Apex Legends, the free-to-play battle royale game set in the Titanfall universe, came out of nowhere, and has launched to critical acclaim, earning millions of players in the process. And while Apex Legends provides an experience that should be relatively familiar to fans of other battle royale games like Fortnite and PUBG, it has some elements that set it apart from the pack, mainly in the form of its eight playable Legends and their special abilities.
Apex Legends blends hero-shooter elements with the standard battle royale formula, which lends itself to a variety of strategies and different ways players can approach each situation depending on the character they’ve selected. Each character in Apex Legends brings something different to the table, and it can be hard to keep track of what everyone does and how their abilities can be used to get a tactical advantage in a match.
With that in mind, here are all eight playable Legends in Apex Legends at launch, and how players can play each character to increase their odds of winning.
- Tactical Ability: Smoke Launcher
- Passive Ability: Double Time
- Ultimate Ability: Rolling Thunder
Bangalore is an Offensive character, and the one we recommend Apex Legends players accustomed to other shooters try out first. Bangalore is well-rounded, and her abilities and their uses are easy to understand right off the bat.
The Smoke Launcher is particularly useful in a wide variety of situations. Bangalore’s Smoke Launcher provides a thick layer of smoke that can be used to escape from enemies, create cover from sniper fire, or to cause general confusion in a firefight. The smoke is genuinely hard to see through and makes her a great character to have on any squad.
Bangalore’s Double Time ability makes her run quicker when she’s getting shot at, and this can be combined with the Smoke Launcher to help players get out of any jams they may find themselves in. Her Rolling Thunder Ultimate, meanwhile, calls in an airstrike on a fixed location, and is best in open areas on the battle royale map where enemies can’t as easily find shelter from it.
- Tactical Ability: Eye of the Allfather
- Passive Ability: Tracker
- Ultimate Ability: Beast of the Hunt
Compared to Bangalore, Bloodhound is a lot harder to use effectively, but someone well-versed in their abilities can be a huge advantage on any squad. Basically, Bloodhound is a tracker, and their abilities reflect that. Players should make a habit of using the Eye of the Allfather often to highlight nearby enemies, as it may help them find someone who’s hiding nearby or preparing to ambush them. Bloodhound can also spot enemy tracks on the ground, which makes it even easier to find foes on the battle royale map.
Beast of the Hunt makes it even easier for Bloodhound to track enemies and has the added bonus of increasing their movement speed. Not only can this be used to help spot nearby enemies, but it also can help in a strategic retreat or when the circle is closing in. However, players should be weary of the way it marks foes’ last location, as the enemy outlines can actually make finding them a bit more confusing for someone who hasn’t had a lot of practice with Bloodhound.
- Tactical Ability: Nox Gas Trap
- Passive Ability: Nox Vision
- Ultimate Ability: Nox Gas Grenade
Caustic is one of two locked characters in Apex Legends, but he can be unlocked using microtransactions or roughly around when players reach level 23 in the game. We’ve already seen how the Nox Gas Trap can be used in rather clever ways, but the gist of it is that it is a canister that releases poison gas when triggered by enemies. It’s not an ability that’s as easy to use as, say Bangalore’s Smoke Launcher, but it can be used to booby trap high traffic areas.
The Nox Gas Grenade is Caustic’s Ultimate ability, and it’s much easier to inflict enemies with Nox Gas when using it instead of the Nox Gas Trap. The Nox Gas is difficult to see through, so luckily Caustic’s Passive Ability makes it easier for him to spot enemies in the smoke.
- Tactical Ability: Dome of Protection
- Passive Ability: Gun Shield
- Ultimate Ability: Defensive Bombardment
Gibraltar is another character that we would recommend newcomers try when playing Apex Legends, as his abilities are easy to understand and have combat advantages that are more readily apparent. The Dome of Protection releases a large dome shield wherever it’s dropped, which can be used to keep allies safe when reviving them. It can also be thrown in the middle of a firefight if Gibraltar starts taking too much damage and needs some additional cover. We also found the Dome of Protection to be a great counter to enemy Ultimate attacks, as missiles and explosives will just bounce off it.
One downside to the Dome of Protection is that Gibraltar and allies can’t shoot out of it, so players should keep that in mind. Luckily, the Gun Shield is a nice alternative that gives Gibraltar an extra layer of protection when he’s aiming down the sights of his weapon. For this reason, we recommend Gibraltar players often do this when engaging the enemy, as it can literally be the difference between life or death.
When playing in squads with Gibraltar, it’s advantageous to give him the best armor whenever possible. He’s a tank-like character, and his added defenses can make him a pain for enemies to kill. Enemies may get so focused on trying to kill Gibraltar that they will let their guard down, not to mention waste ammo trying to eat through his armor.
