Who's the true champion?
This year saw Apex Legends‘ cast of characters branch out in new, unexpected ways. 2022 gave us seasons 12 to 15, each of which included a legend with new abilities and plenty of new cosmetics. A big theme among this year’s characters was prowess with specific weapons: Mad Maggie, who arrived in season 12, sports a passive that enhances her effectiveness with shotguns, while sniper legend Vantage from season 14 gets more use out of mid and long-range scopes.
It’s not clear yet just what developer Respawn Entertainment has in the works for next year, so until we learn more about the developer’s plans, we’re taking a look back at what made the past year of Apex so great. Whether you were around for all of these legend launches or your joined the game more recently, you’ll find something to enjoy in our retrospective, which acts not only as a list and ranking, but as a summary of everything that happened in Apex this past year.
Here are all of 2022’s Apex legend releases, ranked.
Newcastle’s season was a little on the quiet side. In season 13, Respawn dropped the game’s first defensive legend since Rampart in season six, an almost two-year gap. Defensive legends were in a rough place, frequently adorning the bottom of Apex Legends Status’ pick rate graph. It was clear the category needed a hand, especially in the face of highly mobile legends’ immense popularity. Many looked to Newcastle, with his strong ties to the game’s lore and interesting potential, to turn the tides.
But things didn’t go as well as planned. Newcastle sunk to the bottom of the pick rate charts almost as quickly as he released; it was clear players just weren’t interested in defensive legends. He wasn’t used much in ranked, despite the major adjustments made to RP and buy-in cost of each rank during his release. He received a small buff later on that briefly increased his popularity temporarily, but he just as quickly fell back to the bottom of the charts. Season 13 was a relatively quiet one, which didn’t help him much. Newcastle is a fun legend with interesting lore, but his abilities just aren’t indicative of the way most of Apex‘s player base wants to play.
On paper, Mad Maggie should have been an extremely popular addition to Apex. Released during season 12, this offensive legend receives bonuses when she uses shotguns, grants mobility to her team with her ultimate, and can help flush out enemies who are hiding during aggressive pushes. She is an old friend of Fuse’s, though it’s clear the two have some bad blood, which made for interesting lore developments.
Unfortunately, her launch proved that when it comes to offensive legend, players mostly want to stick to their old favorites. Mad Maggie had the lowest initial launch popularity this year, even when compared to Newcastle. As of this writing, she sits near the bottom of the pick rate list, likely because her mobility potential is on a high cooldown. Her season wasn’t all bad news, though; Phase Driver and Terminal were thoughtful additions to Olympus, and shortly after her launch, Respawn introduced Control, a mode that might be the most-loved LTM addition in the game’s history. It’s a shame that Mad Maggie hasn’t enjoyed more enduring popularity.
Catalyst is Apex‘s most recent addition, arriving alongside the new battle royale map Broken Moon, a new cosmetic known as Stickers, and the long-awaited ability to gift cosmetics to other players. She’s a defensive legend like Newcastle, but she has a more flexible kit that’s focused around trapping other players and reducing their movement potential. This alone should make her an attractive pick to defensive legend fans who are tired of losing to legends with more mobility. She’s also the game’s first transwoman legend, a huge step forward in its own right.
Season 15 will stretch into 2023, so we haven’t seen everything it has to offer yet, but so far, it’s been a blast. Catalyst enjoyed a decent spike of popularity right after her release, which was fueled mostly by the impression that she would be a counter to the “scan meta” perpetuated by Seer and Bloodhound. It appears as though this isn’t the case, but even so, Catalyst is a fun new legend who will likely enjoy popularity for a little longer while everyone figures out her many uses in battle.
On the surface, Vantage might seem like an odd addition to Apex. Adding a character centered around sniper rifles and long-range play to a game that actively discourages against ratting and hanging back rather than pursuing enemies seems counterintuitive. When Vantage was first announced, it looked as though her addition could go two ways: either she’d be extremely powerful and make matches an annoying game of long-range cat-and-mouse, or she’d flounder and end up at the bottom of the pick rate charts alongside the defensive legends.
Surprisingly, neither happened. When it comes to Vantage, the fact that we aren’t hearing more about her means she is incredibly well-balancedeasy to use without being oppressive toward other players, mobile without being hyper-focused on movement, and just plain fun. She had the largest initial pick rate spike on release of all the legends released this year and hers was the slowest pick rate to fall down after launch; as of this writing, she still sits squarely in the middle of the pick rate list, which should be considered a success.
Season 14 also brought a huge amount of changes, including sweeping updates to Kings Canyon, the new laser sights attachment, and an increase to the level cap. When combined with these adjustments, Vantage’s launch was an enjoyable and exciting one, particularly since there was so much to explore in the reimagined Skull Town-like POI Relic. Season 14 also put the finishing touches on ranked’s changes, making the mode more satisfying on the whole. All of the legends released this year had high points, but it’s hard to beat Vantage for sheer fun and balance.