PUBG Global Invitational 2018 - the very first tournament hosted by PUBG Corporation - is quickly approaching, taking place on July 25-29th with the stiffest of competition. Like in most esports titles, there are a handful of teams considered among the very best, and they will be looking to make a statement in the coming weeks.
The upcoming tournament, commonly abbreviated as PGI 2018, has a titanic $2,000,000 prize pool and is the biggest competition for PUBG yet. There are numerous qualifiers leading up to the main event - with the offline, final qualifying stages yet to take place - that are also contributing towards the competitive scene, boasting anywhere up to $150,000 in prize pools. The best teams in regions such as North American, Europe, Latin America, and CIS will all be decided in the upcoming weeks.
One team that will be looking to solidify their dominance is OpTic Gaming, a North American side that has had their fair share of disappointment. Not typically performing to the best of their abilities in online tournaments, the guys in green have achieved some impressive, consistent placements on LAN - but their most momentous opportunity is yet to come: PGI 2018. That’s if they perform up to their usual standard in the NA closed qualifier, of course.
At DreamHack Austin PUBG Showdown in early June, OpTic Gaming reaffirmed that they can compete alongside the best teams in the world. Missing out on second place by less than 100 points, they played twelve rounds and didn’t even manage to come first place in a single one of them. This may sound bad, but they accrued plenty of points by gathering kills and finishing with an average placement of 6.2 out of the 16 teams who were battling it out. Now if they had managed to grab a couple of chicken dinners, they would behave in a favorable position to win the entire event
With the addition of Keane “Valliate” Alonso - who brings a lot of slaying power and sheer aggression to the team - OpTic Gaming is now seeking more and more kills than ever before, and they feel a lot more comfortable scouting out single players or groups of two in a match. This allows them to gather more points, both in kills and in placements. Now having a set roster of four ridiculously talented players, eyes will be on them to dethrone FaZe Clan - perhaps more-so than the likes of Natus Vincere, Team Liquid, Tempo Storm, and Pittsburgh Knights; all of which are other top teams in PUBG.
OpTic Gaming showed a glimmer of hope at IEM Katowice in February of this year where they placed in second - well, before they were disqualified from the final round after Bahawaka’s controversial wall exploit. This circumstance dropped the side down to fifth place, outside of the money, but the key takeaway is that they rivaled the best and outplaced the majority of the other top teams at the event. Before being deducted points, OpTic Gaming was shy of winning the entire thing by just 76 points - a gap that could have been closed by achieving a better placement in a single round.
As far as I can see, there are only three obstacles in the way of OpTic Gaming causing an upset for FaZe Clan and taking PGI 2018. The first is the qualifiers, if they don’t perform there then they won’t even make it to the main event; only three teams will progress for North America. There are some solid teams who will be looking to make it through the qualifiers, but the competition should be simple enough for OpTic Gaming to topple.
The second obstacle is FaZe Clan. If there’s going to be one team that ruins OpTic Gaming’s chance of taking the event, it has to be the Finnish-Swedish hybrid squad. It will likely come down to these teams battling it out in the late stages of rounds to decide who will gain an advantage in the standings. FaZe Clan can typically shoot their way out of any problem, so that’s a lot for OpTic Gaming to deal with. However, they are in the best position they’ve even been in to overcome FaZe's skirmishing strength.
The third, and final, obstacle OpTic Gaming will need to overcome is themselves. If they have a rough event, whether it’s due to a lack of practice or players not being in-form, they could be their own worst enemy. Like in most esports titles, it can be difficult to get out of a bad spell since games require so much mental capacity - if players’ heads aren’t in the right zone, then it can spell danger.
All-in-all, I believe OpTic Gaming is truly the team to watch at PGI 2018 as they gear up to dethrone FaZe Clan and prove they’re at the top of PUBG Esports.