PREVIEW OF PCS3 NORTH AMERICA GROUP STAGE
PCS3 has arrived as twenty-four teams begin their three-week run through the Group Stage to qualify for the Grand Final! If you tuned in for the PCS2, sixteen of the teams competing in PCS3 should seem familiar. The other eight squads have advanced from the NA Challenger Cup 2, introducing a new lineup of players and teams that hope to make their mark on North American PUBG Esports.
Our twenty-four teams have been divided up into three eight-team groups that alternate across Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the next three weeks. Accumulated points will go towards an overall ranking leaderboard where the top-sixteen advance into the PCS3 Grand Final! Day One of the Group Stage kicks off on Friday, October 2nd as Group A and B descend onto the battlegrounds to lead off PCS3.
For this preview, I've highlighted some teams and put them into one of three buckets - leaders of the pack (favorites), in the neighborhood (teams that can pose a threat to the established teams at the top), and the new and familiar faces (teams new to the Group Stage you should keep your eye out for).
LEADERS OF THE PACK
Heading into the Group Stage, we can already imagine what the top-eight should look like following three weeks of play. Clear front-runners such as Soniqs, Shoot To Kill, and Oath Gaming can almost certainly be penciled into the Grand Final. Each team has claimed one of three official PCS events this year, with the Soniqs aiming to repeat as back-to-back PCS Champions. All three teams have earned the recognition and reputation that follows them into this event. I’m confident that Shoot To Kill and Oath Gaming expects to bounce-back in PCS3 and challenge Soniqs for the top-spot. Just behind these three teams, there are a couple of squads that round out the top-eight alongside NA’s powerhouse teams.
In this group, I would include Zenith Esports, Any Trolls In Chat, and Team Veritas. These are teams that sit just behind our esteemed “top-three” but could be due for their own victorious run through PCS3. While the aforementioned three teams carry over their rosters from PCS2, Zenith, ATC, and Veritas have all made adjustments to their rosters following the previous series. On paper, I’m a fan of the roster moves made by all three squads, but that doesn’t mean much if communication and teamwork fall flat when the games begin. We’ll find out quickly how these roster adjustments affected the team, and hopefully, it’s a positive one that allows these teams to build off their PCS2 campaign.
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
The Group Stage could highlight a couple of especially talented teams that haven’t quite put it all together during the Grand Final. The Rumblers, DUEL, and Houston Hardshifts already have championship-caliber talent on their roster and are capable of an impressive run through the Group Stage. If we were putting together a “teams to watch” for this first week of group play, all three of these teams would land on mine. They’ve appeared lethargic for the first two series but are starting fresh in PCS3 with an opportunity to remind us what they’re capable of.
Similar things could be said about the Guadalajara Gascans (formerly 303 Esports) and Illusion. Each squad has bounced in and out of the top-eight on the leaderboard and could have their best series in front of them. I believe the Guadalajara Gascans are a team with much more to prove during PCS3. They have “Honeybadger” at their disposal, who in my opinion is one of the most gifted players in the lobby, return “Voxsic” and welcome in two new members “oldless” and “Nicoos”.
NEW AND FAMILIAR FACES OF PCS3
PCS3 Group Stage will give many viewers with their first glimpse of the teams entering from Challengers Cup 2 - most notably Team Clueless. The roster features more than one familiar name for those that have watched PUBG Esports for some time, “Hambinooo”, “Shuhroo”, “Nick101”, and “NHS” have experience playing at the highest level and will now compete for their spot in the PCS3 Grand Final. It’s tough to overlook this roster based on prior experience and their performance during the Challenger Cup, but are they prepared for competition PCS3 is going to present?
The Group Stage is about securing a top-sixteen placement to advance into the Grand Final, so as the number of matches begins to dwindle, the focus is going to shift to the sixteenth-place cutoff line. Be sure to tune into the opening day (Friday, October 2, 2020 at 4 pm PDT) of PCS3 on and don’t miss any of the Group Stage action as North America’s top twenty-four teams battle for their spot in the PCS3 Grand Final.