Apex Legends Coaching: Hucubama on How to Improve
During last month’s ALGS Championship, FURIA’s Jacob “HisWattson” McMillin said in an interview with us that “ranked and competitive are not two different games.” This got us thinking about how players might be able to bridge the gap between ranked and competitive play in Apex Legends, and what resources might be available to help them on their journey.
Use code “HOTSPAWN” at checkout for 5% off your next session with Gamer Sensei!
We recently attended a coaching session with Kevin “Hucubama” Szabo, a professional coach and Apex Predator-ranked player. Afterwards, we were able to sit down with him and ask him some questions about his journey into Apex, some of the more common mistakes he sees players make, and what the most overlooked part of being a good Apex player is.
The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Hotspawn: What attracted you to Apex versus other games?
Hucubama: I’d say the movement and the flow of the game. I like fast-paced games, and the movement of Apex just feels so natural in most of the cases. You have a lot of mechanics and the guns are pretty solidly made as well, so the way you aim, the way you play, and the way you move.
Hotspawn: What has been your transition from MOBA games to an FPS game been like? What has the crossover been, and what has made you stay with Apex?
Hucubama: MOBAs are more strategy-based, and I really think shooters are the same. If you don’t have a plan, you don’t win as many games, so you always have to have something to think about in your games. MOBA games, I really do enjoy playing them, I just don’t find them, for myself personally, as competitive as a shooter game. For most players, it’s the complete opposite. It’s just kind of what I like more.
Hotspawn: What has your journey been in the Apex scene as a player and a coach? How did you get into coaching?
Hucubama: Back when Apex released, at the beginning, I was dropping a lot of high-kill games. I was playing with some of my friends, and they were like “man, you’re good at the game, so just do something with this, or like coach people or coach me,” and most of my friends actually said that. That’s what kind of made me transition into actually helping players become better and helping them fix their mistakes in the game.
Hotspawn: What would you say would be the most common mistakes you see in your coaching sessions or just watching Apex gameplay in general?
Hucubama: I think the two main ones I’d go for is sensitivity, so if you’re playing with a mouse and keyboard or a controller, having bad sensitivity, having it too high or too low, would be the one common one I see a lot. And the second one is having a bad combination of guns. You see some people playing with two shottys or two snipers, or a pistol and sniper, so those would be the most common ones I see.
Hotspawn: Is there a certain type of player that you think benefits more from coaching?
Hucubama: If we just do this super wide, there’s beginners, advanced, and then you have the pros, I think everyone to a certain degree benefits from coaching. The beginners, they get taught on how to become an advanced player, and you can get coaching for that to help you become an advanced player faster. With the advanced player scene, you can get taught to go into the pro scene. This is a wide spectrum I set here – it isn’t really how it works – it’s just to give you an example. With the pro scene, I feel like you barely make mistakes there. It’s the fact of how often you make mistakes more or less. The less mistakes you make, the higher chances you have of winning fights.
Hotspawn: What would you say is the most overlooked aspect of being a good Apex player? What is that one thing that people just don’t take into consideration as much as you think they should?
Hucubama: I think I’d go for backing out of fights. That’s the one key thing that most players tend to forget. Even if you hit someone for high damage, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to push them, because your position might actually be bad for that push, and you might actually end up losing the entire fight for your team just because you made a push on someone who you got low.
Hotspawn: The big conversation in Apex is around aggressive play. A lot of pro teams have success with it, but others seem to find that it damages the game. What’s your approach with picking fights?
Hucubama: A lot of times, it comes down to the timer. If it’s a high-tier ranked game or a pro game, you usually don’t have more than 30 seconds to finish a fight, though I’d even say 20, before the next team comes in. Aggressive plays usually don’t work for some teams because one of them sometimes gets knocked, and the fight with the third party rolls in, and your team’s already a two against three instantly in that fight. So I’d say if you get knocked while trying to play hardcore aggressive, then that’s not really the way to go. If none of your teammates get knocked, then it’s a really good strat to play. When you finish them you get to swap, you can heal, you have time, and all three of you are up.
Hotspawn: There’s a lot of variety game-to-game in Apex, and it’s impossible to create a consistent live practice environment. What are the best ways for players to practice things like angles, covering, and movement?
Hucubama: The firing range is really good for trying to learn mechanics, like how to bunny hop, how to super glide, tap strafing, and stuff like that, but the firing range doesn’t really help you get better at trying to aim or fixing your angles and positioning. I’d mostly recommend players to do duo queuing and no filling, because the pressure of having a one against two every time forces you to actually think differently in your fights and the way you approach your fights.
Hotspawn: If somebody’s on the fence about getting a gaming coach, what would your advice be to them?
Hucubama: It really depends on their goals. If they want to improve and get better at the game, it’s worth it, because they can get a lot of knowledgeable comments from their coach on how to get better in a short amount of time. Theoretically, you could save 50 games of your time and you learn everything faster. But if you’re more so just sitting down with your friends and you don’t really have a goal with games, you just want to chill and play with your friends, then it’s not really that necessary.
Hotspawn: Do you have a favourite coaching story you’d like to share?
Hucubama: This was in December, so I don’t really remember everything precisely, but I have coached someone in Apex who is around the age of 65, and she still plays to this day. I coached her from, I think she was Silver 4, and she was playing the game a lot with her son, and she actually managed to get into Gold and Plat after a month of coaching. We had one or two sessions a week, and she was actually improving pretty fast. She was the oldest student I had.
If you’re interested in Apex Legends coaching or would like to book your own coaching session with Hucubama, check out Gamer Sensei. Gamer Sensei offers hands-on coaching from pro team coaches and championship-winning players across a variety of titles. Use the code “HOTSPAWN” at checkout for 5% off!