZero Esports outlasted the competition to win the Apex Legends Global Series Championship on Sunday at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was the second consecutive LAN title for the DarkZero roster who played for Reignite when they won the ALGS Split 2 Playoffs. The Australian roster of Rhys "Zer0" Perry, Noyan "Genburten" Ozkose and Rick "Sharky" Wirth won both LAN tournaments held this ALGS 2021-22 season.

DarkZero won the competition in the ninth round of the finals after reaching 50 points to become match-point eligible in the eighth round. FURIA, who became match-point eligible in the fifth round, was the first team to reach 50 points, but they couldn’t close out a victory over the next four rounds. Six teams including DarkZero became eligible to win in the eighth round, and nine of the 20 teams had a chance to win the ALGS Championship in the ninth round.

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The final circle in Round 9 came down to DarkZero, Spacestation Gaming, GMT Esports, TSM and OpTic Gaming. Spacestation and GMT were also match-point eligible, while TSM was trying to win the round in order to become match-point eligible. OpTic and GMT were eliminated first, leaving two potential championship-winning squads and a spoiler trying to force another round. Ultimately, TSM would be eliminated and then DarkZero landed the final kills on Spacestation to win the championship.

In failing to win the ninth round, Spacestation would end up finishing the tournament in sixth. The runner-up was FURIA, and 100 Thieves finished third. FURIA accrued the most points in the finals and also had the MVP and “Apex Predator” of the tournament. FURIA’s Jacob "HisWattson" McMillin was named MVP, and Scott "Pandxrz" Maynard was the Apex Predator for picking up the most kills in the tournament. It was a remarkable tournament for FURIA who qualified for the ALGS Championship via the North America Last Chance Qualifier.

Photo credit: D.J. Muldowney / ESPAT

Who were the final teams?

Going into the ALGS Championship, it looked like teams from North America and Asia-Pacific would be the strongest teams based on the results of the ALGS Split 2 Playoffs. That proved to be true as eight of the 20 teams in the finals were from North America, and five of the final 20 were from APAC, including the champion. While South American teams got completely shut out of the finals, seven European teams were among the final 20.

DarkZero’s Australian squad gave APAC another championship, and Fnatic’s Japanese roster finished fourth. FURIA, a Brazilian organization competing with a North American roster, gave North America another runner-up finish, and 100 Thieves rounded out the top three.

GMT Esports were the highest-placing European team in finishing fifth. They placed this high after getting hit with the double whammy of travel and COVID issues. The Azerbaijani esports organization went into the tournament having to field a substitute for Ukrainian player Maksym "Max-Strafe" Stadniuk, who could not travel to the event due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Swedish player Rasmus "maydeelol" Zettergren subbed in, but GMT announced on the first day of the tournament that he had tested positive for COVID. In his place, GMT brought in American player Beau "RamBeau" Sheidy from Torrent.

Photo credit: D.J. Muldowney / ESPAT

How visa issues and COVID affected the tournament

GMT were not the only team affected by travel and COVID issues. In total, 32 players and one coach either had visas denied, couldn’t travel or tested positive for COVID just before or during the tournament, according to Liquipedia. That affected 17 teams -- nearly half of the 40 teams at the ALGS Championship. Some teams with players who tested positive for COVID during the tournament could not find last-minute subs and were forced to play shorthanded.

Who knows how the tournament would have played out if more of these players had been able to compete, but at least two of the favorites heading into the tournament were adversely affected: Team Empire and Luminosity Gaming. Team Empire’s visas were all denied, and they were one of the strongest European teams. LG, who finished fifth in the Split 2 playoffs, had a couple visas denied.

Lead photo credit: D.J. Muldowney / ESPAT

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