This past year was a groundbreaking one for Apex Legends. The battle royale evolved into a hero shooter with the addition of the Arenas game mode in season nine, and fans also saw the action move to the paradisiac (and dangerous) beaches of Storm Point, the game’s latest map. And that’s not counting Pathfinder’s Quest, a 208-page lore book that revealed essential elements of the game’s narrative.
Outside of maps, Apex also introduced four new legends this year, as usual. Each had their own storylines, and each impacted the big-picture lore in different intensities—from Seer’s lack of a strong connection to the cast to the revelation that Ash was Dr. Reid, Horizon’s assistant.
That’s not to say Apex had a flawless run this year, though. Some seasons ran into several obstacles, including server and balancing issues, which drastically shrunk the enjoyment of some players.
Here are all of Apex‘s seasons in 2021, ranked.
Emergence (season 10)
Seer was one of the most unique legends in Apex. A man believed to be cursed, Obi Edolasim spent most of his childhood nearly in isolation. An outcast, Seer was drawn to the theatricality of the Arenas, making his way to the Apex Games from the competition. His intriguing design and the fact he was the first legend from Boreas helped put a hint of mystery in the air before his release, though his arrival into the Apex Games was marked by several issues during Emergence.
Seer was released drastically overpowered at first, with a significant portion of the community calling for lightning-fast balancing. His tactical, for instance, would interrupt, damage, reveal, and even accidentally flashbang opponents—on a roughly 30-second cooldown, no less. Shortly after the reason released, developers admitted Seer was “a bit too strong,” and the Ambush Artist took a nerf almost three weeks after his release. The issues didn’t stop there, though.
The mid-season Evolution collection event came with a series of server stability issues, which took several attempts and over a week to fix. That, coupled with Seer’s balance problems and the lack of an ongoing story—outside of Bloodhound’s phenomenal, but also phenomenally short Chronicle—helped push Emergence to the bottom of this list, even though it brought some much-needed tweaks to World’s Edge.
Mayhem (season eight)
Fuse is easily one of the most charismatic and likable legends in Apex, and he landed with a blast. And by that, we mean his friend-turned-nemesis, Margaret “Mad Maggie” Kohere, destroyed a Syndicate blimp to keep him from joining the Apex Games, changing up the landscape of Kings Canyon in the process.
Mayhem showed a lot of promise at the beginning, with an overhaul of Kings Canyon—arguably Apex‘s most divisive map—and a strong storyline, bringing in the new planet of Salvo closer to players. As the season went on, however, the map update wasn’t enough to fix some of the most problematic elements in Kings Canyon. Fuse’s storyline with Maggie was lackluster and insular at best during the season, having little impact in the story outside of setting up an arc for Fuse with Maggie’s perceived death.
Losing someone who once was a friend shook up the old competitor, and its impacts still make some character development for Fuse, even if he doesn’t get as much screen time as several other legends. Outside of that, though, Maggie’s apparent death seems lost to the rest of the legends, and it didn’t really have any major consequences for the other characters this year. Respawn made it up by bringing a Caustic–Wattson storyline on Twitter.
Though Mayhem wasn’t necessarily bad, it sits at the bottom of the rankings just because it’s hard to compete with the Titan-sized seasons Respawn also delivered throughout the year.
Legacy (season nine)
Legacy was one of the highest points of Apex Legends in 2021, and that’s not just because Valkyrie can fly high. Respawn took a page from Titanfall and brought fans Kairi “Valkyrie” Imahara, the daughter of Titanfall 2 boss Viper, as a competitor. Her introduction in the brilliant Northstar short raised the hype for the season, and Valkyrie wasn’t Legacy’s only major addition to the game.
Legacy also brought Arenas, Apex‘s first permanent non-battle-royale mode. Before it, fans had to wait until the holidays to play Winter Express, but Arenas gives fans another option if they want to stay away from battle royale.
Add to that the brilliant backdrop of the seasonal quest, The Legacy Antigen, and Respawn had a killer recipe for a season. The season quest told two parallel storylines—one in-game and the other through the game’s official Twitter page—that eventually crossed and helped set major plot points for several characters. It’s hard to beat Legacy, but the next contender on the list is giving season nine a run for its money.
Honorable mention: Escape (season 11)
Escape gets an honorable mention on this list purely because the season isn’t over yet, but it’s gunning for Legacy’s crown. Escape added a fresh new map to the fray, a tropical island in Gaea called Storm Point. Yet somehow, that may not even be Apex‘s biggest addition this season.
The season 11 legend, Ash, hails straight from the Titanfall franchise. Apex players who were around last year may also remember her from the season five quest, when players assembled her at the end, or even from her appearances in the season six quest. The Titanfall 2 boss became a new playable legend, and she’s promising to turn the storyline around.
With Ash as a new legend, Storm Point as a map, and a wildly smooth launch without major issues, Escape is easily coming out on top. The season isn’t over and there’s still plenty of ground left to cover before calling it the ultimate winner. But if Escape keeps up its level of play so far, then Legacy could be in trouble.