While it’s never easy to spot a potential esport, all the furore surrounding PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, an exciting new addition to the "Battle Royale" genre, establishes it as a clear contender. All the ingredients are there: a burgeoning game, a passionate playerbase, a ton of interest from streamers and even financial backing for a competitive avenue. And since we’re big fans of getting in on the ground floor for any new esport, it’s hard to overlook Battlegrounds. Yet while we have to admit to lacking the skill to take us all the way, it’s clear that some players are already staking their claim as the pros to watch in Battlegrounds’ competitive scene. So what better way to introduce PUBG as a potential esport than to take a look at some of the clutchest clips from the game's most promising talents? Here are our top 5 picks:
Starting out as an H1Z1 streamer, SoliDFPS was one of the early adopters of PU’s Battlegrounds. It quickly became clear his Battle Royale talents would serve him well in this new environment. He’s worked hard to make a name for himself, as well, currently ranking in second place on the official servers and earning himself a spot on the Cloud9 team. But as the clip below shows, he’s got some solid play too. SoliDFPS is a player that not only knows where to be when, but has a pretty stellar aim when it’s needed. Here he’s the last man in the squad, and yet manages to win it for his team. It’s all down to control in the face of pressure, and that’s something SoliDFPS succeeds with best. And if ever there’s a reminder of why Battlegrounds is capable of just great moments - and therefore why it could make it as an esport - then SoliDFPS is also the creator of this particularly fun clip...
This is one of those names that are already popping up, which clearly suggests that Ninja is one to watch. As with so many on this list he started out as a H1Z1 player before moving over to PUBG and now plays for Luminosity. While that mostly means streaming right now, the team will have a strong start in the competitive scene here thanks to Ninja’s input alone. But one of the things that makes Battlegrounds such an interesting title to watch is the opportunities for clutch moments. Its standout feature is how the play field is so regularly reduced – ultimately restricting players into closer and closer combat with one another – meaning that anyone either not smart about their placement or forced into a tricky situation after combat can find themselves trapped or bleeding out simply because of bad positioning. This clip below from Ninja perfectly demonstrates why this feature can lead to some pretty exciting clutch saves for anyone involved.
TeamSoloMid has also stepped into the Battlegrounds scene with Viss and his duo team-mate SmaK. While the latter was more of a general FPS player - with a background in DayZ - Viss has a more focused heritage having played Arma 3, DayZ, H1Z1 and now PUBG. It’s hard to know too much about any would-be pro Battlegrounds player just yet, but the thing that does stand out for Viss so far is his deadly aim. It’s integral in CS:GO, in COD... heck even in Overwatch! And that’s no different here. Especially since the initial stage of any match is long-range combat, before the play area has restricted too much. The clip we chose for Viss highlights that: he’s in total control as he takes shots on enemy players in the distance with his AWM. He’s already racked up a few kills from the top of this hill prior to the clip, but he’s not about to let up, as you’ll see...
While Grimmmz doesn’t have a pro team, we wouldn’t be surprised if that changes once the PUBG esports side of things really picks up. He’s mostly streaming for fun now, and it’ll be interesting to see if he sticks with it or switches it up to whatever is the new hotness in the world of videogames. Still, he’s got quite a neat aim, often uncannily aware of his surroundings and is an entertaining watch to boot. If you should pick any streamer to learn a bit more about Battlegrounds, Grimmmz wouldn’t be a bad choice. Which is why we picked this clip. It’s not the sort of play you’ll likely see in a competitive match (there’s only so much success bull-headedly charging your opponents down can have) but at least Grimmmz proves exactly why that is the case.
Playing alongside SoliDFPS, Crunch and team captain Sweaterr as his team-mates on Cloud9, Chappie is perhaps one of the most well-known names in PUBG thanks to his regular high placements in the official leaderboards. He’s regularly playing duos alongside SoliDFPS - and that alone is worth tuning in - but he’s quite the deft hand during solos too. Such as in this clip, where the encroaching playzone is slowly chipping away at his health, he has no real cover and has to resort to taking educated shots blind into the tall grass he’s surrounded by. It’s quite a thrilling moment, and highlights some of the excitement that we could expect from a huge pro event. Though we will add that once a pro scene truly develops, perhaps moments like this will become fewer and fewer as players get to grips with a ‘meta’ way of approaching the game.
Sacriel isn’t a pro player for Battlegrounds either, but a rather entertaining streamer. While there’s not much else to say about him in this regard, he’s a couple of clips we’d like to draw attention to. The first is his vehicular rampage – which he undertakes with remarkable composure – in which he barrels through the open space in a jeep, squishing anyone not smart enough to take cover behind something a little more solid than their own bodies. Sure, you might not see this too often if PUBG does end up making it as an esport. But it’s always funny seeing players defeated by the most barbaric of methods. Then there’s this clip, which is quite the opposite. Here three different teams in vehicles are trying to crush Sacriel into the tree he’s chosen for security, but to no avail. What makes it especially entertaining is that, despite the threat he’s in, Sacriel still manages to leap in a get a couple of jabs to his would-be killers.