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Apex Legends Arena mode explained and why it was removed

Find out all you need to know about the game-changing Apex Legends Arenas mode, including how it played, and why it was ultimately removed.

Apex Legends' Phase Runner arena, on a grassy mountaintop

 The Apex Legends Arena mode, added in Season 9, was unfortunately removed in Season 16, meaning you can no longer play it. However, here’s how this unique mode worked, which will come in handy should it return in the future.

Apex Legends Arenas mode was officially added in Season 9 to great reception, changing up the battle royale with a fast-paced deathmatch mode in small maps. However, it didn’t quite pan out and Arenas was removed from Apex Legends in Season 16 to be replaced by a more traditional team deathmatch mode.

As Apex Legends is one of the best battle royale games, this was undeniably a risky move, and one that unfortunately didn’t pay off. Nevertheless, here’s how this brave addition used to work so you can take a trip down memory road with this underrated mode.

How Apex Legends’ Arena mode works

Released on May 4, 2021, with Season 9, Apex Legends Arenas mode started with the character selection screen. You would pick your favorite legend who you’d then stick with for the whole match – even if went the full nine rounds. This made knowing who ruled the roost in the Apex Legends tier list pivotal.

After that, you entered the Buy Phase – think of CS:GO or Valorant – where you’d need to pick your weapons for the round. Each weapon cost a different amount of materials, so the better the weapon, the more it cost. Naturally, both the P2020 and the Mozambique were free, so you could always grab one of them as a secondary if you were running low on cash.

In later rounds where you were granted more materials, you could also upgrade your weapons. Each upgrade gave you a tier of would-be loot, so upgrading your P2020 once would give it a common (grey) extended light magazine and a 1x sight of your choosing.

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You could also pick up health, grenades, and, crucially, abilities, at this point. You see, no matter how long your tactical ability would usually take to recharge, you would only get to use it once or twice per round in Arenas – depending on the ability in question. However, you used to be able to spend precious materials to unlock further uses of your tactical ability, as well as purchasing a single use of your ultimate, although this was pretty expensive so you wouldn’t see ults popping off until the final rounds.

How did you earn materials? Well you were guaranteed an increasing number before each round, and then you received bonuses – like in CS:GO and Valorant – for winning a round, getting kills, and picking materials up from glowing containers. Materials from these containers were shared among the team, but kill bonuses were awarded individually. As well as receiving more materials each round, your helmet and armor automatically increased by one level each round, free of charge.

Apex Legends Arenas: A feminine character wearing white and orange armor drawing a bow.

The matches themselves were simple. You would hop into one of the maps and simply kill all three members of the other team, much like you would in a 1v1 in the battle royale mode. However, there were a few big differences: you couldn’t loot weapons from the ground or supply bins, you could not respawn (although you could be revived), and there were no third parties.

To win, you just needed to claim three rounds. However, you had to win by two clear rounds. So, if it was 2-2 after four rounds, you entered a tiebreak until one team was two ahead of the other. This went on until eight rounds had been played, and, if things were still level there, a final ninth round, known as Sudden Death, was played.

Apex Legends Arenas: Two teams having a face off next to a portal, posing and aiming their weapons.

Apex Legends Arena locations

Arenas matches mostly took place in custom maps built especially for the mode.

The first custom map at launch was Phase Runner, an abandoned version of the giant portal that zipped you across Olympus. This map – or arena, should we say – was quite green and vibrant, albeit dilapidated, and the working Phase Runner prototype could create instant battles as teams pushed towards the centre.

Why would teams starting on opposite sides of the map push towards the centre, you ask? For starters, to avoid the ring. It did pretty hefty damage if you were caught in it, so you didn’t want to rotate too late. Second of all, there was a small amount of loot in each Arena – but only meds. There was usually one loot bin on each half of each map, which contained a med kit, two shield batteries, and a phoenix kit. Furthermore, halfway through each round, a supply drop would land on one side of the map, giving the quickest team access to three fully-kitted weapons.

Apex Legends Arenas: A birds-eye view of the Party Crasher map at night.

The second custom map at launch was Party Crasher. Mirage sadly crashed his beloved party boat Mirage Voyage into a downtown plaza. The name makes sense now, right? This location had a bit of an Olympus feel – if Olympus had fallen, that is. One side was populated by ruined buildings, and the other by the remnants of Mirage Voyage. Party Crasher was a bit darker, and the centre of the map was uphill from the spawn points, forcing you towards the fray just to know where your enemy was.

Apex Legends Arenas: An ivory Volt SMG, with pale blue highlights, is inspected. The background is a desert littered with shooting targets.

Best Apex Legends Arenas weapons

While the best weapons largely correlated with our Apex Legends weapons tier list, each came with a material cost in Arenas mode. Here’s the full breakdown of weapons from the mode’s debut:

Pistols, Shotguns, and SMGs Material cost
P2020 0
Mozambique 0
EVA-8 250
RE-45 250
Alternator 400
Peacekeeper 500
Mastiff 500
Volt 500
Wingman 500
R-99 550

Here’s what the mid-range weapons would cost:

Assault Rifles and LMGs Material cost
L-Star 400
Devotion 450
Hemlok 500
Flatline 550
Spitfire 550
R-301 600

And here’s how much the long-ranged options cost:

Pistols, Shotguns, and SMGs Material cost
G7 Scout 350
30-30 Repeater 350
Longbow 400
Sentinel 400
Bocek Bow 600
Charge Rifle 700

Why was Apex Legends Arena removed?

Despite its great initial reception, Apex Legends’ Arena mode was ultimately canned in Season 16 and has yet to be seen since. Why? Well, the mode was far from perfect. With matchmaking issues causing significant frustration and the generally slow pace of updates to the mode, its fans began to dwindle.

Eventually, Respawn would close the mode, claiming it had failed to deliver on its initial promise. In its place, a new 6v6 team deathmatch mode, with lower stakes, was added in Season 16.

So, that’s everything you need to know about Apex Legends Arenas. While it’s no longer accessible in-game, to our dismay, we’re still hoping this unique mode will one day return.