Here are my predictions for Pool Play at CWL Atlanta. Just remember that all of these pools are predicted without the open bracket team decided, so the predictions will not include them in the discussion. If you would like to watch it, it will be streamed from https://www.twitch.tv/callofduty and http://www.mlg.com .
Pool A (The Pool of 3)
Pool A has one team that is on the top of the game, two teams that have had a back and forth year, and one team that has done nothing but struggle. Rise Nation with all the confidence in the world, are coming off an undefeated second half to their division and have been looking stronger every time that they compete. This has a lot to do with their FLEX player, Gunless, and their main AR, Methodz. They have been dominating throughout Stage 1 putting up a combined 1.16 K/D Ratio. I expect them to do well in this division and have no troubles getting the first seed.
Splyce had an extremely hot start this season with an impressive 2nd place finish at CWL Dallas. However, with the STG/BAR meta being in place now it has shown a weakness in their team’s roles. One topic that has come up a lot because of this is that each of the regions play differently in the CWL. From this we see that the Europeans and Australians have been playing slower. Now with the majority of the teams in pool play being North American this has caused issues for Splyce. With this being said expect them to struggle in this pool against both Rise and Echo Fox.
Echo Fox has been a team on the rise as of late. The organization had a rough start at Dallas and at the Northern Arena Showdown, this resulted in a trade with Rise of Aqua in place of Gunless. Normally trades are stronger on one side compared to the other but both teams were able to improve from it. In the second half of their division of pro league they found themselves in a spot where if they win, they’re in and they clutched up. Their recent success and new-found confidence makes me believe that they will be able to make it out of this division.
Epsilon has not had many positives this season. Since CWL Dallas they have been being made to look like an amateur team for the majority of the time. They are a team that is behind the learning curve and they also are short on leadership. During the Pro League they have not won a series and only have a 4-21 map record. I expect following the completion of their division that a roster lock will occur and they will pick up an in-game leader in the place of Nathan or Hawqeh. Also, they are a team with a strong chance at not making into Stage 2 following relegation.
Pool B (The Pool of Recovery)
This pool is the most predictable out of all. Luminosity is undoubtedly one of the best if not the best team in the game. The shear slaying potential of this team with the turret of an AR player Octane and the top tier SUB player John has made them one of the more dominant respawn teams. One of the top in respawn, also have a great mindset when it comes to search and destroy, behind the leadership brought on by JKap.
Team Kaliber has been struggling as of late but I feel as the spotlight has been taken off of them they will be able to show some improvements throughout the weekend. Additionally, they have one of the easiest if not the easiest pool to get out of, so they will have plenty of matches to warm up with.
Evil Geniuses is a team with a lot of question marks coming into Atlanta. They have shown some signs of greatness this season but have many bad performances as well. This might be due to leadership conflicts from Aches, Enable, and Nameless all of which are coming out of former leadership roles. Another issue might be a role crisis with the current three sub meta in the game. Going into this season Aches, Enable, and Nameless were running AR’s. Currently they have Enable running an AR full-time which is great, however they also have Nameless running a full-time sub which makes him look very uncomfortable. I think to get more success they need to switch the roles of Aches to the second sub player and put Nameless into the FLEX role.
There is not much to say about Vitality. They struggled through all of this season with very little success. They have had a lot of issues when it comes to slaying throughout the season espeically with Malls. On the bright side for them when he is preforming well they look like a team that can compete at a high level throughout the weekend.
Pool C (The Pool of Death)
If I was a team coming out of the open bracket, I would be terrified to be placed against these teams. This division contains both Optic Gaming and eUnited who are some of the few teams that have stuck together from last season. Also Faze Clan is a roster that is full of veterans that will continue to be strong.
Optic Gaming every year around Stage 1 seem to get into a rhythm and are always a favorite going into events. Their time in Division A was a huge confidence boost for them finishing second and be able to take down each of the top teams. One weakness that continues for them is coming in slow when playing the weaker teams. They play down to their opponents in a way. The X factor for their team this weekend is Karma, if he is able to have a strong performance when it comes to the “dirty work” of his objective role for the team.
Faze Clan has been one of the best teams on LAN this season. They have made a strong run this season after needing to come out of the open bracket at Dallas. Faze arguably has the strongest sub duo in the game right now in Attack and Zoomaa. The strong presence that they bring is especially shown in Capture the Flag, where Faze has dominated for the majority of the season.
eUnited has been going through adversity through the last couple weeks. They struggled greatly during their division of the Pro League. One weakness that they have shown repeatedly for the majority of time as a roster is their inability to recover from a loss. For the last three major LAN events they have lost in the winner’s semifinals and then immediately lost in loser’s bracket placing Top 6. Another situation that could affect their placing this weekend is that they may need a sub for Clayster. Clayster announced on Twitter that his dad is currently in the hospital and not doing well. He later went on to tweet that he may miss the event this weekend to be there for his dad and that he is sorry for his teammates and fan. If this occurs, it would be extremely detrimental for their team by losing the leader and their team’s chemistry.
ERA Eternity is a team that has untapped potential. During the second half of their division they were able to win their way out of relegation. These strong performances were led by an impressive upset of Optic Gaming. As expected this team has been exceptional in search and destroy being led by Fero. One weakness that they have shown quite a bit is poor scorestreak usage during respawn game modes. While they have been improving they are still vulnerable in this pool.
Pool D (The Pool of Opportunity)
Pool D is another pool that would be attractive for an open bracket team to make a run in. The large international presence in this division causes this pool to be more unpredictable than the others. Envy is a team on the rise. After their slow start to the season, they have a strong performance during the Pro League with their only loss coming to Luminosity. These strong performances were led by Slasher, during this season he has been of the best AR players. The biggest influence however for their team is the rapid improvement from Huke. Since his recent transition from Halo, he seemed to have a slow start to the year but with time he has clearly found his stride.
Red Reserve is currently looking like the best team in Europe. At CWL New Orleans and at Stage 1 they have had many strong performances. They have been beating many top teams such as Optic and Faze, while avoiding losses to the weaker teams that they are competing against. In their recent performances, they have been led by Zer0. As many other dominant players this season he has been the player in the FLEX role. The current meta with the PPSH is allowing him to thrive in mid-range gun fights and allow him to apply more pressure in respawn than with an AR.
Unilad had a difficult start to their division in the Pro League, starting with a 0-3 record. But, they made a team decision to switch Skrapz to a full-time sub and it has shown great results for them. The strong slaying that he has brought them during respawn has moved them from a week team, to a team that may be able to compete with Red for the second spot in their pool.
Mindfreak has been the strongest team in the APAC region for many years. This season they are in a better position than in years past. One major weakness for them is their inability to practice against top caliber teams while not at events. In their break between the halves of their division, they decided that they would not practice keeping their play style closer to the North American Team. Another issue that Mindfreak has had for many events is having a slow Friday. Normally, Mindfreak is placed into the loser bracket before they find their stride and put themselves in no place to make a solid run in a tournament.