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PSG Talon: Korea's Super Roster for 2024 Or Just Hype?

South Korea has been awfully stale for the better part of the last decade. Can the combination of EU coaching and KR talent bring fruit with the new contenders, PSG Talon?

Banner Image: Ubisoft / Kiril B. @ItsKirillVision

South Korea's PSG Talon are not rookies to the scene - we've seen them play as Talon Esports before, although with few results on the international stage. While the roster had some successes here and there (sometimes) in the South Korea League, their international showings were almost non-existent. In truth, only viewers interested in the South Korean League know their name. It will sound harsh, but it must be said that playing one S-tier event in 5 years and finishing dead last in it is underwhelming.

But, since PSG acquired Talon, there has been more than just a name change - an unexpected move of the three-title winner Fabian "Fabian" Hällsten as the head coach to the team made many heads turn. With PSG Talon making it to their second big international event right after, it seems that it wasn't just for memes - but does this mean the team stands to see success on the big stage?

Way Through South Korea League

To reach the Manchester Major, PSG Talon had to dethrone the set-in-stone favorites FearX and DPlus in the South Korea League 2024. Expecting such an improvement after just a week with the new coach—even if it's a three-time Major winner's worth of coaching experience—is crazy.

Manchester Major

The first top-tier location for the 2024 R6 season is Manchester, England. This event marks the return of the top R6 tournament to the shores of the United Kingdom - something we haven't seen since 2016. R6 Majors are the pinnacle of R6 esports - and a great opportunity to engage in some legal esports betting. Check out the best esports betting sites that support this event, with the best odds, betting markets, and match coverage.

PSG Talon vs Group Stage

The fans could tell the difference between the team's iterations in the very first match of the Talons under the new org. Fabian's influence took hold at a breakneck pace - the team's first match had a complete turnaround from their usual "raw firepower" playstyle to better macro and tactics. The team's map bans also changed dramatically - PSG Talon struck at the Korean region's weak spot of tiny map pools by picking Nighthaven Labs - a map that was previously a perma ban for them. The result? A clean 7:0 versus Beyond Stratos Gaming. The secret? Fabian's secret coaching techniques.

"If you lose, you will eat Swedish food all days of the week until you win." - Fabian

The new org went on with clean wins against the Before & After, Blossom, and Mir Gaming in the following days. But all these matches against lower-tier teams were just a practice run on the way to challenging the true gatekeepers—DPlus and FearX. It was a much-needed practice (as we'll see in a bit), but still practice.

First Turmoils

Day five of the league finally put the cracked-up roster against a true opponent. The match between PSG Talon and DPlus filled the fans with hopium at first as Talons took three rounds in a row, but the team ultimately fell to DPlus 6:8. The buffs to shield operators (the man of the hour Montagne + Fuze) proved too strong for the stack to adapt to.

The victory against WEBL didn't come easily, either. PSG Talon's 8:7 overtime victory got their fans in heart attack mode. The consequent defeat to FearX—who was playing with a sub—with a score of 6:8 made things look quite grim for the hailed "best stack" in Korea. It seemed that PSG Talon was getting reality checked, hard.

According to Niclas "Pengu" Mouritzen, the two-time R6 Invitational champion (among other things, like casting and being a content creator for PSG), the team's strategy prep wasn't ideal before the new coaching talent arrived - it mostly involved copying the best (mostly FaZe) without paying much thought into why they're doing what they're doing. We can see that Fabian had a lot of work to do!

Playoff Miracle Run

The stakes in the playoffs were crazy from the semi-finals onward. Beating the two top teams in the region (DPlus and FOX, previously Sandbox) - whose reign lasted, give or take, 7 years - on a scuffed schedule is quite a quest.

For the grand final, Talon Esports had to face a team that had previously smashed them six times in a row—something you'd never want, even at full power. But PSG Talon couldn't even boast of that.

"We had about 8 days of practice before the stage time! We've been scrimming double scrims all week; we've had three people go to the hospital the next. Misa's [Hong "Misa" Sang-yeong, PSG Talon's support player] PC broke. Misa's grandfather died! We had a really rough stage... So much sh*t happened in the last three weeks, it's insane. We had a full week where we didn't practice a single day." - Niclas "Pengu" Mouritzen after the match against FOX.

Having read all that, you'd probably expect a swift defeat. Instead, the match went 2:1 for PSG, with the last map—Skyscraper—being a complete blowout in favor of the Talons. Both Fabian and Pengu praised the roster for their hard work—and these weren't just empty words. This win guaranteed PSG's presence in Manchester Major Phase 2 - breaking the 7-year-long streak of only FOX and Dplus representing Korea there.

"I'm really proud of the guys." - Pengu

Manchester Major Forecast

We can't pretend that PSG Talon transformed into a premier-level team in just a month with Fabian's arrival and can win it all in Manchester. But we can see the improvement. Since Fabian and Pengu promised to "revolutionize Korean R6," we'll see how well they deliver on that promise. Hopefully, the EU coaching combined with mechanical talent and a hard-working culture of Korean players can push PSG ahead of other minor regions. After that - who knows?

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