IEM Oakland Roundup: Lessons of the PUBG Invitational

The Dust Settles At The Invitational… What Did We Learn?

As the IEM Oakland PUBG Invitational draws to an end, aAa hoists their trophies as the new champions crowned in the West. And they’re not just the latest team on top, but also the very last champion of 2017! PUBG is set to launch before the new year…  Meaning by the next major tournament, we’ll already be playing with version 1.0. But before we discuss the future of PUBG, let’s take one last look at the exciting storylines of the Invitational.

Over the course of the weekend, we covered four of what we believed were the most interesting top plays from the event as a whole, from TSMs Chicken Dinner in game four finish to the crazy clutch ending Liquid pulled off in game five. You can find those recaps here (part 1) and here (part 2).

pubg invitational team aaa

Image credit: ESL

aAa Takes The Crown In Oakland

Coming in from the EU qualifier series, French team aAa (Against All Authority) never failed to showcase strong, consistent performance across all eight games… Excellent teamwork plus tactical prowess and adaptability meant they racked up enough points during their run – plus a Chicken Dinner – to win the entire tournament. They even ended with a staggering 235 point lead over the runner-up, Tempo Storm. This squad has made a name for themselves, and they are currently the indisputable strongest team in the West!

We didn’t feature aAa in our play breakdowns, and although aAa won the entire tournament it was never through a ‘clutch round’ or insane individual performance. Instead, aAa came out victorious by playing their own game, playing smart, and finding strong positions for the final circle in as many games as possible. The French boys have every right to be proud! If you didn’t catch it live, it’s definitely worth watching their game winning interview here.


The True Dark Horse: Digital Chaos

Digital Chaos was one of those teams that mostly flew under the radar going into the Invitational. They were among the eight qualifying teams, and barely made it through the EU series… In fact, they were the lowest-scored of the four teams to receive invites this way. However, the European team didn’t let that affect them! They secured the first Chicken Dinner of IEM after wiping the floor with Tempo Storm in the final circle.

DC didn’t just take that first dinner, though. They also won again on day two – making them the only team in the tournament to be victorious in multiple games!

pubg team digital chaos dc

Digital Chaos ended 5th in the tournament, winning $15,000 USD ($3,750 per player). What really made this squad stand out was the way they played tactically defensive up until the last circles – only then to swap gears into heavy aggression! This netted them the fourth most kills overall, at 35 total. Overall this was a breakout performance. DC is the true dark horse of the Invitational!


Luminosity: Trouble in Paradise?

When we covered our top three teams to watch last Friday, we also included a ‘dark horse’ discussion and named Luminosity in that spot. Despite not having a bootcamp and players spending the majority of their time streaming other games, we had hope that the squad could ‘show up big’ once more like at Gamescom. Ending the tournament in 13th place, it’s fair to say they didn’t live up to expectations…  With barely any noticeable moments in the entire tournament, Luminosity felt practically invisible at the event. What went wrong for the talented roster?

pubg team luminosity

Image credit: ESL

Watching Luminosity through the eight-game-run was fairly disheartening. It seemed like the squad was not fully on the same page, and not as in-tune with the meta as other participating teams. Obviously we have to question their decision not to do any sort of team bootcamp before the event…  And we believe a large reason for their performance was lack of in-house practice as a squad!

Still, Luminosity made 13th place based on individual strength and prowess. For them to place higher in future events, we’ll just have to see improved teamplay and meta understanding. In the next event, Luminosity will be hungry to prove that Oakland was just a fluke. We look forward to seeing if these excellent players can get back on their feet.


PUBG Esports, Moving Forward

Before the end of 2017, PUBG will release patch 1.0 – marking the official release of the game. At IEM Oakland, we learned that many different strategies can lead to victory, whether through a conservative approach like Digital Chaos or an aggressive one like Team Liquid. Overall, teams fought heavily for central positions early and worked hard to take that coveted circle center. However the meta we see right now might change completely over the course of the full release… PUBG will be adding tons of content: vaulting, new maps, and even new vehicles and weapons!

pubg esports desert map

The future of PUBG looks bright, and we’re excited to see how the professional scene continues to develop. Come 2018, we expect PUBG to reach the next level in terms of how seriously it’s taken by organisations in the scene. We’ll also have to watch how the practice environment develops, as teams will be practicing mostly with the same teams that they compete against. And of course, we’re looking forward to more global events! We want to see how Western teams stand up against the eastern regions like China and Korea.


IEM Oakland was a blast and demonstrated that PUBG has everything necessary to be a top esport. Every event is getting more hype, more serious, and more funding… And we’ll be with you every step of the way to cover PUBG-related news, upcoming events, and more! Thanks for reading!

Written by Nicholas “NicoThePico” Korsgård and Leon “Reeth” Gleißner

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