Apex Legends, EA’s free-to-play shooter for PS4, Xbox One and PC, is a new kind of battle royale that introduces hero shooter mechanics to the genre. Players can choose from eight characters, or Legends: six are available from the start while the other two need to be unlocked.
Each character has three unique abilities, one active (“tactical”) ability on a short cooldown, one passive ability and one ultimate ability on a long cooldown. Since Apex Legends is designed for three-person squads, each character is balanced to work as part of a team.
It’s important that you pick a team with a goal in mind. Whether that’s to be a well rounded team, an offensive team or a defensive team, the choices made at the start of a match are your first step toward winning. That means you’ll need to know what every character can do, not just the one you’re using. Keep reading for the full rundown of what all eight characters’ abilities are, as well as some suggested team builds.
A personal favorite, Bloodhound is a good pick if you find it difficult to locate the enemy during a hectic fire fight. The passive ability Tracker will show icons on your screen that indicate recent enemy action in the area. Whether it’s footsteps, a recently opened door or a place where someone took damage, this info will semi-regularly appear on your screen. These icons can be pinged to communicate that info to your teammates.
Bloodhound’s tactical ability is Eye of the Allfather, a short range pulse that will show you all clues in an area around you, including a warning message if any enemies are in the vicinity. Enemies that are close enough will be briefly seen through walls, as well as what actions they’re taking, like healing or reviving an ally.
Bloodhound’s ultimate is Beast of the Hunt, which colors your vision black and white except for enemy players who will stand out in bright red. Your movement speed is greatly increased, you’ll receive even more clue icons including enemy footprints and you can see through smoke for the duration of the ability.
Gibraltar is a good defensive character who should be the toughest player to kill on any team. His passive is a Gun Shield that projects a small shield in front of you when you’re aiming down the sites of your gun. It can be toggled on or off, and it doesn’t prevent all damage as it will shatter after enough sustained fire.
His tactical ability is Dome of Protection that lets you toss a projection device a short distance to place a large force field dome over an area wide enough to comfortably fit your whole team. The dome will prevent all gunfire from getting through but you and enemy players can pass freely through the dome. It also works to slightly obscure vision.
Gibraltar’s ultimate is Defensive Bombardment. You’ll drop a series of bombs straight down on selected area nearby. This is his only offensive ability and it’s designed primarily to lay support fire. Won’t score any kills on its own, so this ability is best used while a teammate is pressuring the enemy with their own gunfire or after the enemy team has already been severely weakened in a fight.
Lifeline is the game’s only healer character (for now). This means she’s often considered a crucial pick for well rounded teams. Her passive ability Combat Medic produces a small bullet shield in front of her when she’s reviving a downed ally. Like Gibraltar’s Dome of Protection, it will stop all incoming bullets but it won’t keep players from walking through. Lifeline also revives allies faster as part of this passive skill.
D.O.C. Heal Drone is Lifeline’s tactical ability which summons a floating drone that heals nearby allies, including Lifeline herself, for the duration of the ability. This skill is good for keeping your team healthy when you fall back behind cover or to help last longer in a protracted fire fight.
Lifeline’s ultimate is Care Package. This calls down a unique care package on a selected area that will have defense-oriented high level loot, as well as some weapon attachments. Like standard care packages that drop on their own, this one is very visible to enemy players in the area, so use it with some caution. Once it lands, you’ll receive items like high level healing, backpack upgrades and armor.
MORE: Apex Legends: 13 Key Tips for Starting Out
Pathfinder is the scout-class of the game. His passive ability Insider Knowledge lets you use the giant survey balloons dotting the map to tell you the location of the next circle. This can give important positional advantage to your team.
Pathfinder’s tactical ability is a Grappling Hook that allows you to zip across long distances and even swing from heights. This ability greatly benefits from the game’s lack of any fall damage, so don’t be afraid to zip away off a cliff if need be.
Zip Line is like the Grappling Hook, but it plants a permanent yellow zip line that anyone, including enemies, can use. A handy tool for moving your whole squad to a location if, for instance, you just learned the location of the next circle and are trying to get into position as soon as possible.
