PUBG pros lived and died by the car in the first day of IEM competition

Perhaps the most exciting moment of the first day of IEM Oakland's PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Invitational happened at the tail end of game four. Evil Geniuses built a makeshift fortress out of cars and motorcycles in an extremely compromising open field. 40 people were still alive, and the circle of death was funneling everyone into a tight, frantic murderhouse. EG seemed content to play as defensively as possible before shifting position—until Fuzzface, who plays for FaZe Clan, sensed a one-in-a-million opportunity. 

He jumped out of cover, took aim at one of the rickety humvees guarding the their flank, and detonated it with a few well-placed assault rifle rounds. Both of the remaining Geniuses were killed by the explosion, and FaZe went on to secure a fifth place finish for the day. 

If there's been one centralized theme from the second major LAN PUBG tournament, it's that pro teams are still figuring out the best way to use vehicles without getting killed. Evil Geniuses' decision to hunker down behind their barrier of cars wasn't even a terrible call on paper—in the second game of the afternoon Cloud 9 did the exact same thing to bleed out the other teams in the last circle—but in a game with so many variables, there's a pretty fine line between a smart tactical outmaneuvering and a spectacular suicide. 

Obviously, you need mobility to loot buildings and outrun timers, but when you're playing against the best marksmen in the world, you're fixing a pretty huge target to your back when you're behind the wheel. 

This is especially an issue at IEM, where assault rifles are being distributed with a frequency bonus. It doesn't take long for an AR to chew through a PUBG vehicle's health pool, and it's been interesting watching teams come up with ways to mitigate the damage. Some are each independently travelling in their own cars—like a patrol squadron—so they won't be utterly decimated if one goes down. 

Of course, not every team gets lucky enough to find a wealth of resources like that, and then you might end up like Teabone and Jazza, who bailed out of their flaming car in no man's land and were essentially pinned down for the rest of the match. 

The Battlegrounds meta is still in its embryonic phase, but I think one thing has become absolutely clear: spend as little time inside the vehicles as possible.

Luke Winkie
Contributing Writer

Luke Winkie is a freelance journalist and contributor to many publications, including PC Gamer, The New York Times, Gawker, Slate, and Mel Magazine. In between bouts of writing about Hearthstone, World of Warcraft and Twitch culture here on PC Gamer, Luke also publishes the newsletter On Posting. As a self-described "chronic poster," Luke has "spent hours deep-scrolling through surreptitious Likes tabs to uncover the root of intra-publication beef and broken down quote-tweet animosity like it’s Super Bowl tape." When he graduated from journalism school, he had no idea how bad it was going to get.