PUBG Korea League 2019 Phase 3 Preview

Patryk “Pattrick” Świerzy
13 min readAug 22, 2019

The Hot6 PUBG Korea League ( PKL ) is now heading into the final chapter of their 2019 season — Starting on the August 26th, twenty four teams will battle for a share of a 200,000,000 Korean Won ( ~190,000 USD ) prizepool, a invite to the 2020 PKL season, and most importantly, a spot at the a season-ending Global Championship, held in November in California.

PKL Phase 3 Details

Korea League once again features twenty-four teams, divided into three eight-team groups through the Group Selection process. Throughout each of the six weeks, groups will face each other in a single round-robin format ( AvB, AvC, BvC ), with each playday featuring four games, for a total of 48 games played by each PKL team ( 72 games total ). All the points scored by teams in each of the games will be counted towards the overall standings, and will decide the final rankings of PKL Phase 3.

PKL Phase 3 Schedule and Prize Pool Distribution
  • Map Order for the PKL Phase 3 is as follows :
    Weeks 1, 3 and 5 Erangel — Sanhok — 2x Miramar
    Weeks 2, 4 and 6 Miramar — Sanhok — 2x Erangel
  • The slot allocation for the PUBG Global Championship, and a amount of teams relegated to the 2020 Korea Contenders will be announced at a later date.

All of PKL games will be streamed live on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays 6pm KST / 11am CEST, on PKL’s official channels at AfreecaTV and Twitch, and the game VODs will be uploaded to the PKL’s Youtube Channel. On top of that, most of the games will be rebroadcasted in English by Paperthin on his Twitch channel ( keep a eye on his Twitter for details about when he’ll be live ).

Twenty-four teams on the field

Thanks to a lot of luck, and team swaps made by Gen.G at the end of Group Selection, Group A is considered as a group of life, as Gen.G, APK and OGN Force will be joined by three of the four teams coming from the Korea Contenders Phase 2 and two lower-ranked teams in Afreeca Ares and World Class.

Gen.G — Last phase, pretty much everything have clicked well for Gen.G — they were racking up points both on Miramar ( 10pt per game ) and Erangel ( 7.46pt per game ), “Pio” continued to reap everyone apart with a Mini14 ( 1.77 KR, 348.4 DMG per game ), and both “Loki” and “Esther” haven’t been far away from him, each ending the PKL season with a >1.5 KR per game. All of that contributed to Gen.G’s first Korean title since the merging of Gold and Black rosters, that being topped with a MET Asia Series title.

Now Gen.G will battle for PKL’s first back-to-back championship run — something that both VSG and OP Rangers wasn’t able to complete after each were coming from a PKL — International title double earlier in the year. However, doing so would result in both the fourth Korean title for the org and Esther, and another mark towards a black-and-gold dynasty.

ㄴ(°0°)ㄱ

APK Prince — Making a decision to keep the roster intact after barely staying their spot in PKL Phase 1 have turned out as a great decision for APK, as Koo “Black9” Jong-Hun have exploded with his performance ( 1.63 KR, 367.2 DMG per game ), and the team improved with hard-hitting playstyle, especially on the Erangel ( PKL’s best 201pt, 8.38pt per game ). However APK was struggling to perform well in a back-to-back weeks, and finding improvements in those may be needed for APK in order to repeat their 5th place finish from last phase.

Will Black9 have a reason to “dance” at the end of Phase 3 ?

OGN Entus Force had a up-and-down Phase 2, blending very strong results in Weeks 2 and 3 with a weaker rest of the season, especially during Miramar games ( 115pt ), that have dropped them to a below-expectations 10th place finish. However, this still is the OGN Force that have been a part of the “Big 4” for most of the last year, lead by a IGL — entry fragger duo of “Seongjang” and “kAyle”, and will be in a hunt for their return to the top and a Global Championship berth.

Afreeca Freecs Ares — Remember when AFA managed to score 70 points in the Week 3 of Phase 2 ? That was their only good moments of that phase, as a team lead by “R0wha” was struggling to deliver solid performances and barely defended their spot in the PKL. Heading into Phase 3, AFA have signed a debuting player in “EJ”, which will replace the struggling “Bong” ( .56 and .52 Kill Per Game in Phase 1 and 2 respectively ), but Ares will likely have to battle once again for their survival in the league.

World Class have shown their potential throughout their debut PKL phase, defending their spot in the league after proving themselves throughout the battles, doing as good as higher-ranked teams when it comes to placement scoring ( they even got more placement points than VSG ). Heading into the Phase 3, World Class will look to improve their teamfighting and results on Erangel ( 96pt in Phase 2 ), and continue to upset the bigger teams.

