PGI: Team Liquid, WTSG, Knights en route to Berlin

PGI: Team Liquid, WTSG, Knights en route to Berlin

European, South American, and Japanese teams join the list of attendance for PUBG’s $2 million tournament later this month in Berlin.

Overall 20 teams will participate in PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS biggest esports tournament to date, where they will compete for the lion’s share of $2 million. Nine teams joined two Chinese titans Oh My God and Four Angry Men, and MetalHogs PUBG League winners ahq e-Sports Club last week. After another hot weekend of PUBG action, only two spots remain.

All eyes were on Leicester this weekend, where PGI Europe qualifier took place. Twenty of the best teams in the continent fought tooth and nail for three spots in the PUBG Global Invitational and $100,000 in prize money. The biggest surprise of the qualifier became the unexpected loss of heavy favorites FaZe Clan, who couldn’t recover after a subpar second day of the competition.

Team Liquid, who barely made it to the offline portion of the qualifier, took the event by storm in a convincing manner. Jim “Jeemzz” Eliassen and his team started the qualifier on the right foot, taking three chicken dinners on the first day and collecting 33 kills on their way there. More importantly, the boys in blue managed to overcome their curse and maintained the momentum throughout days two and three. This victory secured Liquid a first gold medal for the team with the new star-filled roster.

Photo via ESL

Welcome to South Georgo (ex-Kinguin) too managed to work some of their long-lasting issues out and qualified for PGI 2018. Although considered to be one of the best teams in the world, WTSG consistently struggled to perform at their level, finishing 12th at IEM Katowice 2018, 11th at GLL Season 1 finals, and 8th at Dreamhack Austin 2018. Impressive performance by the team secured them $16,000 in prize money and put them in the prime position to find new sponsors ahead of PUBG Global Invitational.

The third and final PGI spot was up for grabs until the very last game, where teams like FaZe Clan and Blank were gunning after Pittsburgh Knights for the Top 3 finish. In the end, Knights managed to secure their position, thus forcing FaZe Clan to sit Global Invitational out. Consistency was a key to victory for Dylan “Krama” Catalano and his team, as this marks another great result for them after finishing second at Dreamhack Austin 2018 in June.

Over at LATAM qualifier in São Paulo, Brazil, the Uruguayan-Argentinian Savage Esports managed to secure the top spot in the controversial event. One of the favorites coming into the tournament, Team Secret, was penalized by annulling all of their Day 1 scores after an incident involving communication with their coach via Discord between matches.

In Japan, both Crest Gaming teams — Xanadu and Windfall — managed to secure the top spots for the organization. Whether this will be deemed to be a conflict of interest is yet to be seen.

The remaining two teams heading for PGI 2018 in Berlin will be decided in South Korea on 7th of July. Currently Gen.G Gold and Afreeca Freecs Ares are in the lead after months of competition. With Gen.G Black, ROCCAT Armor, and ROCCAT INV just 400 points behind and gunning after the top spots, anyone can qualify for the most prestigious PUBG event ever.

PUBG Global Invitational 2018 will take place from 25th to 29th of July in Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany, where 20 teams will battle it out for $2 million in prize money in both FPP and TPP tournaments.

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Key storylines going into the PGI European qualifier

Key storylines going into the PGI European qualifier

Twenty of the best teams from the online portion of the qualifier are gathered in Leicester, UK, to decide who will be moving onwards to the $2 million tournament.

More than 600 teams signed up to participate in the European qualifier to PUBG Global Invitational — the largest tournament in the history of the game. Some of the world’s best teams took a part in this qualifier, some of which did not make the cut.

In the third and final round of the online qualifier, 80 of the best performing teams were placed in four groups of twenty teams to decide on who will be moving on to the LAN portion of the qualifier. With just five winning spots in every group, the competition was as fierce as ever.

Likely the biggest upset of the qualifier became the early elimination of the French favorites Team Vitality, who just barely didn’t make a cut in Group 3, finishing behind PENTA Sports and Team Redzone. Other early removals involved HAVU Gaming, ALTERNATE aTTaX, TINDERGULD, as well as few others. It first looked like the journey for the heavyweights Team Liquid and Rogue would end there as well, but fate had something else in mind.

