Buckle up, because the PCS5 Americas NA Group Stage has arrived and gets underway this Friday! Twenty-four of the region’s most dangerous teams are eager to resume play for a share of the prize pool and PGC Points. All twenty-four teams have been divided into three groups, each group will play one another ten times, giving every squad a total of 20 Matches.
The Group Stage lobby consists of a wide range of teams looking to earn an invite to the PCS5 Americas Grand Final. There are the regional powerhouses, familiar faces on new teams, and a few young squads looking to make a name for themselves. The action can’t get here soon enough, but before it does, let’s take a look at some of the teams competing this weekend.
The PCS5 Americas NA Group Stage is made up of sixteen teams that were directly invited and eight teams that fought their way through NA Qualifiers. All sixteen teams from the ESL PUBG Masters Americas Grand Final received an invite to the PCS5 NA Group Stage. Additionally, another eight teams have battled their way through qualifiers to get their shot at the region’s strongest teams.
Despite the route your favorite team has taken to get here, everyone is striving to secure a top-six placement and a direct invite to the PCS5 Americas Grand Final. Those who place between 7 – 14 will also receive one final attempt at the Grand Final in the Last Chance Qualifier. A two-day event to determine the final four teams advancing into the Grand Final.
LEADING THE PACK
Several of the teams generally perceived as “front runners” were unable to produce their best outing in the ESL PUBG Masters about a month ago. Regional juggernauts such as the Soniqs, Dignitas, and Spacestation Gaming struggled to put things together and find themselves the necessary Chicken Dinners to succeed in their latest event. We can throw speculation around all day, but the teams clearly weren’t firing on all cylinders in the shortened best-of-twelve event.
When previewing that event it was only fair that I began with the Soniqs. I even went as far as to say that any conversation regarding the Americas should start and stop with the Soniqs. They’ve dominated regional play as of late and deserve the recognition they’ve garnered. I also said that it would remain that way until someone proved to be a challenge and attempt dethroning the Soniqs. Well, the ESL PUBG Masters Americas Phase 2 Grand Final was that moment, and it showcased the ability and competitiveness of Oath as they rose to the occasion.
Reasserting themselves at the top of the leaderboard, Oath joined the ongoing discussion about which NA team is playing its best right now. With an impressive performance throughout, Oath found success without a stockpile of kills or flashy over-aggressive playstyle. The team made smart decisions and worked their way into the late-game phases which ultimately allowed them to walk away as the ESL PUBG Masters Champions. Coming into the PCS5 NA Group Stage, it’s going to be interesting to see how Oath follows up that performance – first things first, secure an invite to the PCS5 Americas Grand Final.
Now, the Soniqs may have experienced an uncharacteristically poor showing their last time out. However, there were still many positives to take away from their performance. An abbreviated ESL PUBG Masters format certainly didn’t do the team any favors, and before we knew it, the team was too far removed to rejoin the fight for first. Despite a tough showing, the team found numerous opportunities to claim a Chicken Dinner but came up just short. Entering the PCS5 NA Group Stage, the team appears to be one of the fan-favorites again, which is hard to downplay knowing the talent and experience on this roster.
Meanwhile, Spacestation Gaming announced a change to the roster a day after their last event. Uncivil has departed and joined Any Trolls In Chat, who has earned one of the eight spots from NA Qualifiers. His spot with SSG was filled by oldless, who last played as a member of the Guadalajara Gascans. The team’s swift roster decision obviously leads us to question where the team’s synergy was all along. It was glaring that something would need to change after a subpar performance, but this wasn’t the first move I imagined. This does have the potential to work out for both parties though. oldless as a member of SSG, and Uncivil playing with ATC.
I would be remiss to jump over TSM FTX after their top-five placement in the recent ESL PUBG Masters Grand Final. The PCS5 NA Group Stage will present the team with an opportunity to resume their consistent play from the previous event, which could mean another Grand Final appearance for one of the region’s strongest squads.
TEAMS WITH THE POTENTIAL TO SURPRISE
There’s always one group of teams that have the potential to steal the show. During the PCS5 NA Group Stage, the three that immediately jump out to me are Three Hundred, eUnited, and Gascons. How each team stacks up against the Americas Grand Final lobby remained to be seen but these teams have everything they need to make some noise on Friday.
Considering Three Hundred was already a dangerous squad that exceeded expectations, the addition of Xtreme could potentially be this squad’s difference-maker. Incorporating a veteran player with outstanding skill will undoubtedly strengthen the entire team’s play and maybe enough to send Three Hundred towards the top of the standings. If they receive comparable production from the team’s trio of holdover members, Three Hundred could be well on their way to a PCS5 Americas Grand Final invitation.
eUnited suffered a real loss to their roster when Cherry decided to hang it up and step away from competitive PUBG. His role and outstanding play for eUnited and The Rumblers over the last year left a substantial void that someone had to fill. Even if EU signed a player that had the experience and talent similar to Cherry, it’s difficult to replicate the team’s synergy that’s built playing with one another over time. No one knows for sure how fast the team can come together, but I love the team’s decision to bring aboard Corsac as their fourth member. He’s been around for some time and will be a solid addition for eUnited from everything I’ve seen.
If this team’s rising trajectory continues during the PCS5 NA Group Stage, we could see the Gascans contending for a top-three position by the end of this event. It’s been impressive to watch this team improve on their play from event to event, highlighted by their recent fourth-place finish in the ESL PUBG Masters Americas Grand Final. Prior to that, the team secured seventh in the PCS4 Americas Grand Final. It’s certainly a combination of many elements, but I believe a lot of the team’s success is owed to the brains of the operation, Adam. Since joining the squad as their IGL in January, the Gascans have had numerous roster changes but continued to develop as a team. They’re one of the teams I’m expecting to surprise viewers during the Group Stage, and potentially into the Grand Final if everything goes as planned.