by Ty Brody

Following the conclusion of the PCS3 NA Group Stage, eight teams who were unable to qualify for the Grand Final faced off with eight squads who have climbed their way up the from the NA Challenger Series 3, in the NA Challenger Cup 3. The tournament hosted a collection of prospective players and teams as they faced off with teams who were competing for their spot in the PCS3 NA Grand Final just days prior.

The Challenger Cup provides teams with an opportunity to showcase their skill at a high-level against some of the strongest teams in North America. For some teams, the tournament can act as a much-needed rebound following their tough run through the stronger competition. For others, it’s the opportunity they’ve been working towards in a series of qualifiers that lead up to the tournament. Roster decisions, additional prize pools, and a massive boost in confidence are at stake during the Challenger Cup.

Heading into the Challenger Cup, we focused on the teams that were arriving following a tough display in the PCS3 Group Stage. What we learned, was teams like Gravity, Team Clueless, and Elus1ve are all deserving of their spot at the highest level playing against the best this region has to offer. Gravity, in particular, got off to a slow start before closing out Day One with a pair of 22-point Chicken Dinners, placing themselves atop the leaderboard which they defended for the remainder of the Challenger Cup. This roster may have struggled during the PCS3 Group Stage but their performance during the Challenger Cup has proven that they are one of the stronger teams just outside the top sixteen.

KEKW Keyers and Team Clueless both played great throughout the Challenger Cup, reinforcing the positive outlook we had about their rosters prior to the tournament. “SimplyMatt” and “Retaliative” led the way for the KEKW Keyers and are a duo worth watching as we move into 2021. Whether they’re competing under the same banner as teammates like this Challenger Cup or plucked by a current PCS3 roster, these two have a bright future in PUBG Esports. If they’re don’t already, NA PUBG Esports fans will soon know their names.

Team Clueless was in a position to win the Challenger Cup when Day One ended but ultimately placed third to wrap up their PCS3 run. We witnessed numerous impressive plays from this team during the event, but they trailed off as the tournament winded down while Gravity and KEKW Keyers finished strong.

The leaderboard ended with just a few points separating many teams, which showed how closely contested the Challenger Cup was up until the very last match. I’d say the top-eight squads are all skilled teams that I’m eager to see in our next PCS lobby. Even a handful of teams that placed just outside of the top-eight deserve another shot against the region’s best. Perhaps we’ll see some of the players who competed in this event make their way onto PCS3 rosters in the near future, until then, we’ll have this leaderboard to reference when taking a look at the upcoming talent North America PUBG Esports has to offer.

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