ImperialHal Explains How TSM Won The ALGS Championship 2023

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When I ask TSM’s winning IGL how he felt after clutching a hat-trick of back-to-back-to-back wins to clinch the ALGS Championship 2023, he has one word for me: “relieved”. It’s been a long and turbulent week for Phillip ‘ImperialHal’ Dosen and his teammates, but once again they turned up when it mattered most to prove they’re the most dominant team in the esport.


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“In the beginning we were playing terribly,” he admits, before instantly correcting himself. “Well, we weren’t really playing terribly, we were just getting pretty unlucky for the most part. But after getting three wins in a row in the finals like that, there’s no question that we deserved it. Even though we had less points in Optic at the end of the day, it was six points less. I still think we deserved that. Three wins in a row, that’s unheard of, especially on a map like Storm Point – we’re not that good on that map.”

Related: Exclusive: Behind The Scenes At The ALGS Championship

TSM coach Raven told TheGamer about the team’s struggles in the group stages when we spoke to him earlier this week, and for a long time it looked like they were set to crash out of the winner’s bracket on Saturday afternoon. However, a final game win with nine kills shot them up the leaderboard and into the final. More than that, though, it gave them the confidence boost to take into the last day of action. ImperialHal says the team “fed off the momentum”, but their performance may have also helped by knocking arch-rivals DarkZero out of the competition.

algs championship trophy
Photo courtesy of Joe Brady and EA

“It helped with the pressure, because if [DarkZero] were in finals then we would have been playing against them and not playing against the lobby because our rivalry was on the line,” he says.

Even without their nemesis to take them down, TSM started Championship Sunday slowly. At one point, it looked like Optic was going to take the trophy after just four matches, while TSM was languishing in 17th position with just 11 points to their name. As the in-game leader, ImperialHal knew something had to change.

“I told [my teammates], ‘I need you guys to help me, we need to be talking together and deciding things together, creating ideas because clearly I can’t think of everything at once, I’m going to forget things.’”, he explains. “That really turned things around, we started communicating better as a team, and that was a turning point.”

tsm algs championship win-1
Photo courtesy of Joe Brady and EA

Luminosity won that match, but TSM won the next three; a monumental achievement. ImperialHal credits Evan ‘Verhulst’ Verhulst in particular for his communication after the stern talking to in match five, and says long-time teammate Jordan ‘Reps’ Wolfe was consistent all week long. ImperialHal won the MVP award for the tournament, something which he says is “redundant” and “loses value” because the same players – nearly always IGLs – are awarded it every tournament. TSM is a team through and through, and ImperialHal puts their success down to one thing.

“Passion, passion, passion. We’re all on the same page, every player. Evan [Verhulst], Reps, or coach Raven, we all want to win… We’re all lucky to have each other, and it’s just passion, work ethic, and discipline.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever shot any straighter” – Phillip ‘ImperialHal’ Dosen

It helps that TSM thrives when the chips are down. They took out two other Match Point teams on their way to clutch the trophy in match eight, Dojo and Blvkhvnd, the latter of whom had a prime spot in the final zone and looked ready to clean up. But neither team has been in positions to win such big tournaments before; Blvkhvnd’s ‘StrafingFlame’ told TheGamer about his struggles with pressure earlier in the week and Dojo made it to the Championship via the Last Chance Qualifier.

That inexperience showed, especially when Dojo 18 year old Alexander ‘Enemy’ Rodriguez swung wide in the Bangalore smoke during their fight with TSM, leaving himself open to the counter. The Digital Threats helped take him out, and put TSM in pole position, despite still needing to push Blvkhvnd.

“When we fought Dojo outside the cave and then fought Blvkhvnd, I don’t think I’ve ever shot any straighter,” says ImperialHal. “If it was a different situation like a group stage and I’d fought these teams in these same positions, I wouldn’t have won the fight. But for every player on our team, pressure is our friend.”

tsm winning the algs championship 2023
Photo courtesy of Joe Brady and EA

What’s next for ImperialHal and TSM? He and they have won it all, they’re the apex predators of Apex Legends and have cemented themselves in history this weekend, if their names weren’t already written there before.

“I wanted to win in front of my family, and they’re here to watch Champs,” he says. “I’m not looking to retire, but my checklist has been checked.” He does admit that he would love to compete in Tokyo if the ALGS was to head to Japan next year. “I love that place, and the community is huge for Apex over there, so it would be insane if it does happen.”

tsm lifting the algs championship trophy with flares
Photo courtesy of Joe Brady and EA

The mention of retirement makes me wonder whether the thought is creeping into the back of his mind, but he’s committed to Apex long-term. He tells me he’s here “either [until] the game dies or I just suck somehow.”

It doesn’t seem like he’ll start sucking any time soon, as his TSM has been dominant since the game’s inception, even winning the Preseason Invitational in Krakow, Poland before the ALGS existed. This year alone, his TSM team has won two of three LAN tournaments, coming second place in the third.

tsm holding the algs championship trophy
Photo courtesy of Joe Brady and EA

There’s a lot of talk that he’s the greatest Apex Legends player of all time – a CV like that is hard to argue with – and, while he’s heaped praise on his teammates for the duration of our interview, I ask him if he thinks he’s earned the title of GOAT. “I think so. That’s solidified now for sure.”

Next: ALGS Director “Tweaking, Iterating, And Improving” Esports Format For Year 4

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