Arena is the newest addition to Respawn’s Apex Legends. Pitting two teams of three into a 3v3, round-based elimination combat, you’ll need to change up your strats a little. You may have been around the Apex block and know how to play when the ring gets tight and you’re in the top 3, but Arena will test you in a completely different way. Because instead of running for the next circle, you and your squad will be facing off in intense rounds with whatever weapons, shield cells and abilities you can afford.
Players must win three rounds as the storm circle slowly pushes in on them, forcing teams to fight closer and closer as they balance collecting materials with managing their healing items to come out on top by either being the first to win three rounds, or by winning tiebreaker rounds by two. There are also sudden death rounds in case there’s a really long game that needs settling.
With great combat and plenty of battle pass challenges to tick off, there’s no reason not to give Arena the ole ‘college try’. It won’t be long before this mode digs its hooks in you and keeps you coming back. Here are 10 tips to get you closer to those, sometimes elusive, dubs.
Know the Map
While it may seem minor at first, when compared to what else goes into Arenas, knowing the map is crucial. Of the four arenas in rotation, one each place on Olympus and Kings Canyon (Gardens and Artillery to be specific), while the other three put you on various landmarks inspired by Worlds Edge, like thermal station.
Each map plays a little differently than the others, favouring certain weapons and playstyles. Going into a map knowing what style is best suited for it will keep you from buying a shotty on a sniper map. Each round, there will be a circle where, over time, the players will be forced to play within.
At the very least, you should know exactly where the circle is at the start of a round. Circle placement will dictate which buildings are in play and which you should initially rush towards. Rounds can play out in dramatically different ways based on if the circle flips, so don’t get too comfortable running the same strategy. It may not always be there for you.
Knowing each map, and what weapons shine on it, will be the difference in whether you are a bystander, or a participant during rounds. No one wants to be the person to bring a shotgun to a snipe off.
Understand the Buy Menu and Economy
The biggest divergence from Apex’s maiden game mode has to be the buy menu. At the start of each round, players can choose from the games catalogue of weapons to purchase along with upgrades that kit out your weapon with better attachments, from grey to purple value.
While you start out with two shield cells and two syringes, more can be bought, along with grenades, your legends ability and ultimate. The only limits are your wallet and your imagination. Even the gold backpack makes an appearance so, if you run lifeline or Gibraltar or just want to be a good teammate, that's another option.
Each round gives you a bonus towards your next round's cash, but finding items spread throughout the map can boost your economy even more, helping you buy the upgrades you need.
Weapons don’t carry over and neither will your shield batteries. Grenades and your tactical skill will, and you can get up to three charges per round. Be careful when spending big, though. If you die too early, you could end up just bringing your brand new battery to the enemy team.
Get your crafting materials
You will find crafting canisters lying all over the maps in Arena, typically two at the two sides of the map, or where maps commonly send you to with the first circle. Essentially every round, you’ll want to send your fastest, or most evasive, player on a mission to lock down at least one of these canisters.
Without those two hundred credit boosts, you will struggle in the late rounds as you’ll never out earn what your spending by wiping the enemy team each round by yourself.. You don’t want to find yourself in a late game where nearly every player has a fully kitted primary weapon, purple shields, grenades for days and extra batteries whereas all you could muster up was a blue R-301 and an extra battery.
Move as a unit
Teamwork plays a vital role in most BR style games, but that’s taken to a whole new level in Arenas. You can’t run away from or out maneuver the enemy with your mobility. There is only one way to win. If we had to use one adjective for this mode, it would be ‘unforgiving’. Mistakes can be punished immediately, and flanking is just as likely to get you 3v1’d before your teammates even get close enough to help you. Everything has to be quick. Resurrecting a teammate a split second late is all it takes for the artillery strike ultimates of Bangalore and Gibraltar to kick you to the spectator screen.
Know your moments
There is a lot to process in an arena game. When to push a team after you knocked one, whether to hit them with a huge ‘nade, and when to stay passive while trying to burn away the other team's resources are all running through your mental stack. Feeling the pulse of the game, and following your instincts, will make or break your rounds. As games wear on, you will begin to notice trends in how the other teams go about attacking. Sometimes it's more gut than brain taking over, but Apex rewards aggressive players and playstyles. Knowing the right time to execute on an opportunistic play is as fun as it is rewarding.
Comms, Comms and more Comms
You need good communication in both battle royale and arena shooters. Games go quickly in Arenas, so your squad has to be on the same page as you duke it out. Announcing when you’re shielding so your allies can exchange fire is huge. It lets them present a push when, otherwise, you’d run the risk of everyone trying to recover their shield at the same time. You don’t want to leave the enemy a free lane to push you instead.
When the circle forces you to relocate, make sure you are all on the same page about what to do. Cooperate so you can hold superior positioning or push the solo. These are split second decisions that everyone needs to be on board for. Coordinating a push is no different. Teammates calling out damage on players can be far more useful than a simple ping would be, so don’t be afraid to call a push if you hit a big grenade. Just make sure to tap your comms!
