So the qualifiers are over and what an epic weekend it was, our final 8 teams have been found and they will now be moving on to The Oracle Arena in the Bay Area of Oakland. Pending final travel documentation validation the final 8 teams joining our 12 invited rosters will be –
- Crimson Esports
- Team PogChamp
- Ghost Gaming
- Ronin Esports
- Miami Flamingos
- Corn Shuckers
The weekend unfortunately also saw few upsets along the way with many big names in the scene such as Kinguin, NV, G2 and Flyquest just to name a few falling short of the mark. Nethertheless the show must go on and the level of talent attending IEM is incredible and without a doubt we can rest assured that we are in for some seriously high intensity high level PUBG!
It goes without saying that Luminosity comes into this event as not only as a fan favourite but also as a team that is proven on LAN across multiple video games alongside PUBG. The rosters consisting of Ninja, JP2, Drassel and Chipzy enter the arena as reigning champions from the Gamescom invitational where hey secured a hefty $80,000 and were crowned the first ever PUBG squad tournament champions. One thing this rosters benefits heavily from more than most is the fact they have been playing together for quite some time now, after several high placement finishes in H1z1 and Ninja bringing a strong LAN personality/leadership role to the table, Luminosity is one team that the eyes of the world will be set upon, the only downside LUM have compared to many other teams is we don’t tend to see them competing in abundance of online events like the rest of the big names, let see if they can repeat in FPP squads what they managed to do in TPP.
Next up you have to look at Team Liquid, Liquid right now are arguably one of the best in the game at present. With 4 individually talented players in the form of Hayz, Scoom, Molnman and Ollywood their personal abilities are only matched by the sheer amount of time put into the game. When we look back at Gamescom Liquid certainly didn’t have a bad event, but we didn’t see the best of them by any means. Hayz managed to pick up a pan in the Solo TPP and Liquid throughout the tournaments managed to keep in and around the top quadrant of the leaderboards but ultimately fell short and failed to secure any team based placings. Scoom is a player people should pay close attention to, as strong top fragger for Team Liquid and a key figure within the competitive community, combine him with the technical abilities of his 3 teammates and Liquid go into IEM with a locked and loaded roster!
Team Solo Mid is a name that rings volumes in the world of esports and as with any TSM roster it has some heavy hitters and extremely popular players signed on as AimPR, Break, Smak and Viss make up the 4 man band of Team Solo Mid. Looking back to Gamescom much like Team Liquid,TSM had a good showing but only picked up a pan with Break grabbing a second place finish in the solos and ultimately nothing else in terms of team games. After speaking with a lot of players there is a general consensus that TSM over the past few weeks has become a lot stronger as a team/unit and this is starting to show in various online leagues, as an example they are now ranked 5th in the APL, a season high featuring 1 win and 12 top 10 finishes. Further to this TSM appears to now be bootcamping in preparation for IEM Oakland giving the team a seriously solid foundation going into the event and with the new circle damage will we see different approach from TSM?
Finally in terms of teams, both Cloud 9 and Ninjas in Pyjamas are 2 rosters which I’m SUPER interested to see in action. At Gamescom C9 pulled in 2 pans picking up 2nd in TTP and 3rd in FPP showing that the team could get the job done across both formats, the roster at the time did consist of SolidFPS, Chappie, Sweaterr and Crunch with Borg stepping in as his substitute. Months after the dust of Gamescom had settled a split came in with Sweaterr, Crunch and Borg leaving the roster and picking up Ekkz along the way to form NiP leaving SolidFPS and Chappie to acquire new teammates Moody and Frolicer for the new look of C9. Obviously team changes happen, this is nothing new to esports but it does give storylines coming into the event and leaves us wondering if their will be any extra rivalry between the two squads and ultimately which one comes out on top. Moody and Frolicer join C9 with an absolute ton of number 1 leaderboard rankings and also benefit from been in a North American timezone alongside their counterparts. Meanwhile on the other side of the coin, NA Players Sweaterr and Crunch have to adapt timezones to practice with their EU teammates but much like TSM they too are now at boot camp in preparation for IEM.
While I could spend all day listing teams and players like aAa, Tempo Storm, Method etc (pubg really does have a serious amount of seriously skilled and talented individuals) I want to conclude this by talking about 1 last team, The Gorilla Core. This team right now is not only dominating the APL but is also not far off the top 5 in pubg online after smashing it in previous seasons. It houses some of the strongest fraggers in the game – Jembty and Haxete. Mix them with Mxey and Metor to complete the roster and GC is arguably one of the most dominant looking rosters in PUBG right now going in to IEM. We can sit here and assess online stats all day long but from talking to many others out there is a strong feeling out there that come game day GC will not fail to impress and will live up to the hype surrounding them. Heres hoping LAN nerves do not play a factor on this team’s mental game because the raw talent and skill is there and they have a seriously great chance of challenging for 1st place.
See you in Oakland
Intel® Extreme Masters Oakland 2017 will definitely be one for the books as PLAYERUKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS makes its way to the legendary Oracle Arena with a US$200,000 invitational tournament. Tickets are available now, be sure to check out iem.gg/oaklandtickets for more information about the types of tickets available.
More information about Intel® Extreme Masters Oakland is available at iem.gg/oakland2017, as well as the IEM Twitter and Facebook pages. For the latest news from ESL and PUBG, be sure to follow ESLPUBG on Twitter and Facebook as well.