PUBG Corp. is trying its hand at turning a Battle Royale title into a successful esport by launching six esports leagues and three additional regional pro circuits. One of the leagues that has just kicked off is the National PUBG League, a North American competition for the top 16 teams in the region.
The overarching competitive season is split into three phases, and the first of which is set to get underway on February 1st. With the crème de la crème taking part, it can be hard to separate the competition in terms of skill – but we’re willing to give it a go. This article will act as a prediction piece, looking at which teams will sit at both the top and the bottom of the league.
Before the first phase got underway, there was a preseason event. 32 teams battled it out in four groups to book their spot in the NPL or the lower tier of competition, National PUBG League Contenders. Here’s who we expect to emerge as the best of the best in North America.
Why Tempt Fate
The name might not ring a bell straight away, but Why Tempt Fate has recently made a comeback. Formerly representing North American organisation OpTic Gaming, this squad has been on the verge of cementing themselves as an elite tier roster for quite some time now. Never quite reaching the top ranks in the most prestigious tournaments, Why Tempt Fate has everything to prove in Phase 1 of the NPL. It’s their league to lose.
The winners of the NPL Preseason, eyes will be on Tempo Storm to maintain their solid start to the 2019 competitive season. Ever since they opened some eyes at the World Showdown of Esports’ PUBG Pan-Continental, the team has struggled to replicate the incredible level of consistency it once showed. We expect Tempo Storm to emerge as a strong contender in the early weeks of the phase, but consistency will be the real test for the guys.
Coming fresh off of a roster change that saw Austin Thomas “Lobes” McWethy join the squad, it’s hard to count Cloud9 out of potential glory in the NPL. Sure, the team didn’t perform to its full potential in the Preseason and it’s had underwhelming results in the past, but current roster should be dangerous and consistent – two key factors for success in a long-term league. Watch this space!
It was touch and go whether Vicious Gaming would make the PEL at all, qualifying by the skin of their teeth. In the finals of the Preseason, they finished 15th – placing above only eUnited (who had an uncharacteristically abysmal performance). They lack firepower and slaying ability and when you’re facing a lobby full of mechanically-skilled players, this isn’t encouraging.
Noble eSports has been involved in PUBG esports since Gamescom in 2017, but it’s yet to really make a name for itself in the scene. Qualifying for the first phase of PEL is the only time we’ve really been impressed with them. It’s going to be tight at the top of the league and we, truthfully, feel like this will be the case towards the bottom portion too – we just feel as if this team will find itself muddled in there.
Narrowly scraping through into the PEL, Lazarus was merely 28 points ahead of Team Kru Esport in the Preseason – one wrong move in a game could’ve resulted in the squad only making Contenders. We don’t think this is a one-off, moreso that Lazarus simply will find it hard to compete among the best in the region.
After Phase 1 of the NPL is over, a global event will take place that involves teams from each of the nine regions. Not only that, but the teams will be refreshed. The top 10 squads from Phase 1 will remain in the NPL, whereas the remaining six teams will enter a relegation tournament alongside the best teams from the National PUBG League Contenders league.
All images courtesy of OGN Esports