by Ty Brody

North America’s PCS1 Group Stage brought out the region’s very best, producing a star-studded Grand Finals lobby in what resembled a continuous highlight reel of PUBG Esports. The Group Stage featured twenty-four teams who faced off in a round-robin tournament. Now, the top sixteen teams following three weeks of play have earned themselves a spot in the PCS1 NA Grand Finals, where a $200,000 USD prize pool awaits them.

Entering the Group Stage, high expectations surrounded a handful of the rosters prior to the opening match. The twenty-four team lobby featured many players who have had success at a high level of competition in the past, so the opportunity of advancing in PCS1 was sure to bring out the best from these teams. As the tournament progressed, the leaderboard presented a challenge for every team, whether the goal was to continue climbing into a top-sixteen placement, or defend your position to secure a place in the Finals, each match demanded that teams put their best foot forward.

From the outset, the region’s most distinguished squads showcased their strength against the best. The likes of Shoot To Kill, the Susquehanna Soniqs, and Oath Gaming quickly began to compile points while dominating rounds during Week 1. Meanwhile, teams such as Zenith Esports and Wildcard Gaming established themselves a comfortable foothold in the top-sixteen early on, setting themselves up for success in the rounds that followed.

As the Group Stage continued to play out, it became clear that the first-place position had grown into a three-team race between Oath Gaming, Shoot To Kill, and the Susquehanna Soniqs. The trio repeatedly stole the show with remarkable team performances from match to match, fighting amongst one another for the contested top spot. The battle between these teams continued all the way up until the final day, where the Soniqs were ultimately able to surpass Oath Gaming’s fixed score and claim the first-place position.

On the final day, the Soniqs rallied behind a game-winning play from one of the team’s two MVP nominees, Austin “M1ME” Scherff. Playing as the Soniqs lone survivor at the peak of ‘Everest’ on Erangel, “M1ME” managed to snatch a chicken dinner away from Wildcard and Shoot To Kill with excellent poise and precise timing. The moment was just one highlight from the final day of the Group Stage, which the team quickly followed up with an additional win on Miramar in the next match.

In a similar manner, Shoot To Kill performed on the final day to jump ahead of Oath Gaming for the second-place position. A last-second kill from the PCS1 Group Stage MVP, Luke “luke12” Newey secured the runner-up standing during the final match. Leading the team in damage dealt and kills for a majority of the tournament, “luke12” was a name you heard a lot throughout the three-week group stage. The team’s final day outing consisted of four consecutive top-three placements, where STK collected a staggering seventy-two points in four matches. That performance, three weeks of steady play, and a clutch kill form “luke12” secured the team second before heading into the PCS1NA Finals. Shoot To Kill lived up to the expectations many held for them as one of North America’s most distinguished squads, and will almost unquestionably be in the mix throughout the finals.

Oath Gaming was well within reach of taking first-place in the Group Stage, largely as a result of the team’s ability to make it into late-game and come out on top with a chicken dinner. To put their impressive Group Stage run into perspective, Oath won a third of the total matches and ended the stage by winning seven of their last ten matches played. The team couldn’t be stopped once Week 3 began, taking three-straight matches with unique final zones on Erangel. Fresh off of the team’s victory at the PCS Charity Showdown, an outstanding close to the PCS1 Group Stage reinforces the belief that Oath Gaming will be a consistent and dangerous team in the PCS1 Finals.


As the top sixteen teams from the Group Stage prepare for the PCS1 Finals, prior to determining which team is North America’s strongest, be sure to hop in-game for a chance to earn exclusive PCS1 skins in the PCS Pick Em’ Challenge!

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