What Splyce is doing for European Call of Duty

It was fitting that at the first ever LAN league for Call of Duty history was made. For the first time ever, a European team won a premier international tournament.

The champions, Splyce, consist of long-time veterans Dylan “MadCat” Daly and Jordan “Jurd” Crowley alongside two young stars in Ben “Bance” Bance and Trei “Zer0” Morris. The core of the team has been knocking on the door for a while. They finished second at the Call of Duty World Championship last year and have had notable matches against the likes of OpTic and Rise Nation. Splyce’s slow but sure rise has done wonders for European Call of Duty, and several factors have contributed to their success.

LIKEABILITY

As aforementioned, the squad contains MadCat and Jurd, who have been at the top of EU CoD for some time. These players have generated many followers over the years – something that has been crucial to Splyce’s popularity.

Their fellow teammates in Bance and Zer0 have added firepower and the ability to make game-changing plays. Players with such ability always draw in fans and with the stable support of such consistent veterans can only help. Bance really took off at the 2016 World Championship and was the catalyst for their losers’ bracket run. His impressive performance led to an influx in popularity.

The combination of both older and newer players makes the team enjoyable for all fans.

Bance was a Tour de Force at last year’s World Championship. [Source: MLG]

Even outside of Call of Duty, Splyce as an organization has a growing following. They field a League of Legends team that made it to the finals of the EU LCS in 2016 as well as pro teams in Halo and Gears of War.

Part of the organization’s popularity comes from the fact that they love a project. For example, picking up a European CoD team as opposed to an American one. They also did this in GoW and LoL, fielding a Mexican line-up and an all Danish LCS roster for some time, respectively.

Having such a popular European team not only makes more casual EU CoD fans want to tune in but also the Americans to see if they can take down the NA giants.

WORLD LEAGUE

Another reason for the growth of European CoD was the introduction of the World League. Back in Black Ops 3, the circuit brought in by Activision allowed fans to watch their favorite game being played on a regular schedule every week.

The various 2K series are a nightmare for fans to watch, even the ones for Europeans. But seeing strong teams such as Millennium, Splyce and Team Infused play in a competitive environment every week steadily increased European viewership. However, Splyce was one of few teams who were able to translate those performances to the international stage. They achieved top placings numerous times, at tournaments like ESWC 2016 and of course the World Championship, further increasing fans’ desire to see them play.

BRINGING IT HOME

If Splyce can continue their run of good results and exciting games it may bring international tournaments back to Europe. One of my most memorable events was Gfinity 3. Being from the UK, it was a pleasure to see the Copperbox Arena being filled with Call of Duty fans, even though I couldn’t attend.

The Copperbox Arena, London back in Call of Duty: Ghosts. [Source: Eurogamer]

It’s nice to see Activision pumping money into the circuit here, however, it would attract many more fans if we could have the international teams flying out to compete. If Splyce and other European teams such as Epsilon and Elevate keep contesting NA teams, there might be more events available over here in Europe.

Perhaps if a European were to win the World Championship, the tournament could be brought over to Europe the following year. It would be refreshing to see a change of location and there are many smaller venues in the UK that could be filled with Call of Duty fans. Only time will tell. Maybe if Splyce makes another run to the finals we could see it happen. At this point, it’s not unlikely.

The next big LAN is MLG Anaheim on June 16th-18th, where it will be interesting to see if Splyce can reach newer heights. With eUnited and OpTic dropping out early in Stage One playoffs, many critics will say that Splyce had it easy. It will be on the Brits to prove them wrong and continue to fly the European flag.


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The Evil Geniuses – Lost and Found

The most shocking result of the inaugural CWL Global Pro League has to be Evil Geniuses topping their group last weekend. The squad consisting of Jeremy “StuDyy” Astacio, Anthony “NAMELESS” Wheeler, Jared “Nagafen” Harrell and Colt “Havok” McLendon not only surprised the majority of the community and analysts by qualifying for the playoffs but also in the fashion that they did it. Despite being the last team to secure their spot in the Pro League, alongside starting their weekend with a 0-6 map count, they would turn the tide in their favor with a string or remarkable results.

