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Three teams were left in a chaotic final circle, with Spacestation Gaming doing whatever they could to eliminate a beaten-down Soniqs squad. Molotovs and grenades flew down the hill to where Soniqs were trying to take cover, before a third team crashed the party at the PCs4 grand finals.

Diginitas, with four team members still standing, came up behind Spacestation Gaming as Dylan “Roth” Short finished off Soniqs. The last member of SSG did his best to face the third party before getting shredded, giving Dignitas the win.

“In terms of mindset going into late game, you need to keep four people alive,” Nolan “Shinboi” Burdick, a Dignitas player, said.

Dignitas is currently sitting in third place behind Soniqs and Oath Gaming in the PUBG Continental Series 4: Americas with only one day left to go in the three-week long grand finals. One huge thing was different during this annual iteration of competitive PUBG: The only thing that matters is chicken dinners.

PUBG Continental Series 4 grand finals

While the battle royale genre can be full of action-packed and long-ranged gun fights, shifts in competitive rulesets can completely change how a match of competitive PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds can unfold. The 2020 season of the PUBG Continental Series featured a Kill-focused format that rewarded aggression. The 2021 changes to the PUBG ruleset mean that the team with the most first-place finishes at the end of the competition will win. Kills only count for tiebreakers.

PCS4 grand finals photo
Competitive PUBG has changed often with it’s lineup of regions and formats. PCS4 is the latest iteration. | Provided by PUBG Corporation

“All that really matters in the game is the win,” Shinboi, who has no chance to finish first at this stage of the competition, said. The shift in ruleset has completely changed how high level players approach the game. “You want to completely avoid engagements; any type of fight that early in the game until the second or third circle.”

Players like Shinboi used to be able to play with a wet and wild mindset if they got pushed into a poor position due to an unlucky circle placement.

“We could identify if we got a not-so-good circle shift, play edge and go for kill points,” Shinboi said. “If you got seven points that wasn’t that bad of a game.”

Will this play get us the chicken dinner?

Now, they only have one choice when they find themselves on the wrong end of the map. They need to identify the play that will give them the best chance at winning the game. Going for broke in an all out rush of the highest point left in the circle? Moving halfway across the map in order only to sit tight until that final moment possible?

“Whatever scenario we bring we have to ask ourselves if this will win us the game,” Shinboi said. “If the answer is no then we have to revaluate.”

PUBG, like other battle royales, is full of random factors. The safe circle on the map changes with every match and loot pools can vary. This means that players may have to improvise with the little they have at times. The winner winner chicken dinner ruleset amplifies the impact that random factors can have on the game. This turns a bad circle into a death sentence for some teams.

Players from around the scene have voiced their grievances with the change. They hope the rules could be reverted back to the old format.

“What a way to start WWCD format, 1 kill win sitting in a compound the whole game,” Soniqs player Tristan “Shrimzy” Nowicki wrote in a tweet.  “I think this format is going to do really well haHA.”

Fans and viewers of the PCS4 have kept track of how many points teams would have earned in the kill-focused ruleset, sharing the results of all three regions while highlighting how different the outcome would be if the rules hadn’t changed.

This is another step in the evolution that PUBG esports is,” Americas Everett Coleman, PUBG head of esports, said.  “We want to match the competitive experience to match the casual experience.”

It’s all about matching the casual experience

Coleman emphasized that they want players watching the PCS4 to jump in and use the strategies they saw to win a chicken dinner of their own. It’s all part of an effort to try and bring more of the casual PUBG fanbase into the competitive ecosystem.

“It’s part of the reason we built out our in-game integration this way,” he said, citing how fans can watch and bet on teams from the PUBG client. “We’re trying to make the game as familiar as possible to the wider player base.”

The change is a difficult one to handle, but the battle royale genre has always been an ever-changing beast that requires improvisation to conquer. The top teams know they have to adapt to stay in contention.

“Our mindset is we’re accepting it as the format,” Shinboi said. “We don’t choose how we play.”

Now, Oath Gaming and Soniqs are the only teams who have a mathematical chance at winning the PCS4 Americas. They will duke it out in the final two days of competition before a winner is crowned on June 25. The winners in the European and Asian regions will be crowned on June 27. You can watch all the action on PUBG Twitch Channel at 4 p.m. PT.

 


Aron Garst looks at esports from a different point of view by tackling the ways games are molded and broken by players around the world. He covers Call of Duty, Fortnite, Super Smash Bros, and everything else for Upcomer. You can read his previous work at WIRED, Rolling Stone, ESPN and elsewhere. Rise up red sea.


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