The first half of this year has seen the competitive PUBG scene begin to establish itself around the globe with the first proper seasons under a centralised rule and point set culminating in the most exciting event that the game has seen at the Faceit Global Summit in London.
The early success has been a breath of fresh air for the game
With the Pochinki Post, I am looking to create a regular article that reports on some of the latest happenings in the major competitive PUBG competitions from around the world.
So without further ado, here is the first edition of the Pochinki Post!
A New Worlds Best Team Already?
The PEL Kickoff Cup happened last week and after the world's most consistent team had another strong group stage result, they were finally able to break through with not just a win, but the most dominant win we've seen on a stage this big.
Team Liquid have been an ever present major player in the competitive scene since the beginning of 2018. The 'classic' line up was arguably the most successful team in the world. They had 2 wins, a second and a third at the 'Major' level, as well as 2nd place in both the FPP and TPP events at the 2018 Global Invitational. Scoom is a hugely respected player and it was a shock to see him replaced late last year... until it was announced who he was being replaced by. Jembty came from Liquid's main rivals in Europe - Faze Clan - and he was coming to join his brother Sambty in what was expected to be the scariest PUBG team ever put together. The problem is that they seemingly took a while to gel and people started to doubt if Liquid were ever going to become the juggernaut that they looked like they were going to be.
This was compounded by the gap in competition for the team from the end of 2018 until April 2019, but the time off seemed to help. All 4 of them could regularly be seen in the Twitch chat for the other leagues around the world (regardless of the local time where they were) as they watched teams deal with the new meta and hatched their own plans.
They finished second in the PEL Phase 1 showing an almost inhuman consistency level and then finished 3rd in the first world event of the year without winning a single match and having half of their games impacted by the battle for Pochinki.
But then last week it all finally came together as they effectively ended a three day competition on the first day. Against the 15 best teams in Europe they won an unprecedented 3 of the 4 games played on day one with a huge kill count giving them an almost unassailable lead. They of course didn't just sit back and let the final 2 days play out as they proceeded to win a match on each day of the competition to finish with 5 wins out of the 12 matches played. Such was the dominance of the display that it has had people asking if this is enough to crown them as the world's best team? OP Gaming Rangers would have something to say about that after having won the PKL Phase 1 and then won the Faceit Global Summit, but the question is, how much better could Liquid have done there if they had managed to avoid the Pochinki fighting altogether?
Unfortunately there isn't another fully global event until the end of the year so we won't get an answer any time soon, but the fact that their performance was so good that we can have this conversation so soon after the last global event crowned a team as the world's best says a lot.
NPL Has Gone Up A Level
Phase 2 kicked off last weekend and there were mixed results, but the biggest take away from the first 8 games is that the lobby on this phase has really gone up a notch.
1. eUnited have hit the ground running after a disappointing performance in the first split with TaylorJay living up to his potential as the kill leader so far.
2. PlayerOne have come up from Contenders with no fear at all and find themselves in the middle of the pack already.
3. Simplicity have had the most heavily impacted roster and the results are showing it, but they still have a very strong team.
The biggest indicator of the quality of this lobby is that already 11 of the 16 teams have had a match where they finished in the top 2. What makes that even more amazing is that 2 of the 5 teams that are yet to have a top 2 finish are Lazarus and Cloud9. The teams currently in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Another team without a top 2 finish is Wildcard who are in 6th.
So what does this tell us? Is the ultimate end point of this meta that kills are everything and survival is only important in the service of more kills? Has survival been too devalued in a survival game? Am I looking to deep into just 8 matches? Only time will tell.
Grenades Are a Problem
If you follow any professional PUBG Players on Twitter then you have no doubt read the complaints about the current nade meta in pro play. It's never been more evident than in the fight between Tempo Storm and Envy outside the military base in the first game of day 2 in Phase 2 of the NPL.
Somehow a barrage of grenades from Tempo Storm that numbered in excess of 14 to take out the Envy players didn't even manage to empty the Tempo pockets of grenades. It took what should have been a great gunfight between 2 top teams and made it a battle of utilities. Given all the effort that has been put into making competitive PUBG a better viewing experience this year, you would expect that moves to address this would be a bit swifter, but there has been no official word yet from PUBG Corp.
The answer seems very simple.
The weight of the utilities need to be increased to force players to make tactical decisions about what they can afford to carry. A weight increase would be the easiest to implement and would have enough of an impact to stop the impromptu red zones we are seeing at the moment.