That being said, the European qualifier to PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS biggest esports tournament ever is going to be the most stacked we’ve seen so far. And according to some, with twenty of the best teams in the continent gathered in Haymarket Theatre, anyone can come out victorious.

With that, let’s take a look at some of the key storylines ahead of the PUBG Global Invitational 2018 European qualifier.

FaZe Clan look to maintain their momentum

It’s no secret that FaZe are a force to be reckoned with, and they have looked frighteningly strong on LAN recently, taking home the lion’s share at the most recent DreamHack Austin 2018. The chances of the Finish-Swedish team to qualify look even better considering their biggest adversary, the Russian Natus Vincere, won’t be in Leicester.

NaVi secured a first-place finish at GLL Season 1 Grand Finals and ended up second at PGL PUBG Spring Invitational 2018 — both times ahead of FaZe Clan. With the characteristic Russian aggression being safely locked in the CIS qualifier, the favorites will be able to play their own game. The question is, can any of the other teams really threaten their supremacy?

Photo via Dreamhack

With their rivals in the region Team Vitality not making it to the main event, it will have to come down to one of the other teams to stop them. With everyone’s eyes turning towards Knights and Team Liquid, FaZe will be looking to maintain the momentum, and once and for all prove themselves to be the number one team in Europe.

Team Liquid have to get over their curse

Now the thing with Team Liquid is they seemingly just can’t perform at their level. When the big new lineup was announced a few months back it seemed almost crazy.

One of the best allrounders in the world, Keiron “Scoom” Prescott, together with probably the best aimer in the world, Jord “ibiza” van Geldere, in the same team was unbelievable enough. A star-filled roster that could easily compete with any of the top teams in the world, that’s what Team Liquid had to become. But it somehow faltered.

It took a long time for them to find their game, they struggled a lot, but eventually, they started winning games and competing for the top spots. They even came in second at their first LAN with the new line-up, StarSeries i-League 2018, just behind FaZe Clan.

But outside of a few minor achievements online, Team Liquid just can’t seem to find their way into victory when it matters the most. Not only did they fail to qualify to any major LAN tournaments, they underperform heavily when they do.

They finished in an underwhelming 5th position at DreamHack Austin 2018 a month ago, where they managed to taste the chicken dinner twice, but have also finished outside of Top 13 four times, and that’s out of 16 teams total.

Photo via Starladder

That being considered, Team Liquid still is one of the best teams in the region and one of the favorites to win the whole thing, with a single condition being that they overcome this curse of… not winning.

Twenty team lobby is the real enemy

The overpopulated lobby is bound to ruin someone’s day this weekend. Every single team going into the qualifier are used to playing against 15 other teams. After a lot of testing and experimentation, it became somewhat of a norm in the competitive scene. And there’s a good reason for it — it’s a perfect middle ground between keeping a game competitive without it becoming an uncontrollable wildland.

In lamest terms, the more teams there are in the server, the less relevant skill becomes, and the more luck reigns supreme.

The big unwritten question is, how well can the players, who have been playing 16 team games for a while now, adapt to the extended setting. The luck, of course, will be playing a much bigger role in this environment, but there’s also the hidden element of being able to approach the game differently than you would normally.

How well will the teams be able to adapt to these changes is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure — although no one asked for it, someone will have to pay the price.

Can the new Method find their game?

These were a tough few months for Method. They performed somewhat above expectations at IEM Oakland 2017, considering their recent roster change and playing under a new in-game leader, they managed to finish 7th. They followed it up with a 6th place finish at IEM Katowice 2018 a few months later, but their good luck seemingly ran out there.

Photo via ESL

What followed after that was a series of mediocre results, followed by even worse performances. Method struggled to qualify for any of the following events, and their online matches were pretty much exclusively below average. A change was needed.

The boys in orange added Björn “MOLNMAN” Won Hak Jansson and Kristo “xKriss” Kiisler and it seems to have worked, seeing as they managed to qualify for Leicester. However, now they will be facing the best teams in the region and finishing outside of Top 3 isn’t an option anymore. With teams like FaZe Clan, PENTA Sports, WTSG (ex-Kinguin) and many others as their competition, can Method show up and take this one home?

A haunting presence

While there are a lot of big-name teams coming into the qualifier and all the questions of how well can they perform around them, it’s a good idea to remember the other half.

For many of the teams, it will be their first international LAN tournament.

