With IEM Oakland approaching quickly and a metagame developing throughout this early access season, there is no better time than now to check out the interesting teams & playstyles that will be showcased in this weekend’s Battle Royale clash.
Edge Strats, Slightly Dulled
Recent patches have made edge camping much more difficult – the blue zone now does more damage the deeper you are. Some teams have adapted via core changes in their play, while others have simply refined their playstyle around the edge.
TSM’s roster, featuring well-known players Viss, Break, SmaK and veteran aimPR, have been bootcamping on-site this past week. We’ve seen them test the insides of the circle with solid rotational play from compound to compound during late circles, and their post-game reviews after each squad game have been nice to hear from an esports coach’s standpoint.
On the other hand, the Noble Esports lineup seemingly haven’t changed much about their playstyle with the recent damage amp to the blue. They’ll surely be looking to collapse on the edge earlier, and their edge-camp, pick-heavy playstyle should be one to watch for this weekend as teams may fall prey to this cheeky lineup.
Roams Far & Wide
In recent Showdown series matches, we’ve seen a heavy emphasis on roaming. Roaming is a broad term when talking about a Battle Royale game with a map of this size. Many teams have their own ideas about what are the best types of roaming, and when they’re best executed, producing many amazing collisions of playstyle.
Cloud 9 has a very conservative style of play with their roamer, Chappie. The team usually loots together, but as the game progresses and loot phase ends, SOLIDFPS (who made minor “roam”-type movements during loot phase) usually stays with Frolicer & Moody, while Chappie roams as a primary flanker behind them and at a diagonal angle from their next rotation. This is an excellent strategy if they can have their 3-man core hold down a firefight while Chappie gets his flank going, as we’ve seen players of his ability mow down entire squads when they get the right angle. This strategy’s biggest weakness comes from the fact that, if scouted out, the primary & sole flanker can get picked off, leaving the team a man down for the rest of the game.
Tempo Storm has shown a tendency to drop players in different complexes about 100-300 meters apart from each other at the beginning of the game. This gives them a wider range of influence and vision in the area they decide to drop, and they can make rotational calls based on what they’re seeing. Tempo’s formation stays loose until midgame, when they start grouping more as the first circle or two close and force them into an approach. If they can make it to this phase with all four alive, we can expect them to make good movements with the knowledge they get from their spread drop.
Ghost Gaming is a personal favorite of mine at the moment, as their recent leaderboard placements and macro strategies within NA Showdown have been spectacular. In the last match their starting 4 played at Showdown, Pr0phie & Miccoy top fragged as Miccoy roamed for his team and Pr0phie point-manned Ghost into a #2 finish. Yet, I saw big potential in their sub Wizwiki, who is surprisingly not listed on the team (or any team) for IEM Oakland. In the second-to-last NA Showdown series match before IEM, Wizwiki popped off for 9 kills as Ghost’s sole roamer. Depending on how this weekend goes, they may find success in running a 2-flanker system with Miccoy and Wizwiki, but as for now we’ll most likely see them running a 3-man front with Pr0phie, Definelegit, and Austin and Miccoy roaming in the same way that Chappie does for C9.
Lords of their Land
Knowing the layout of the area you’ll be looting and potentially skirmishing in during the early game is important, and the teams who display this playstyle are fine-tuned to make the most out of it.
At Gamescom, Luminosity looked to start at Military Base and Novo and regularly slow dropped. These areas will always yield enough loot for all 4 members of a squad to come out with full kits, but if LG brings this strat back they’ll have to make sure they don’t stay in either area too long if the circle isn’t ending near Sosnovka Island, as gatekeeping the edge of blue zone is a Noble specialty.
Team Liquid, one of the strongest teams to come out of North America, are known to drop in the smaller compounds around Rhozok. From here, they have several pivot rotations they can make onto Rhozok, apartments, school, or another part of the map. Add to this that the locations they choose to drop at have at minimum 2 garages (compound directly east of Rhozok as well as the L compound to the southeast), which gives them an almost guaranteed vehicle spawn, and this team quickly becomes one to fear this IEM weekend.
Invited vs. Qualified
While the invited teams are fielding talent galore, it should be noted that some of the teams were invited since they were signed to an org or qualified through a previous tournament vs. weaker opponents or within a weaker tournament system. On the other side of the coin, qualifier teams should have many eyes on them as they truly earned their spots with grit through the points system, and were given even less slots to enter the tournament than the invited teams. Nevertheless, talent is abundant in this tournament and it is sure to be an exciting weekend of PUBG.
IEM Oakland PUBG kicks off this Saturday the 18th at Oracle Arena with doors open at 10am PST, and first match at 1pm.
Watch the live stream at http://twitch.tv/esl_pubg.