The very first major PUBG esports tournament hosted by PUBG Corp. called the PGI (PUBG Global Invitational) will see teams from around the globe compete for $2 million in cash prizes. With only one Oceania spot up for grabs, last weekend we saw 20 of the best Australia and New Zealand players battle it out at the ESL Studios in Sydney for a spot on the world stage.

The qualifier saw four days of back to back PUBG with the Chiefs Esports Club squad who is made up of eDGe, Champzzzz, kritikalmotion and P_for_Potato securing a spot at PGI leading 2nd place team – ORDER by 490 points. With a few weeks left before the team flies off to Berlin, Germany – I caught up with Andrew ‘eDGe’ Mclaren about preparing for the world stage.

“We’re hyped, something we have all strived for as long as we have played video games competitively is to play on the international stage.” eDGe mentioned. The squad is enthusiastic about taking the spot after previous international tournaments where Oceania represented was mostly via invites only.

However, everything was not smoothly executed as eDGe talked about the games where they didn’t perform too well. “We tried to play far too safe to keep a lead, doing weird rotations and splits when if we played our game as four we could have taken better positions and piled up some more kills.” The squad is looking to work on things such as on-foot fighting capabilities and decision making which as eDGe mentioned is “something we’re slightly lacking in.”

With under a month left until the main event, the team is looking to train as much as possible. Going into their preparation plans, eDGe talked about “doing everything in our power to get the most out of it” with the small amount of time left. “Even in local scrims teams, (we) are quite happy to play Miramar for even though it’s not in any of our leagues.” The final list of teams attending PGI is still yet to be confirmed as a few regions including Europe and Korea are yet to hold their qualifiers. Once this is complete, eDGe mentions the team “will be doing as much research as possible on loot spots, rotations and play style of the other teams” and if possible scrim with the qualified teams.

This isn’t the first outing for an Oceania team on the international level with Tainted Minds attending PGL PUBG Spring Invitational 2018 (15th) and Athletico at the 2018 StarSeries i-League (12th) earlier this year. With this being Chiefs Esports Club first international level competition, eDGe discussed the efforts of putting the practice in saying “we should be able to go far and we plan on doing just that.”

“I think the Oceanic region as a whole even though it’s small is very strong. We have some very strong teams that are consistently at the top for our region and if they’re given the opportunity can perform against the best. Hopefully more qualifiers with more spots for OCE, this can only boost our regions competitive standards.”

Chiefs Esports Club PUBG Squad at ESL Studios – Credit: Hawkinz Twitter

PUBG recently launched a new smaller, more action contained map called Sanhok and with that comes roughly 6 months out of the gates since the game was officially released out of early access. Touching on the progress of PUBG esports, I asked eDGe what the game still needs to improve:

“Currently, I think there are only small things that need to be improved to make PUBG work more efficiently as an esport is FPS. Playing the qualifiers in Sydney ESL studio on the event client, the game ran so much better than online.” eDGe also talked about the combat fluidity of the game – “We need some tweaks to make fighting more fluent and not reliant on hiding in a compound and not fighting. A few map tweaks to Erangel adding better terrain and a massive rework to Miramar removing terrain would improve gameplay also.”

After playing Sanhok myself, I wanted to know about the possibility of the map being added into the competitive pool probably at a later stage. So I asked eDGe about his opinions about it.

“Sanhok is interesting, we played a few scrims before its release with 10-12 teams. The on-foot gunfights felt amazing – high fps, good terrain but I feel like it has major issues with being third partied. As soon as you finish a fight because the map is so small with amazing cover teams just run at you before you can finish healing and regrouping, next thing you’re in another fight and it just keeps happening. It’s still in the early stages, play styles can still change.”

“I personally think Sanhok for solo/duo competition would be super fun and interesting. Could be a great way for tournament organizers to have some interesting show matches.”

Before I closed the interview, we at Respawn Ninja had one final question to ask eDGe about P_for_Potato, has he finally mastered motorbikes or are they still his worst enemy?

“That’s something that I don’t think he will ever achieve.”

The PUBG Global Invitational 2018 will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany on 25-29 July 2018. 20 teams from around the world will compete for $2 million ($1 million for each TPP & FPP) – Follow Chiefs Esports Club twitter for the latest updates on the PUBG team.