The first weekend of the ESL PUBG Masters Americas Grand Final delivered three days of intense action as the best of two regions met to renew past rivalries. Our teams have come together to form the Americas region for this event and others later this season, but each of the sixteen teams battled through two passionate regions in qualifiers and Group Stages. The first twelve matches played across three days formed an interesting leaderboard as we hit the event’s halfway point. Our standings feature many of the usual suspects towards the top, with one familiar North American powerhouse standing above the rest.
Day One belonged to our LATAM teams who kicked off the event with a chicken dinner in three of Friday’s four matches. ENRAGE Gaming, 22 Esports, and Young Kings found their first wins of the Grand Final with Shoot To Kill rounding out the winners of Day One. Following these matches, we’d see our initial four winning teams move in different directions on the overall standings.
STK managed to build on their early success by collecting a large number of kill points and adding another Chicken Dinner on Day Two. Over the first twelve matches of this event, Shoot To Kill has posted four matches with ten kills or more. The substantial contribution from these kill points helped lift STK to the top of the leaderboard, where they sit to close out the first week of play. I’ll typically avoid singling out one player as much as possible, but the individual performance from Penta this past weekend, Day Three especially, has only raised the team’s potential with him onboard. His play since joining STK alongside PurdyKurty, aLOW, and Luke12 has steadily developed, and it appears the team as a unit is hitting its stride over the first half of this event.
It may have been expected by the team and their supporters, but if you were to look at our top-six there is one team, in particular, that stands out. Three Hundred have burst onto the scene with three outstanding days of play to place themselves in second, only seventeen points behind Shoot To Kill in first. This was not the Three Hundred I was expecting to see during this Grand Final, but they’ve been a pleasant surprise. The team is loaded with talent who are playing well when it matters most, especially Neferhor, who closed out Day One in third and is now seventh overall in Damage Dealt. Bolstering the roster are Latta, Headkick, and Vox, who have all shown their strength playing against the best teams the region has to offer. If there was one team I drastically underestimated heading into the Grand Final, it was certainly these guys.
The next two teams on our leaderboard are no strangers to occupying a spot atop the standings. Soniqs and Oath round out the top-four and are in a position to make a run for first place this upcoming weekend. Only twelve matches remain for any team to chase down and overtake STK in first. It’s possible that we see Spicy Fish, Zenith Esports, and 22 Esports get involved in the fight for first. There is still a lot of PUBG to be played before we crown our ESL PUBG Masters Americas Champion, and we know these teams won’t simply lie down and let STK walk away with this one.
LUKE12 CLUTCHES OUT THE WIN FOR STK
Luke12 and Penta were caught in a tough situation as Phase 9 forced Match 3 to end in a frenzy just South of Stalber. Locked into a fight with Durany Esports on the rocks directly above him, Luke12 quickly found himself as the lone survivor for STK as the zone slowly closed in. Taking the opportunity to find a tree while Durany and Dodge clashed in front of him, Luke12 set up to make the play of the tournament, so far at least.
Patience, perfect positioning, and precise shots from Luke12 quickly turned this improbable clutch into reality for Shoot To Kill. After knocking two members of Durany, Luke12 escaped shots from his right and quickly assisted with the kill on Dodge’s last member with two shots of his SLR. After turning it into a one versus one, he used the deployed smoke grenade in front of him to his advantage and caught the last member of DNY by surprise.
NO HARD FEELINGS? SHARPSHOT VS SQ
It couldn’t have made for an easier storyline. Sharpshot spent the first three months of this year in Korea with Soniqs at PGI.S as the team’s backup player. He then returned home and formed Spicy Fish alongside Roth, Uncivil, and Keenan to compete in the ESL PUBG Masters. The team dominated Groups and have turned up in the Grand Finals with something to prove to anyone who doubts them. Fast-forward to Match 6 on Day Two, when Sharpshot finds himself as the lone survivor with all four members of Soniqs alive on the high ground above.
After sneaking uphill to knock and flush TGLTN, Sharpshot went to work slowly picking apart the remaining members of Soniqs. After finding Zanpah through the barrier and fencing, he made one final push to eliminate hwinn and secure the win for his new team.
On the following day, Spicy Fish produced another highlight deserving of its spot in our Week One recap. In Match 11 on Sosnovka Island, Roth wiped out the Guadalajara Gascans with ease to secure a quick four points.
Down to 1HP, Sharpshot manages to knock oldless with the iron sights on his AK. Shortly after that, Roth finds the final two members of Gascans crashing onto the fight, picking off both from their moving vehicle. The team went on to finish the first week of action in 5th overall with 81 points.
SONIQS KEEP WITHIN STRIKING DISTANCE
The Soniqs has been bouncing around the top of our leaderboard through the first twelve matches, despite the unfamiliarity of playing with Zanpah as their substitute fourth member. As the matches have progressed, so have the results for Soniqs. Hoping to add another major tournament victory to the team’s lengthy list of achievements, the increasing strength of this temporary roster should concern those rooting for a team currently ranked above the Soniqs.
Soniqs presented a masterclass in breeches and clearing out buildings held by an enemy team. One grenade from Shrimzy presented the team with their opportunity to rush the staircase, where Shrimzy eliminated the final two members to complete their wipe of ENRAGE Gaming.
This highlight starts off as something you might find underneath a portion about Three Hundred, but the Soniqs ultimately won this match with 13 Kills to move themselves up into second place overall. As the amount of playable terrain began to shrink, Zenith tried to make the only play they could and pushed towards Soniqs. Unfortunately for them, Vox, Headkick, and Neforhor of Three Hundred were anticipating this and zeroed in on their position. With Zenith Esports gone, Sonqis had the freedom to advance across the road and eliminate Three Hundred to secure the chicken dinner.
FINDING THEIR FIRST WIN OF ESL MASTERS
Like many teams in this event, Oath Gaming is adjusting to a new roster while competing against the region’s best following their addition of Kickstart. Oath already passed their first major test as a new team by placing sixth in the preceding Group Stage and have since had an impressive display in the Grand Final, considering they’re currently sitting in fourth.
Oath claimed their first Chicken Dinner of the event in Match 11 on Erangel with 11 Kills in tow. If they’re able to continue playing at a similar level, we’ll certainly find Oath in our top-five after the matches Sunday evening.