Apex Legends’ Season 14 patch notes have dropped, and there’s a lot to take in. The Volt and G7 Scout are out of the Care Package, replaced by the Bocek Bow and Rampage LMG. As well as a new Legend, Vantage, the existing Legends have had their fair share of buffs and nerfs too. Horizon, Valkyrie, Newcastle, and Maggie have all received serious changes, but – spoilers – Pathfinder still doesn’t have a Passive ability.
This could be the biggest shake-up of the Apex Legends meta since Valkyrie soared into our skies in June last year, so we're going to take a look at all the weapons, characters, and miscellaneous changes. Check out what’s been improved, what’s been nerfed, and how this will impact the game in Season 14.
Winner: Mad Maggie
Mad Maggie has had a serious buff – and it’s about time too. Her Tactical Riot Drill now launches twice as fast, but it’s her Wrecking Ball that has had the most serious upgrade. It now travels twice as far and damages enemy placeable objects. That’s Newcastle’s Castle Walls, Revenant’s Death Totem, Caustic’s Gas Barrels, the lot. It also outright destroys Gibraltar’s bubble, which is a huge change. I can easily see Maggie carrying a buffed EVA-8 into hyper aggressive fights throughout Season 14.
Poor, poor Valk. After her meteoric rise to the top of every Apex Legends tier list, she’s come crashing back down to earth. Her jets have less power and consume more fuel, her movement is slower in the air, and her Missile Swarm is less powerful with a smaller radius. Her Icarus arc is completed by a major nerf to her Skyward Dive, which used to allow for free repositioning. Its height has been reduced by 25 percent and she’ll be slightly slower when using it, which means she’ll be easier to shoot out of the sky, and her team can fly less far if they make it. She needed a nerf, but is this too far?
Newcastle was significantly underpowered when he was released, but teams at the highest level have slowly been learning where his skills lie. 100 Thieves paired him cleverly with Wattson in the ALGS Championship to moderate success, and more teams are utilising him as a replacement for Gibraltar, whose usage will surely drop even further next season after Maggie’s anti-Gibby buff.
Newcastle’s Retrieve the Wounded has received buffs all around, and his Mobile Shield has nearly 50 percent more health and doubled its movement speed. His Castle Wall’s slow effect is also more severe. As you can tell, there are no real changes to Newcastle’s abilities, they've just all got better. It might be worth giving him a go when the new season kicks off.
Horizon has been nerfed to oblivion in Season 14, which has kind of come out of the blue. She’s a strong Legend, but nowhere near as oppressive as others, and her kit is incredibly unique. N.E.W.T.’s Black Hole has a more reliable hit box now, and it takes 50 percent more damage from explosives. The biggest nerf, however, was excluded from the patch notes and instead announced on Twitter: N.E.W.T. now takes damage from friendly fire. This completely annihilates the tactic of deploying the gravity-bending Ultimate and throwing a bunch of ‘nades in there, and decreases Horizon’s effectiveness significantly. N.E.W.T. was already pretty easy to destroy with sustained gunfire, so this feels like a very harsh nerf.
Winner: 30-30 Repeater
Everybody and their mum will be picking up the 30-30 Repeater in Season 14. I’ve quietly enjoyed the Marksman Rifle for a while now, but it now takes Skullpiercer Rifling, increasing its headshot damage, and automatically includes the Dual Loader perk, which essentially halves your reload time. A headshot from a charged and Skullpiercing 30-30 now does 123 damage. It will two-shot any non-Fortified Legend in the game unless they have Red Armour and a Level 2 Helmet, or a Level 3 Helmet and Purple or Red Armour. Have your fun quickly, because I fully expect this to be nerfed as quickly as the Bocek.
The RE-45 is in the Replicator next season, and despite only costing 30 Materials with Hammerpoints, I can’t see many people crafting it. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong. But I doubt it.
However, Crafting Materials have received a welcome buff on the whole. If one team member picks them up from a Materials Harvester (that’s the official name for the bins full of blue goo that give you 25 mats), everyone gets the Materials. This means you no longer have to all make the same circuit around a POI to collect the same Materials, and might help random teammates split up when landing. ‘Might’ being the operative word. This is a nice quality of life upgrade that’ll make looting and crafting a little easier.
Loser: Edge teams
Teams who like playing on the edge of zone, or even in zone, will have a harder time of it from now on. Ring 1’s damage has been increased to the equivalent of Ring 2, and it starts closing after 60 seconds rather than 180. It does close a little slower, but the extra damage and reduced time before shrinkage could cause problems for pro play, where some teams like to stay crafting in zone well into Round 2. That might not be possible any more.
As alluded to above, the EVA-8 has had a big buff. It now has less recoil and takes stock attachments, as well as increasing the fire rate, the improvements to fire rate granted by shotgun bolts, and the damage done by each pellet. It fires one pellet less, but in the hands of an aggressive Legend like Mad Maggie, whose Passive lets her move at full speed with a shotgun drawn, it could be brutal.
Loser: Arc Star
Finally, the Arc Star has been seriously nerfed. It now does less damage overall, and only slows you after it detonates. Frag Grenades now look like the best option – unless you’re Horizon, that is.
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