Avoiding Unnecessary Damage
I cannot stress how important Avoiding Unnecessary Damage (AUD) actually is. This is a skill that can be applied by anyone at any level. With that being said, there are different levels of AUD proficiency. Mastery level AUD is something that a player may achieve via instinct. Probably through being subject to the highest levels of competition and becoming accustomed to the rules that are enforced, in order to consistently survive dangerous & intensive situations.
Personal development in this area will solely depend upon your ability to see what is truly avoidable and unavoidable.
My reason for separating the Avoiding Unnecessary Damage (AUD) topic, is due to my realisation of its importance, especially in aspiring players trying to climb the ranks with brute force alone. Applying the information from the original Apex Fundamentals thread might simply be too difficult for those starting out, especially if they miss the importance of AUD. If you’re finding it difficult to AUD, it may be because you do not have an idea on how to approach or handle fights as an individual. Every interaction with your opponents greatly affects the course of an entire engagement. I’ll be doing my best to break this application down into simple concepts. I encourage you to test/practice within your own games and try to make sense of the results.
To help you understand this concept, play a few games where you only focus on this aspect. This will give you your own experience to apply it wherever “you” feel is necessary.
Identifying Unnecessary Damage
This idea implies that in some cases receiving damage makes sense and is necessary, and in other cases it is not. The answer is subjective, and it’s really up to you to figure this out. However, here are some very easy questions to ask at any given moment, which will allow you to form a good foundation to build upon when looking for exceptions.
- Could I have easily avoided that?
- Did I see that coming?
There is no surefire way of knowing if your opponent is going to hit their shots, but we can anticipate a great deal and avoid their attempt altogether. Unnecessary damage suggests that you had the option to avoid receiving damage that you could have chosen to avoid with no negative after effects.
This idea suggests that there will be times where sacrificing your health to gain a significant advantage is a very plausible option.
The most common approach would be to rush the last member of a dying squad, who’s health is so low that there is no possible way they could make a comeback, in order to gain a positional advantage due to an approaching immediate threat. Another reason could be to deliberately tank the damage from a target so your low health team member does not generate any lethal aggro.
Information Gathering In Battle
To check and retain information for the purpose of assessment before committing to any action is what we’re attempting to address here. Checking for information is when you make an attempt to view your target or an area of interest on the battlefield. All that is needed is sight! If your intention is to AUD, upon viewing your area of interest you will only need to focus on one thing...
Are the opponents aware of me?
No: Then shoot! Get your free damage in. But also be very aware of the other enemies as they will return fire too.
Yes: Take cover. Whether you decide to take a shot is up to you. If you are already Aiming Down Sight, then you might as well. If not then slowing down your retreat by Aiming Down Sight may be fatal. The main goal here is to “Avoid Damage”.
Once you have retreated behind cover, repeat the process. The quicker you can repeat this simple process the better.
The way I handle this in my mind is, I look at each interaction as either a “1v1 Situation” or “Free Damage”. A 1v1 situation simply being “my” target’s attention is on me. In reality this is not always a true 1v1 situation, however it does help me stay on track. Maybe it will work for you too.
Mindful Checking : Minimising Predictability
Once you’ve grasped the concept above the rest is even easier. Try your best not to repeatedly check from the same position, as this will be too predictable and easy to handle.
Simply be aware of the last place you’ve peaked from and when. Some easy ways to apply this would be to:
- Alter the timing and/or positioning of your checking to throw your opponents off.
- Mix it up. Try not to over use the same peek position, as this will become easier to deal with for those aiming your way.
Randomise the areas you’re peeking from. Use as much as you can in this regard.
I know this seems obvious, but I still have to point it out. Randomising your peek pattern is a crucial aspect to conserving your health and staying alive longer. You can see me doing this in the first gameplay clip of the playlist linked below. Whenever you’re pinned, paying attention to when your opponent finishes shooting before you peek, will also be a crucial trait that should be given some effort and time to develop. This will ensure you’re not mindlessly peeking to a random tempo and walking into streams of bullets.
How, when and where to apply this information all comes down to your judgement. These are tools for you to use, not the Apex Ten Commandments. How you choose to fight is up to you.
Cues : Indirect green lights… Amber?
Sight was the first way of gathering information, but there are many others. Shots fired, time passed, team activity and enemy movements. There will be times where peeking is simply too risky. Even those little short, almost impossible to react to peeks.
However it would be unacceptable to cower behind cover forever, simply because you think “it’s too dangerous to peek”. The battlefield is ever changing and many things may be happening. Some of these things can be looked at, as a sort of “green light” to peek again. However, deciding to peek when you’re unsure of what is happening should be done with the utmost caution and doing so should not be taken lightly.
Enemy Attention Awareness : Using Your Team's Aggro.
This will be your strongest element regarding AUD. When you're able to consistently notice and foresee where your team can take your target's attention, you've reached an above average sense of Battle Dynamics.
The next step is to deliberately create and wait for these opportunities. Fighting while using the "Laws of Attention" as your ally, is the skill that’ll most likely change the way you perceive and play Apex Legends forever. If you're relying on your speed and mechanical skill alone, you'll end up trading more than needed. Every fight will seem like a huge risk, whilst the better players will opt to fight with a low risk and high reward playstyle.
Without the ability to notice these subtleties, higher level gameplay will often seem very aggressive, fast and forceful. When in between the lines it's actually very careful and calculated.
A player should be just as interested in avoiding damage as they are in dealing damage. It is our common behaviour and interactions with our opponents that will dictate what type of results we’re experiencing. If you notice that you’re willingly accepting aim duels at all ranges, then your results will surely rely on your opponent's accuracy, and not so much your own.
If what we’re looking for is positive consistency, then we should aim to base our success on careful and calculated interactions we have with each interaction, to figure out what’s reliable and what is not.
For additional information about AUD please read my Peek Awareness : Considering Your Options During Combat guide. The two concepts cannot exist without each other.