We are our future, not our pasts.
By Nathaniel Childers | February 18, 2021
Discerning the Void
By now, most gamers who’ve invested any time into PvP shooters are at least aware of Apex Legends’ most notorious, often infamous, and incredibly satisfying to play powerhouse Legend, Wraith. Apex’s ability-based ba ttle royale requires a strong working knowledge of your chosen Legend and punishes anyone not keenly aware of their abilities for daring to load into a match.
This is no more apparent than with Wraith, Apex Legends’ reality-warping, hyper-aware, interdimensional skirmisher.
She’s got a kit that is fine-tuned to allow her unparalleled abilities to avoid less-than-optimal engagements, bait enemies into game-ending ambushes, and control large swaths of the ever-shrinking map by quickly allowing her team to traverse the battlefield.
A good Wraith is a nightmare to play against, an amazing weapon for her team, and an extremely versatile Legend.
Voices from the Void
“You hear a voice when danger approaches. As far as you can tell, it’s on your side.”
This passive is so incredibly easy to overlook. But don’t let that fool you into believing it isn’t the most powerful passive in the game, and by a large margin. The name of the game when playing Wraith is tactical advantage. A spectral voice will warn you of all manner of danger, from snipers targeting you, to nearby traps, to the presence of enemy players.
At the player’s discretion, this information can be passed along to his/her teammates. The optional element of this provides a nice level control. If your team is currently discussing something else of value, you don’t have to worry about your warning being drowned out or interfering with other valuable information.
The ultimate decision and value that this passive brings to the battle royale are directly controlled by the player. This brings a new type of soft, tactical skill cap to a genre that has become increasing stale and linear over the years.
Into the Void
“Reposition quickly through the safety of the ‘void’ space, avoiding all damage.”
What’s harder to shoot than a small framed, threat-aware, run-and-gunner with a well-informed team? An invisible one. There is some counter-play with this ability, however.
Yes, she is invisible. And yes, she is impervious to damage while using this ability. However, Wraith leaves behind a trail as she moves through the void, tipping off any would-be sharpshooters to where she is the moment she steps out.
Still, when used correctly, this ability can be absolutely game-breaking. Did Gibby just call in his ult? She’s out of there.
Did 4 people just die in that last 2 squad engagement? Oh yeah, baby, time to reset. Sorry Lifeline, that drone isn’t going to save you.
“Link 2 locations with portals for 60 seconds.”
This ult is what makes Wraith the absolute queen of Apex Legends! If 100% uptime map awareness tips and damage invulnerability coupled with stealth weren’t enough to prove she’s a contender for Apex Legends’ MVP, this ability does!
When these portals are populated, ANY player can rift-walk between them, being instantly deposited on the other side. They work both ways and can facilitate more than one player at a time.
Need to provide your team a safe route through a contested choke point to avoid being caught in the storm? This ult works for that.
But what if you don’t want to use an ult that doesn’t give you the ability to secure kills? Well, let’s reexamine what it is that actually puts Wraith in a position to apply that lethal pressure to a team: tactical advantage. This is where she shines. The mental game is all hers.
If you’ve played against a good Wraith, you’ve experienced this.
“She’s 1 shot! She’s 1 shot and just popped her ult, I’m engaging…”
RIP. Mistakes were made. Players often fall into this trap, chasing a skilled Wraith right into a well-executed 3v1 ambush. This has an infinite amount of potential to manipulate the psyche of enemy squads and even presents what can only be described as the threat of a threat.
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Wraith, the Typhon native and tactical-minded mistress of the Void, shines well in almost every situation. However, Apex Legends is still a battle royale. This means that no matter how hard you play or what your skill level is, loot will always play a pivotal role in how your matches shape up.
We’re going to take an in-depth look at how our beloved whirlwind of feminine edginess prefers to utilize the arsenal scattered around the map and how she can abuse other players to absolute tears if appropriately handled.
Tactical Aggression: It isn’t an Oxymoron
Whether you’re functioning in a squad or running solo, Wraith’s kit allows for players to make some incredibly aggressive plays. This is primarily due to her strong passive threat awareness, engage/disengage focused tactical, and versatile ultimate ability. Get in, make a play, and get out.
So what weapon combinations really shine for this sort of playstyle?
I know what you’re thinking. Why on earth double up on light ammo? Won’t this strategy run the risk of being left without any damage? The short answer: yes.
The long answer, however, is a little more complicated. You have to keep in mind that playing Wraith is a tactical endeavor. You shouldn’t be slinging lead out of your R-301 from afar incredibly often. However, it does provide the needed range to make distant engagements a possibility when necessary.