Damwon Gaming — Thanks to a second-place finish in Phase 2 of Korea Contenders, old Cesti Esports have returned to the PKL after being relegated in Phase 1. There have been a few changes in the team since, with “Yunjong” and Griffin White’s “Nelita” joining “Clear” ( ex-Miha ) and “MYway”, and a team being signed by Damwon Gaming organisation, becoming their first PUBG squad since the Beta days. Even with that, DWG is one of the weaker teams on paper, and avoiding relegations will be their main goal.

Joining Damwon from the Contenders in Phase 3 Group A will be Geekstar PDV, a team incorporating the experience of former PKL players in “Mira”, “PLIKHE” and “Elca” with hungry rookies in “KaSha” and “Smoke”, and Stardom Esports ( ex Alpha Six Gaming ), a young, debuting in the major league core of “Jude”, “JuuN” and “Alone”, who have been joined by ex-Afreeca Snow and Danawa DPG player in “HongGilDong”. Both teams have made their path to the PKL by going through both Open Slot Qualifiers and Contenders throughout the Phase 2, and will now be able to show their potential on the big stage.

With OGN Ace, VSG, Quadro, SKT T1 and OP.GG all drawing a seed into the Group B and joining Danawa DPG, this have already been shaping up as a Doomsday Group. But just to make this even harder of a group, Gen.G and Element Mystic have moved Afreeca Freecs Fatal and Griffin Black there.

One of few things as terrifying than this group…a city ending

After a slow start for the Phase 2, DPG Danawa have rose to the occasion and to the 2nd place finish, with league’s best placement point record ( 152pt, 3.16pt per game ) and a MVP season coming from Na “Inonix” Hee-joo ( PKL’s best 88 kills / 1.83 KR, 351 DMG per game ). However the rest of the team isn’t anywhere close to Inonix’s form ( as team’s IGL, Lee “Gak” Il-ho was the only player with over 1 KR in Phase 2 ), and his performance will be needed in Danawa’s run towards the top of the league.

After struggling in 2018 Season 2 and 2019 Phase 1, OGN Entus Ace have made their mark throughout Phase 2 as a unconventional team in a current meta — while they aren’t one of the best teams when it comes to fragging, Ace have been making this up with great tactical play, leading to a ton of placement points ( 149pt to be exact ) and finishing just short of a spot in the MET. Heading into Phase 3, OGN Ace will need to improve their execution in teamfights in order to stay near the top, and contest for a Global Championship spot.

OP.GG Sports — After winning both the PKL and Faceit Global Summit in Phase 1, former OP Gaming Rangers have been catched up and overtaken throughout the Phase 2 — While Rangers have once again held the best average league placement position ( 6.0, 36/48 games in the Top 8 ), they didn’t took a full advantage of that ( 15/36 in the Top 4 ), and a weaker shooting performance of all players compared to Phase 1 have also hit the team. To make things even a bit harder, “Giken” have ended his contract with the team, and have been replaced by “Meverick” ( ex-RyaN ). Even with that, a trio of “Menteul”, “Temeria” and “DG98” is still a formidable core, and OP.GG have already overcome their problems once, so why can’t they do it one more time ?

Menteul : …please don’t force me into carrying team’s fragging power again

On one side, Team VSG haven’t changed a lot in their playstyle in Phase 2 — they’re still an a outstanding team when it comes to fragging, with all players averaging close to or over 1 Kill per Game, and when they’re on a roll they’re a near-unstoppable force — but the catch there is the word “when”. Because the team lead by Lee “Starlord” Jong-Ho had a hard time to have more than one good game per game day and have slowly fell down the standings, finishing 9th at the end. And with “Foxy” joining the team from VSG’s trainee system, the message may be clear for the team — missing out on the Global Championship slot will most likely lead to the roster changes.

Team Quadro — Over the last year, a team lead by “YeoWook” have been looking like a potential championship contender, but their huge inconsistency in delivering great performances have been costing them in the grand scheme of things. We’ve saw this once again during Phase 2, as they fell from 2nd to 11th place after scoring only 38pt in the last sixteen games. With Quadro having to face the Doomsday group in Phase 3 however, this may be the perfect time for them to step up, and qualify to the Global Championship in the process.

SK Telecom T1’s PUBG division time in the mid-pack of the PKL have continued throughout the Phase 2 — Sure, they’ve shown that they are a threat once they make it to the late-game, and a trio of “Adder”, “Jefflocka” and “Akad” have all became a PKL-level players under the wings of legendary SKT coach in “Ccarter”. But T1 still have a lot of place to improve — they’re lacking a player to backup the core and solidify team’s roster, while their Miramar play is among the weakest in the PKL ( 103pt ) — and a top 8 finish in Phase 3 would be a great result for T1 heading into the future.

Griffin Black have made a great impression in their debut PKL phase, hunting everyone in their path with “Ohjungje” and “Rage” having their careers resurgent, a emerging young blood in “2heart”, and a lot of huge rounds from them at Erangel ( 181pt, 7.54pt per round ). And even though they been having a hard time to both make it to the top placements ( 9 top 4 finishes out of 24 placement points finishes ), and to do well on Miramar ( 95pt, third worst point overall in Phase 2 ), getting improvements in those affairs can make Griffin Black as a contender for a spot in the PGC.

