How we got here: NPL Week Three recap

@OGNEsports /

Following NPL Week Three, there are only sixteen more matches before a Phase 2 Champion is crowned. Let’s recap Week Three and look ahead at what’s to come.

This weekend, it won’t be business as usual for NPL. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about NPL Royale, the mid-season tournament taking place on Saturday and Sunday. Results of this tournament have no effect on NPL rankings, so let’s take this opportunity to examine Week Three and how we got here.

The majority of NPL Phase Two has come and gone, setting the scene for an exciting race to the finish. Compared to the first phase, this leaderboard has been significantly tighter. Only five points separate Tempo Storm in first, from The Rumblers in second.

For comparison, at the end of Phase One, Tempo Storm had formed a sixty-nine point lead over the second place team. Now, with only two weeks and sixteen matches remaining in Phase Two, several teams are within reach of the first place position.

The first three weeks of NPL have been surprising. For example, Tempo Storm, the defending Phase One Champions, have yet to dominate a weekend in the way we’re used to seeing. Coming off an underwhelming appearance in London at the FaceIt Global Summit: PUBG Classic, I wondered how Tempo Storm would adjust for Phase Two.

While Tempo Storm put together consistent and effective rounds, the spotlight has been stolen by a newcomer in NPL. Recently promoted from Contenders, and formerly known as “Mustache Dave”, The Rumblers burst onto the scene during Week Two with their 71 point weekend, catapulting the team into first, and establishing themselves along the way as a potential dark horse for this phase.

In a similar fashion, PlayerOne Esports turned heads. Another team promoted from Contenders after Phase One, PlayerOne Esports currently sits in third place. Suddenly, most of the conversation during Week One and Week Two surrounded The Rumblers and PlayerOne Esports. Something I can’t say I would have predicted coming into Phase Two.

Meanwhile, Tempo Storm quietly began moving up the leaderboard, placing within the Top 5 for all three weekends. Without making a signature Tempo Storm splash, the defending NPL Preseason Champions, defending NPL Royale Champions, and Phase 1 Champions have climbed back into a familiar first place position. We’ve seen Tempo Storm play well while protecting a massive lead, but now the team must fend off multiple teams and maintain their recent success.

Spacestation Gaming revived themselves during Week Three, posting the highest point total of any team through the first three weeks. If you’re a fan of them, this is a great sign. It will be an uphill battle for the guys with only sixteen matches remaining. Hopefully, this is the weekend Spacestation Gaming needed to turn things around for this phase.

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Aside from the $100,000 prize for the Phase 2 Champions, teams who place within the Top 4 also earn an invite to the next global event in Stockholm, Sweden. This tournament, the GLL Grand Slam: PUBG Classic, is a collection of the most successful teams during Phase 2 from around the world. So as the matches wind down during Phase 2, the battle for 4th place is about as exciting as the battle for 1st. Typically, the matches begin to get much tougher towards the end of a phase. Teams are much more aware of their points total and begin denying points (intentionally dying to the play zone) or play much more conservatively.

Honorable mention to Endemic, who once again posted a solid performance in Week Three. They’ve certainly improved from Phase 1, perhaps the credit can be attributed to their new coach or new team member, nonetheless, it’s great to see the Endemic find their game on a consistent basis.

With how the leaderboard is shaping up, a wild finale is likely in store. Will we see Tempo Storm assert their dominance, reminding us why their NPL’s most successful squad? Could The Rumblers or PlayerOne Esports finish what they started and take home the big paycheck? With the standings so tight, I’m excited to see how the final two weekends play out.