However, since this Evil Geniuses line up was conceived, the team has finish eighth at best on LAN, leaving newer viewers wondering where this new form came from. Even though these players have only just regained the limelight, Evil Geniuses consists of a few of our most storied Call of Duty professionals. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the history of these players.

Anthony “NAMELESS” Wheeler

NAMELESS is the captain of this team, and rightly so. The man is a veteran player with his competitive history starting further back than Modern Warfare 3. Known for his aggressive assault rifle play, he has attained a championship in nearly every single iteration of Call of Duty. His most successful year was with Team EnVyUs during Call of Duty: Ghosts, where he had two first place finishes alongside second at the Call of Duty World Championship. Back in Ghosts, on maps such as Freight, he was able to apply pressure across the map using the Remington R5, the strongest assault rifle, so it’s no surprise that when he picked up the KBAR this past weekend the team started to gain more success. The weapon enabled him to play still play outside the hill but also in and around it where he can, as the leader, more easily affect the flow of the game.

NAMELESS built this roster for Evil Geniuses’ return to Call of Duty. [Source: Evil Geniuses]

Experience is a must have for any leader to succeed and it was on show in the Global Pro League. There’s no way a team comes back from such a defeating first day without a leader capable of calming his players’ emotions. It is clear that NAMELESS was a huge determining factor in his team’s comeback the following day.

Jeremy “StuDyy” Astacio

StuDyy first broke out in Call of Duty: Ghosts and quickly became a highly sought after player. This landed him a spot on Team EnVyUs where he would first join forces with NAMELESS. The then star player was a contributing factor in nV’s second place finish at the World Championship, only falling to the demigod compLexity roster. During the same season, he would take his only first place finish at UMG Dallas with a Denial squad packed with youngsters. The man has been gunning for a championship ever since.

Originally being a star player, StuDyy has become an inconsistent player who could reach incredible highs or simply not do enough. However, now that he has Havok on his team, he can take on a more consistent role. This means that he does not feel as if he has to be a playmaker and can play as a second star who will turn up when needed.

One of StuDyy’s all-time peaks was at MLG Anaheim in Black Ops 3 where he almost single headedly took down FaZe Clan in a shock result. It was a true display of skill and I hope that in Infinite Warfare he can give us more moments like these.

Jared “Nagafen” Harrell

A piece of the near Cinderella story at the Call of Duty Championship 2015, Nagafen seems to have been unlucky in love with his lineups since the humongous feat. Team Revenge broke up after being unable to qualify for the MLG Pro League and Nagafen has not been on a stable roster until now. He has had notable placings, but the championships still elude him. The exceptionally strong Search and Destroy player is well aware of his ability to outplay his opponents.

Within the Evil Geniuses team, as long as he performs in the SnD, Nagafen should be able to play a kind of support off-role in the respawns to attain his team the victory. This type of player needs time within a team to find his footing, and maybe that time is now.

Nagafen competing with Prophecy at Gfinity Masters where he placed second. [Source: Gfinity]

Colt “Havok” McLendon

The last puzzle piece is one of Call of Duty’s only premier Twitch streamers. Havok has come under flak before due to showcasing his talents on stream and not being able to translate it onto the stage. However, this is something that takes time and, similarly to Nagafen, is more likely to build up on a stable roster. Havok is a player that can do it all – Search and Destroy, Hardpoint and Uplink – he is so skilled that just his ability to out-aim can carry him through matches.

After winning smaller LANs with iSolation eSports in Advanced Warfare, Havok earned his big shot on Cloud9 in Black Ops 3, only for the team to continuously fight in relegation. Hopefully, by being in Evil Geniuses since the start of Infinite Warfare eventually, he can be a consistent player that can be relied on in big moments.

Havok was ecstatic to make it into the Pro League. Watch Evil Geniuses’ video below about their crucial qualifying match.

