Earlier in the season for OGN APEX Season 4, the Challenger teams that entered the league struggled to fill the void left by previous competitors. Friday, however, Nc Foxes and GC Busan guaranteed they would advance out of the group stage while sending veteran teams Kongdoo Uncia and Afreeca Freecs, respectively, out of APEX.
Nc Foxes vs. Kongdoo Uncia
Map 1: Nepal (Control)
Map 2: King's Row (Assault/Escort)
Map 3: Hanamura (Assault)
Map 4: Dorado (Escort)
Kongdoo Uncia, a fan favorite, fell so far this season. This matchup was no exception. Nepal and King's Row should have been chances for the veteran squad to show its experience, but Nepal was a disappointing showing, and King's Row was just embarrassing. Nc Foxes full-held Uncia off the first point on the latter, and being crushed like that by a rookie team is unacceptable by Kongdoo's standards.
Cornered enemies are dangerous, and KDU proved that when it took Hanamura. Nc Foxes threw away its timebank stage with repeated and predictable capture failures on Point B. The team's use of the high ground on offense was a workable strategy, but Nc Foxes didn't adjust when Uncia hunkered down, and the attackers became easy to repel.
But the reprieve was short. KDU mixed uncoordinated strikes with silly mistakes on Dorado, which allowed Nc Foxes to defend Point C and then close out the match on the other side. The rookie team's 3-1 win gets it out of groups, while Uncia got knocked out in groups for the second straight season.
GC Busan vs. Afreeca Freecs
Map 1: Lijiang Tower (Control)
Map 2: Numbani (Assault/Escort)
Map 3: Temple of Anubis (Assault)
Many considered this an upset, but it should not be a surprise that this match went in favor of GC Busan. Afreeca Freecs had huge success in the past, but many of its losses came at the hands of the best teams, and its wins came from treading over weaker teams. On top of that, losing Kim "Mano" Dong-gyu was a massive blow to the Freecs lineup that continues to have consequences for the squad.
Without its main tank, Afreeca couldn't protect its own backline effectively enough to make significant moves on any map. GC Busan also benefitted from brilliant play from its DPS players, with Lee "Hooreg" Dong-eun as one example. Hooreg brought the pain to Afreeca Freecs as Doomfist on all three maps. Freecs DPS Weon-hyeop "ArHaN" Jeong, meanwhile, again failed to make an impact on the match, which teed up this 3-0 loss.