Apex was a tournament series held in New Jersey, that had attracted worldwide attention. The series was founded by Alex Strife, and throughout most of the Brawl era was renowned as the pinnacle Smash tournament series, with it routinely featuring the largest and most stacked Brawl tournament each year and Melee tournaments that were only exceeded by each year's EVO, while additionally having set several attendance records in its time. The series was poised to remain the Smash community's biggest tournament brand going into Smash 4, but after severe controversies with its management and its 2015 iteration the brand was irreparably tarnished, and 2016 was smaller than the previous events. Following Apex 2016, the series went under hiatus until 2020, where they announced their return under new management. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Apex 2020 was ultimately postponed.
Apex took an eighteen month absence after Apex 2010 and no tournament was held in 2011, as Alex Strife wanted to increase the scale of the tournament to become an international spectacle; furthermore, he wanted to move the tournament from summer to winter. The Apex series returned in 2012 with Apex 2012, where it became an Evo 2012 qualifier event, leading to massive Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Super Street Fighter IV tournaments. Apex 2012 featured an explosive growth in entrants compared to Apex 2010, hosting both the largest Brawl tournament of all time with 400 entrants, and what was then one of the largest Melee tournaments with 318 entrants. It also had the greatest attendance of foreign players in a United States tournament since Zero Challenge 3. It was also the first Apex to feature qualifiers, with a "Road to Apex" circuit featuring Melee and Brawl tournaments across the globe that gave players seeding points, which has been continued with every Apex after it.
In 2013, Apex 2013 was hosted, featuring the third-largest Brawl tournament of all time with 338 entrants, the then-second-largest Melee tournament of all time with 336 entrants, and the then-largest Smash 64 tournament of all time with 96 entrants.
In 2014, Apex 2014 was hosted, featuring the then-second-largest Melee tournament of all time with 629 entrants, the second-largest Brawl tournament of all time with 370 entrants, and the then-largest Smash 64 tournament in the United States with 157 entrants. It also included the Brawl mod Project M for the first time, and was the largest Project M tournament at the time, with 382 entrants.
In 2015, the sixth tournament, Apex 2015, was hosted, and it featured the then-largest Melee tournament of all time, with 1,037 entrants, making it the first individual game event with over 1000 enterants. Smash 4 was also introduced to the series, with around 700 to 800 entrants for its first tournament. The tournament was also notably sponsored by Nintendo of America, who allowed players to playtest the then-unreleased Splatoon.
Apex 2015, however, quickly became embroiled with controversy. The first was the hasty exclusion of Project M from the tournament's lineup after featuring the largest Project M tournament of the time in Apex 2014, a decision that was reportedly demanded by Nintendo. Furthermore, due to numerous allegations of abuse and harassment, Alex Strife stepped down as the TO of Apex 2015, making it the first time the tournament proceeded without him; the allegations of sexual harassment from Alex Strife also began to spread to how the tournaments themselves were run under him, with a number of players claiming that previous Apex events were poorly run and managed by inexperienced and sometimes rude TOs, as well as allegations that a number of setups at Apex used pirated versions of the game. Apex 2015 was later marred by a number of complications on its first day, as the original venue was found to be unsafe for occupation, as well as lacking a number of required permits for a public event, leading to the local police and fire departments to cancel the event due to safety concerns. The tournament and all equipment were then relocated to a new venue, secured with the help of Twitch, but the entirety of the first day of Apex 2015 was lost. The three-day event was condensed down to two days, leading to many delays and complications in scheduling; the sudden change in venues also led to hundreds of entrants being disqualified from various brackets for the various games after being unable to show up to the new venue, with the Melee bracket losing upwards of 200 players and the Smash 4 bracket losing upwards of 100 players.
The catastrophes and controversies of Apex 2015, combined with criticism of previous Apex events and Alex Strife's departure from the community, have negatively impacted the Apex name. While Apex 2016 was hosted by a new team of tournament organizers, it attracted considerably less interest compared to the previous years, despite being a three-day event. Melee singles shrunk to a regional-scale event, with only players from the Northeast in attendance, and only a handful of top Smash 4 players travelled to the tournament; furthermore, after years of hosting among the largest Brawl tournaments, Brawl was dropped from Apex 2016 due to a lack of entrants. Despite the tepid attendance of Apex 2016, several players who attended the event praised the event and how it was run compared to previous Apex tournaments.
Even though Apex 2016 was generally praised by its attendants, the series became dormant. While the people behind the brand have insisted that Apex 2016 wouldn't be the last Apex tournament and that they were working on bringing the next iteration together, nothing came to fruition for over 4 years until Apex 2020 was announced as part of the Smash World Tour 2020. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Apex 2020 was postponed to 2021.
List of tournaments
Smash 64 Winners 
Melee Winners 
Brawl Winners 
Brawl+ Winners 
Brawl- Winners 
Project M Winners 
*Project M was a side-event at Apex 2013.
Smash 4 Winners