PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)

Soniqs car fort play: rehearsed manoeuvre or pure improvisation?

This is the manoeuvre. Week 3 Match 12 and (week late spoiler alert!), they go on to win. This move really caught my attention when watching it live; something about the 'spiral pattern staggered entry into vehicle wall' having an element of grace to it, rather than just brute forcing their vehicles into the spot at all sorts of jaunty angles.

Here's my read (numbers refer to positional snapshots in diagram below):

  • Just before the clip, Soniqs are clinging to the edge of the blue and have an idea that their target position is unoccupied. They capitalise on Young Kings' initiating their rotation from a similar position, knowing that they'll provide a distraction for other teams in the northwest (making Soniqs' own circle entry less troublesome) and get in their cars and start moving.
  • They have everyone moving in unison (1), but then split up. Splitting up like this means other teams can't just focus their fire on one large grouped target, all while giving Soniqs a chance to quickly assess more of their new surroundings.
  • Shrimzy takes position at the hay stack first (2) and puts down a smoke. The other two cars at this point are driving in opposite directions, emphasising the previous 'separated is harder to hit' concept. The smoke is 'behind' where Shrimzy has parked up, offering protection from a potential YK straggler north or someone unbeknownst with a side angle.
  • Hwinn and TGLTN roll up (3) knowing the position is somewhat safe. They park in front of the gap between Shrimzy's Dacia and the hay stack such that there is a small 'box' between the three objects. This for me is the cherry on this whole thing; it required some precision parking while open to enemies south/west (most of us presumably would be tempted to just get in behind the cover already in place). MIME's also coming in but taking a wider approach with purposeful delayed entry, because if something catastrophic were to happen to the new arrivals the whole team doesn't go down at once. Instead his momentary delay would allow him to come in and res in such a scenario, or abort the position.
  • MIME comes in and neatly completes the fort (4). Soniqs look established and have the security to openly survey their surroundings (notice Shrimzy still showing concern for a YK 'left behind'). If you watch beyond the clip, Capitan (FIUMBA) starts taking shots shortly after from the east, but a combination of missed shots and Soniqs' defensive measures (notably the aforementioned 'box') means Soniqs are left unfazed, and are ready to reset and start formulating their next play.

Soniqs' vehicle fort approach pattern. Numbers indicate a sequence of positional snapshots.

This may seem like a minor thing to focus on, but moments like this—especially when the imperative is to survive—draw my attention and make me applaud. The rest of the match is so well played (overcoming successive late game out-of-circle positions to get all the way south onto the hill), but this moment stood out for some reason and made me wonder if this is something they've rehearsed. And then I thought: if teams really want to be the best, those teams must have things like this drilled. When the game is so much about adaptation it's prudent to eliminate uncertainties where you can.

Think back. Almost every broadcast during PCS5 there is at least one vehicle related team-knock, mostly during crashing attempts. These often happen off camera, but the few you do see involve a player exiting a lead vehicle getting knocked by a follow up car coming in too hot, or players jumping out prematurely because they aren't on the same tempo as the driver's braking instinct. The crashing team is naturally at a disadvantage, so losing a player for free on entry certainly doesn't help matters. Teams that have confidently choregraphed these manoeuvres will out perform teams that don't, when all other things are equal.

And then there is the issue of proactivity. There are teams that (in this same scenario) would have waited for the blue to push before crossing their fingers and parking up on the edge of the next zone, while teams like Soniqs move at the right time and confidently set up shop in a more advantageous position. Having a tool kit of moves like this makes being proactive less risky.

In MMA it is often said "there's levels to this game" and I feel battle royal fans are owed the audacity to say the same. Understandably, we tend to be hyper-focused on combat when differentiating teams but I feel this year has shown us that beyond combat is where the true separations are found in PUBG—and there are still big gains to be discovered.

Interested in what you guys think.

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