'Apex Legends' Tier List and Character Guide: Ranking the Best Fighters
Ranking every playable character so far.
Apex Legends is the latest battle royale game to hit consoles, and it’s giving Fortnite: Battle Royale a real run for its money. If you’re diving into the new free-to-play game, you’re probably wondering which characters are best and which to avoid. Here’s an early Apex Legends tier list to help you choose.
Set firmly in the Titanfall universe 30 years after the second game, Apex Legends features a Hunger Games-styled squad-based competition in which 20 teams of three compete to be the last squad standing. “Apex” is the name of the competition, and the “Legends” are those who achieve victory, hence the title Apex Legends.
At launch, Apex Legends gives players access to six playable characters with another two — Caustic and Mirage — available for in-game purchase. Anyone can earn the Legends Tokens needed to purchase them by playing (a lot), or players can opt to purchase the Apex Coins needed. These are virtually identical to Fortnite’s V-Bucks, with an equal exchange rate of 1,000 Apex Coins to every $1 USD. Purchasing both characters will cost 1,500 Apex Coins, or $15 USD.
Generally speaking, the characters feel pretty balanced so far. Basic combat mechanics are uniform across all characters, so it’s really the unique abilities that make the difference.
Here’s our Apex Legends tier list so far, based on both personal experience and community opinions.
- Tactical Ability: D.O.C. Heal Drone
- Passive Ability: Combat Medic
- Ultimate Ability: Care Package
Lifeline’s Heal Drone attaches to a nearby ally to heal them over time, which is great if they run out of health packs or if they’re actively under enemy fire. Combat Medic allows her to use healing items 25 percent faster and to heal downed allies quicker when protected by a shield wall. But Care Package is what really elevates Lifeline, as it summons a supply package that has three random pieces of high-quality defensive gear.
In many cases, those Care Package items will outclass just about any piece of armor that players already have. And because she’s really the only dedicated healer in the game right now, Lifeline is something of a must-have for any good team composition.
Bangalore — Professional Soldier
- Tactical Ability: Smoke Launcher
- Passive Ability: Double Time
- Ultimate Ability: Rolling Thunder
Bangalore is the Soldier: 76 of Apex Legends in that she’s a well-balanced offensive powerhouse who’s comparatively very easy to use for anyone with even basic first-person shooter experience.
With Double Time, Bangalore can sprint faster when under enemy fire, and Smoke Launcher fires a smoke grenade that can provide cover. Meanwhile, Rolling Thunder calls in an artillery strike that “slowly creeps across the landscape.” Like Lifeline, Bangalore gets a lot of worth out of her excellent ultimate ability, but all of her abilities stack very well, making her an excellent choice for skilled players looking to rack up kills.
In terms of sheer offense, there’s no better character in Apex Legends right now, and any squad with both Bangalore and Lifeline is off to a great start.
Mirage — Holographic Trickster
- Tactical Ability: Psyche Out
- Passive Ability: Encore!
- Ultimate move: Vanishing Act
“Holographic Trickster” is a great way to describe Mirage’s playstyle, as it involves disorienting opponents with moves like Psyche Out, which sends out a holographic decoy. Encore! does the same thing whenever Mirage is knocked down while also cloaking him, and Vanishing Act sends out a team of decoys and cloaks Mirage.
All of these abilities make Mirage an excellent combatant that can sneak up on opponents with shotguns for quick kills, as he controls the battlefield by tricking opponents.
Wraith — Interdimensional Skirmisher
- Tactical Ability: Into the Void
- Passive Ability: Voices from the Void
- Ultimate Ability: Dimensional Rift
Wraith might be the coolest character in Apex Legends, with abilities that resemble Ghost from Ant-Man and the Wasp.
She can phase between dimensions to become temporarily invisible and invulnerable with Into the Void, except she won’t be able to see other players for the duration. Voices from the Void triggers a voice that warns her of approaching danger. Dimensional Rift links two locations with portals for 60 seconds, making for an excellent escape route for the entire team.
Whereas Mirage focuses on disorienting enemies, Wraith can use her abilities to surprise enemies or use them to make a quick escape.
Bloodhound — Technological Tracker
- Tactical Ability: Eye of the Allfather
- Passive Ability: Tracker
- Ultimate Ability: Beast of the Hunt
Shrouded in mystery, Bloodhound looks like some kind of cool hawkmaster-type hunter, and all of their abilities make them an excellent tracker. While useful, their abilities feel less essential than others and they also require a higher skill threshold.
Eye of the Allfather essentially scans the surrounding area and reveals any hidden enemies or traps within structures. Tracker allows them to see enemy footprints on the ground with a timestamp of how recent, making it useful when in larger structures where an enemy could be nearby. Beast of the Hunt is slightly more offensive, allowing them to move faster and actively highlight nearby enemies.
- Tactical Ability: Dome of Protection
- Passive Ability: Gun Shield
- Ultimate Ability: Defensive Bombardment
In parties looking for balance, Gibraltar might actually wind up being a very popular pick, as he’s basically the only tank. He’s fairly well balanced with a really interesting toolkit, but his slow speed and larger size make hm an easy target.
Dome of Protection deploys a dome shield that blocks attacks, which is very useful to protect downed allies. Gun Shield automatically deploys a front-facing shield when Gibraltar aims down the sights. Defensive Bombardment is similar to Bangalore’s ultimate in that it calls in a concentrated mortar strike.
- Tactical Ability: Nox Gas Trap
- Passive Ability: Nox Vision
- Ultimate Ability: Nox Gas Grenade
Not only is Caustic a premium character that must be purchased using in-game currency, but the first trapper-type Legend leaves a lot to be desired, mainly because the Nox Gas he tosses around doesn’t do quite enough damage. And because he’s the only villain available so far, he’ll be desirable by all the Reaper and Junkrat mains that migrate from Overwatch to Apex Legends.
Nox Gas Trap is a trap that deploys toxic gas within an area once triggered, and the Nox Gas Grenade does basically the same thing. Caustic’s passive Nox Vision just allows him to see through his own gas while also rendering him immune. So it’s a little underwhelming, especially because the traps are pretty visible right now.
Pathfinder — Forward Scout
- Tactical Ability: Grappling Hook
- Passive Ability: Insider Knowledge
- Ultimate Ability: Zipline Gun
Pathfinder’s toolkit as a robotic scout sounds very cool on paper, but in practice, his Grappling Hook feels almost a little too realistic. It also requires a very high skill threshold to use effectively. He shoots out the grappling hook and pulls himself to the destination, but it’s very easy to feel his heft, so it takes some getting used to. Insider Knowledge feels basically useless by cluing the player as to the ring’s next location.
Zipline Gun creates a zipline that the whole party can use, which is handy towards the end of matches when teams might need to move quickly. But when other character can do so much more with that ability slot, it doesn’t feel that special.
These are initial rankings that are bound to change as Respawn updates the game and adds more characters, but for now, be sure to consider these recommendations when playing Apex Legends.
Apex Legends is currently available on PC via Origin, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Correction: 2/7/19: This article previously stated the Care Package contains four pieces of high-quality defensive gear; it contains three pieces.