by Ty Brody

Week One of the PUBG Global Invitational.S has already provided countless highlights as the tournament is only getting started. Teams from all over the world have come together on one stage to determine the best squad on the battlegrounds. As expected, an astonishing level of skill and preparation has been displayed by each of the thirty-two teams during the first week of play. There’s been a lot of talk surrounding the PGI.S format and what impact it could have on teams considering their unfamiliarity with it. Something I didn’t quite anticipate was how the format would allow teams to change up their playstyle and take a new approach to the match, particularly during Rank Decision when a team’s fate could swing drastically over the course of one game. One play, in particular, added the latest chapter to the rivalry between North America and Europe.

If you’re not in the loop on the opening week’s format, Rank Decision set the stage for Weekly Survival, which awarded the winner of sixteen matches with a place in the first Weekly Final. As teams win a match during Survival, they vacate their spot in Survival and advance to the Final. The next highest-ranked team fills the winning team’s spot. So, the teams that placed between 17-32 during Rank Decision were forced to wait their turn as others played for their spot in the Final. This placed a premium on placing as high on the leaderboard as possible, especially for those outside the top-sixteen. The number of opportunities a team had to win a match and claim their spot in the final decreased the lower on the leaderboard they place during Rank Decision.

Towards the end of the Rank Decision matches, teams inside the top-sixteen didn’t have much else to play for other than strengthening their place on the top half of the leaderboard. It opened up the door for Shoot To Kill’s unexpected strategy to target FaZe Clan, which in hindsight makes perfect sense based on the circumstances.

During the final two matches of Rank Decision, Shoot To Kill was sitting comfortably in fourth place with their formidable foe and Mylta neighbor in twenty-eighth. This was STK’s opportunity to thwart FaZe Clan’s comeback and make their lives considerably easier during the start of Weekly Survival. The premise of Shoot To Kill’s strategy was perfectly explained by Richard “TheSimms” Simms as teams began dropping onto the battleground.

The initial drop opened up with shotguns and sub-machine guns, load-outs that are about as taboo to PUBG Esports as red zones, gliders, and BRDMs. Exchanges between “Aitzy” and “Luke12” left FaZe Clan shorthanded almost immediately.

Once again, it’s important to keep in mind what is at stake for FaZe Clan, and just how little Shoot To Kill has to worry about the outcome of this skirmish. STK is in fourth-place and well on their way to the first match of Weekly Survival, on the other hand, FaZe is twelve spots outside of the top sixteen. Meaning that FaZe Clan would have to wait until Match #13 to join the Weekly Survival lobby, and have only three matches to win a game and advance into the Final.

After their initial fight inside Mylta, FaZe Clan returned to their gameplan and tried to play this challenging zone for the most number of points possible. Looking at the first zone, it felt as though everything was going against FaZe in this match. Shoot To Kill began grabbing every vehicle and continued to gather loot as FaZe scrambled to find a way into the zone.

Once Shoot To Kill began moving towards the zone, things went bad to worse for FaZe as they lost “Ubah” to a suspected fat-finger blunder, slowing their arrival to the zone even more. This allowed STK to get into the position that would ultimately spell defeat for FaZe.

After surviving the initial hot drop and finding their way towards the zone, FaZe Clan is met at their only entry point by their neighbors from Mylta. Low on meds and weakened from a chaotic start to this match, FaZe Clan stop to heal one more time just outside of the play zone, that’s when Shoot To Kill strikes.

Ultimately, Shoot To Kill perfectly execute a strategy that increased their chance to qualify for the final by limiting the potential matches for FaZe Clan. The final results from Rank Decision gave Shoot To Kill sixteen opportunities to win a match during Survival and only nine for FaZe Clan. The tactic allowed STK to secure their spot in the Final with a win during Match #4, three matches before FaZe would eventually join the Survival lobby. It didn’t however prevent FaZe Clan from putting together an impressive win during the final round of Survival to obtain the sixteenth and final spot inside the Weekly Final.

The play call to snub one of the EU’s most dangerous and proven teams was a bold one. It was a strategically wise decision given the scenario, but it also made you enemy number one of a team I wouldn’t want to be on bad terms with. None of this matters if Shoot To Kill and FaZe Clan has a successful performance during the Weekly Final. However, I would begin to worry if FaZe is low on the leaderboard and STK is in a position to win or place top-four and FaZe Clan happens to remember this play. PGI.S is a lengthy event and the opportunity to even the score will surely present itself to FaZe down the road.

Banter and jabs thrown between the two teams continued in the days that followed this match, reigniting everyone’s favorite rivalry when PUBG Esports is on the global stage, NA vs EU. Which team will come out on top during the first-ever PGI.S Weekly Final? Find out tomorrow!

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