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Apex Legends Elite Queue guide - tips and strategies for surviving the Apex Legends Ranked Mode

That Ring is no joke

The big new feature of Apex Legends' Legendary Hunt event was the release of the Elite Queue - the second mode to be added to Apex, and the first to give us a taste of ranked play. In Elite Queue, you have to consistently prove yourself against lobbies of ever-increasing skill; and changes to the behaviour of the Ring, as well as the pressure of fighting the best of the best, makes for a surprisingly different experience than the regular mode. Our Apex Legends Elite Queue & Ranked Mode guide will walk you through how to survive the Elite Queue, with in-depth and practical tips and strategies to bear in mind while fighting for your life in King's Canyon.

This Elite Queue guide is just one small part of our massive Apex Legends guides series, all of which you can peruse by heading to our Apex Legends tips page. There you'll find tonnes of tips and strategies for all skill levels, as well as links to other pages on everything from the various Apex Legends characters to all of the stats and spray patterns for different Apex Legends guns & weapons, and much more.

Apex Legends Elite Queue guide - Ranked Mode tips and tricks

Whether you want to know exactly what is different in Elite Queue and how it all works, or you're looking for some in-depth tips and advice on how to persevere against a new calibre of competition, the answers you seek are here. Click on any of the links just below to skip ahead to a specific section.

Apex Legends Elite Queue overview - earning Elite Access
What's different in Elite Queue - Round speed & Ring damage
Apex Legends Elite Queue tips and tricks - how to dominate Ranked Mode

Apex Legends Elite Queue overview - earning Elite Access

Elite Queue is meant to be a sort of prototype for Apex Legends' official Ranked Mode, which will be arriving on July 2nd with the release of Season 2: Battle Charge. Until then, Elite Queue will run, allowing us to enter into matches with "the best of the best".

How does it all work? Well, it's all about reaching the top 5 in your matches. Top 5 teams, that means. First you have to reach top 5 or higher in a regular Apex Legends match, which will then unlock the ability to enter the Elite Queue from the main menu.

Once you're in the Elite Queue, you can only stay in if you consistently reach the top 5 in your matches (or if a teammate disconnects prematurely, in which case the game is kind to you and discounts that match if you don't reach the top 5). The moment you fail to reach top 5, you'll be locked out of Elite Queue until you earn your way back in with another top 5 placement in a regular match.

So the whole aim is to continue your Elite Queue streak of top 5s - and your highest ever streak will be recorded on the special Elite Queue stat tracker badge, which you can add to your banner like any other badge. But it's far easier said than done to keep this streak going, because not only is Apex Legends a very random game at times (it's a battle royale, after all), but with each successful Elite Queue match you'll be placed against rivals who are also doing well with their Elite Queue streaks. Hence why this mode is considered to be a sort of "ranked mode precursor".

What's different in Elite Queue - Round speed & Ring damage

But it's not just the matchmaking that sets Elite Queue apart from regular games of Apex Legends. Two major changes to the rules of the match itself make Elite Queue matches faster-paced and more intense than regular matches, and both concern the behaviour of the Ring.

If you want to know a bit more about the Ring, then be sure to check out our Apex Legends Ring guide, which contains in-depth explanations and stats - but put simply, it's the circle that contracts over the course of a match, forcing players closer together by damaging those caught outside the border. In Elite Queue, the Ring waits less time before contracting, and also contracts faster than usual. Not by a huge amount each round - but it means you reach the third circle maybe 3 minutes quicker than in a normal match. It may not seem like much, but it contributes to faster matches overall.

But the big difference is that the Ring also deals mega-damage in Elite Queue. In the first round alone it deals 7% damage per tick (a tick is every 1.5 seconds or thereabouts), which is half again more powerful than in the final rounds of a regular match. In the second round the damage dealt is 15% damage (enough to kill in 7 hits), in the third round it's 20% (5 hits), and in subsequent rounds it's 25% damage (4 hits).

Needless to say, this provides players with all the impetus they need to loot up and get moving as quickly as possible in Elite Queue.

Apex Legends Elite Queue tips and tricks - how to dominate Ranked Mode

Now that we've covered what Elite Queue actually is, and how it works, let's dive into some of the big tips and tidbits to keep in mind while you're fighting to survive in this deadly and intense ranked mode.

  • Hot-Dropping is far less prevalent in Elite Queue. Because the focus of every player in the lobby is always on surviving to the top 5, there's far less hot-dropping in Elite Queue, because hot-dropping is such a risk/reward strategy. You'll find in Elite Queue the drop locations are far more spread out, which in turn means two things: first, you can't always guarantee that the second or third place you visit will be unlooted; and second, you might find far less competition than usual when dropping hot in areas like Artillery or Skull Town.
  • Don't underestimate that goddamn Ring. The Ring is King. The Ring is not to be messed with. A handful of seconds outside the border will shred your Health and quite possibly knock you before you can pop a single Syringe. Take this, and the Ring's increased speed, into account when looting up at the start of a match, so you know to get going towards the next safe zone sooner than you normally would.
  • Choose your fights, and learn when to retreat. This has always been true of Apex Legends, but never more so than in Elite Queue. The thing is, because everyone's trying to survive to the top 5, and because there's actually something on the line with these matches (maintaining your streak), players are generally much more cautious when engaging and following up on initiating fights. This means you'll often get opportunities to retreat and heal up if you have a good sense of timing and positional awareness.
  • Loot as fast as possible to avoid third parties. Being the third party is always the safest role to play in an engagement in Apex, and Elite Queue is no exception. You'll be third-partied left, right, and centre if you're not extremely quick with everything you do - especially looting after a fight. If you're spending more than 8 seconds dancing over a death box, you're being too slow.
  • Be wary of the paradigm shift when you reach the top 5. Everyone's trying to make it to top 5. But once you've made it, you no longer need to be cautious, because it doesn't matter to your streak whether you come 5th or 1st, or anything in between. So be aware that the moment you find yourself within the top 5 of an Elite Queue match, things are likely to get a lot more hectic, with aggressive pushes from various teams who are suddenly far more reckless than they were a few moments earlier.
  • Look out for cheaters. The most unfortunate aspect of Apex Legends has always been the large number of hackers and cheaters spoiling everyone's games, and the bad news is that they've all migrated over to Elite Queue - because why wouldn't they? If you see someone who you believe to be hacking (perhaps you spot them pulling off ridiculous shots through walls, or killing someone every few seconds in the kill feed), then turn tail and run. Put as much distance as possible between you and them, to maximise your chances of being one of the top 5 so you can continue your streak. And, of course, report the cheater.

And that's pretty much everything we've got to say on Elite Queue. But be sure to check back soon after the release of Season 2 at the start of July, because with Elite Queue being replaced by the new Ranked Mode we'll be transitioning this page over to details on the upcoming mode and how to do everything in your power to climb the ranks towards Apex Predator.

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