ESL PUBG MASTERS PHASE 2: NA GROUP STAGE RECAP
Before the action begins in the ESL PUBG Masters Americas Grand Final, let’s take a look at how we got here! The NA Group Stage placed twenty-four teams against one another to determine the eight most formidable squads. Those eight teams have earned themselves a spot in the final, and the eight teams ranked between nine and sixteen have secured a direct invite to the PCS5 NA Group Stage - which will be here before we know it.
This past weekend, twenty-four of North America’s best teams descended onto the battleground for a best-of-twelve that advanced the top eight squads. Day One of the Group Stage began with a few of the region’s most notable teams facing off, Soniqs, TSM FTX, and Spacestation Gaming. Six matches later, the Soniqs would end their first day on top with two Chicken Dinners. TSM FTX would claim the first match of the event and finish their opening day with a single Chicken Dinner.
With the implementation of ‘Most Chickens’ format in the ESL PUBG Masters, the teams with the most number of match wins claim the top position. While some teams have struggled to adapt and find their footing in a new format, the Soniqs and TSM FTX have continued to prove why they’re regarded as two of the region’s toughest rosters.
As we’ve become accustomed to, the Soniqs were the team front and center. Making plays and producing highlights, the teams managed to secure two Chicken Dinners across Day One’s six matches. Earning themselves a spot towards the top early on, the team’s Group Stage performance picked up exactly where their dominant PCS4 play left off.
After TSM posted seventeen kills in their opening match Chicken Dinner, it was only fitting that the Soniqs would claim the next match with eighteen kills. It made for great entertainment to see two of the region's strongest teams battle it out back and forth. Heading into the third match of the day, it was the Soniqs versus ATC once again.
Match 1 of the Group Stage belonged to TSM FTX, who collected a staggering seventeen kills in their opening Chicken Dinner. The team picked up their first win of the Group Stage in stunning fashion but ultimately closed Day One with a single victory. TSM FTX claimed a third-place finish in the following match but was unable to convert that late game into a Chicken Dinner. Possibly one of the most interesting storylines heading into the Grand Final is the ongoing fight between Soniqs and TSM FTX for the top spot in the Americas region.
In the previous format, three second-place finishes over six matches would point towards an excellent outing for any team. Unfortunately, Any Trolls In Chat saw their Chicken Dinner slip away three different times during Day One, and ultimately missed out on the Grand Final due to claiming zero wins over their twelve matches. It’s an extremely painful way to miss out on the Final, but it’s an example of how challenging the ‘Most Chickens’ system can be.
Our second day of action began with four different squads claiming a win as the matches progressed. This led to back-to-back wins from TSM FTX to close out Day Two on a high note. The team had already picked up their first win on Day One, and then quickly added another two as the final matches of Day Two wrapped up on Miramar.
Starting with the first match of Day Two, the four winning teams were Dignitas, Veritas, Dodge, and Spacestation Gaming. Each of these teams desperately needed to obtain their Chicken Dinners, particularly Dodge who did not claim victory during their first six matches on Day One. Each of our Day Two winners would go on to advance into the Americas Final, where they’ll meet the toughest eight teams from the LATAM region in a two-week final.
Remember the thing we said about unpleasant second-place finishes? Well, Oath experienced the agony of missing out on the Chicken Dinner during three of Day Two’s six matches. Close but not close enough, Oath reset and prepared to make another run at the elusive WWCD on Day Three.
Our third and final day of play began with another Soniqs victory over Dignitas. It was clear that the Soniqs had just pressed resume on their commanding performance from the opening day. At the same time, Dignitas placed second at the beginning of Day Three but followed that match up with a Chicken Dinner of their own in the next round. This placed them towards the top of the leaderboard and paved the way for them to reach the Americas Grand Final.
Returning to the battleground after a frustrating time the day prior, Oath set their sights on a Chicken Dinner on Day Three with hopes of advancing into the Americas Grand Final. The team found themselves engaged in late-game action for most of the final day’s matches, including four top-six placements leading up to the final match of the Group Stage. Miraculously, the team was able to claim a Chicken Dinner in the final match of Day Three and earn themselves a spot in the Americas Final. A Chicken Dinner that couldn’t have tasted any sweeter, Oath will be one of the eight NA teams in the ESL PUBG Masters Americas Grand Final.