Week 1 of the PCS3 Group Stage picked up right where we left off with an exciting three-day start to the new series. Twenty-four of the region’s best teams dropped into the battlegrounds to compete for a spot in the PCS3 NA Grand Final, set to host only the top 16 after three weeks of play. After 15 of the 45 scheduled matches, the leaderboard has quickly begun to take shape, though there is still plenty of time for teams to settle into a spot above the cut-off line.
The opening week of action produced plenty of highlights deserving of another look, so we’ve rounded up a few of the best plays and moments from Week 1!
SHOOT TO KILL IS HERE TO PLAY
While it may not have been the result Shoot To Kill imagined for their PCS2 campaign, the team has bounced back from a tough Grand Final and arrived in the PCS3 NA Group Stage looking more potent than ever. Considering the team’s success in the past, that’s saying something. STK’s performance over the first ten games confirmed the positive vibes surrounding them and should have eradicated any lingering thoughts you may have had about the team’s capability to hang with the top of the leaderboard.
While we’re just getting into the Group Stage, ultimately a top-sixteen placement is all that matters, so it’s encouraging to see STK get out in front with an impressive start to PCS3. Hopefully, for STK and their fans, we don’t see a repeat of the previous series, when they dominated groups before falling behind early in the Grand Final. The real measure of this team remains the Grand Final and based on their Week 1 performance, that’s only a matter of time until we see them competing to be PCS3 NA Champions.
SEAT-SWAP FOR THE RECORD BOOKS
Dodge entered the Group Stage after making three changes to their roster, bringing in “DannyG”, “Lampalot”, and “ADAM”, all of which played for opposing teams during PCS2. One of the team’s latest additions, and veteran of PUBG Esports, “ADAM” did not waste any time before making his mark on this new roster and series.
The opening week of the PCS3 Group Stage was somewhat of a mixed bag for Dodge and its supporters. To help put it into perspective, Dodge secured 85% of their Week One point total during the second day over the course of five matches. They currently sit in fifth-place despite their challenging first day, and at the very least, got this remarkable highlight out of an otherwise difficult day on the battlegrounds.
FANS OF ZENITH ESPORTS, MEET ‘POONAGE’
Another lineup to feel the effects of Roster Royale, Zenith Esports found themselves in a difficult situation during Match 1 of Day Two as one of their newest members was isolated and faced a two-man rush from the Guadalajara Gascans. Brent “Poonage” Mullany was forced to flee into one of the building’s back rooms as the two-man team cleared room to room.
In one of the more impressive solo-plays from this past weekend, “Poonage” managed to flash both players and secure two additional points for his new team. This was a great sample of the potential “Poonage” brings to the roster, as he turned what should have been a point for Gascans into two points for his team. Zenith Esports had a great opening weekend and carried on to finish Week One in fourth-place overall.
THE HARDSHIFTS WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR
The Houston Hardshifts is unquestionably one of North America’s most talented and experienced rosters. Sadly, the experience and reputation we see on paper have yet to translate in-game – at least until this week. After an incredible start to the Group Stage where the team placed within the top-three of five straight matches, the Houston Hardshifts closed out their opening week on Saturday, in the first place on the leaderboard. They would eventually end up in second place after an absurd run from STK but earn the extra attention for their impressive play throughout the first ten matches.
SONIQS ROUND OUT TOP-FOUR
There was a lot of attention surrounding the Soniqs as Week One of PCS3 Group Stage rolled around, and rightfully so. The team was already regarded as one of North America’s strongest coming into PCS, but truly made a name for themselves during the PCS2 Grand Final.
While I enjoy the Group Stage and all of the ups and downs it has to offer, part of me is ready to see Soniqs back in the Grand Final defending their title against teams like the Houston Hardshifts. The two teams collided with one another frequently during Week One, including this late-game skirmish on the edge of “Swamp” during Match 3 of Day 1.
Coming off their dominant run through the PCS2 Grand Final, the defending PCS Champions were quick to remind everyone of what this roster is capable of producing during Week One. Despite their subpar Day Three outing, Soniqs remain inside the top three just behind STK and Hardshifts. It’s important to remember that this is the Group Stage and the goal for every team is a top-sixteen placement, so an “off day” from any of our top contenders is nothing to be concerned about.