PUBG eSports had a chat with PNC 2022 champions
Players and coach Alex "vard" Gouge, Luke "TeaBone" Crafer and Justin "MiracU" McNally of Great Britain revealed the key to their success at PUBG Nations Cup 2022.
Last week Team UK dominated on the global stage and won the PUBG Nations Cup 2022 – helping themselves to the $500,000 USD prize pool! Coach MiracU and his players vard, TeaBone mykLe, and Fexx talk us through that famous win.
How did it feel when you were first told you were to represent Team UK? Is it a different feeling playing for your country compared to your usual org?
MiracU: It was great to get the opportunity to join the boys in Thailand and experience coaching for the first time. It didn’t feel too different, for me there wasn’t any added pressure, our aim was just to represent Team UK and smash it – I think it’s fair to say we did just that.
vard: It's a really good feeling to represent your nation in anything and I was just eager to prove that we're so much better as a nation than how we played at PNC 2021!
It's different because the entire tournament is a mix of teams thrown together which can create a lot of chaos compared to your conventional lobbies where everyone knows how each other plays.
TeaBone: I was buzzing to represent my country in PUBG Esports. For sure it felt different, but it is hard to explain. On one hand I really wanted to do the UK proud, but I also found the set up more relaxing than usual – I’m not sure why!
mykLe: I hadn’t played an official tournament in a while so I was raring to go from the off, it was a real honor to be selected. I think it does feel different, PNC takes some of the best players from around the world and throws them together to create unique squads. There’s a bit of chaos to it which works well.
Fexx: I think it is different, there is that extra bit of pride that people have at PNC and ultimately every player has that little bit of added incentive to win.
What impact did a live crowd have on the tournament? Was there more pressure?
MiracU: The Thai fans were outstanding all the way through; it’s been a long time since I’ve experienced that kind of event – what an atmosphere to come back to! I don’t think there was any additional pressure, the guys are super experienced.
vard: It’s been a while since we’ve seen a crowd and it didn’t disappoint – it is definitely one of the best things about playing PUBG Esports. You always knew when the Thai players hit a good circle or won a fight because they’d go insane. Shout out to the Thai fans for being amazing, they cheered all the great plays they saw.
To be honest I do sometimes feel pressure but I didn’t at PNC, I know all my teammates well so we were very relaxed.
TeaBone: Everyone will tell you how impressed we were with the fans, they really added something extra to the event… but pressure? Not for me, not at all, I just enjoy it.
You played well on Day 1, how important is a strong start?
MiracU: You need momentum to drive you forward and it really helps with the confidence. In my experience, if you start rough then you’re going to have a rough day. We just kept it simple, grew in confidence throughout the tournament and dominated.
vard: It depends on the mentality of the players, if you have a bad start it can affect people and carry on till the next day. Although I knew a bad start wouldn’t impact us.
mykLe: You always want to start as you mean to go on, get points on the board early and don’t allow any doubts to creep in!
Fexx: Day 1 really sets the tone, if you perform well then you’ve got a clear path to success.
It was a bit of a roller coaster at times, did you ever doubt you’d be able to win it?
vard: On the first few days it felt like 90% of our points were on Erangel and we really struggled on Miramar – that was probably my only concern. If we hadn’t of addressed that then we wouldn’t have been able to bring back the trophy.
TeaBone: I genuinely didn’t worry; I focused on our game and paid very little attention to what happened elsewhere. For example, Brazil playing well didn’t impact me, it was all about us.
Fexx: We played well on Day 1 but Day 2 didn’t go according to plan at all. After the matches we headed up to our coach’s hotel room to rewatch the games and identify where we were going wrong. We could see we were over rotating rather then fighting our way through, once we realised that it was easy to fix – so I wouldn’t say I was too worried.
What were your personal highlights, individually or as a team?
MiracU: It would have to be Match 3 where we camped on the east bridge. It was something we practiced in scrims, our tactic was to keep our entry to the circle clear and pick off our opponents – we ended up taking 18 kills.
vard: The 18-kill game for sure, I think I picked up nine in that match alone!
TeaBone: Well, lifting the trophy is the obvious one! I also had a really enjoyable 1v 3 against the Thai roster where I came out on top.
mykLe: The whole tournament for me is a highlight because it felt like my comeback, I know I’ve been away from the top for a while and I have really missed it. Winning PNC is epic.
Do you think you’ve developed a special relationship with your teammates having won PNC 2022?
MiracU: Myself and the boys already had that relationship, we’re all super friendly and enjoy each other’s company. Having that understanding between us really helped push on for the win.
Fexx: We’re all good friends, winning it together was special!
Can you talk me through the moment you secured victory?
MiracU: It’s hard to explain, I guess the word I am looking for is ‘surreal’! I knew we were one of the favourites going in but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. I’m just so happy for the rest of the team and the fans!
TeaBone: My first emotion was surprise, I thought to myself “did we really just win that so easily?”. I don’t want to come across as cocky, but that is how I felt.
mykLe: Going into the final game we knew that around four points would be enough to get the job done. So, we had a choice, play slow and secure those points or take Brazil head on and try and eliminate them. In the end Brazil were knocked out fairly early, that was the moment that we knew we’d won it.
Who was the toughest opponent that you came up against?
MiracU: It’s a tricky question, we had a strong tournament and won all of our team fights with the exception of one against China. Lots of credit has to go to Vietnam and Brazil for their performance and consistency.
TeaBone: Argentina performed better than I expected, I was really impressed – and Brazil as well of course.
Fexx: I think Korea were a tough opponent, they’ve got some dangerous players who have really really strong aims – seoul I thought was particularly good.
What are the key components that you would put your success down to?
MiracU: Simplicity. We knew we had some of the best fire power in the tournament. We planned to play on the edge and work our way in, no rotations – we executed it perfectly.
vard: We had a laid back and chilled vibe in our team, we stuck to the basics and took everything in our stride. We know how good we are as individuals so we mainly played around that strength and had a more direct approach to the circles.
TeaBone: As the IGL I wanted to create a culture where people felt empowered to do what they want, it encouraged individuals to take responsibility. I think the team appreciated that and it worked for us.
What was the reaction of your family and friends back home after your impressive victory?
MiracU: My family and my girlfriend were over the moon!
vard: I just remember opening up Discord and having a crazy amount of messages, that's when what we had achieved sunk in.
TeaBone: I came back to loads of messages, it’s one of the first big tournaments I’ve won so it’s going to stay with me for a while.
mykLe: Everyone enjoyed it. As well as family and friends, we also received a lot of support from other Europe PUBG Esports players. We’ve a group chat on Discord and everyone was reaching out to congratulate us.
What are your plans for the immediate future?
MiracU: It’s back to the grind for me, I’m looking forward to returning to the Battlegrounds!
vard: Take a little bit of time off to recharge and then straight back to it as we have tournaments coming up.
TeaBone: I chilled for a couple of days and I didn’t even open up PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS, I just cooked food and enjoyed taking it easy. I’m back now though, ready to drop in and do it all over again.
mykLe: The celebrations were fun but they have to be short, I’m now ready to focus on my next challenge with XPLDZ.