For Team Blank (ex-Crimson) it will be their second offline tournament after they finished 8th at GLL Season 1 Grand Final. The team has been performing exceedingly well recently, and they probably are the dark horse of the whole tournament, being able to upset any of the competitors. The unknown factor, same as it is with any other up-and-coming team, is can they show up on LAN.

Team Redzone has been steadily improving for the past few months and could probably compete for the top spots as well. Their biggest shortcoming is, of course, a grand total of none international LAN experience and for a young team that can be the biggest challenge to overcome.

The curious thing about the PUBG Global Invitational 2018 European qualifier is that any of the teams can show up, anyone can qualify, and that will be the real haunting presence for every team. Can ex-Kinguin finally perform at their level? Will Izako Boars shock everyone once again?

The best part is, we won’t have to wait long to find out.

The PGI 2018 Europe qualifier will take place 29th of June – 1st of July, with the matches starting at 16:00 CEST.

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Is esports on the docket for Realm Royale?

Is esports on the docket for Realm Royale?

Three weeks ago, when Realm Royale was about to be released to the public, a small team of developers in HiRez offices in Alpharetta, GA, did not expect much. It was made entirely on the base of their other game — Paladins — on a tight schedule and there was no marketing budget for it either. All they had going for themselves was a game and some hope, that someone will like it enough to invite their friends over.

And they did.

There is a point where it is too soon to call a game a success. The first week of the release, for example, would fit that bill. But Realm Royale had a great first week. When the game peaked at 11,000 players on Steam in the first few days, the developers were going out of their minds — it was an overwhelming success. Little did they know, that before the first week would be over, their battle royale game would be getting more than 100,000 concurrent players.

But the popularity of the game doesn’t always translate to the popularity of its esports scene and it’s even truer when it comes to battle royale games. PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS has been breaking all kinds of records for over a year now, and although PUBG esports scene had grown tremendously in the past nine months, it’s still nowhere near where it should be compared to its player base.

The most obvious explanation as to why such a scenario occurred is the challenge of making the game, which can feature anywhere from 64 to 80 players at the same time, into an enjoyable experience for the viewers. There’s no denying that spectating PUBG matches became a much more fluid affair recently, thanks to relentless efforts of the competitive community, tournament organizers, and the developers. But the big question is, when will the rest of PUBG’s massive player base realize that watching the game on a professional level can be as enjoyable as playing the game itself?

The issue, however, might not be as simple as pouring cash into the scene. When Epic Games, developers of the chart-topping battle royale game Fortnite, announced they’ll be supporting their esports scene with $100 million in the upcoming year, many of the industry veterans had a flashback. The truth is if your game is not ready for esports, no amount of money will trick people into thinking that it is. Though many have tried.

It all comes down to how awesome of a spectator experience can you deliver and Realm Royale here, however, might find another bump on their road to make their game into a full-fledged esport. At its core, the game combines the fundamentals of a battle royale game together with the elements of the game on which it is built — Paladins, which is to say there are also abilities involved. As luck would have it, ability-based shooters like HiRez’s Paladins or Blizzard’s Overwatch have proved to be especially hard to spectate.

A large map, tens of players on the server, and several fights happening at the same time can be a daunting task for the production crew as it is. Now add to that a chaos of character abilities — players flying everywhere, shooting fireballs at each other, building walls, dashing, blinking, and whatever else they might do — all in a matter of a few seconds. That is what HiRez are looking at if they were to decide to bring esports to Realm Royale. Not only would they have to overcome the shortcomings of battle royale as a spectator sport, they would also have to improve the way team fights are displayed in a high-speed character-based shooter.

It’s an intimidating task to take on by yourself and yet it is one that I would love to see them try.

Alpharetta based HiRez Studios have built their success on esports. Their original success story, Smite, has deep roots in esports going back to year one. The 2015 Smite World Championship, with $2,612,259 on the line, became the tournament with the fourth largest prize pool in the world at the time. That’s a massive achievement for a game company that had absolutely no success in the esports scene before.

But all of that changed now. Smite adapted a circuit based league model, similar to that of Riot’s League of Legends. When HiRez released Paladins back in 2016, it did not take long for them to announce Paladins Premier League in partnership with WESA. Even when they published a not-so-successful Hand of the Gods, it was immediately followed by the announcement of the esports tournament for it.

