With the much anticipated launch of the 2019 CWL Pro League rapidly approaching on February 4th, many Call of Duty fans are wondering who will come out on top in each Division. We begin our preview by taking a close look at Division A, and how the teams stack up against each other.
A team many would regard as the best in the game, OpTic Gaming has produced a very strong start to the CWL season, taking home the first major at CWL Las Vegas. It seems as though the additions of Thomas ‘TJHaLy’ Haly and Brandon ‘Dashy’ Otell have remedied the notorious issues OpTic have had in Search and Destroy, with the latter earning the MVP of the tournament with an impressive Kill/Death ratio of 1.44.
It also appears as though former World Champion Seth ‘Scump’ Abner has returned to his best form with the SMG in hand. Teammates Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter and Damon ‘Karma’ Barlow are also providing impressive showings in recent ProDown tournaments, with the squad winning four out of the last five. It is no surprise that a squad boasting six World Championship rings between them has returned to their best form. The addition of talented youngsters TJHaLy and Dashy has solidified this squad as one of the best in the game as a heavy favourite to top the Division.
Another team with an impressive showing, Luminosity Gaming came in at 4th place. Only losing series’ to the eventual first and second placed squads, there is much to be hopeful about if you are an LG fan. Matthew ‘Formal’ Piper has looked comfortable as the main AR, and Pierce ‘Gunless’ Hillman finished fifth place in terms of overall K/D, dropping 1.31 over 36 maps. With extra firepower provided from Johnathan ‘John’ Perez, whom many would regard as one of the best SMG players in the game, it is safe to presume Luminosity will be challenging right up at the top end of the Division.
Midnight Esports were the first team to qualify for the Pro League via the Qualifier, finishing with a flawless 6-0 record. The Pro League will be a new experience for four out of the squad’s five players, with only Devin ‘LlamaGod’ Tran having previously played in the CWL Pro League before. Dylan ‘Envoy’ Hannon showed flashes of brilliance, finishing with a tournament high K/D of 1.39. While there is no denying this is a squad full of talent, it is unknown how they will manage against some of the best teams in the game. If the squad can manage to replicate their form from the PLQ, expect them to be challenging for one of the top spots.
Coming off of a respectable 7-8th finish at CWL Las Vegas, Evil Geniuses were looking to build going into the PLQ, adding John ‘Xotic’ Bruno and Brice ‘Faccento’ Faccento to the lineup. The squad successfully earned automatic qualification, only dropping one series on their way to a 5-1 record. The influence of Call of Duty veteran John ‘Revan’ Boble in a coaching role was apparent, as the roster mightily improved in both respawn game modes and Search and Destroy. Mathew ‘Royalty’ Faithfull showed why he was this roster’s star man, ending the event with a 1.32 K/D. Proving themselves as a very capable team in the PLQ, don’t be surprised if we see this squad finishing in the top five of the Division.
Another squad to claim automatic qualification from the PLQ, UYU had a solid series count of 4-2. A squad with limited experience in the Pro League, it will be interesting to see how they perform when up against much tougher opponents. With the notable pickup of former FaZe Clan and G2 Esports player Anthony ‘Methodz’ Zinni, it looks like UYU are ready to kick on and maybe cause some upsets in the Division. It is unclear how well this lineup may adapt to the Pro League, so I can see a mid-range finish for this squad if they can match their PLQ performances.
An international lineup featuring European players and an Australian player, Team Reciprocity claimed automatic qualification via the PLQ ahead of the likes of FaZe Clan and Team Sween, winning 3-0 series’ against both. However, losses to FaZe Clan Black and Team Divine really emphasized how inconsistent Team Reciprocity’s performances have been. However when players like Zach ‘Zed’ Denyer, who dropped an event K/D of 1.36, are performing at their best, facing this squad can be a scary process. This is a team that can potentially cause some upsets against the top dogs, and can be real challengers if they can gain the consistency they’ve been craving.
Rumored to be picked up by Gen.G esports, Team Space has gained a reputation of being a dark horse in the CWL. They impressed in the early stages of Black Ops 4’s life cycle, with a series of great performances in the MLG 2k tournaments, before recording a 7-8th place finish at CWL Las Vegas, under the Str8 Rippin banner. Michael ‘MajorManiak’ Szymaniak has been a consistent performer for the squad, attaining a 1.23 K/D at the PLQ. The squad steamrolled their way through the Winner’s Bracket on their way to qualification, dropping only one map in the three series’ they played. With most players in the squad having previous Pro League experience, lead by veteran Michael ‘Spacely’ Schmale, this team is one to keep a close eye on. I can see this squad causing even the best players in the game some trouble in this Division.
One of the final teams to secure a Pro League spot in the European showdown vs Team Sween, Red Reserve cut it close for Pro League qualification. The clear shining light for this team was the performances of Matthew ‘Skrapz’ Marshall, showing his clutch factor in many games, and dropping the joint highest K/D of the tournament at a huge 1.39. Interestingly, the two losses suffered by Red Reserve in Pool Play were at the hands of fellow Division A teams Evil Geniuses and UYU. If they are to have any success in this Division, Skrapz’s team mates will have to step up and give him some support in the slaying department. Failure to do this may result in a tough time for Red Reserve in Division A.
It is quite clear that Division A has some very talented teams, and I would say it is a rather even Division, with no obvious weak links. I think teams like OpTic Gaming and Luminosity Gaming should be considered favorites, but it will be interesting to see how the teams qualifying through the Pro League Qualifier will play against them. Who is your favorite for Division A? What team do you think will be the shock of the Division? Let us know!
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