This article is part of our PUBG series.
After four days of incredibly consistent play, FaZe Clan took home the $50,000 top prize at StarSeries i-League 2018, and it wasn’t even close. Team Liquid might have been the talk of the tournament through the first couple days, but they fell off the face of Erangel on the final two days to give the win to FaZe Clan.
Slow and steady wins the race
Well, it’s not entirely accurate to say that FaZe played it slow and steady. They certainly weren’t the most flashy, however. While Liquid was raking in kills, FaZe was putting themselves in solid positions to win in almost every one of the 20 matches played this weekend.
After finally overtaking Liquid at the end of Day 3, FaZe Clan cleaned house on the final day to solidify their top spot in Kiev. While they bookended the day with sub-par 12th and 13th placements, they picked up chicken dinners in Games 2 and 4 while coming in 2nd during Game 3. FaZe ended up with a whopping 951 points on the day which, combined with Liquid’s lowly 409 points, gave FaZe the title by a hefty 500-plus point margin. Considering that they were down by over 300 points going into Day 3, their performance is all the more impressive.
Looking at the trajectories of both Liquid and FaZe during this tournament, the two perfectly demonstrated two of the major paths to victory in PUBG. Liquid took the aggressive “kill everything” approach that, while effective, can be inconsistent depending on loot drops and the like. Meanwhile, FaZe focused more on getting high ground and putting themselves in a position to win almost every game. FaZe’s strategy proved to be the more consistent one, as it placed outside the top-6 in just five of the 20 games played. It may not be the most exciting style of play, but the results clearly speak for themselves.
Liquid falls apart on final day
All good things must come to an end. Liquid might have looked like the strongest PUBG team on the planet after the first two days of competition, but they looked incredibly weak to close things out. Liquid had made much of their early tournament lead on the back of some of the most fearsome offense we’ve seen in competitive PUBG to date. They racked up 113 in those initial two days to build up quite the lead over the competition. But then the kills stopped coming.
In the final half of the tournament, Liquid only managed 33 kills. On Sunday, in particular, they put up just 14. In fact, 10 of those kills came in Game 4 and they ended Games 2, 3, and 5 with zero kills. This all added up to an 11th place finish for this team on the final day. They still managed to come in second overall, but you have to think that this is one that they simply let slip away.
Liquid put on a perfect demonstration of why kills aren’t all that matters in PUBG, or any battle royale for that matter. Sure, kills help pad your overall point totals, but it’s not the end all be all. Not only that, but it can tough to pick up that many kills on a consistent basis due to loot pools and the randomness of the zone. It’s far more consistent to play the zone over kills and let things come naturally. It’ll be interesting to see if Liquid changes up their strategy at their next competitive outing.
Best of the rest
Team Vitality may not have gotten a win or even a second place showing, but third place is not too shabby. They ended the tournament with a bang, picking up 905 points on Sunday, which was good for the seventh highest such total across all four days. This is a team that can certainly be a force to be reckoned with in the future if they can manage to have some better results earlier in tournaments.
For the second straight tournament, North America made fans proud with some strong showings. Three of the four teams placed in the top-10, with Cloud9 and Tempo Storm coming in 4th and 5th, respectively. Ghost Gaming, who finished 13th overall, gets a pass for this outing since it had to pick up a stand-in just two days before the tournament due to Gavin "DefineLegit" Lawrence being released for “unprofessional behavior and endangering the well-being of his teammates.” On the whole, though, fans of North American esports can rest easy that they’ll usually have at least one solid contender during these tournaments.
It’s also worth mentioning that AVANGAR, the winners of last week’s IEM Katowice PUBG Invitational, picked up just a single chicken dinner all weekend long. All the magic they had in Katowice was nowhere to be found in Kiev, as they continually found themselves in unwinnable positions. Watching how this team responds to this outing will be another interesting development moving forward.