Wraith is an offense character with abilities that help her survive and get to places where she’ll be most effective. Her passive, Voices from the Void will produce sound queues that let you know if another player has spotted you or if they’re nearby. It’s not as consistent or as clear as Bloodhound’s tracking clues are, but any information is a big help.
Into the Void is Wraith’s tactical ability that lets you become invulnerable and increases your movement speed for a short time. You’ll also be much harder to see while it’s active. Good both for closing in the distance on the enemy and for avoiding damage and getting to safety. The ability takes a moment to kick in, so don’t expect it to save you from lethal damage at the last second.
Wraith’s ultimate is Dimensional Rift, which works similarly to Into the Void except that at the start and end of the move you place a portal linking the to two locations. It’s like a team-based version of her tactical ability, allowing your whole squad to move in quickly to an area or get out of danger quickly. While traveling through the portals you’re invisible and invulnerable. Be warned that while the portals are still active, enemy players can also travel through them. Smart players will use this to set up traps for unsuspecting opponents.
Another offense character, Bangalore is a speedy and tactical addition to any team. When taking damage from an enemy her passive ability Double Time kicks in that greatly increases you run speed for a short time.
Her tactical ability, Smoke Launcher, lets you fire off two smoke canisters, two at a time, to cover a wide area in smoke. As this also obscures your vision, it’s a good defensive choice but can also be used to great effect offensively when combined with Bloodhound’s ultimate Beast of the Hunt which allows that player to see and mark enemies through smoke.
Bangalore’s ultimate is Rolling Thunder and works like a more powerful version of Gibraltar’s Defensive Bombardment. Small missiles are launched into the ground in a wide area around the player and then begin exploding over after a short delay. It’s enough to cover a wide open area in damage and work like Gibraltar’s ultimate in that it’s best used to finish off a group of weakened players.
The first of the unlockable characters on our list, Caustic is another strong defense choice for any team. His passive ability, Nox Vision works in tandem with his other two that both deploy toxic smoke clouds. While these clouds are out, only Caustic can see other players through the smoke, giving him a big advantage in that situation.
His tactical ability is Nox Gas Trap, that lets you lay up to six trap canisters at one time, two at a time between the cooldown delay. The traps are triggered either by gun fire or the proximity of enemies, so it’s best to lay them down around corners or to drop and shoot one yourself in a close quarters fight. You’ll be obscuring the enemy team’s vision and dealing damage to them while in the smoke.
Caustic’s ultimate ability lays down even more toxic smoke with Nox Gas Grenade. This will cover a wide area in toxic smoke, giving you exclusive vision in the area and dealing damage over time to all enemies caught in the smoke.
The second of the unlockable characters, Mirage is skilled in deception. He has no directly offensive abilities, making him rely more than most on his teammates to back him up. His passive skill is Encore! which triggers when an enemy downs you. You’ll project a hologram decoy of yourself and turn invisible for a short time. In a hectic fire fight, it could be just enough to let you crawl away and be revived by a teammate.
His tactical ability is Psyche Out, which lets you produce a hologram that walks out in front of you. If used at the right time, it could draw out enemy positions, focus their fire or otherwise disorent them during a fight.
Mirage’s ultimate ability is Vanishing Act which lets you produce multiple hologram decoys at once while you turn invisible for a few seconds. When used in tight spaces, this skill can really confuse and possibly push back an enemy team’s advance.
When taking into consideration all the abilities each Legend has, some very effective combinations can be made. Here are just a few, to get you started:
Bloodhound, Bangalore, Caustic: A team with a strong offense. With all the smoke being laid down, both Caustic and Bloodhound have abilities that let them see through the smoke and Bangalore can deploy her ultimate to drop bombs on the area for the knockout punch.
Lifeline, Mirage, Gibraltar: A defensive team. This team will be difficult to kill thanks to all the defensive shields and passive health regen going on. In a tough situation? Drop a shield and some decoys and get yourself to safety or use it to hunker down and finish the enemy off toward the end of the match.
Lifeline, Wraith, Pathfinder: This team is well rounded and very mobile. Pathfinder’s zip lines and Wraith’s portals should keep your team moving and difficult to pin down and Lifeline’s healing is just a good addition for any team.