PGI.S WEEKLY FINAL ONE: AFREECA FREECS' OUT IN FRONT - HIGHLIGHTS
Over the weekend, the top sixteen teams following three-days of action in the Weekly Survival returned to the stage for the first Weekly Final. These squads secured their spot in the final by winning one of sixteen matches during Survival, advancing themselves directly into the final. In a best-of-ten format over two days, the Weekly Final awards the top-four teams a portion of Week One’s $50,000 USD prize pool and a headstart on other teams to becoming PGI.S Champions. As the tournament continues, the Weekly Final prizes will increase dramatically, with the eventual champion of PGI.S decided by who has earned the most cash.
The Weekly Final adheres to the standard format that PUBG Esports fans are familiar with, so many team’s playstyles reverted back to a more traditional approach to each match - maximizing the number of potential points each round. Likely the most unique aspect of the Weekly Final, the prize pool only awards the top four teams after ten matches. This portion of the final’s format encourages teams outside of the top four to try their “all or nothing” plays in an attempt to collect every point possible.
Day One of the Weekly Final belong to the hometown team Afreeca Freecs, and the pride and joy of European PUBG, Team Liquid. These two teams closed out the first day separated by a single point and sat atop the leaderboard with five matches to be played. It was also the matchup to watch throughout Day One, as the two teams collided in late-game zones on numerous occasions. Including a Match #3 victory that was practically stolen away from Team Liquid by the Afreeca Freecs.
Early success in the final was a reassuring sign for those who expected big performances from the Korean teams. The region struggled to obtain a spot in the final during the Weekly Survival matches, but ultimately showed up when it mattered most. Once the final began, AF quickly found themselves a pair of Chicken Dinners on Miramar and Erangel that collectively posted 34 points on the board. Those wins provided some distance between AF and the second-place competitors.
For Team Liquid, they managed to expunge their slow start to the day with a big win in Match #5, collecting half of their leading point total in a single round. The victory closed out Day One on a high note for Team Liquid and sent them into the final five matches ahead but trailed closely by AF.
During the same match, fans were treated to one of the best lone-player clutches we’ve seen on the global stage. The man, the myth, the legend himself, GodV from Four Angry Men found a way to disassemble Shoot To Kill against the blue zone on the outskirts of Yasnaya. GodV displayed unbelievable skill fighting in close-quarter combat against four enemy members as the zone closed in. I’m sure there was a breakdown in communication and degree of confusion on behalf of STK, but sometimes you have to tip your cap to an incredible play by one of the best.
The second day of the Weekly Final began with a monstrous eighteen-kill win from one of Europe’s most successful squads towards the end of last season. Compiling an absurd 28 Point match to kick off Day Two, Virtus.Pro reminded us all exactly why they were our PCS3 Europe Champions and runner-up in the DreamHack Winter Showdown. The deadly duo of “Spyrro” and “BatulinS” led the way for VP as the team made had their first signature win of the event.
Another PCS3 Champion took over from there, with the Soniqs showcasing their ability to turn an extremely challenging zone into a Chicken Dinner when the pressure is on. After being the first team to secure a seat in the Weekly Final, the team didn’t quite play to their potential during Day One of the final. They found their footing in the first two matches to begin Day Two, but would ultimately struggle down the stretch. Play from Soniqs was hit or miss during Week One, but I wouldn’t expect this trend to continue as we enter the second week of PGI.S.
Ultimately, the biggest story of Day Two was the excellent play from Afreeca Freecs and their ability to win the first Weekly Final and snag $25,000 USD in prize money. This win placed AF atop the PGI.S leaderboard and quickly made them a favorite in future Pick Em’ voting. The team played a consistent and relentless series of matches across both days, putting an exclamation point on their performance with thirteen kills in the final match. Joining them within the top-four are two Chinese teams, Four Angry Men and Infantry, both featured in this highlight that had to be included in our Week One recap. (IFTY should skip this video)
While AF deserves all of the credit for the Weekly Final victory, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible comeback from the Ironmen of PUBG, Shoot To Kill. Entering the tenth and final match in the eighth position, STK found themselves near the center of a late-game zone and made the most of their opportunity. Choosing to move towards the Southside of the zone, Shoot To Kill fought off Afreeca Freecs, Four Angry Men, and Oath Gaming to win the match and move up to finish in second place! The final-match climb from eighth to second earned the team $12,500 USD in prize money that they otherwise wouldn’t have received.
Week One of the PUBG Global Invitational.S has proven that fans are in for an outstanding six-weeks of action as teams fight it out on the battlegrounds. The most exciting part is that the stakes only get higher as the tournament continues! Don’t miss any of the action when PGI.S resumes on Tuesday, February 16th!