A lot has changed since Nathan ‘Ykikamucow’ Lynham was last at an international PUBG event. Not just Oceania’s representative (albeit ANZ’s only at the PUBG Global Championship 2021), the veteran wants to unite all of APAC to transform the region into a powerhouse.
When speaking to Ykikamucow in the lead-up to the PUBG Global Championship (PGC) 2021, there was an overwhelming theme in the conversation: unity.
In the past, when Oceania was considered a geographically-close-but-relatively-distant cousin of wider Asian PUBG, everyone fended for themselves. However, with the amalgamation of all the regions in the PCS system at the start of 2020, not only has the level of competition increased in the region, but so has the calibre of the teams.
Now, there’s one final piece — and that’s true unity between the players, and the fans, as APAC.
PGC 2021 marks FURY’s return to the international stage, a first since 2019 when they competed under the Incognito banner at GLL London. It also marks the first event where APAC — not Thailand, SEA, and Oceania — competes under a united banner. There is a slight asterisk there, given FURY were meant to play at PGI.S earlier in 2021, but failed to get exit exemptions.
“If I had to miss out again, I probably would have puked. PGI.S was a killer,” Ykikamucow admitted to Snowball Esports ahead of PGC 2021.
“I think it wasn’t an unexpected result after seeing all the news coming out of Australia and seeing the borders would open by November to anybody. We were very confident considering we’re coming back in late December that exemptions wouldn’t be an issue this time, but we got them nice and fast and that gave us plenty of time to organise other things.
“I’m very grateful for the fact that we get to participate this time around because I swear, if I had another repeat of PGI.S [it would have hurt]. This time we legitimately earned our spot, and it would have hurt a little bit harder if we missed out.”
However, the thought in principle remains.
FURY qualified for PGC 2021 rather comfortably, with a runner-up finish in PCS4 APAC and a top 4 placement in PCS5 APAC.
Ykikamucow was the first to admit FURY’s run of form in PCS5 wasn’t the greatest — they could secure kills, but not the almighty chicken dinner to actually climb up the placements in WWCD format.
What matters is they made it to Korea though.
As the sole Oceanic representative (Team Bliss and 36 Cartel both failed to get off the ground in PCS4 and PCS5 respectively), there’s a lot of pressure to fly the flags high for Australia and New Zealand. But, as Ykikamucow emphasised, it’s no longer Oceania vs the world, but APAC.
“For me, my motto going into PGC — because we’re really close with the Thai teams — is trying to unite the APAC region,” he explained. “If you are a Thai fan, or a Vietnam fan, or an OCE fan, I want you to cheer for every APAC team.
“It’s super important for the players that we all respect each other and in return become a scary region at global events.”
APAC is slowly developing and coming out of its shell. Oceanic teams — even for the most part if it’s just FURY — are starting to gain experience against SEA teams on a more regular basis.
According to Ykikamucow, there’s still a bit of trepidation in the space. However, if APAC PUBG wants to become a truly scary region — which the veteran believes can happen with a little push — they need to put those differences aside.
“We have this massive lull in between PCS4 and PCS5 where we don’t see any APAC tournaments. Each region just sticks to themselves. I’d love to mix and integrate like North and South America,” he said.
“There’s so many boundaries for all of us to push to become so much better. That’d be scary if we could actually [unite].
“We are APAC going forwards and we are going to be for the foreseeable future, so let’s support each other. I hope that has a positive effect on the PUBG community so that we can start seeing more APAC tournaments.”
Since their last outing at GLL London, FURY has picked up Lachlan ‘Fludd’ Thompson — a core part of the Athletico roster that finished second at the same event behind Europe’s FaZe Clan.
It’s awkward saying he’s “new” though, given Fludd has been with the roster for over a year and helped lead FURY to new heights in Australia and in wider APAC. His extensive LAN experience will come in handy during PGC though.
“Fludd is one of those people that doesn’t get fazed by anything. If you’re at LAN and it’s one of the biggest events of your life, that’s what’s going to make or break you. He’s going to have a very good idea on how to keep us all focused because of his experience,” Ykikamucow said.
Despite Fludd making it deep in his last international outing, and FURY having been at the top of their game within the region for years, the team is entering the five-week stint in Korea with no expectations at all.
“PGS is five weeks, which is unlike any other tournament in the world. The length of time we’re there for and the factors that’ll influence how we feel will be somewhat out of our control. Team morale and looking after our mental health is priority number one.”
The length of the tournament — and the general volatility of how PUBG tournaments work — means just one solid week out of the five can set FURY up for success.
“We haven’t been to a LAN in a hot minute, and you can be hot trash for the first three weeks but have a great last week and win the tournament — that’s likely,” he said. “It’s not super healthy to have any results-wise goals.
“Deep down all of us would like to finish in the top 10, we have proven ourselves as a team that has that capacity. If we can do better than that, fantastic, and if we do worse it’s not the end of the world. It’ll sting for a little bit and go from there.
“We know what we’re doing, we’ve been a team for such a long time. Us not putting expectations on ourselves is not going to be detrimental. We are very realistic about what we need to talk about and what doesn’t matter.
“I remember going to FACEIT [London, where then Incognito finished 10th] and we would do our eight hour day and then we’d go back and review for 2-3 hours and that was our whole day. I know that’s what we’re there to do but you can’t do that for five weeks. This time it’ll be different.”
FURY’s PGC 2021 campaign kicks off on November 19 at 3pm AEDT with their first Rank Decision games. You can catch the action live on the PUBG channel.