Afreeca Freecs Fatal — Throughout the Phase 2, while AF Fatal have been one of the best performing teams on Erangel ( 197pt ), they were one of the weaker teams on the Miramar’s deserts ( 117pt ). That aside, AFF is still one of the best fragging teams in the region, with Han “NN” Min-Gyu in the frontline, Lee “Shadow” Seung-sun and Chan “Lambu” Hyun Park providing consistent damage and a experienced shotcaller in Oh “Style” Gyeong-cheol, and anything except getting a spot at the Global Championship will be considered as a failure for them.

In comparison to Groups A and B, Group C settles closer to the first, as two of the championship contenders in DeToNator and DPG EVGA will battle a middle-of-the-pack teams in Lavega and EM, a lower-ranked MVP, Griffin Red and Mediabridge Square and debuting in the PKL Michael Gaming.

DPG EVGA — The team lead by Kim “Juwon” Juwon have shocked everyone in the final week of Phase 2, taking opportunity of APK having a mediocre week, and with a PKL record-breaking 98 points in 8 games have stole the final ticket to the Asia Series, in which they finished only behind Gen.G’s powerhouse. And while EVGA was forced to make a last-second signings of “Styx” and “Renba” due to “SuPPak” leaving the team due to personal reasons, with Park “Under” Sung-chan being a threat to every frontline in his sight DPG EVGA is aiming to mark their spot amongst best in Korea and head to the PGC.

With Griffin Red just barely defending their spot at the end of PKL Phase 2, Griffin’s management had enough of team’s underperforming, and decided to blow up their squad ahead of the last phase of the season. Replacing the old guard of “Merald”, “Curious” and “Draft” will be the new blood in “GuGu9”, “Jungdong” and former OP Ardor’s “NaNa”. With all of that, GRF Red will likely end up defending their spot in the next PKL season.

Up next there’s Lavega Esports, a team that have made themselves known from racking up a lot of placement finishes ( 27/48 games in top 8 ), but quite lacking when it comes to scoring a lot of kills and taking a advantage of their many placements ( mostly due to only 1–2 players left in late game ), preventing them for contending the top of Korea League. Not a lot have changed ahead of Phase 3, with a new player in “NOZ” joining as a team reserve player, and Lavega should settle as a middle-of-the-pack team once again.

Phase 2 was a rebuilding time for Element Mystic, as a team lead by “Lash” have went through roster changes, and was struggling in the lower half of the standings, with the exception being a huge 86pt Week 4. With a team now being conformed to play together though, EM may have what it takes to be a contender for a spot in the top half of the standings.

Team MVP have been struggling in the previous phase, with all of the team having a under 1.0 Kill Rating, especially the team’s in-game leader in “JuNe” ( .42 KR, 117 DMG per game ), and a lot of bad rotations leading to the uphill battles throughout the games. However, in a spite of that, MVP have decided to not change their roster ahead of Phase 3, focusing more on a in-game adjustments, that will be needed in order for MVP to improve their position.

Mediabridge Square — In PKL Phase 2, Team Square and Mediabridge have been fighting each other to stay in the league, with Mediabridge beating Square for the last safe spot by just a single point. However, teams have signed a deal with each other, with Mediabridge becoming Square’s name sponsor, while Square have both picked up former MBG’s player in “Seoul”, and MBG’s spot in the league. Whether this changes help Square defend their place in the PKL however will be seen on the battlegrounds.

Square have faced the dreadful relegation once, will they manage to avoid it this time around ?

Joining the PKL as the best team of Contenders Phase 2 will be Michael Gaming — a young-blood team that have made their mark in PKC with a mix of central-focused play in the early game and well both a lot of kills and placements coming from the late-game. And while Michael will be considered as a underdog heading into their PKL debut, they shouldn’t be underestimated by the bigger teams.

At last there is DeToNator.Korea, which are at a crossroads right now — they’re an aggressive and kill-efficient team, with all four players maintaining >1.1 Kill Rating in Phase 2. Combined with the org’s great support staff they have everything to become a PKL dynasty. But in spite of that, DTN has gone from stomping everyone in their path ( 97pt in Phase 2 Week 2, 65pt in Phase 2 Week 3 Monday, two 80+ pt weeks in Phase 1 ), right into a slump ( 6pt in Phase 2 Week 3 Saturday, 0pt day in Phase 1 Week 4 Saturday ), mostly due to questionable rotations and some decisions made by team’s leader, Kim “Wick2d” Jin-hyeong. Because of that, for DTN there may be no room for error now — underperformance can lead to the team being rebuilt ahead of the 2020 season.

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Patryk “Pattrick” Świerzy

On the day worked in Social Media for ESL/ PUBG MOBILE Esports. In a free time still typing words about PUBG PC Esports.