The point is, HiRez know their esports. They have built not one, but two successful esports games and are now running several leagues to support the healthy competitive environment for those titles. The point is, if they wanted, they could bring Realm Royale to esports.

But the question is, can they bring esports to Realm Royale?

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Upcoming Battle Royale games announced at E3

Upcoming Battle Royale games announced at E3

With E3 now behind us, we take a closer look at all the upcoming games that will try to enter the thriving battle royale genre.

Even though there were several titles that pioneered the genre before PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS ever entered the picture, PUBG will forever go down in history as the game that made all of it possible. Just months after the release, PUBG became one of the most popular and actively played games in the world, breaking several records at the same time.

Although made to be played casually at its core, it was only a matter of time before the game would become one of the fastest growing esports titles in the world. It took less than a year since the inception of the competitive scene to the announcement of PUBG Global invitational 2018 — a $2 million tournament to take place in Berlin, Germany, in a month’s time.

In retrospect, it was obvious that a game as successful as PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS would shake up the industry and spawn a flock of followers, all looking to secure a piece of the pie for themselves. And we caught a glimpse of what to expect during this year’s E3.

The real question is, how much of a competition will there really be for PUBG and can any of them have a future in the quickly evolving world of esports?

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

When it comes to esports, Call of Duty is no stranger. It’s been a big part of the scene for many years. Maybe not so much on PC lately, as most of the competition moved to console, but Call of Duty remained an important part of the rapidly growing esports industry.

The announcement for Black Ops 4 itself was nothing short of shocking. There’s no traditional, single-player campaign in the game for the first time in franchise history. Instead, there will be a battle royale mode titled Blackout.

Very little was revealed about the new mode, but we won’t have to wait long to find out more, as the game is set to release on 12th of October, 2018. Whether the game will offer a strong enough competitive aspect to enter esports is still up in the air, but one thing is sure — with Activision’s extensive history in competitive gaming, Black Ops 4 just might take battle royale esports to the next level.

Fear the Wolves

Vostok Games, developers of highly successful post-apocalyptic online shooter Survarium, announced their own entrance to battle royale during E3. The game titled Fear the Wolves is set to release this Summer.

The former makers of popular game series Stalker will be bringing battle royale to that very same deadly world, as the arena for the encounter is set in Chernobyl, where the dangers go far beyond the other players on the server. Anyone familiar with the Stalker games will recognize many of the dangers waiting for the players, including, but not limited to radiation, mutated animals, and of course, The Zone.

While Vostok Games have no experience publishing an esports game, there is still hope for Fear the Wolves in the competitive scene. Survarium takes pride in being a skill-based shooter and the developers are likely to bring some of that edge to their newest title. Will that be enough to keep the competition going only time will tell.

Mavericks: Proving Grounds

Mavericks is probably the most ambitious battle royale game to date, with the game offering 1000-player matches. That’s right, 1000 people on the same server, at the same time, competing for a single chicken dinner. And the FPS are apparently better than a certain game has with 40 people alive.

Now let’s just put it out there –no game with 1000 concurrent players will ever be an esport, not anytime soon, anyway. But Automaton’s Proving Grounds are still worth talking about. What impressed us the most wasn’t even the technical achievement in supporting that many players at the same time, but the new mechanics introduced by the developers, like the ability to track player footsteps or a more strategical approach to the gameplay.

Overall, Mavericks looks more like an MMO title than a competitive game, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. The closed beta starts this summer.

Battlefield V

Although EA had never fully succeeded in pushing Battlefield as an esport (not for the lack of trying), DICE’s ability to make amazing shooters paired with the appeal of a battle royale game might just become a winning combination. The developers have been doing shooters on a massive scale for years, giving them a clear edge against the competition.

Although the team behind this project are keeping their cards close to their chest, it was made clear so far that the new Battlefield will combine core elements of a battle royale game together with fundamental franchize aspects — teamplay, tactics, all kinds of vehicles, and destruction on a massive scale.

Interestingly enough, Battlefield V is set to launch on 19th of October, 2018 — just one week after Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, keeping the long-lasting rivalry very much alive.

Rapture Rejects

Created by the makers of an overwhelmingly popular webcomic Cyanide & Happiness, Rapture Rejects offers probably the most unique take on the genre we’ve seen all week.

