Two of the Best Pro Plays at IEM Oakland, Broken Down
The first day of the PUBG Invitational at IEM Oakland is history, and it delivered on the hype! Viewers were treated to four tense and exciting matches, with four different teams picking up juicy chicken dinners… And at the end of competition, the top three teams are separated by less than 100 points! Entering day two, Team SoloMid is in first with 865 points, Method has a safe second place with 835, and aAa holds third with 760.
While we await tomorrow’s nailbiting conclusion, we have a golden opportunity to learn from the best… Let’s examine two of the pro plays from Day 1 that really exemplify the high-level gameplay on display! After discussing all the action, we concluded that games two and four really deserve more attention. We’ll start things off with a look at TSM’s game 4 Chicken Dinner, then break down Cloud 9’s crazy game 2 run. Without further ado…
Image credit: ESL
Team SoloMid Plays Smart
Yesterday we covered our picks for the PUBG teams to watch at IEM Oakland. At the top of this list was Team SoloMid, who’s ending day one in a commanding position! TSM showed off their tactical prowess in every match. Their looting, blue zone control and circle play was always strong, but each team member also found opportunities for standout performances across the four games… And in game four especially! In all four matches, TSM landed in the north-eastern section of Georgopol regardless of plane path. They remained there long into the first and even second blue circles, ensuring they had great loot before fighting over advantageous positions.
In their winning match, the strategy remained unchanged. The team started with their usual run in north-east Georgopol. They spent some serious time outside of the safe zone, taking constant damage while driving across Erangel. Instead of a direct route into the circle, TSM hauled far north past Severny, towards Stalber, then curved southwards into safety. By taking this path, they avoided the other teams in transit and secured an uncontested position on the hill east of Mansion. It was here that one of the most incredible pro plays of the day took place: TSM’s “smoke wall!”
After a short rest, the encroaching blue pushed TSM out of their stronghold and towards Mansion. This put them in an awkward position, as they had to descend the hill while under fire from multiple squads – notably NiP, who held the yellow buildings at Mansion. In that moment, TSM pulled off one of a miracle: they worked together to build a wall of smoke grenades to cover their movement! This allowed them to advance on enemy squads and take the compound without being gunned down – and gave them a favorable position to close out the match.
TSM Chicken Dinner – à la Smak
But that smoke play was just the beginning… On entering the yellow compound, TSM.aimPR wins a crucial 1v1 shootout vs NiP.Crunch. This gives the other TSM members a chance to push into cover and find safe positions. They’re thinking ahead, and setting up to play the final circles from a good spot. There are only 10 players remaining at this point! Here’s where TSM.Smak seizes the moment:
Smak achieves true hero status here… He finishes off the last three kills beautifully with teammate aimPR. His positioning gives him the advantage over Liquid’s two surviving members, then he changes angles to catch NiP.Ekkz as he tries to reposition. Every decision there was so perfect – will TSM replicate their performance tomorrow? We’re eager to find out!
Cloud 9 Builds a Mobile Fortress
Cloud 9, another of our teams to watch, picked up the win in game two with beautiful strategic teamplay. The key to their victory was perfectly exploiting the terrain! Cloud 9 prioritized circle positioning over loot runs, and with smart vehicle use created an “on-the-go stronghold” from which they had perfect control and defilade from all sides. (That’s military-speak for cover.) A clean execution of the plan earned C9 an easy Chicken Dinner, with all four members of the squad still standing!
To start the game, C9 headed for Primorsk and quickly looted the town uncontested. In contrast to TSM, they then drove straight for the centre-most position of the circle, each in their own vehicle. The team settled on the hill southeast of Pochinki with 79 of 80 players still alive. From there, favorable circle RNG meant C9 could hold their position for nearly the entire remainder of the game!
Cloud 9’s brilliance lay in placing their vehicles close to other ledges, and thus creating mobile protection while maintaining very good vision. In a perfect textbook play, C9 sets up a ‘firebase’ with vehicles parked all around and chokes out the teams with inferior positions! They clean house, demolishing squad after squad forced to reposition past their control zone. The game ends in a furious firefight, with C9 taking down rivals TSM as they are forced out of cover and into the line of fire!
Leading into tomorrow, we can expect some different playstyles to appear… Teams should be looking to change up their landing and looting routes, and we expect to see more aggression from lower-placed teams who need high placement to stay competitive. Overall, it should be another fantastic day of PUBG, and we’ll be sure to compile some pro plays once the dust settles! Thanks for reading!
Want a visual recap of day one? Check our highlight video here!
Written by Nicholas “NicoThePico” Korsgård and Leon “Reeth” Gleißner