Gibraltar’s Ultimate Ability is similar to Bangalore’s, and will call in a mortar strike on a targeted location.
- Tactical Ability: DOC Heal Drone
- Passive Ability: Combat Medic
- Ultimate Ability: Care Package
Lifeline is Apex Legends‘ resident healer character, and one of the best Support-class heroes to have in any squad. Lifeline’s Heal Drone should be used often to avoid wasting precious healing items, though players should keep in mind that they need to stand relatively close to it for it to heal them. Lifeline also gets a shield when reviving downed teammates, and if she combines that with her Heal Drone in addition to a Gibraltar Dome of Protection or Bangalore’s Smoke Launcher, she should even be able to revive teammates in the middle of a fight.
What makes Lifeline truly one of the best characters to have on a squad, though, is her Care Package Ultimate ability. The Care Package delivers four items in an area designated by Lifeline, and while the gear inside is sometimes disappointing, it can also contain some rare and very useful items. We recommend teams often give Lifeline their Ultimate recharging items so she can call in supply drops as many times as possible in any given match and increase the likelihood of getting some great gear from it.
- Tactical Ability: Psyche Out
- Passive Ability: Encore!
- Ultimate Ability: Vanishing Act
Like Caustic, Apex Legends players have to unlock Mirage before they can add him to their roster of playable heroes. When deciding which one to unlock first, we definitely recommend players go with Mirage, as he’s much easier to play as than Caustic, with some of the most useful abilities in the entire game.
A lot of shooters have abilities similar to Mirage’s Psyche Out, where they can send a decoy out to trick others. But with the especially fast-paced gameplay of Apex Legends, it seems to be far more effective than it is in other games. We have often been able to confuse enemies and at the very least make them waste some ammunition with one of our decoys. Additionally, the Encore! Passive Ability, which drops a decoy whenever Mirage is down and lets him go invisible for a bit, helps him get away from enemies when downed and to the safety of his teammates.
The Vanishing Act Ultimate Ability spawns three decoys in addition to cloaking Mirage, which can really disorient enemies. It’s possible that players will catch on to Mirage’s antics at some point, but with Apex Legends still in its infancy, many are still falling for his decoys.
- Tactical Ability: Grappling Hook
- Passive Ability: Insider Knowledge
- Ultimate Ability: Zipline Gun
Pathfinder is Apex Legends‘ lovable robot character, and he’s already been the star of plenty of Twitch clips thanks to his Grappling Hook. While Apex Legends recommends players use Pathfinder’s Grappling Hook to reach especially high areas, it can also be used to hook enemies, which can be absolutely devastating when combined with a shotgun.
Pathfinder’s Passive Ability is one of the least useful in the game, however. It helps players know where the circle (or “ring,” as it’s referred to as in Apex Legends talk) will be, but considering how quickly players can move across the map, it’s not very important. Perhaps players can use it to determine where to place Caustic’s Nox Gas Traps, but that would require some coordination that is not always going to be possible in the game.
But while Pathfinder’s Passive Ability is nothing special, his Zipline Gun more than makes up for it. Whenever Pathfinder has his Ultimate, he can place a permanent zipline for his allies to use, creating new ways to get to certain spots and flank enemies. The Zipline Gun makes Pathfinder a great pick for most any squad, so players shouldn’t be discouraged by his underwhelming Passive Ability.
- Tactical Ability: Into the Void
- Passive Ability: Voices from the Void
- Ultimate Ability: Dimensional Rift
And finally, we have Wraith, who seems to be one of the most popular of the Apex Legends characters so far. Wraith has a sort of “Spidey Sense” with her Voices from the Void Passive Ability, and she can also use her Tactical Ability to quickly escape from any enemies that still manage to get the jump on her. Plus, she does the Naruto run when she sprints, which is both hilarious and intimidating at the same time.
Wraith’s Ultimate is the Dimensional Rift, which creates a portal that stays in play for about a minute. For anyone needing reference, the portal functions pretty much exactly like Symmetra’s Teleporter from Overwatch, letting players teleport from one point to another, which lends itself to a wide variety of tactical advantages. Wraith users should keep in mind that enemy players can also use her portals.
Wraith’s abilities are not as immediately useful as some of the other playable Legends in Apex Legends, but she seems to be one of the most popular characters in the game regardless. If players are able to get a grasp on her Dimensional Rift ability, she can really help turn the tide in battle, though we would caution new Apex Legends players try some other characters first.
Apex Legends is out now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.