TEAM FACEOFF: PCS3 NORTH AMERICA GRAND FINAL PREDICTIONS

by Ty Brody • November 2, 2020

Team Faceoff is back for the PCS3 North America Grand Final! As part of the Pick'Em Challenge, Team Faceoff provides fans with an additional chance to earn Esports Points (EP) which can be used to claim exclusive PCS3 gear in-game. There are four matchups in the North American Grand Final that feature our top-eight teams from the Group Stage. The aim is to predict which team of the two will place higher once the PCS3 NA Grand Final comes to a close on November 20. Choosing between these squads can be difficult, so let’s take a closer look at each individual matchup!

SHOOT TO KILL vs SONIQS

When you talk about who the best team in North America is, the conversation begins and ends with Shoot To Kill and Soniqs. Winners of the two previous PCS NA Grand Final events, there is no denying that these two squads have remained at the top of this region for the entirety of the PUBG Continental Series. This matchup will be the toughest one to decide because of how evenly-matched the two teams are, but mostly because there simply isn’t an incorrect answer.

Both teams have top-tier talent with plenty of experience on their roster, plus they have already proven that they’re capable of winning the Grand Final earlier this year. Soniqs are attempting to defend their PCS2 title and potentially go back-to-back, while Shoot To Kill hopes to bounce back and replicate their success in the PCS1 NA Grand Final. Fortunately, this event can serve as our tiebreaker, helping us settle one of the most popular debates amongst NA PUBG Esports fans.

While each team has the talent to collect an impressive number of kills, we all know who the faithful fraggers for both squads are, “Luke12” for STK and “TGLTN” for Soniqs. These two players have consistently fought for the Group Stage player bonuses, and are seemingly always at the top of Kills, Damage Dealt, and Assists. It may be the North American Grand Final, but this matchup could come down to a pair of Aussies and which one performs best for their team during the Grand Final. Shoot To Kill has been an unstoppable force throughout all three Group Stages this year, which is an encouraging sign heading into the team’s third Grand Final. In the most recent Final, STK got behind after a slow start to the tournament, and by the time their game caught up to them, Soniqs had already begun separating themselves from the pack.

In this Grand Final, if STK can establish themselves early and secure a win or two I expect the team to maintain that consistent level of play we saw during the Group Stage.

Prediction: Shoot To Kill

OATH GAMING vs ZENITH ESPORTS

Each team had a successful outing during the PCS3 Group Stage, but heading into the Grand Final it’s hard to judge which team is going to place higher after the twenty-four matches. Historically, Oath Gaming has outperformed Zenith Esports in the previous PCS events. Having said that, this is a new Zenith Esports team that entered the PCS3 NA Group Stage after making a couple of interesting roster adjustments.

Zenith Esports welcomed in “Poonage” and “Shinboi” to reinforce the team’s core players in “Roth” and “Kickstart”. All signs appeared to be positive during the Group Stage, but this will the team’s first Grand Final as a new squad. Zenith has been our continual fifth-place team throughout the PUBG Continental Series, and while ‘Consistency Is King’ in PUBG Esports, they certainly needed something extra to push them beyond that fifth-place spot. I think their newest additions have the potential to help lift this team into our top-three, and possibly higher, if they’re able to contribute similarly to the way they have heading into the Grand Final. Leading by example, “Roth” and “Kickstart” are expected to be the driving force behind this team, but they’re going to need their newest teammates to pitch in if they’re hoping to improve on a top-five placement.

As for Oath Gaming, the team has never looked more refined than in their recent PCS3 NA Group Stage matches. Their playstyle was aggressive, yet calculated, which really cleared the way for Oath in the previous round. “PATKAPS”, the team’s newest member, appears to have settled into his role on this roster, which looks to be on the same page ever since. Any challenges that the team may have suffered due to a lack of team chemistry in the previous PCS event have been eradicated in PCS3. Oath Gaming is one of the most entertaining teams to watch because of their high-flying play and underrated firepower. “Snakers” unquestionably deserved an MVP nomination for his performance in the Group Stage, “Relo” is one of the most gifted players in this lobby, and “Balefrost” and “PATKAPS” are both dangerous and reliable players that Oath can lean on throughout the Grand Final.