While it may not have the best graphics, the most polished gameplay, or the backing of an AAA publisher, it has something long forgotten in the market of online games — it has character. All of that dry, dark humor, as well as the iconic art style so familiar to the readers of the webcomic has somehow managed to find its way into the battle royale game.

While the developers described the game in the same terms one might define any battle royale game out there — 100 players scavenge for resources and fight one another until only one remains — it still manages to bring something new to the table. There’s the top-down viewing angle, for one. And you can dance, too.

Facing competition as competent as Battlefield and Call of Duty will be a tough order for the small development team, but with the unique playstyle and different take on the genre, Rapture Rejects just might have what it takes to grab a small piece of that sweet chicken pie for themselves.

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PGI: 11 teams heading to Berlin

PGI: 11 teams heading to Berlin

It’s been a hot weekend for PUBG esports, as eight more teams joined the list of squads we’ll be seeing at PUBG Global Invitational.

Overall 20 teams will participate in PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS’ biggest esports tournament to date, where they will compete for the lion’s share of $2 million U.S. dollars. Earlier this month, two Chinese titans Oh My God and Four Angry Men became the first teams to secure their spot in Berlin, after winning PUBG China Pro Invitational in First Person (FPP) and Third Person (TPP), respectively.

Last weekend we saw MetalHogs PUBG League winners ahq e-Sports Club joining them on that list, after a nail-biting battle against the rivals Flash Wolves.

The qualifier “super week” began in Minsk, Belarus, where 20 of the strongest teams in the region gathered for the CIS qualifier, to compete for the two spots in PUBG Global Invitational, as well as $100,000 in prize money. One of the favorites AVANGAR took the lead on Day 1, securing a Top-5 finish in all five matches. Their luck seemingly ended at that, and their performance plummeted. Even though they finished third overall on Day 2, AVANGAR had to make-do with finishing 13th on Day 3, leaving their chances up in the air. A single victory on the last day kept their team in the running, and they managed to snatch a spot at PGI 2018 over Vega Squadron.

Joining them will be GLL Season 1 winners, and arguably one of the best teams in the world right now — Natus Vincere. NaVi showed a dominant performance throughout the event, even considering their results on Day 3, where they finished 16th, 17th, and 20th in three games in a row. POKAMOLODOY and his team secured $20,000 and established themselves once again as the strongest team in the region.

Photo via Starladder

Over in North America, some of the fan favorites found themselves struggling to find their groove. Cloud9 managed to pick up a win on the final day of the event, but the poor performance over the first two days kept them from the pedestal. Conversely, FlyQuest had a strong start on the first day where they landed just outside of Top 3, but abysmal performance on the following days (19th on Day 2 and Day 3) destroyed their chances at qualifying.

Team Gates, Ghost Gaming, and Honey Badger Nation all managed to secure their spots in PUBG Global Invitational through ups and downs during the regional qualifier. This marks the first major victory in any tournament for Team Gates since their inception in March, securing them $32,000.

Over in Oceania, Chiefs Esports Club qualified for the international competition over three days of the tournament. Chiefs showed a dominant performance throughout the weekend, finishing ahead of ORDER and Avant Gaming and winning a big prize of $8,910 ($12,000 AUD).

MiTH e-Sports from Thailand and Refund Gaming from Vietnam secured victories at PUBG Southeast Asia Championship qualifying for the $2 million tournament and splitting $60,000 in cash between the two of them.

This leaves nine spots yet to be filled. Three teams will enter via the European qualifier, which will be held this weekend in Leicester, UK; Japan and South Korea will send two representatives each; one team will qualify from Latin America, and Middle East/Africa qualifiers will deliver one slot as well.

PUBG Global Invitational 2018 will take place from 25th to 29th of July in Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany, where 20 teams will battle it out for $2 million in prize money in both FPP and TPP tournaments.

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ToWzErA: “Nobody will have an edge in Leicester, it is completely up for grabs”

ToWzErA: “Nobody will have an edge in Leicester, it is completely up for grabs”

With just two weeks until the PGI European qualifier finals in Leicester, UK, we caught up with the captain of Team Singularity — Kjetil “ToWzErA” Hytten.

For Team Singularity the journey to the biggest PUBG event to date has been in no way easy. Out of more than 600 teams that participated in the European qualifier, they managed to make it all the way to the Final 20, knocking out more established teams like Team Vitality, ALTERNATE aTTaX, and Finstack on their way. But it’s not over yet.

