DarkZero Esports Back on Top, Wins ALGS 2023 Split 2 Playoffs
The 2023 Apex Legends Global Series Split 2 Playoffs have ended and a champion has been crowned. After seven total games, DarkZero Esports put a cap on their run with a win, earning the ALGS Split 2 trophy and $300,000. DarkZero was tied as the first team to earn match point and closed out their third LAN title with a nailbiter last game on Storm Point.
Under the Radar
If there’s one thing that everyone knows about DarkZero, it’s that they can win trophies. They’d already done it in the past twice after all. Even if there were more hyped-up squads coming into the ALGS Split 2 Playoffs, DarkZero remained in the back of everyone’s minds. The trio of Rhys “Zer0” Perry, Noyan “Genburten” Ozkose, and newest addition Rody “Xynew” Geissler exemplified that style in the early rounds.
Playing in Group A, DarkZero came in consistently strong. They locked in two fifth places and a third place in their three sets, good for a fourth place tie at the end of the Group Stage. Their only win of Group Stage (and until Finals) came in their third game played.
Despite this respectable showing, all eyes were on the top seed from Group A, Alliance. The European powerhouse was the talk of the Group Stage, constantly dominating DarkZero’s lobbies and earning second overall, just three points shy of Group C’s TSM. Regardless, it was on to the Winners’ Bracket for DarkZero.
Once again, DarkZero were good enough to move on, yet still kept things on the down low. They only placed outside the top 10 once in the six-game set, and their biggest game was 13 points in a third place. Their 39 points was enough for an eighth place; this meant a ticket straight to the Grand Finals and three points to start them.
Breakout in the Finals
After the Losers’ Bracket rounds had concluded, championship Sunday had arrived. The 20 best teams in the world were ready to put everything on the line, but no team was more ready than DarkZero. The two-time LAN champions knew exactly what they needed to do to win, and they got going early.
Game one was a solid 10-point start for DarkZero. In the meantime, their biggest competition TSM laid down a 15-kill win to set the pace. DarkZero fired right back in game two. The northern Climatizer zone was not a particularly good one for them. Even so, they still managed to rotate across the map and claim 14 kills and a strong second place.
DarkZero was now up to 36 points, but TSM was just four points off from Match Point at 46. Game three swapped the map to Storm Point, where DarkZero was known to do their best work. Sure enough, DZ put up another 20+ point banger and won their second game of the tournament.
DarkZero and TSM both hit Match Point (50 total points) after just three games. This meant that either team just needed to win one game to be crowned champion. It also meant that if either team’s location was known, they would get focused extremely hard so the match could continue. Game four saw DarkZero make it to a top five situation, but they got collapsed on by FaZe Clan and Alliance in the final ring.
Three Time Champs are Born
Now back to World’s Edge, DarkZero had a very difficult time adjusting. They got taken down in 17th and 15th in games five and six respectively. TSM also got their first real chance at a title winning game when the zone ended near Staging. Luckily for everyone else, XSET made a great play to lift onto TSM and wipe them in third place.
Following game six, Oxygen Esports, XSET, and FaZe Clan had all made it to Match point, meaning five teams could end the ALGS Split 2 Playoffs with a win. Back on Storm Point, the zone took a Barometer shift. DarkZero had won the previous Barometer zone with their fast rotate from Mill, so this game afforded them another great chance.
As the late zone pulled into north Barometer, DarkZero found a spot near the center of the POI. They would need to make a long rotation to get in. All the fighting near the last building in caused enough of a distraction for DarkZero to slip into the low ground. From there, they were able to stall out behind a Catalyst wall and wait for the win to come to them.
Until next LAN
With this win, DarkZero is once again on top of the Apex Legends world. The conversation of greatest of all time, both player and team-wise, is usually dominated by ImperialHal and TSM. Now that DarkZero, and specifically Zer0, has three LAN wins, they’re tied at the top. The edge DarkZero has is that they’ve accomplished much more in a more modern and competitive era of Apex Legends.
Regardless of who has the GOAT title, the ALGS Split 2 Playoffs title belongs to DarkZero. Although this tournament has come to an end, the ALGS 2023 Championship is only two months out. When the top 40 teams in the world convene yet again, DarkZero will certainly be on the mind of everyone as the team to watch.