*aAa* Gaming Keep Dominating: French Squad Wins the IEM Oakland PUBG Invitational
A Dynasty in the Making?
Fresh off of November Curse Trials victory, French crew *aAa* Gaming have just picked up another one. This time, they took home a prestigious championship title at the IEM Oakland PUBG Invitational.
Highly-skilled and hungry for top results, *aAa* Gaming’s road to victory was nothing short of spectacular. The EU Qualifiers at the end of October were absolutely gruelling. 320 squads were assigned to 16 groups of 20 teams for Bo3 Round 1. Only 5 from each of those groups got to advance.
Round 2 Bo3-s were even harder, with 4 groups of 20 teams. There were no free pickins, these were all skilled opponents looking to advance into the final round. And the final round was a high-stakes ordeal in itself.
Out of the final 20 squads left, one of which was *aAa* Gaming, only 4 got to qualify for the IEM Oakland PUBG Invitational. The stakes were high, but *aAa* hopped over this final barrier once again, accompanied by Crimson Esports, WhiteKids/Wind and Rain and Team PogChamp/Digital Chaos.
That last squad was at least equally as scary as *aAa* Gaming. They won the first and the seventh round at the main stage during this weekend. It was a feat unmatched by any other squad. Unfortunately, for them, *aAa* Gaming (over)compensated more than enough with consistent high placements and high kill-counts, accumulating over 1,600 points by the end of the 8th round.
For comparison, Tempo Storm, a second placed team, had 235 points less, sitting at 1,385. The third-placed Ghost Gaming were just 10 points behind (1,375), FaZe Clan were fourth with 1,355 and Digital Chaos had exactly 1,300 at the fifth place. They all had at least 1 “dud” round. *aAa* Gaming didn’t.
|15||Wind and Rain||875||29||N/A|
|16||Ninjas in Pyjamas||845||17||N/A|
Top Plays of the Weekend
This was the easily the single most humiliating moment of the entire tournament. Noble’s The Chosen Zygote wiped the floor with Evil Geniuses, eliminating 3 enemy players with the single, perfectly placed grenade throw. KOBE memes abound!
It was the 8th and final round, PENTA Sports needed as many kills as they could get, but that didn’t stop jeemzz from going the extra mile and ending a downed opponent with his bare hands.
— ESL PUBG (@ESLPUBG) 19 November 2017
Digital Chaos have pulled off an incredible feat here. They won the very first round on day 1, followed by another, seventh round win the following day. A few other teams have come close to matching that achievement, but nobody has actually done it, other than our bellowed Team PogChamp!
PUBG Esports Still Plagued by the Same Issues
Moving away from the all the hype, sick plays and highlight reels, ESL doesn’t seem to have learned from their troubled handling of Gamescom Invitational a while ago. The spectator tools, clunky as they are, have yet again been handed over to people who clearly couldn’t follow and keep up with the action. It’s really baffling how such seemingly easily manageable issue keeps being an issue over and over again.
For whatever reason, we spent a lot of the time watching the mini-map with a bunch of little circles and arrows representing players and the directions they were looking at. Even when the cameras switched over to a certain player’s perspective, more often than not it wasn’t any of the players currently engaged in a gunfight, or doing anything interesting in particular. Of course, nobody claims it’s easy to keep track of player movements and predict gunfights, but simply ignoring the kill-feeds at all times while following players riding vehicles around the map gets old really quickly.
The gameplay itself, of course, continues to be an issue too. Certain squads, such as TSM and Tempo Storm, actively avoided confrontations as much as possible, choosing to hang around the edges of the safe zones, and camping compounds/high-grounds. Despite each kill being worth 10 points, the allure of surviving by any means necessary was still too strong, especially when the first spot had a guaranteed minimum of 300 points. Even the champs *aAa* Gaming opted to utilize the waiting and stalling tactics in the last round. They split the squad, with everyone going in different directions to maximize the chances of at least 1 squad member surviving into the late game. They finished 6th with 0 kills that round.
Nobody can blame the players and teams for employing such tactics. The aim of the game is to survive, and further incentivising the killing by increasing the points even more will only serve to nullify the last-man/squad-standing aspect, and turn PUBG into just another generic deathmatch. However, something needs to be done to motivate players into action instead of camping shacks and compounds at edges of the safe zone. Hopefully, Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene still has a few aces in his sleeve!