The final part of the qualifier will begin 29th of June in Leicester, UK, where twenty of Europe’s best teams will battle it out for $100,000 in prize money and three spots to PUBG Global Invitational 2018 — the biggest event in game’s history with $2 million on the line.

And according to ToWzErA, anything can happen there.

Vie: So tell us, who is ToWzErA?

ToWzErA: My name is Kjetil Hytten, I am 24 years old and I come from a west coast city in Norway, called Haugesund. I am the team captain of Team Singularity. I am a guy that is really dedicated to what I do and I put in a lot of work to make what I use my time on the most successful possible. I am passionate about esports and sports in general.

Vie: How does your family feel about your career in esports? 

ToWzErA: My family has always been sort of conservative about gaming in general. We have had many discussions about the time I use in front of a PC. A tip for other people who want to compete professionally in esports is to keep a dialogue with your parents, try to make them understand. Update them on your results, let them take part [in it], as they would if you played football, for example. They have been more supportive as of late since it gets more mainstream attention in the media and such. They are for sure skeptical, but they are really interested in it, and they want to follow my journey.

Vie: As far as I know, Singularity is your first professional team, but you have played for several top teams before, like TINDERGULD. Shed some light on what your journey through competitive PUBG was like.

ToWzErA: My journey has been somewhat challenging and hard. It all started with me playing alone. I got my closest gaming friend, C4LVINKL3IN to join me, as I didn’t see potential in the solo feature of the game. At first, I thought that duos was going to be the most competitive mode, but I quickly realized that squads was where it’s at, which I am glad about today. Of the two of us, I think I was the only one who really saw the potential in the game as an esport. He had several breaks during our grinds, where he played other games instead. And I had one final talk with him and said that I really believed he can become nuts in this game and that he already was at that time. I am really glad he listened to me because as of today he is definitely one of the best fraggers in the game.

The next task for my duo partner and I was to find someone to play with, who we felt could be of equal level as us. We contacted multiple people, but MILLAWxD and Taylor were the obvious choice for us to continue playing with. We played some casual games with them and I think we scrimmed a bit as well, but not much. We managed to place one spot away from traveling to IEM Oakland. After that, we realized what a huge potential we actually had.

After that, a new chapter began for C4LVINKL3IN and I, as Taylor and MILLAWxD left us. We tried to find players that could fit us, and we ended up with two Germans, zPAlex and DoDoUncut. We quickly understood that this team was short term, as we were disagreeing about almost everything. We played the IEM Katowice qualifier with the team, and managed to get to the close qualifier and placed 10th. We talked together as a team and decided that we needed
a change, and replaced DoDoUncut with PHRZER. This made the team stronger from day one because he had more of what I was looking for as a team captain. Then as a leader, I took the lead and decided that I wanted the fourth player to be Norwegian as well. This was because TDove was on the market, and he would be a really strong addition to the already strong trio. I had to offer him the opportunity, and he took it.

The ride from when we picked up TDove and PHRZER has been nothing else but fun. We share a lot of opinions and we have some interesting discussions within the team, and I think we all learn from each other.

Vie: Was playing professionally something you knew you wanted to do when you first started playing PUBG? 

ToWzErA: The first thing that came to my mind when I started playing PUBG, was that I want to become the best in this game. I soon realized that I was a bit late to the party, as people already had 500+ hours in this game from alpha and such. I still have a competitive mindset, and I was thinking that this is the chance of being a pro in a game for the first time. I realized that it could be an esport when I realized how many people played it.

Vie: The growth in the past few months has been insane. It’s like six months ago everyone’s been playing for honor and now there’s a $2 million tournament on the way. How do you deal with that kind of change as a player? Can you really feel the pressure now?

ToWzErA: It is amazing to be a part of. Big money shows big potential and great future for the game. This is only the beginning and that’s what motivates me the most. We are at the top of the mountain, but we’re really only halfway there. We were all prepared for PUBG to show dominance in the prize pool and they lived up to it big time. I personally don’t feel any pressure at all. I know we are performing well versus all the best teams in the world, and that’s really all that counts. I am not letting anything affect my confidence going forward to the minor.