And when you use your tactical ability to engage or retreat, the focus should be on precise, lethal damage from close range with your R-99. This SMG comes with the added benefit of having quick movement speed during ADS. Just what Wraith likes.
Precision and tactical decisions. That’s Wraith’s MO. Pair this with the fact that light and energy ammunition are the most common drops in the game, and you should be able to make double light ammo work.
This setup requires a little more skill than the previous loadout but packs a… Mastiff punch. We won’t be apologizing for our dad jokes. Seriously, though, if you can master landing headshots from range as well as up close with the wingman, you’ll see your win rate skyrocket.
This strategy is similar to the one above, with the primary difference being a diversity in ammo type and an increased damage payout if you can accurately land your shots. If possible, the best strategy would be to opt for the Mastiff in short to mid-range encounters and the Wingman in mid to long-range.
The heavy pistol can be devastating at short ranges, but if you miss more than 1 shot in a 1-on-1, it runs the risk of being outgunned by high fire rate weapons like the R-99 and Volt.
It’s still a little early to see exactly how the new Season 8 weapon, the 30-30 Repeater, is going to fit into the current meta, but if you want to try it out, I suggest subbing it in for the Wingman and R-301 respectively.
The Queen Still Reigns
All the talk lately has been about how Wraith is going to receive some serious nerfs, how she is going to lose her number 1 spot in the rankings, and how the Devs are going to accomplish this. Our thoughts on this: it isn’t going to happen. At least, not in the way people are expecting.
According to Apex Tracker, the premier source for information on metadata in competitive PvP shooters, Wraith still enjoys a whopping 11.2% pick rate along with an impressive 2.6 kills per minute.
If that doesn’t impress you, we should note that both of those numbers are at the top of their lists. Both!
Balance in All Things
According to the Devs, working on Wraith’s strengths and balance issues is particularly difficult. The greatest contributors of character design headaches are in her intangibles. Players pick Wraith not because of her raw power, but because of the power she lets players bring to her. After over a year of grinding on some of her rougher edges, these are the changes we’ve seen so far:
- Updated Wraith’s sprint animation to make her taller while running
- Increase to Wraith’s hitbox
- Increased Dimensional Rift cooldown to 210s from 150s
- Dimensional Rift portals disappear after 4 seconds if both are out of circle
- Low Profile damage added in Season 2
- Into the Void cooldown increased from 20 to 25 seconds
That’s a pretty solid list of balancing changes for a character to experience in any game over such a short span of time. What’s more striking about this is the fact that Wraith continues to be the most dominant Legend moving into 2021 and Season 8!
This begs the question — will we see Wraith continue to be such a dominant force 6 months from now? What about a year from now?
While you can never be certain about the future of any video game, much less one as competitive and widely played as Apex Legends, we do have a little information that we might glean some insight from.
Consider this excerpt from the Season 8 patch notes in relation to Wraith’s balance issues moving into the new meta:
“We know Wraith will always be a popular pick considering the amount of combat utility in her kit. After many tweaks to her abilities and animations, the fact remains that her win rate continues to be at the very top as it has since day one. With Season 7 hitbox adjustments to Pathfinder, we were able to control his power without nerfing his kit. We hope to do the same with Wraith.
Wraith now has a slightly larger hitbox than her fellow small legends, but the changes stay true to her model. As you can see in the before and after comparison, we’re adding some width mostly in the torso and leg areas:
Even with these changes, Wraith remains small and hard to hit. She will retain Low Profile as we monitor her usage and win rates to see if power can be given back in other ways in the future.”
Wait, what? Did we just read that after all of these nerfs, the Devs are going to assess whether or not to restore some of Wraith’s power? So the spare type Wraith gains around her tummy and thighs will likely give her more power? Makes us wish the same happens in real life!
While we wouldn’t hold our breaths – and neither should you – we think that this is a clear move in the right direction and a nod from the Devs that they are listening to player feedback.
Let’s just admit it— we love Wraith. We, as in, the general population of Apex Legends players.
She’s one of the most dynamic, high impact, and all-around cool characters in any modern video game! Aesthetically, she’s the perfect edge-lady; mechanically, she might be the most rewarding Legend on the Apex line-up! And, let’s face it, numbers don’t lie. She is the most popular playable character in the game!
I think we can safely assume, given what we’ve seen from the Devs, the community, and hopefully from what we’ve presented in this article, that Wraith isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Personally, this is do wish for this!
Until next time, my friends, beware the Void and remember to treat each other with kindness!
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