Author: Colin ‘Howl‘ Kenitz (Published 6-8-2017)
Apex Season 3, Group Stage, Tuesday, Day 12.(June 6th).
Meta Athena Vs. Rhinos Gaming Wings.
Volskaya is well known as a more frustrating Assault map. Meta Athena has used some interesting flanking techniques on this map before, but this time they took a different approach resulting in very quick captures on both points A and B. Notably, Mango is playing the Sombra here, so Rhino’s Gaming Wing’s only has AMY as full healer on the Zenyatta. Mango hacks the 200hp health pack in the garage. Because of this, RG Wings situates their defense inside of the garage.
Meta Athena puts Libero on the Sombra, who rushes directly for the point. Because of this he’s able to both scout RG for the rest of his team as well as hack the health pack in the bunker on the point. This is the easiest accessible health pack when directly contesting the point, as the bunker is the nearest cover for this very open point with high ground on all sides. Having this hack is important for Meta Athena’s strategy as we’ll see soon. It’s also notable that Sayaplayer has already gotten a slight ult charge advantage from hitting Umtae, due to his flanking, which we will also talk about soon.
Meanwhile, Meta Athena’s tank and support lines run up to the high ground to their right side of the point. This immediately pushes Oxo, who’s on the soldier 76, off the high ground and exposes him in the middle of the point with Amy following shortly after. It also pressures RG Wings out of their safe point in the garage as Changsik and Hoon pressure down on them from the stairs.
During this, Sayaplayer heads up to the high ground on the opposite side of point A. This gives both him and RG Wings direct lines of sight on one another. Sayaplayer opens up on RG Wings and as a result both RG tanks commit to knocking him off the high ground or getting the kill, using their mobility abilities. This leaves their support line completely unprotected without peel. As highlighted in yellow, the RG members began backing up into the bunker and are cornered and unable to use the health pack there. Meanwhile, Meta Athena’s supports, highlighted in red, are safe on the high ground with perfect vision of their members diving as well as Sayaplayer.
Because of this commitment the RG tank line is also exposed and away from the hacked health pack in the garage while they have only Amy on the Zenyata with orbs of harmony to heal. This results in Fury losing his mech immediately. In the pink highlighted circle we see Hoon dives into RG’s back line on the D.Va and he dies, but since he dove with Changsik, they maintain pressure. As highlighted in green, they corner AMY into that bunker where Libero hacked the health pack, and he dies to the Winston. While it stands as a one for one trade, Meta Athena lose only one tank while RG Wings lose their only healer, and also their D.Va’s mech. With no other healers, as highlighted in red, Umtae has to jump back across the open point to the health pack in the garage. This allows Sayaplayer to unload on him, bringing him very low and gaining quite a bit more ult charge.
Tyrant and Mango continue to pressure Sayaplayer unntil he eventually does go down. The problem here is that there’s no more healing for RG besides the Soldier’s biotic field and Mango’s health pack. Changsik continues diving the back line, takes out Oxo while Libero on the Sombra finishes off Fury’s Mech-less D.Va. Although Rhino’s Gaming succeed in eventually taking out Sayaplayer and the D.Va trade onto Hoon, they’re trading at a one man disadvantage, 3 – 2 by the time they do so. I highlighted Amy and Hoon in yellow here for a two reasons. First, that although they’re both alive they’re both running back, and second, that Amy switches to Lucio, losing what little ult charge he did have. He likely does this just to get back to the point quicker because this is 2 CP the offensive team has the re-spawn advantage as well, of course.
Without ample support available Umtae goes down from Sayaplayer’s DPS and Changsik finishes him off, then swiftly stomps on Tyrant’s tracer to finish him off. Mango is now the only one left versus four members of Meta Athena and has to concede the point even though he has his EMP since his team cannot regroup in time.
Meta Athena utilized several angles of attack to achieve this fast cap. Coordinating their attack around the fact that the bunker health pack would be hacked and by flanking most of their team to the high ground behind the garage. RG Wings were at a disadvantage in their only safe point and were flushed out of the garage into the open point. Here, they’re either standing in a shooting gallery for Sayaplayer’s Soldier, or forced into the bunker where they were cornered and unable to escape. Even though they traded kills with Meta Athena, even being up one player in these trades is extremely beneficial, especially as the attacking team with re-spawn advantage.
The most critical mistake was when both of RG’s tanks committed to chasing Sayaplayer’s Soldier off the high ground. Better communication could easily solve this, sending up either tank while the other stayed behind to peel for their back line.
What I would have liked to see from RG Wings here would be to answer the flanks from Meta Athena in a different manner. Meta Athena’s attack was clearly in advantage here, but if Rhino’s Gaming had made the call to evacuate the garage they could have circled around to the room on the opposite side of the point. Below, I’ve highlighted the positions of both teams. The orange sight lines indicate where RG Wings should have seen Meta Athena beginning their flank. The better response to this over what they actually did, would be to follow the color coordinated movement lines across the point. Here, it doesn’t matter which one they take. The bunker does provide cover, however it’s important to remember that Libero is back on this side, and may be able to deal a fair amount of damage and gain ult charge while still being safe, since RG Wings has very little time to make this translation across the point.
