After two months of domestic play, PUBG is finally back on LAN. The PUBG Global Series enters its second phase as the teams assemble in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to fight for the title of PGS2 Champion. Over 11 days, twenty-four teams will fight through three stages to reach the grand final and their part of the $2,000,000 prize pool. With any big LAN, there are tons of storylines. Here are a few of the major storylines heading into PGS 2.
How will Taego’s Introduction Shape The Event?
For this first time since PGC 2019, a third map will be in the pool at a global event. The introduction of Taego, an eight-by-eight map, into the competitive pool was met with mixed reception initially upon announcement. Those qualms have appear to have blown over now, however. How the map ends up playing when regions collide will be an interesting judge on who could gain an advantage over the course of the event. During Sanhok’s short run, the map was notoriously kill-focused and did not promote the traditional gameplay. With the Taego’s more traditional structure, combined with an uncertain lobby, this map could swing the event in ways no one could imgaine.
Is 4AM Actually Back…Or Is It Another Mirage?
Anyone familiar with PUBG over the last five years knows the name 4AM. The Chinese team whose full name is Four Angry Men, is the original Chinese Challenger on PUBG’s global scale. They entered the final game of two separate global championships in first place, only to lose the title in the final game both times. They are the most cursed team in PUBG. This roster hopes to change that, however.
As a result of NewHappy’s world championship-winning roster imploding after PGS1, 4AM received a gift from the PUBG gods. That gift was ZpYan1 and HS joining the roster alongside the mad fraggers names xxxLu and CRAZY112. That change made the team immensely stronger and helped them win their second straight PGS Chinese Qualifier.
There is a catch with that domestic dominance, however. After winning the PGS1 qualifier, the team got off to a torrid start at the event and finished fourth in the group stage. Their performance tapered off as the event went on and they eventually finished a disappointing thirteenth in the grand final. They won the PGS1 qualifier by 9 points. During the PGS2 qualifier, they won by 23 points. While that is a larger margin of victory, especially in a highly competitive region like China, it was not utter domination. In theory, 4AM should be one of the best teams at the event, in practice, things could go wrong. As history shows with 4AM on the global stage, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. With 17Gaming bucking their curse recently, is it finally 4AM’s turn?
NaVi on the Knife’s Edge for PGC
Few teams run as hot and cold in PUBG as NaVi. The 2022 PUBG Global Championship-winning roster has four of the most mechanically skilled CIS players in all of PUBG. Yet, they are prone to having domestic performances that cause viewers to question what the team is doing.
So far in 2023, that has held true. The team failed to make the grand final of The Rotation, finished seventh in the PUBG EMEA Championship: Spring and 5th in the PGS2 EMEA Qualifier. All of those results combined leave them in eighth place in the European PGC Points standings with one domestic event left to go. The issue? They sit 300 points out of a PGC bid on European points with the teams on either side of them performing better at the moment. On top of that, they sit 10th in the PGS Points standings in which the top four get automatic bids to PGC.
What currently runs in their favor however is that Acend and Tianba failed to make PGS2, thus preventing the second and third-place teams in PGS points unable to acquire more points. A top-four finish or better at PGS2 is arguably their best shot at ensuring their chance to repeat as PGC champions. Even with a fourth-place finish however, that result would also require teams ahead of them to massively underperform. In reality, the team needs to finish top two to have the best shot. This team has the talent, but the question is can they put together a classic NaVi 11-day run so they do not have to sweat out the final European tournament of 2023?
News and Familiar Faces Reach The Global Stage
One of the more notable storylines surrounding PGS2 is the amount of fresh faces at the event. PGS1 ended up filled with familiar players and teams, save breakout domestic performances from HOWL Esports and Acend in Europe. This time, the rest of the world decided to join in the madness too.
Sarvem Esports, a Turkish roster, came from nowhere to qualify for the event out of EMEA. DD Team, a roster of fresh faces alongside a former PeRo member Mamu, put together the best ever performance to come out of China. Dplus will make their return to the global stage with a fresh roster. Game PT, a roster full of fresh Korean faces, announced themselves domestically behind the back of cult phenom Babsanghead. In the Americas, FUIMBA made their yearly return to prominence after winning the PGS2 qualifier. Alongside them, the cross-Atlantic fragging machine known as Friendly Fire brought familiar faces back to the global stage. This meant fan-favorites Shoot To Kill core missed out on their first LAN event in four years. In APAC, Forest Gaming and eArena beat out the likes of ShuaiGeDui and Made in Thailand to reach this event.
While some of these teams may fail and others will thrive, as fans we should all enjoy the ride watching these new teams.
How Will PUBG’s Big Three Teams Perform?
Over the last year and a half, no three teams have consistently been in the global conversation as Twisted Minds, Danawa e-sports and 17 Gaming. All three teams not only have top fraggers, but they also showcase immense team play and sound strategy.
Twisted Minds, the former Northern Lights/Virtus.Pro core has been the signature European PUBG team over the last three-and-a-half years. Their domestic results include seven domestic titles in fifteen events, alongside two more podium finishes in those events. In the last two global championships, the team finished third in both. During PGS1 in May, they finished fifth. This team is repeatedly in the hunt globally but just needs to get over the hump. They are the safest bet out of any team from Europe to finish top four.
17Gaming meanwhile enters the event as the reigning PGS champions, having finally broken their winless curse. While their qualifier performance was below expectation, the team’s consistent track record over the last two years should ease most fans’ concerns. This is an experienced, well-practiced core that knows what to do on LAN. LilGhost and xwudd will lead the way, Xbei follows and an immense third option and SuJiu directs the troops. A repeat performance could very much be in the cards.
Lastly, there is Danawa e-sports. In 2021, this team announced themselves as the threat to end Gen.G’s reign at the top of Korean PUBG with a fifth-place finish at PGC ans a third at PCS5 Asia. A below-expectations 2022 outside of domestic play, alongside a roster of fresh faces, may have turned people away from hyping this team up. Yet, Seoul continued to put together absolutely outrageous numbers. In the 2023 offseason, however, the team went big game hunting and acquired talented, experienced veterans in Inonix and Loki. So far this season, the team has been far and away the best team in Korea. Seoul is now firmly the best player in the world, putting out ludicrous numbers while playing in an immensely team-friendly way. Salute continues to evolve into one of the best secondary fraggers in the world. All the while, the title-winning experience of Loki and the immense talent of Inonix sit third and fourth chair on this team.
They are yet to claim a global win, but it is coming. If Danawa wins PGS2, no one blinks an eye. If any team bring Korea back to the mountaintop of PUBG, it is them.
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