Vaifs, Hakis, iPN and manager Pontus on their 2020 run in Apex + future goals
Alliance Insight: Alliance Apex Squad Stays Calm, Aims High
Apex Legends Global Series had big plans for 2020, however, the global pandemic forced a complete remodel to accommodate competitive integrity across all regions. Through multiple online tournaments, Alliance has shown it is the most consistent team in Europe sitting on a rank one spot. Simon “Vaifs” Bellini, John “Hakis” Håkansson, Kha “iPN” Nguyen along with team manager Pontus Bengtsson talk about how their year has been, how much work goes into being a professional player and what they wish from 2021.
How has 2020 been for you?
Vaifs: 2020 has been challenging for your mental health. A lot of things have happened that have changed my life, but it has made me stronger mentally for both my personal and professional life. Neither me nor my family has gotten Covid-19 either so that part has been under control.
How do you feel the tournament scene is working right now?
Vaifs: ALGS (Apex Legends Global Series) has been working really well, and all the tournaments have been great. I’m also very happy that we get to participate in the tournaments that have been created during these times with Covid-19. It’s also great that the community wants to help out with the tournament scene to make it better.
Pontus: Since Apex Legends was a brand-new game there were difficulties finding a good competitive balance at the start. With plenty of discussions together with EA/Respawn and their partners we're now in a really good level with scrims and tournaments.
How is the competition right now?
Vaifs: “The competition that has been with us in the last couple of finals has been very even and balanced. All the players and teams have been very good, and it’s therefore been difficult sometimes to reach the top. Our hardest opponent right now has to be North with Taisheen, rpr and Mande. They have been showing great results in the latest tournaments and they are very skilled.
Pontus: “Europe is by far the most competitive region, in each tournament there is a new contender and that keeps you focused. You are not allowed to slack because then another team will take your spot. I really want to face off against the Apac North region to feel the crazy gameplay of Japanese and Korean teams, I love their playstyle!”
Recently you won the PGL Showdown, how did that feel?
Pontus: It felt amazing to win the PGL Showdown, we had to use Badoli as our stand-in and with limited time we created amazing synergy. We had a solid game plan and stuck to it throughout the full 7 games.
Apex Legends is still a pretty young game, so how does it feel to play right now?
iPN: As of right now, the game is very enjoyable to me. It has its pros and cons but the majority of it is positive. The update shakes things up and keeps the game fresh but they can go both ways. The recent changes have been really good.
How did you get started playing Apex?
iPN: I’ve played a handful of games and been on the top level, but never went pro because I couldn’t see myself spend endless hours pushing to become the best in them. Me becoming a pro is something that just happened naturally. I was competing at a pro level in Overwatch when Apex came out, took a season off to deal with life matters, and Apex showed up out of nowhere, and like Overwatch, I played for fun and got approached by organizations and got the opportunity to go pro, and the rest is history.
Apex is unique because it’s a fast-paced battle royale with endless opportunities to bring out your playstyle. Gunplay, movement, tactics, teamwork, legend compositions, etc. makes it impossible to ever run out of ways to approach the game. At the end of the day the biggest reason is just it’s very enjoyable.
What’s the most important aspect when competing in Apex Legends?
Hakis: To be the top player you need to be good at everything: How to adapt, tactics, the mental, mechanics and aim. To be good at one thing will only take you so far, but you need it all to be at the very top.
As a team we practice about 20 hours a week, and often that’s scrim periods with 4 hours, 5 days a week. Individually, I put down the same amount of hours myself, if not more. In total, I play about 40-60 hours a week.
Do you have any tips for someone that wants to get better in Apex, but don’t know where to start?
Hakis: Climb ranked! If you see someone in ranked that’s around top 10 and you meet them pretty often, you notice pretty quickly if they’re good or not. In my opinion, that’s the best way to get picked up by a team.
You’ve all been with Alliance for a while now, how important is it to have an organization?
Hakis: It helps a lot with everything around so you can just focus on being the very best at the game - You don’t have to deal with the stress around everything else.
iPN: Alliance has given me the support and resources to bring out my best. Helped develop me into a better player and person. Being able to keep my head in the game with less stress. They’re like a second family to me.
Vaifs: To have an organization at your back makes everything a lot easier. They help us with all the equipment we need to play, and gives us the opportunities to become better players. Alliance has helped me a lot. In the beginning, when I just signed with them, I was a quite insecure person with mental health issues. They helped me out of the difficult parts and made me someone I want to be. They’re like a second family to me.
Pontus: As a squad we've gone through a lot of things together, both good and bad. This has made us stronger and I couldn't have asked for a better team to manage.
What are your goals for 2021, now when the new year is getting close?
Hakis: Continue to win. We’re really consistently top 5 in tournaments, and I want to take it a step further and win it all instead.
iPN: Become a clear #1 with Alliance!
Vaifs: To become the very best European Apex player.
Lastly, let’s say it’s June 2021. What’s your dream scenario?
Hakis: The dream would be to have a sick winning streak in all big tournaments, to put some fear into people into a LAN that hopefully will come next year.
iPN: I consider ourselves the most adaptive team in the world so no matter what changes gets tossed our way, good or bad. We will come on top. Every loss and win is a lesson. Changes personally is not something I can imagine considering I’m taking a day at a time.
Pontus: In June 2021 we have continued to show our dominance in the EU scene with 1-2 big tournament wins. Hopefully, we have defeated our biggest opponent, Covid-19, and are in preparation for the ALGS Championship LAN.
MORE ALLIANCE INSIGHTS:
- Alliance Insight: Armada on the Evolution of the Smash Scene
- Alliance Insight: Loda on OMEGA League and the Future of Online Play
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