Relocating to this position would give RG another health pack to hack and access, as well as cornering Meta Athena in a building with a health pack they could not access since it will still be hacked by Mango for about another 45 seconds. I’ve highlighted the health packs on the screen in purple above. This re-position also gives RG Wings access to the high ground, which would give them a stronger position to knock Sayaplayer off the high ground or retreat back into the garage with his team where he wouldn’t have as effective of sight lines. I highlighted this on the diagram above as well. Although this maneuver likely would have given Meta Athena a tick of control on the point while RG Wings re-position, RG could renew their attack from an advantaged position rather than falling prey to Meta Athena’s pincer flanks. Also, if Meta Athena exposed even just Changsik on the Winston to cap the point, he would be immediately exposed once RG Wings were in position, allowing for them to gain some ult charge from shooting him. Below is a slightly different angle of this same maneuver.
Below is the room RG Wings would be moving into, effectively just behind Sayaplayer. As we can see, there is a health pack here. As well as access to the low and more importantly, high ground.
Finally, here is the perspective that RG would have once this maneuver is complete. As we can see, even if Meta Athena stay in the garage, they are open to RG’s lines of sight and unable to use this health pack. If Meta Athena Stays on the High ground, the teams stand on more even footing, however RG Wings have the health pack in their building available to them. Although both teams have access to this rear catwalk, I think it’s more likely that RG can pressure this since the have the additional healing support of the health pack. The biggest question here is if Libero can make it into position to hack the rear most health pack on the left most side of the screenshot. Whichever team could claim this with their Sombra would have the advantage on the catwalk due to being able to drop off and heal very quickly if need be.
Still looking at this above picture, if we are to assume that RG wings now has the advantage and thwarted the initial attack, it is likely that MA has to retreat and regroup. As is highlighted by the shooting options and sight lines, if Meta Athena try to move into the bunker to access that health pack that Libero hacked, they’re pinned down and exposed. The only options left are to retreat back the way they came and completely regroup, or to head through the raised hallway from Garage back toward the choke point, where Libero could hack the health pack and the team could regroup there.
It’s still so early on in the game that hardly anyone has any ult charge on either team. Mango has his EMP, however Sayaplayer on the soldier and Nus on the Zenyatta are extremely close. Both teams drive themselves into the small utility room with the health pack on MA’s left and RG’s left. The most important thing to take note of here are the health bars and ultimate charges of each player. RG must not have expected Meta Athena to be here so quickly, and already are on the losing side of the health pool wars with Fury and Umtae both dropping very low.
Mango uses his EMP here, realizing he will hit most members of Meta Athena. However, Wings can’t get the DPS to finish anyone off. As soon as the hack wears off Nus activates the transcendence and heals his team back up to full. Even though Mango’s EMP hacks MA so they couldn’t use their abilities, he didn’t block any ultimates with it. If Wings were able to kill off members at this time it might have forced Meta Athena to reset the attack, however, with Fury’s D.Va already extremely low he had to retreat and they were effectively fighting 5v6. Crucially, as we can see in the screen shot below, Libero is able to hack the health pack in the room before Mango can, so the slight healing available to Umtae was denied and he goes down first. Without the Winston on RG, Sayaplayer and Changsik obliterate Fury’s D.Va, leaving the rest of the team completely unprotected.
With no tanks left for RG Wings, Meta Athena storms the point. Sayaplayer pops the tac’ Visor and takes care of Mango and Amy, both of the healers. Since they only need a third of the point, there is hardly any time to contest and MA take the map easily.
In the case of Point B, Meta Athena realized they were at a large advantage. Sure, they don’t know exactly how large the ult charge deficit between themselves and RG has become, but they have a good idea due to how effectively they wont point A. Because of this they decide to charge point B and maintain this momentum. Since they only need the first third of the control completed, it’s a pretty safe bet, consider how much time they’ll have left if they fail. Rhinos Gaming Wings should recognize this, but instead of staying back they try to gain the advantage by hacking the forward health pack in the small room that this big fight occurs in.
It’s not a bad idea, however, since they’re at a severe disadvantage I would have preferred for them to play this point as safe as possible. The best thing they could do for themselves is buy time, ideally turtling out the nearly 6 minute timer. What most teams will do is position themselves up on the high ground, which I have highlighted in the diagram below. With most of the team positioned on the back bridge and one or two players slightly more forward on the shop balcony, RG has sight lines on every point of access to Point B. They also have two health packs on the lower levels directly behind them, as well as re-spawn advantage this time around (highlighted in blue).
I’ve Assumed a few things here. First, I’ve labeled the health packs as hacked by both teams, just showing what will likely happen in a prolonged attack. Secondly, I’ve assumed that Libero and Meta Athena still rush the small room on the right side of the diagram to gain a forward foothold with the hacked health pack. From here MA, especially Libero, can harass more easily and gain his ult charge rapidly. The advantage RG can gain from this high ground, defensive position, is that they can clearly see both attack routes that MA has from this small room, as well as through the main choke. They can even spot flankers from the left hand side. This gives them a huge advantage in a turtling situation.
I’ve also highlighted a movement option where Meta Athena can come from the small utility room on the low ground up the stairs and around the flank to the high ground. This is a likely option, as it gains MA high ground advantage, however, I’ve labeled the two movement options that RG can use to answer this. In this scenario RG would have two health packs much closer to them than does MA. I would like to see most of the team move forward on the left hand side to the high ground of the shop balcony, while a flanker or two retreat back down to the low ground while looping back up the stairs to pincer MA. Ideally, this allows most of RG to remain on the high ground, as well as having closer proximity to hacked health packs. Meta Athena should be forced down to the low ground by the loop around flankers, and forced to retreat and regroup, as they have no health packs to access and are otherwise vulnerable on the low ground of the open point.
I hope to do a Youtube version of this and other play analysis in the near future.
Author: Colin ‘Howl‘ Kenitz (Published 6-8-2017)
Twitter: @Howl_CK – Most recent articles/pieces will be pinned