The Call of Duty: World War II season has come to a close, as Evil Geniuses (EG) take home the grand prize. A 30/1 underdog leading in, Patrick “ACHES” Price’s men proved the top dogs, defeating Team Kaliber in a riveting grand final. In what will go down as one of the greatest events in Call of Duty history, favourites were upset from start to finish, while EG walk away from CoD Champs $600,000 richer.
The team of Justin “SiLLY” Fargo, Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov, Adam “Assault” Garcia and ACHES had shown promise. They placed 2nd at CWL Seattle, losing out to a dominant Rise Nation. EG’s Stage 1 team of ACHES, Apathy, Ian “Enable” Wyatt and Anthony “Nameless” Wheeler proved unsuccessful, so SiLLY and Assault were approached in April. Fighting through relegation, the new line-up re-qualified for the Pro League, but fell short of Stage 2 Playoffs.
Champs did not start well either, losing in Groups to an Elevate squad with few expectations. EG required a 3-0 sweep of reigning champions OpTic Gaming to even progress in the tournament. In every World Championship, the winning team has defeated OpTic at some point, and 2018 was no exception. EG ran with the momentum, storming through their side of the bracket to Winners’ Finals. Here they met Stage 2 Champions Team Kaliber (TK), featuring old friend Enable.
TK were yet to lose a Hardpoint before this series, boasting a 11-0 record so far at Champs. EG quickly put paid to this statistic, winning all respawn modes to advance to the grand finals. TK dispatched of FaZe Clan to earn a rematch with EG, for a chance to hoist the famous trophy. With EG yet to lose a series in bracket play, TK would have to beat them twice to earn the championship rings.
ACHES’s men initially took control moving up 2-0 in the series. However, TK – as they have done all year – bounced back with aplomb, reverse sweeping EG to reset the bracket. Apathy had endured similar pain at last year’s Champs with Envy, losing the first series to eventual winners OpTic Gaming. Many feared the same was happening again, but EG had other ideas. Winning TK’s map-pick London Docks Hardpoint was a great starter, as EG showed impressive resilience to win the second series 3-0 and clinch the grand prize. ACHES and Apathy collected their second ring, with SiLLY and Assault joining the elusive list.
Reigning champions OpTic Gaming could not even progress beyond T24, eliminated by the champions themselves in Group Play. Team Kaliber knocked down favourites Rise Nation in the first round of Winners’ Bracket. Luminosity (LG) put Rise out of their misery with a T16 finish; Jordan “JKap” Kaplan seeking his third world title. LG’s Matthew “FormaL” Piper, last year’s MVP, was statistically the best player again, posting an astonishing 1.42 KD over 24 maps.
LG were defeated by James “Clayster” Eubanks’s eUnited, but not before they had eliminated the last remaining UK hopefuls in Red Reserve. By placements, Champs 2018 was the least successful event ever for European CoD, a disappointing end to a great year. FaZe Clan, rejuvenated by their role swap, dispatched of eUnited but could not get past Team Kaliber. Such were the upsets, TK and eUnited were the only teams in bracket play to perform to their seeding.
Black Ops 4
Despite a lacklustre year for viewership, CoD Champs once again brought the hype. Even without fan-favourites OpTic Gaming, MLG.tv showed combined viewers in excess of 170,000 during the grand finals. Black Ops 4 has a great platform to build on as the new season approaches. Immediately before the finals began, MLG announced the BO4 Esports Reveal will be taking place Sept. 19th, explaining “new tournament format” and more.
The opening event of the season was also revealed, CWL Las Vegas (Dec 7th-9th). Black Ops 4 releases October 12th, a month earlier than usual, but the first event is still planned for December. There is speculation as to whether this decision allows for a more stable meta to be established, or whether two months is required for teams to adapt to drastic changes to the competitive season.
Whatever the reasoning, Black Ops 4 has great potential with the necessary tweaks made. CoD Champs proved there is a thriving scene beneath the cloak of negativity, the most competitive season in history may be on the horizon. Evil Geniuses took the crown here, but the chance for revenge lies just around the corner.
See here for CoD Champs 2018’s full final results and prize pool allocation.
Featured image courtesy of: Kyle Miller