Apex Legends recently made Duos a permanent mode, which has been something players have been asking for basically since the start. And since Duos isn’t just Squads-minus-one, the overall power balance of the game’s legends is a little different in this mode.
First off, we have our favorite thicc boi Gibraltar. Gibraltar’s main weakness is his size and targetability – a much more serious problem when he could be focused down by three enemies at once. Against only a couple of opponents he fairs a lot better, and he is almost guaranteed to come out on top in one-on-one fights. And if he wins his first shootout, the fight is essentially over: a 2v1 is a very different situation from a 3v2. It’s nearly impossible to salvage a 2v1 in Apex Legends.
Bloodhound is the second big winner in Apex Legends Duos, for the same reason: when he ults, he can always win a one-on-one. And since his recent indirect buff – by which I mean, ultimate accelerants granting more charge – he can basically always ult before a fight. Again, 2v2 becomes 2v1, and then the fight is over. Bloodhound gets a little bit of extra help on nighttime Kings Canyon too, thanks to his abilities. You can’t hide when this hunter is stalking through the shadows.
Finally, we have Mirage, who is stronger in Apex Legends Duos for two reasons. First, his clones have more value against squads of two. Second, when he uses his ultimate, he can guarantee a knock on an enemy – and, again, in Duos a single knock is usually all it takes.
The losers of Apex Legends Duos
There are also three Apex Legends which don’t fair too well in Duos. Incidentally, they are not popular picks in regular Squads either. But the different circumstances of Duos put them at an even bigger disadvantage.
First on the weak picks list is Revenant. The spooky scary simulacrum has been having a hard time finding his place in the regular Apex Squads meta, and things are no easier for him in Duos. His ultimate scales with the size of his team, so it is somewhat weaker in this mode. His tactical is arguably only useful if it tags two or more enemy legends at once, which is less likely in Duos. Revenant got some considerable buffs in the last patch, but it is not yet clear whether they will be enough.
Then we have Lifeline, the OG Apex Legends support. A team of two needs a lot less support – be it healing or extra gear – than Lifeline brings to the table. Her kit is somewhat wasted in this mode. Furthermore, there is a critical problem with her role as a combat medic in Duos. If your only teammate is down, it’s rather difficult to pick them up without a third providing cover fire.
Finally, Crypto. Much like Revenant’s tactical, Crypto’s shield-shredder ultimate is less likely to find value against smaller teams. He is also an even bigger liability if he takes a drone break to scout around in Duos. Crypto is a very fun legend to play, as long as your goal isn’t to win.
There we have it. Duos is a different arena, with some legends getting a big boost, and others falling behind. Will we see this shift in power dynamics actually play out in the mode? Most likely not, to be honest. The Apex Legends community is not the most imaginative when it comes to this type of thing, and have been playing with the same handful of legends (and weapons) since the game launched last February. So I expect we’ll still see the legends considered OP in Squads continue to populate Duos as well. But for those players willing to experiment, there are easy wins in store.
What about Solos?
With the addition of Duos as a permanent mode, it might seem like Respawn is finally relenting and moving closer to making the Solos dream come true. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. A Solos mode is even less on their radar than before, and for some very specific reasons.
“When we introduced Solos as a limited-time mode last year we saw it actually negatively impacted the game,” Respawn state in the Duos patch notes. “We’ve also purposely designed Legends and their abilities to compliment teamplay and squad composition, but when played Solo some Legend abilities become useless.”
That sounds like a very much solvable problem, from a player’s perspective anyway. First, adjust down-but-not-out mechanics, and come to terms with the fact that some legends simply won’t make a frequent appearance in Solos. Then improve it from there, using data collected from this imperfect version of the mode, to make it perfect. Playing battle royale games solo is an integral part of the experience, and if Respawn commits to a Solos mode in earnest, I am sure they could knock it out of the park.
Stick around with SQUAD for more Apex Legends news and content!