Vie: You guys played out of your minds in the PGI quals, but for most of you, it will be your first offline event. How are you preparing for that? 

ToWzErA: A lot of people might say we played out of our minds in the PGI Quals, but to be completely honest, we played as we should. We actually should have done a lot better, but we did mistakes that ruined some rounds, and we learned a lot in that qualifier that made us a stronger team. It will be our first offline event of this size, yes, but we all have some sort of LAN experience from CSGO and PUBG in less size. It will be the first offline event for the team, and we will prepare with a bootcamp. The bootcamp will make the chemistry better, and we will practice a lot, both day and night.

Vie: But do you feel teams with more LAN experience will have an edge over you in Leicester?

ToWzErA: Nobody will have an edge in Leicester. It is completely up for grabs. Some top teams are not scrimming nearly as much as we do, and we will use our practice to our advantage. As long as we come there mentally prepared to bring the trophy home, we will have a big chance of actually doing it.

Vie: PGI offline qualifiers are just a few weeks away. Which teams are you most concerned about? Who will you be looking out for?

ToWzErA: When you say that you make me so excited! This question makes me actually think a lot, because us having to play 20 teams doesn’t only come down to how skilled you are in 16 team games, but also how adaptive to changes you are. Some teams are less adaptive to this change, and that might give some surprises at this event. FaZe is the obvious contender, they are the team everyone strives to play as. When that is said, we also really need to look out for at least four other teams: PENTA Sports, Liquid, Knights, and Team Kinguin. I also really believe that Team Redzone can pull it off, but then they need Sellis to be on fire.

Vie: Expand a bit more about the 20 team matches. How differently do you have to approach the game as a team?

ToWzErA: Playing with 20 teams means that we have 16 more players on the server. Theoretically, that can mean that 16 more compounds get taken early game in the circle, depending on how many teams do the 1-1-1-1 split in the beginning. But we think we have found a good way of playing vs 19 other teams, so we are confident even though it’s not our normal game mode. If we manage to transfer our online rotations to LAN, we are going to do well, really well!

Vie: The Global Invitational is a giant leap forward for PUBG esports, but there’s been a lot of “doubts” in the community surrounding the qualifier process. Should the top teams be granted special treatment or should everyone be treated equally?

ToWzErA: To be honest, I am glad. It’s an eye-opener to all those teams that normally get invited to the events, just how hard we actually have had it in the past. I am all for a closed qualifier, but that has to be when we actually have an official rating of the teams in Europe, made by an objective third-party, like CS:GO has. Before that happens, I think it’s only fair that every team goes through the same path.

Vie: Another debatable issue is the separate TPP and FPP tournaments. What did you think after first seeing PGI will feature both?

ToWzErA: In my opinion, it’s the best scenario possible for this event. We meet on the halfway, and we really should be satisfied with it. FPP players are generally stronger in shooting games, so we are probably going to see an FPP team win both FPP and TPP tournament. I think it’s healthy for the scene because it brings the two parts together. It’s not healthy in the long run, so we really have to hope that the majority of the Asian scene adapts and can play FPP, which is really the way a shooter should be.

Vie: Performance issues and competitive aspect aside — what do you think of the latest changes to the game? The scopes, the grips, the shooting, and now the nades, how are you enjoying all of it?

ToWzErA: Nades — love it. It is what I always wanted, a more tactical approach to the game, with flashes actually being worth it, molotov to deny camping, and frag grenades now being balanced. I am all for the scopes and the grips, makes it more customizable, and preference based. The gun nerf and buffs I have really split opinions about. On one side i really like what they did, so that it’s actually a point of picking up UMP or a Vector, but on the other side, I feel like at least in competitive, AR should be the go-to for a victory. It also doesn’t feel satisfying killing people with a gun with basically no recoil.

Vie: It feels like there’s a new Battle Royale game around every corner — Battlefield, CoD, Realm Royale, etc. What do you think that means for the future of PUBG? 

ToWzErA: PUBG is the ultimate battle royale. I think for sure people will try out the other ones, but it will not take over. PUBG is here to stay, it’s not just a hype as people say. Games are going to challenge them all the time, but PUBG Corp are getting better and better at handling pressure.

Vie: Thank you for your time. Any shoutouts?

ToWzErA: Shoutout to Team Singularity for believing in us. Shoutout to everyone that has supported us so far on our journey!

 

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