The moment fans have been waiting for has finally arrived. Thirty-two of the world’s best teams have assembled in South Korea for the PUBG Global Invitational.S (PGI.S), the first official offline event in well over a year. Engineered to be “an 8-week esports festival”, PGI.S will play host to the greatest players from eight major regions and produce non-stop action for fans over its extended schedule. Taking place at Studio Paradise in Incheon, South Korea, PGI.S is shaping up to be an incredible event unlike any before it.
Some time has passed since our last look at these teams on the global stage. During which many teams have welcomed new members, redefined their playstyle, and fought through four regional online events in the PUBG Continental Series. Changes heading into this event don’t end with the teams or meta, it’s also important to highlight the event’s unique format.
To kick things off, Opening Week of PGI.S will rank the thirty-two squads, setting the stage for the first Weekly Survival. Each winner of the sixteen Weekly Survival matches will earn their spot in the weekend’s Weekly Final. The teams competing in Weekly Survival matches will vary from game to game, keeping the action fresh and encouraging teams to secure their spot in the Weekly Final.
There’s a lot to learn about PGI.S if you haven’t been tuned in, but you’ll pick it up in no time once the matches begin on February 5th. Before then, let’s get you familiar with some of the teams and players that are preparing to make their championship run over the next eight weeks. The North American region will be represented by its four best teams following the 2020 PUBG Continental Series. Soniqs, Oath Gaming, Shoot To Kill, and Zenith Esports were the four most consistent teams throughout last season, earning their invitation to South Korea to test themselves against the best.
The back-to-back PCS Champions are in no need of an introduction, but it’s fair to say that the Soniqs are the region’s most anticipated competitor on the global stage. Easily the region’s strongest coming into the event, Soniqs have an opportunity to transcend NA dominance and establish themselves at the top of the esport if they’re able to replicate one of their impressive PCS performances inside a lobby among the world’s best. If you followed any of the PCS2 or PCS3 tournaments, you’re fully aware of the names that make the Soniqs’ roster special – the very names that still haunt the minds of their regional rivals. TGLTN, hwinn, M1ME, and Shrimzy were the ‘famed four’ who made light work of their competition as last year came to a close.
Oath Gaming maintained their place at the top of the leaderboards last season and was one of the more exciting teams to follow throughout the PUBG Continental Series. Excellent individual play from Snakers and Relo, bolstered by the performances from Balefrost and PAT_KAPS, became the squad’s calling card during their PCS2 and PCS3 campaigns. They were a well-rounded unit that played aggressively to obtain their foothold in late-game circles, putting together wins with a favorable number of kills. Since the addition of PAT_KAPS prior to PCS2, Oath appeared to make drastic strides in their development as the season progressed, closing out 2020 with their best performance yet – winning the DreamHack Americas Winter Showdown. Looking back at the year as a whole, they were clearly the next best squad behind Soniqs. It comes as no surprise that we’re already seeing positive signs from the team in scrims, but the biggest question for every team is how do they handle an ever-changing lobby in the PGI.S Weekly Series.
SHOOT TO KILL
Shoot To Kill arrive in South Korea with the most experience playing on the international stage out of the four North American teams. Already a solidified name amongst the most prominent in PUBG Esports, STK should have an advantage over their fellow NA rivals considering their experience in previous events, such as the FACEIT Global Summit: PUBG Classic, GLL Season 4 Finals, and the 2019 PUBG Global Championship. Combining the team’s experience and proven ability as one of our region’s strongest, PGI.S could be the event that catapults them back on top of regional power rankings, and possibly further. After their incredible performance to reclaim the PCS1 NA Championship during the last match of the tournament, STK endured a turbulent finish to the 2020 season. It wasn’t that bad of an ending to the year, it just didn’t meet the level that we’ve come to expect from one of the region’s blue-blooded teams. Excellent leadership, great preparation, and elite players capable of surviving any lobby remain the defining characteristics of Shoot To Kill coming into this event.
Rounding out the region is the consistently competitive Zenith Esports. A squad who practically pinned themselves to the fifth-place spot on the majority of final leaderboards in 2020. However, they’re a team that has the potential to surprise fans who may not have followed their run through PCS3 NA. Experience against an elevated level of competition will be the biggest concern for the team and their fans prior to the start of this event, though it’s not hard to envision Roth and Kickstart settling into the new lobby quickly. Behind their two clear leaders, Shinboi and Poonage joined the squad for PCS3 NA and may become their x-factor once the matches begin. As with a handful of teams coming into this event, Zenith will remain under the radar for many, but any success against the favored teams such as Tianba, Multi-Core Gaming, or even European juggernauts like Virtus.Pro and FaZe Clan, will place some well-deserved respect on one of North America’s best teams.
Much of PGI.S remains unknown to the players and fans. How will this event play out compared to the previous ones on the international stage? How are teams going to adjust to the playstyle and will the format change team’s approach? There are so many exciting storylines developing as the tournament gets started, so don’t forget to stay tuned in to catch all of the PGI.S action!