- 1. New look Navi is ready for success
Natus Vincere (NAVI) is without a doubt a good team, and I think one of the big surprises is how quickly they gelled considering they had two new players on the roster.
What helped is that most of them have actually played together before. During the PEL qualifiers in Minsk, Belarus, in 2018, we saw an unsigned team called Jokers who basically dominated the tournament. That Jokers roster boasted three out of the four current NAVI players: ceh9, TheTab and Kemba7.
They also played PEL Phase 1 with that roster and ended up in sixth place. The only reason the squad disbanded was because players got picked up by other teams who had backing from big orgs – ceh9 went to NAVI, and TheTab and Kemba7 went to CrowCrowd.
So we are seeing a reunion of Jokers, and they’re also joined by Bestoloch who fits the line up well. At the moment ceh9 and Bestoloch seem to be almost inseparable, becoming perhaps the most fearsome duo in CIS.
Not to take anything away from this team but another factor that helped NAVI dominate the PGS Berlin: Europe Qualifier finals was almost all of the other teams had roster changes with completely new players. This was the first time we saw a lot of the line-ups, and naturally some were stronger than others.
- 2. We were wrong to underestimate Exalt
Exalt is the old Team Reciprocity lineup who we saw at PEL, with a roster change of Scoom leaving and Naylup joining the side.
Our predictions were made around two weeks before the qualifier started, and some shaky performances during PEL – combined with Naylup’s lack of LAN experience – meant I wasn’t expecting them to do well. During GLL, however, you could see the potential in the team and how good a player Naylup is.
Exalt was also helped by ynck joining as a coach. Not only is ynck very knowledgeable but he was actually the guy who found Naylup and brought him to the top of competitive PUBG, they played together at PELC for team PG18.
Shiv and mOnKeY also go way back as they played together at Evolve and Vitality, before Shiv got dropped and joined Reciprocity. MonKeY stayed on at Vitality and was actually benched (which is absolutely crazy considering how good of a player he is).
UdyrMayFire, the last player on the team, is a familiar name as well coming from PENTA Sports. He has been on the scene and playing at the top level for a long time.
He has a lot of experience and last year we saw him not only at all of the PEL phases but also at the GLL Grand Slam. He also represented team Germany in the PUBG Nations Cup.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this team does this year, as of right now UdyrMayFire is the only one with experience against Asian teams who have a bit of a different play style than western PUBG sides.
- 3. Naylup is one to watch
Overall, a few players stood out at the PGS Berlin: Europe Qualifier finals, but I was particularly impressed with Naylup.
He’s a fairly new player to the top of the competitive scene, he has played in PELC during the past year but as we can see he has recently stepped it up and doesn’t look like he is leaving any time soon with the performances he has shown. Of course, he still has a lot to learn and is lacking experience but the potential there is huge.
He ended up towards the top of the leader board when it came to damage done at both GLL and the PGS Berlin: Europe Qualifier finals, but if you watch closely some of his plays are more effective when playing against lower tier teams who will not punish you as often for misplays.
- 4. At the top level, there are always going to be surprises
There were a few teams that surprised me in terms of their performance in both good and bad ways. Let’s start with Northern Lights qualifying, this was something I don’t think anyone saw coming. It’s a team that has been on the scene for a long time, we saw them last year mainly in the PELC but the squad has had some roster changes – and for them to qualify was a surprise to me.
ENCE making a comeback after a pretty bad first day and clutching qualification in the last game was also a big deal. After their start, I didn’t think we would see them qualify to be honest.
Exalt is a team I’ve talked a lot about already, there is a reason for that and we saw them give us a good showing on the opening day. Day two, on the other hand, was another story. It’s quite concerning as what you want from a team is consistency over high and low peaks. Somehow, Exalt managed to both peak high and low in just two days.
I’ve got to say I was quite surprised that RYE Gaming, TSM and Omaken Esports didn’t qualify. You can blame it on anything you want but the truth is none of the teams actually played well. Hopefully they will come back stronger and hungrier than ever.
- 5. WTSG is capable of making the next step
Since PGC, WTSG has picked up Xiong and Iroh and they are in really good shape. Coming from teams like Team Liquid and TSM, they’re players with top competitive experience.
They also have vard and MiracU, two great players with a lot of experience who have been playing together for years now.
WTSG is a team that can have a huge impact on the international stage. Only time will tell but if they can keep on playing like they’ve done for the short period of time they’ve been together then I believe they could have a successful 2020.
- 6. Team Liquid is back
Team Liquid was disappointed with their performance at PGC, they underachieved and sadly it was in their biggest tournament to date.
But let’s be clear, they are still a great squad and have showed us on countless occasions how good they are. I think from what we’ve seen they are definitely a better team than they were at PGC.
Since PGC we’ve seen two player changes to the roster, Jembty and Xiong left and were replaced by Kaymind and mxey. We saw them debut with this roster for GLL S4 Finals, it was looking shaky at the start but they improved game after game and they carried that form through to the PGS Berlin: Europe Qualifier finals.
We all know the names, we all know the players and we know what they are capable of as well, this is a roster built to surpass what the old roster could do and it’s already looking like they are strong enough to pull that off. I can’t be the only one that is super excited to see their performance this year, and see how this new roster competes with others on an international level.