Conclusion

This Evil Genius team has always had potential. They have tier one players, it’s just that they were left out of the roster shuffle at the start of the season. It’s quite obvious that the likes of StuDyy and NAMELESS have never played with the style of Nagafen or Havok, and so it has taken them a lengthy amount of time to band together. After such a long time, and due to earning the first seed, it’s likely we’ll see a strong playoff run from this squad. These guys are never far from the top and there might even be a championship for them just around the corner.


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Halo World Championship Finals Regional Preview: Europe

Three teams will represent Europe in the Halo World Championship Finals next weekend in Burbank, California. FAB Games eSports, Supremacy, and London Conspiracy will venture across the pond to clash with Halo teams from North America, Australia, and Latin America. After a disappointing outing for Europe at the Halo World Championship 2016, these three teams seek to make a statement, and prove that the European scene is not to be taken lightly. This article will focus on each of the European Halo teams, and highlight their respective journeys to the Halo World Championship Finals.

FAB Games eSports

Roster: Brandon “Respectful” Stones, James “Jimbo” Bradbrook, Perry “TuFoxy” Kenyon, Luciano “Mose” Calvanico.

EU Halo veteran Jimbo. Courtesy of Halo Esportspedia

Of the three European teams competing at the HWC Finals, FAB Games eSports’ Halo 5 tenure has certainly been the most impressive. In addition to a dominant first-place finish in the HCS Pro League Fall Season, FAB Games boasts event wins at the HCS Summer Finals, HCS Fall Finals, and Gfinity London 2017. The presence of Halo veterans Jimbo and TuFoxy has helped the team hit their stride. Their chances going into HWC Finals have never looked better.

FAB Games qualified for the HWC Finals after a dominant run at Gfinity London 2017. There, they would crush team Supremacy 4-1 in the Grand Finals, not losing a single series prior. Several consecutive tournament wins, and bearers of the first EU qualifying spot signal that FAB Games is a promising contender for the HWC title. Expect them to enter the HWC Finals with a chip on their shoulder, as the best European team looks to continue their momentum and bring a win back home.

 

Supremacy

Roster: Norwen “SLG” Le Galloudec, Romain “PuniShR” Leroy, Sonny “Fragxr” Marchaland, Simon “SolaR” Racher.

Hailing from France, and sporting a re-tooled roster going into Gfinity London 2017, Supremacy appeared an unlikely candidate to qualify for the HWC Finals. Only the top two teams from the event would qualify. Supremacy would need to take down successful EU teams like exceL eSports, London Conspiracy, and Team Infused to have a shot.

Supremacy suffered a loss early to the BUK twins’ squad, Pace Making Pandas. Consequently, they would need to construct a herculean tournament run in order to qualify at Gfinity. The team responded with incredible composure, blasting their way through the Losers Bracket. Supremacy met fierce resistance against Team Infused in the Losers Finals. With HWC Finals qualification on the line, Supremacy vanquished Team Infused after a grueling seven-game struggle.

Supremacy would fall to FAB Games eSports 4-1 in the Grand Finals. However, the tenacity of the team left many surprised. Supremacy will need to dig deep to face the competition at the HWC Finals. They have the potential to shock the world if they can make a successful run.

 

London Conspiracy

London Conspiracy. Courtesy of Gfinity.

Roster: Rob “SeptiQ” Singleton, Andrew “Ramirez” Corrigan, Casey “Lunny” Lunn, Kristopher “Qristola” O’Keefe

Following Gfinity London, two of the three European HWC Finals spots had been claimed. Halo veterans SeptiQ and Ramirez knew they must win the Last Chance Qualifier if they wanted a shot at one million dollars. London Conspiracy finished a disappointing 5th-6th at Gfinity London. This prompted the departure of Ryan “Batchford” Batchelor, and the acquisition of newcomer Qristola. This change appeared beneficial, as London Conspiracy seemed refreshed heading into the LCQ. Incidentally, London Conspiracy would then defeat Batchford’s new team, Best Routers EU, in the Grand Finals 4-1.

As a result of the LCQ win, London Conspiracy holds the final EU spot for the HWC Finals. A relatively new team, London Conspiracy must play lights-out to have a chance at winning their pool, and moving into bracket play at the HWC Finals.

