DarkZero make Oceanic esports history with $2 million ALGS Championship win

The Australian team went back-to-back on Apex Legends’ big stage.

Oceania are underdogs in almost every esport ⁠— but in Apex Legends the region are the world champions once again. Australian squad DarkZero made history by going back-to-back at the ALGS Championship 2022, winning the $2 million event.

Oceania is once again home to the Apex Champions.

Australia side DarkZero has made local esports history by winning the Apex Legends Global Series (ALGS) Championship in Raleigh, USA in the early hours of July 11. The $2 million event is the biggest LAN in the game’s three-year history.

DarkZero overcame the odds on their way to a back-to-back triumph. Previously under Reignite, the Australian side won the ALGS Split 2 Playoffs in Stockholm earlier in 2022 without star Noyan “Genburten” Ozkose, oft-considered the heart of the squad.

Heading to Raleigh they were a fan-favorite to win ⁠— especially with Genburten now on stage ⁠— but the competition was stiff against 39 of the world’s best Apex Legends sides.

Nevertheless, DarkZero came out with similar form to Sweden, breezing through the Group Stage with 120 points into the Winner’s Bracket with one win and three more top threes across 18 games.

They were consistent yet again during the Bracket Stage, netting sixth seed in the Grand Final off the back of two second places during the eight-game Winner’s Final. They had performed to expectations with glimpses of brilliance on a micro level as Genburten and Rhys “Zer0” Perry shone.

However, on the final day at PNC Arena, there were signs of nerves settling in.

Ending the first two games with only one point earned (on top of their five points from seeding), DarkZero failed to compete on Storm Point. Fortunes started changing on World’s Edge though ⁠— they slowly played their way into the series, creeping up in placement and kills as the points started ticking over.

They were on a timer though. North American rising stars FURIA reached the 50-point threshold for Match Point after just five games, thirsting through the lobbies. They were quickly joined by 100 Thieves and GMT Esports two games after.

DarkZero, ever consistent, just kept taking things at their own pace. A second in Game 7 pushed them to 49 points ⁠— one shy of the threshold ⁠— then they crossed the line ahead of Game 9.

And unlike FURIA, 100 Thieves, or GMT Esports, DarkZero only needed one chance to convert for the win. A meticulously played final game saw the zone converge on the Australian side in Storm Catcher. Zer0 was feeling it even before the endgame ⁠— calling Genburten a “LAN champion” in comms while there were still 12 teams alive.

The prophecy came true 10 minutes later though. With height advantage in the final fight, DarkZero managed to stay out of the fray until the remaining four teams sabotaged each other. With only Spacestation Gaming (also on match point) separating them from the $500,000 grand prize, Genburten got the first knock and the rest is history.

“It’s amazing. It’s my first LAN and oh my God dude ⁠— just incredible,” Genburten said after the win. “No words can describe it. It hasn’t sunk in at all.”

“After Sweden, I didn’t think it could get better than that,” Zer0 added. “After a nightmare start too…somehow with Match Point we managed to pull it out again. It’s just insane. 

“After Game 3, I was pretty depressed. I think we had two points. It was shocking. But after the most scuffed game in Skyhook ⁠— we get res’d, run up ramp, get 16 points ⁠— I knew we were coming back. The momentum was there.”

DarkZero weren’t the only Australian team competing on the final day of the ALGS Championship. Team Burger finished in 17th after they failed to really get the ball rolling, but making it to the final day is an achievement itself. The third Oceanic team, Sutoraiku, finished in 28th having been eliminated in the Loser’s Bracket. 

Emerging victorious above all the major regions ⁠and powerhouses though, Rick “Sharky” Wirth only had a few words to say about whether Apex Legends was now Australia’s game.

“Oh, I suppose.”

Andrew Amos
After joining Snowball in mid-2018, Andrew "Ducky" Amos has fast become one of our region's best esports writers. Cutting his teeth in Oceanic Overwatch, he now covers all kinds of esports for publications globally. However, his heart still lays at home, telling the story of Aussies trying to make it big.

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