I feel as though history will repeat itself during the PCS3 NA Grand Final, and Oath Gaming will place above Zenith Esports. Perhaps Oath wins the tournament and Zenith placed in second, which would be an improvement for both squads, either way, I’m leaning towards Oath in this Team Faceoff matchup.

Prediction: Oath Gaming

DODGE vs HOUSTON HARDSHIFTS

Three points separated Dodge and Houston Hardshifts during the Group Stage, making this one of the closest matchups of the four. Both squads are coming off their highest placement of the year, in either a Group Stage or Grand Final, and have an opportunity to take another step in the right direction to wrap up PCS3.

Dodge has been one of the most improved teams throughout PCS3 and I think a lot of that can be credited to one of the team’s newest additions. Prior to the Group Stage, Dodge hit the reset button on their roster, making “f1nna” the team’s only returning member for PCS3. One of the three new members to join Dodge included Adam “Adam” Didiano, an experience IGL that’s been playing competitive PUBG for about as long as anyone. The team’s improvement in-game has been directly reflected on the leaderboard, and as the team continues to build their chemistry throughout PCS3, we should only expect more out of Dodge. One of the biggest factors for this team during the Grand Final will be their ability to adapt and make the necessary adjustments in an intense twenty-four match tournament.

One team I can perceive to be our Grand Final ‘Dark Horse’, who can simultaneously quiet all of their critics in the process, is Houston Hardshifts. This team finally lived up to their billing on the first day of the Group Stage but quickly returned to the disappointing display we’ve seen previously from this team. Hardshifts slowly drifted down the leaderboard and finishing in sixth place, which is nothing to complain about, but it’s still below the peak this team is capable of. It isn’t that Hardshifts played poorly during the Group Stage, it’s that the level of consistency required to be a top-three team hasn’t shown up, yet. They’ve received excellent play in recent matches from “Lobes” and “Jsank”, but if they’re hoping to improve on their previous Grand Final placement the team will need to play to their full potential, something we saw too little of during the previous round.

I feel as though Dodge will carry over momentum heading into the PCS3 Grand Final, setting themselves up for a major improvement from their sixteenth-place finish in the previous Grand Final. The new Dodge roster has surprised me since the start of PCS3 and I believe that will continue into the Grand Final.

Prediction: Dodge

TEAM VERITAS vs DUEL

Team Veritas and DUEL are both highly-experienced teams with the talent to make their mark during the PCS3 Grand Final. Our second Team Faceoff to feature two teams who placed just three points apart after the thirty-match Group Stage, Team Veritas and DUEL are hoping to close out the series with an effective performance in the Grand Final.

There is plenty of experience on both of these rosters, starting with DUEL who have “Cherry”, “Pentalol”, “Wooly”, and “Linksy” at their disposal. The team was dominant at times in the Group Stage but never managed to find a balanced contribution from the entire four-man squad. A majority of DUEL’s kills came from “pentalol” and “Cherry”. Their consistency could play a major role in their success during the Grand Final, where we typically see the game get much tougher for all teams as the tournament continues.

Veritas added a pair of new weapons to their PCS3 roster just prior to the Group Stage, welcoming in “DTreats” and “mykLe”. The recently revamped lineup played great throughout the previous round and set themselves up for an easy qualification into the PCS3 Grand Final. They placed seventh during the Group Stage, only ten points behind Hardshift in sixth. Despite their unfamiliarity with one another, Team Veritas showed they’re one of the stronger teams dropping into the Grand Final with excellent play throughout the previous round. If they’re able to build off their first tournament run as a four-man squad and continue playing their brand of PUBG, I don’t only like Team Veritas in this particular Team Faceoff, but in the PCS3 Grand Final by and large.

Prediction: Team Veritas

GRAND FINAL

PCS3