Apex Legends Season 11 Escape just kicked off, but it's already clear that there's a nerf on the horizon. The newest Legend, Apex Legends Ash, has an incredibly powerful kit that has players already calling for developer Respawn to take another look at the character, barely 24 hours after she dropped in-game.
Just eight hours after the Apex Legends Season 11 launch, Respawn producer Josh Medina asked a Twitter user to "take it EZ on what needs to change asap (looking at you ash passive)" after asking for first impressions. Medina mentioned this in a thread that didn't even reference Ash's abilities, so you know that the new Legend is already on Respawn's radar.
But what is it about Ash that makes her so powerful within the wider roster? Her ability set makes her a highly aggressive Legend that can take teammates by the hand and drag them from one firefight to the next. I thought Ash was too aggressive for my playstyle when I had early access to Season 11 for my Apex Legends: Escape hands-on preview. But after playing a few matches as the sexy simulacrum, I think I'm now an Ash main – that is, until she's inevitably nerfed.
Ash's abilities make perfect sense for the ruthless Titan pilot, but in their current state they're probably too powerful. Her tactical ability is an Arc Snare which allows you to throw a spinning electrified snare that damages and tethers an enemy that gets too close to it. Placing the Arc Snare properly can pop the shield on a damaged enemy and trap them in an inopportune spot, as they'll struggle to run away from the snare for a few moments giving you ample opportunity to litter them with bullets. During my several hours with Ash, the Arc Snare helped keep me alive while getting third-partied, pissed off a player landing from a gravity cannon, and helped me take out an entire squad after trapping an enemy player midway through reviving their squadmate.
Then there's Ash's ultimate, the Phase Breach, which lets players pick a location that is within their sights and zoom towards it at breakneck speed. The Phase Breach got me so many kills, simply because enemy players had no idea I was coming, especially if they were engaging with my teammates or another enemy squad. Just one press of a button and I'd appear inches in front of their face like some kind of horrifying Terminator, emptying an entire C.A.R. SMG clip into them before they can even flag their teammates down for assistance. Honestly, the kills I got as Ash in Apex Legends make me wish there were death comms.
This is OP #ApexLegendsS11 https://t.co/7ZBwzk9UPC pic.twitter.com/5hvxKh8F7NNovember 3, 2021
Both Ash's tactical and ultimate abilities are pretty powerful, but it's her passive that's the real issue. It's called "Marked for Death," and it not only shows the location of recent death boxes around the map but also lets players use her pilot's knife once per death box to mark surviving attackers who took out the enemy in question. Although the new Storm Point map is the biggest yet, I'm able to easily locate enemies and hunt them down mercilessly – and with a Valkyrie on my team, I spent an entire match on a brutal blood hunt. Ash gives you enough intel to ensure your team is always fighting, and in the endgame circles, this passive is almost unfair.
As Medina mentioned in his Tweet, Respawn is already well-aware of Ash's passive ability. Balancing new additions to live-service games is never easy and it can often take a little post-release adjustments to get it right. As a result, I wouldn't be surprised if Respawn issues a patch ASAP – before calls from the wider community for Ash to receive a nerf grow from a loud cry to a deafening roar.
With each new Legend comes a drastic change in meta, so the team at Respawn is almost always tinkering with its playable characters. Revenant, in particular, has seen a ton of adjustments to his kit, with Respawn adjusting his climb ability and decreasing the length of his Death Totem more than once since he launched. Back in May of this year, long-term Legend Lifeline had a major adjustment, with her Combat Revive losing its shield, but gaining the ability to revive two players at once. Her Heal Drone rate increased and her Care Package ultimate ability was amped up.
The Legends of Apex Legends are always changing, but Respawn usually makes adjustments based on demand. It took devs a while to make changes to Wattson's kit as the Legend had a fairly low pick rate (and high win rate), but once they got to her name on the list, the sparky French character got a complete rework. The Apex Legends Escape patch notes included major Wattson changes like improved reliability and responsiveness of placing her tactical fences and ultimate ability pylon, deadlier fences, and a permanent pylon that doesn't self-destruct after a minute and a half. The Wattson rework is extensive, but it took Respawn quite a while to get to it – I imagine it'll be the exact opposite with Ash.
Ash is already the main topic of discussion amongst Apex Legends Season 11 players. It's likely that Respawn will spend the coming days paying close attention to the reaction, and crawling through the data, while it searches for an appropriate response and resolution.
Truth be told, I don't expect Ash's kit to get a major rework, just some changes to cooldowns and length of abilities, like potentially shortening the Arc Snare and decreasing the amount of time you can access a death box in order to find enemy attackers. As a newly baptized Ash player, I'm fine with the way the Legend plays right now, but as an Apex Legends fan, it's clear that the simulacrum needs to simmer down. Just when Ash will be nerfed remains to be seen, but the latest Legend is definitely getting taken down a notch in the near future.
Everything you need to know about the new (and massive) Apex Legends Storm Point map.