While Apex Legends may have increased in popularity due to its excellent battle royale play, Respawn has since expanded the overall experience with an Arenas mode. Reminiscent of Counter-Strike and Valorant, this 3v3 turn-based elimination experience offers players constant melee combat. Here’s everything you need to know about Apex Legends Arena mode.
How arena mode works
There are two arena playlists, one ranked and one unranked. Both playlists offer a different rotation of multiple arena maps. The current card and the time remaining until the end is shown in the playlist menu. Similar to Battle Royale, Arenas is played in groups of three. Rounds are won by eliminating all three players on the opposing team. There is no secondary objective, but there is a shrinking circle around the playable area, just like in Battle Royale. The mode is best-of-five, with the winning team also having to win by at least two laps. However, the game ends at nine rounds – if neither team can win by two rounds by the time they reach the ninth round, the winner of round 9 wins the match.
Each round, players receive a body shield, two shield cells, two syringes, and at least one use of their tactical abilities. Legendary passive abilities are also active each turn. As rounds progress, players gain a better body shield and shield battery. Everything else – like guns, grenades, weapon attachments, and extra ability charges – must be purchased between rounds using materials.
Players receive a set amount of materials each round, which increases as the game progresses. Players also earn additional materials for themselves by getting kills and assists, and for their squad by opening material caches placed around the map.
Leftover materials carry over from each round to the next, but nothing you buy carries over, regardless of the outcome of the round. That means you don’t have to be careful about using items and abilities you’ve bought, although there is a strategy to be frugal and keep your materials to attract bigger buyers in later rounds. Another important note is that tactical abilities still have a cooldown regardless of the number of uses you have, and ultimate abilities cannot be acquired two turns in a row. Also, arenas use standard body shields instead of the evo shields used in battle royale, so players cannot evolve their body shield by dealing damage.
Best and worst legends for arenas
Because of the different play styles, the best Legends for Apex Legends Battle Royale aren’t necessarily that great for Arenas and vice versa. The big difference between the two modes is that tactics and passives are more important than ultimates in arenas since ultimates can only be bought every other turn and never in the first turn. Since the main objective is to eliminate the enemy squad and there is no way to revive an ally during a turn if they are dead, abilities that focus on dealing damage or keeping your squad alive take precedence.
Other than that, Lifeline is one of the best legends for arenas. Lifeline is already great in battle royale, but her ability to have her health drone revive teammates gives your team a pretty big advantage. Being able to either defend or run away from the person being revived and being a distraction during the revival can give your team the edge they need to win. Combine that with the legendary backpack in the store, which grants more health shields to revived teammates, and Lifeline is very powerful in arenas. Additionally, if you choose to purchase her ultimate ability, she can pull down health items for the entire squad, which can be helpful in the late game when rounds last longer. Similarly, Mirage’s passive ability to turn invisible while reviving a teammate is very useful for keeping your squad alive and competitive.
Both Seer and Bloodhound are great in arenas as well, as the smaller play area means the chances of marking an enemy with their tactical skills are much higher than in battle royale. Legends that are ideal for charging at enemy squads, like Octane and Pathfinder, are also good choices for Arenas. Gibraltar and Valkyrie also both have great tactical abilities for arenas, providing a shield or some free missile damage.
Rampart is a great choice in arenas for two reasons. First, her passive ability allows her larger LMG magazines, and more bullets are always better. Second, and more importantly, her tactical abilities allow her to erect makeshift walls that increase the damage of bullets that pierce through. Not only does this allow her to take cover wherever she goes, but it also increases the damage she and her teammates deal out.
Legends that are less than ideal for arenas are defensively oriented. So Legends like Caustic and Wattson aren’t as good because they both require the enemy squad to push into your location. Many arena maps aren’t designed to allow you to hole up in one place for long periods of time. Caustic’s ultimate ability is useful in arenas, but since you can’t use it every turn anyway, it’s not really worth playing with. Another Legend that isn’t good for Arenas is Revenant, as its tactical abilities are geared towards disabling other Legends’ abilities. It might be nice in a pinch in battle royale, but since everyone in arenas already walks around with a limited set of tactical skills, players typically don’t use their tactical skills on a regular basis anyway. Revenant just isn’t a game changer.
Loba isn’t very useful in arenas either, as her passive is geared towards seeing high tier loot through walls and there’s no loot to find. The only benefit here is that she can see the phoenix kits in the supply bins around the map, so she can tell if the enemy has looted a supply bin. Their tactical abilities make them move quickly, but the time between teleporting and being able to shoot makes them vulnerable.
Best weapons/loadouts for arenas
The weapons that can be bought in arenas mirror the weapons that are available for looting in battle royale. For example, G7 Scout, Alternator, and Kraber are not available in Arenas in Season 11. Otherwise, any other weapon can be purchased for varying amounts of money. Which weapons you should use largely comes down to personal preference and skill with each weapon, but some are more versatile than others.
Right now that Rampage LMG is the best weapon in arenas. It has a large magazine size, deals a lot of damage per shot, and is great at medium range, which is what most arena firefights boil down to. The Rampage’s biggest flaw is its slow rate of fire, but that can be spiced up with a thermite grenade, which is relatively cheap in arenas. You can save up materials for these Thermite grenades by grabbing a Mozambique or P2020 grenade from the shop – both are free and prove to be surprisingly efficient secondary weapons for finishing off enemies after weakening them with your primary weapon. When it comes to SMGs and assault rifles, it’s mostly a matter of personal preference as to which weapon is best for you.
The two hard-to-recommend weapon types are sniper rifles and shotguns, simply because both weapons work best as a secondary weapon. Snipers can be used to deal big damage early in the game when the two teams are still at a distance, but they can be tricky to use when the two teams are close. Shotguns are great finishers when you’re up close and personal with an enemy, but with the limited amount of money available to purchase items, it’s hard to recommend one unless you’re playing very aggressively. In the early rounds, it’s best to pick a single weapon and upgrade it as much as possible, rather than picking up two weapons with no upgrades. This is because the better attachments deliver more rounds per magazine and less recoil. Someone with a rare or epic weapon within range usually has an advantage over someone who hasn’t upgraded.
Tips and Tricks
- If you look for extra materials early in the first rounds, your team will have a slight advantage in weapon purchases in later rounds. Even if it costs you the first turn, securing these materials early can be a clutch.
- Similar to Battle Royale, there are parts of each arena map that players go to frequently – for example, in Party Crasher, players will most often go to the crashed Mirage Voyage at the start of each round. Use this knowledge to predict where your opponents are going.
- Each map has two supply containers, each containing two shield batteries, a medkit, and a phoenix kit, with the chance to get free healing items.
- In the lower right corner of the shop menu is written which three weapons (and their rarity) will be included in the care pack, which will be dropped in a random location during the round. So use this information to decide in advance whether you want to go after them and what you might face if you don’t.
- Since no items are transferred between rounds, you can use whatever is available to you to win the round.
- Downed enemies can be revived, but dead ones are out for the round. If you get a chance to take down a downed enemy, take it – asking a teammate to watch your back while you pull off a finisher is a great way to get your body armor back
- Different legends are better on different maps – try to get an overview of each map’s land and figure out which legend is right for you. Taking Valkyrie to Party Crasher might be a good idea since she can give her allies an eye in the sky and navigate the multi-story buildings, but a recon character like Seer or Bloodhound is better suited to Overflow, as they can block enemy movement through walls can explore .
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