Know when to rush the supply bins and count your materials
The supply bins in Arena are an extremely tempting commodity. Two shield batteries, a med skit and a phoenix kit can be game changing for your team, considering a shield battery normally goes for 150 materials in the buy menu. Usually located in neutral territory, you risk taking some bullet fire but, if you can get out of trouble in one piece, your team will be set for the round (after you, so kindly, distribute your spoils to the squad). Knowing if you plan to push a supply bin is a must before the round starts. Saving on buying an extra battery or shield cell can give you enough materials to craft the fully upgraded R-301 you want, or give you just enough to buy a secondary weapon to close out really intense fights.
While on the topic, be aware of how much healing you and your teammates have, as well as the enemy. Games get drawn out as you and the opposing team chip away at each others’ health. Eventually, you’re going to run out and the circle is going to begin to constrict. Knowing how badly hurt a team is, and following through on your push, can win games against players far better than you if you have managed to chip away at enough of their healing pool already. You can approximate the damage from your hit markers, telling when someone has a shield or is flesh. Keep an eye on which character model does what, and it will give you a heads up on who is the easiest target.
Finding value with your secondary
You don’t need a secondary light machine gun, or some other expensive weapon, to pair with your R-301. When looking for a good secondary weapon, look to the shotguns! The Eva-8 is a beast right now, with a high fire rate and a punch only afforded to a shotgun. What may be even harder to believe, especially if you are a returning player, is that throwing the Mozambique on as your secondary can have some pretty great results. Seriously. Not only are these two options cheaper than any other gun in the buy menu, with the Eva-8 sitting at 250 materials, the Mozambique and the P2020 are free. They are relatively cheap to upgrade, and a blue shotgun bolt on either can introduce the enemy to a world of hurt.
Plan around the Care Package
A running trend in this guide is to save materials when you can and to let the game help you along if you're in a tight spot, mid-match. You might notice that the care package will drop in each round, advertising what’s inside in your buy menu. Buy accordingly if you can see a weapon that will turn the tide, or save buying a second weapon and plunder what you need from the care package. It all depends on how a round plays out but, if your team is in a good spot, you can easily nab the care package without too much risk. Don’t put all your eggs in this basket, mind you, but also don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Make Value out of your hero pick
Picking the right legend is more vital in this mode than in the battle royale. Look for characters with strong passive abilities, since they will be the only thing you can’t purchase. They will have a huge impact on how you play the game. Gibraltar and Lifeline are two standouts that come to mind right away. Gibraltar’s gunshield gives him the edge in a straight up gun battle, while Lifeline can rez a teammate without taking herself out of the fight to do so. A good passive isn’t everything though. A good tactical like Valkyrie’s Missile Swarm can put the enemy on their heels, especially if they are caught healing. Pathfinder and Octane can use their ultimates to get your team into the circle before the other team can make it halfway there.
By no means is this every hero you can use, but here are a few with great value in Arenas!
A passive shield that activates when you aim down sights (buffing his overall health), an artillery strike ultimate and a bubbleshield? This character is solid and doesn't need all that much explaining. If you revive people inside your shield, the animation is quicker. Gibby is really just an all around stud in season 9.
The best rez in the game, bar none. She can bring teammates back without taking herself out of the gunfight. You won’t often use her ultimate, but her tactical healing drone is a lifesaver. Pair her with a gold backpack and you have the best revive in the game.
Passive health regeneration and an ability that can get you in and out of fights quicker are great reasons for picking Octane. Those are before you even factor in that her jump pad can drop you on a wounded team like a hawk.
She can fly, similar to Pharah from Overwatch. Flight is a great tool for maps like Party Crasher, where you have to consider its vertical elements. Her ultimate won’t come in as handy as it does in the royale mode, but her tactical ability is extremely strong. Not only can it do greater damage on pinned or healing targets, but it can knock players if their shields are already down. It also stuns them, similar to the arc star, causing anyone caught to be an easy target. She can stack three of them as well.
A top pick in battle royale also finds quite a bit of popularity in Arenas. The passive scan is a great tool to scout where an enemy has set up, or to deter flankers, It also does a great job nullifying Bangalore smoke and Caustic gas. While the passive doesn’t have much use, being a recon ability, the ultimate is a game changer. Enemies are highlighted in red, whether plainly visible or obfuscated in smoke, and you get a movement buff to help along your aggressive pushes. It’s a great ultimate to use in a push or a tough round.
Her smokes are great for repositioning your team and allowing them to safely grab some materials. Her passive grants an increase to sprint speed, making her harder to hit, and her rolling thunder ultimate can confirm knocks in tough rounds (and even wipe a team if well timed).
Mobility is the name of Pathfinder's game. With his tactical, he can make incredibly aggressive follow up plays on teams after the initial exchange. Covering ground quickly to reach another canister or to get onto the second story quick enough to save your teammate are just a couple of the ways you’ll be using it. His ultimate can position your team faster and better than the enemy, so it’s an absolute must in the arena.
She comes sporting one way shield walls that you can stack an area with, giving your team the peeking advantage and a improvised bunker to set up in the circle. Her passive increases her magazine size by 15% and her reload speed by 25%, both are huge bonuses. Then there is Sheila, Rampart’s ultimate minigun. It can be set up behind her walls and it’s area denial capabilities are so much stronger in this mode where good positioning means the difference between wanting to push and needing to push.