 

Conclusion

These teams are the best of the best in Europe. But are they skilled enough to beat the dominant North American competition? Only three teams will be representing Europe in the 2017 Halo World Championship, compared to seven from North America. If the European teams want a chance at victory, they seem to have their work cut out for them.

Furthermore, as the time until the HWC Finals grows shorter, anticipation is steadily building. Look for the EU teams to come out swinging while they attempt to topple the competition from around the world. As always, all the action will be streamed live at twitch.tv/halo.

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

Are the European Halo Teams Up to Par?

The Halo World Championships are just that – the World championships, with teams from across the globe competing. That said, North America dominates competitive Halo. This has now started to change with Epsilon eSports’ performance last year, showing that European Halo is no joke.

Epsilon at the time consisted of James “Jimbossity” Bradbrook (also known as Jimbo), Alex “BUK20” Buck, Will “BUK57” Buck, and Mike “Snipedrone” Juchau. They performed above and beyond what was expected of any non-NA team during last year’s Halo World Championships. This squad was first able to take down fan-favorite Renegades at the 2016 Winter X-Games in only four games. During the HWC 2016 Finals, Epsilon was the only non-NA team to progress outside of the group stage. While the team went home with a 5th-8th finish, they managed to take a game from the near invincible Counter Logic Gaming. They were the only team to do so aside from the Denial roster. But that was last year. What is European Halo looking like now?

 

Head and Shoulders Above the Rest

Currently, European Halo is far and away being led by FAB eSports, with a roster of Jimbo, Brandon “Respectful” Stones,

FAB winning the Summer Finals. Courtesy of Millenium.org

Perry “TuFoxy” Kenyon, and Luciano “Mose” Calvanico. This team has led both EU Pro Leagues, as well as winning the Finals, and is looking to continue their dominance. They have only lost four total scrims in 2017, and recent scrims have shown FAB returning to dominance. These include a 13-0 victory, as well as several others that were won by five or more games. FAB are performing similarly to how OpTic Gaming (Then-CLG) were performing during the Fall Season, as they did not drop a single game at the Fall Finals.

However, other teams have begun nipping at FAB’s heels. Supremacy, London Conspiracy, as well as Team Infused have been able to defeat FAB in scrims on occasion. All three will have a chance to dethrone FAB this weekend at the HWC 2017 EU Qualifiers while also trying to snag one of three EU spots for the 2017 Finals.

Despite FAB’s impressive record so far, it is very well known that the competition level of North American Halo is well above that of European competition, and this trend does not look to be slowing down anytime soon.

 

HCS Las Vegas

During the Fall Season, FAB did cross the pond to attend HCS Las Vegas. During this event, FAB dominated most of the

Jimbo, one of the most popular EU players. Courtesy of James Bradbrook.

amateur NA teams. They were able to sweep Pnda Gaming, as well as 6S, a team that later went on to challenge Enigma6 and Team Allegiance at Relegations. Unfortunately, Team Liquid sent FAB to the losers bracket and later went on to not only knock Team EnvyUs into the losers bracket, but also took them through 14 games in the grand finals before losing.

In the losers bracket, Str8 Rippin sent FAB packing with a 3-1 victory.

While FAB is far better than the old Epsilon roster ever was, the competition in North America has skyrocketed throughout the Fall Season. Any of the top five teams in NA can contend with OpTic Gaming, making the desired placings for FAB that much harder.

 

Looking Forward

FAB may be the only team that has a chance at contending with the top North American teams going into the 2017 Halo World Championship. They are the only European team to play against North Americans since HWC 2016, and will have the best tools of any European Halo team to counteract the hyper-aggressive North American play-style. This squad has the talent and firepower to defeat the bottom three NA teams, but only time will tell if they can contend with the likes of OpTic. However, they have to fight through Infused, Supremacy, and several other very hungry Europeans to get there.

Be sure to tune in to the GFINITY HWC 2017 London Qualifiers, live February 17th-19th here!

Do you think the Europeans have a chance at taking home the title of “Halo World Champions?” Sound off on Twitter or the official Halo stream this weekend!

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Devin! Get in touch with Devin personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @Frostbite_XV2!