Stage One of the Call of Duty Global Pro League is in full swing as it heads into Week Two. Last week, we saw Team EnVyUs and Splyce move onto playoffs, with Mindfreak clinching 3rd and Cloud9 heading to Relegation. This weekend, we will see Faze Clan, Rise Nation, Fnatic, and Evil Geniuses clash at the MLG Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Like last week, each team will face one another in a double round-robin format. The top two placing teams will advance to Playoffs as well as qualify for Stage Two of the Global Pro League, Pool Play at CWL Anaheim, and Call of Duty World Championship later this year. The 3rd place team will also qualify for Stage Two of the Global Pro League, Pool Play at CWL Anaheim, and Call of Duty World Championship. The team that places last will face Relegation in order to qualify for Stage Two.
Week Two is unique in that it consists of three teams from North America, with EG entering as the 9th seeded team in the region, along with Fnatic from Europe.
The FaZe CoD team was assembled during Advanced Warfare to do one thing: defeat OpTic Gaming (OG). They were semi-successful in doing so, however in Infinite Warfare, the tables have turned as they have not been able to defeat OG or eUnited and are currently ranked as the 3rd best team in NA.
FaZe is led by CoD veteran James “Clayster” Eubanks, who is joined by Ian “Enable” Wyatt, Dillon “Attach” Price, and Tommey “ZooMaa” Paparatto. FaZe is hungry for a LAN championship win, having the last one come 19 months ago at the MLG Pro League CoD AW Season 3 Playoffs back in AW. The good news for FaZe is that they are the heavy favorites to take the 1st place seed in Week Two. Only time will tell if they are capable of returning to their dominant form last seen in 2015.
Having made a huge roster at the beginning of Infinite Warfare, Rise Nation is now made up of Daniel “Loony” Loza, Ulysses “Aqua” Silva. Brice “Faccento” Faccento, and Tyler “FeLonY” Johnson. After winning the first major tournament of the year, MLG Las Vegas, Rise has yet to repeat their success.
Rise would go on to place 9th-12th at CWL Atlanta, 3rd at CWL Paris, and 17th-20th at CWL Dallas. Earlier this month, Rise brought on CoD veteran Jon “Pacman” Tucker as their team manager and coach. This weekend will show if their newest addition has paid off.
After leaving the competitive CoD scene at the end of Ghosts, Evil Geniuses has reentered the scene with a new team for IW. Led by another CoD veteran in Anthony “Nameless” Wheeler, EG is rounded out by his Duo Jeremy “Study” Astacio, Colt “Havok” McLendon, and Jared “Nagafen” Harrell.
EG did not have the greatest of start to IW and struggled to clinch the last NA spot in the GPL. Throughout the season, they have placed 7th-8th at every International LAN event excluding a 17th-20th finish at CWL Atlanta.
At MLG Dallas, EG went head-to-head against The Gosu Crew to decide who would make it into the GPL. After a close series, EG would ultimately prevail, but many believe this team will struggle in the GPL.
Rounding out Week Two is the European team, Fnatic, led by Tommey “Tommey” Trewren. He is joined by Gurdip “SunnyB” Bains, and twins Brad “wuskin” and Matt “Skrapz” Marshall. Coming off an impressive 3rd place finish at CWL Birmingham, Fnatic is poised to cause a few upsets this weekend.
Touted as the most improved team since the beginning of IW, Fnatic still seems to have not hit their skill ceiling yet. What makes this team dangerous is the explosive play of Skrapz and wuskin paired with their Search & Destroy prowess. The Europeans should not be taken lightly by their NA competition.
Outside from FaZe taking first seed in this group, there are no other easy predictions. Casters, analysts, and professional players alike are struggling to predict where the other three teams in this group will place. When the race is this tight, it all comes down to which team will show up this weekend and play their best, which perfectly describes CoD Esports.
Jack Waters is an avid Call of Duty Esports fan and wants to hear from YOU! Find him on Twitter.
Images: MLG.tv and CallofDuty.com