The first stage of the Call of Duty World Championship is complete, with 16 teams already eliminated. Group Play came to a conclusion yesterday, with only the top two teams in each pool progressing. Day 2 contained some of the most unexpected upsets we’ve ever seen in CoD, with many favoured teams packing their bags.
Bracket play begins tomorrow at the Nationwide Arena, Columbus. How are the matches shaping up?
The Big Story
Let’s start with what you’re all here for. This isn’t strictly alphabetic order, but where else than a quite unbelievable Group H.
1. Evil Geniuses // 2. Team Elevate // 3. OpTic Gaming // 4. Supremacy
Your eyes do not deceive you. Reigning champions OpTic Gaming are OUT of the 2018 CoD Championship in T24, the worst placing of Seth “Scump” Abner and Ian “Crimsix” Porter’s career. OpTic’s woeful season has somehow gone further downhill. Devastatingly for the Greenwall, they fail to even make the bracket play stage, let alone defend their crown. OpTic had convincingly beaten Team Elevate and Supremacy, but Elevate threw a spanner in the works by beating Evil Geniuses.
EG captain Patrick “ACHES” Price eliminated OpTic from the 2013, 2015 and 2016 competition, and you’ll never guess what. EG required at least a victory to qualify, while OG need only win a single map. In brutal fashion for OpTic fans, Evil Geniuses tore down the Greenwall piece by piece in a swift 3-0. Elevate dealt with Supremacy to cement OpTic’s fate. They were hardly favourites entering Champs, but such a crushing result leaves the team in total disarray approaching Black Ops 4. Former OpTic legend Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag spies an opportunity to pick up the pieces.
The 100 Thieves Call of Duty team for Black Ops 4 is bout to be WILD. @100Thieves
— 100T Nadeshot (@Nadeshot) August 16, 2018
1. Lightning Pandas // 2. Team Kaliber // 3. Heretics // 4. Epsilon
Following Lightning Pandas’ upset over Team Kaliber on Day 1, the #1 seeds were hardly safe. TK dispatched of punchbags Epsilon 3-1 to put themselves in a solid position. The final match, Lightning Pandas vs Heretics, decided the #1 seed. Heretics required a 3-1 victory or better to knock LP out of CoD Champs. The Spaniards won map 1 and 2, before being reverse swept in heartbreaking fashion to bow out.
1. Rise Nation // 2. Lethal Gaming // 3. Brash Esports // 4. Tainted Minds
The qualifying teams were locked up after Day 1, but all-important seeds remained up for grabs. Brash completed a consolatory reverse sweep over Tainted Minds, a promising showing for Europe’s young talents. Lethal Gaming went toe-to-toe with pre-tournament favourites Rise Nation all the way to game 5. Rise eventually came out on top, but this may be a blessing in disguise for Lethal Gaming.
1. Red Reserve // 2. Ghost Gaming // 3. Mindfreak // 4. ZoneGG
Red Reserve unsurprisingly cruised this pool, cementing their #1 seed on Day 1. They dealt with Zone 3-1 to finish undefeated in pools, but Capture the Flag remains a weak point. Ghost Gaming defeated a resilient Mindfreak to claim 2nd seed (see “Best of the Day”). Ghost should have won this series 5-0, blowing huge advantages in both Hardpoints but showing great composure to close out regardless.
1. Team Sween // 2. eUnited // 3. Splyce // 4. EZG Esports
Yes, you read that correctly. The org-less UK team overcame all challengers to pinch the first seed – a surprise only overshadowed by Optic’s defeat. eUnited and Splyce were forced into a battle-to-the-death; the European veterans were outclassed in a tight series, sending them packing at Top 24. EZG were comfortably the weakest competitor, but two have to go home. Champs, she is a cruel mistress.
1. FaZe Clan // 2. CompLexity // 3. Enigma6 Group // 4. Morituri Esports
Widely dubbed the “Pool of Death”, results ended exactly as seeding suggested. FaZe Clan defeated both Enigma6 and Morituri 3-1, only losing a single map in every series they played. CompLexity, helped by heroics from Brandon “Dashy” Otell, came out on top in both must-win matches. Enigma6 bettered Morituri but this proved to be nothing but a consolation, as the Pro League teams advance.
1. UNILAD Esports // 2. Team Envy // 3. Mentality Esports // 4. Team Prismatic
Finally, another pool that went mostly to plan; no series was even close to being close. UK squad UNILAD whitewashed their opposition with a 9-0 map count. Envy did the same to the other two teams, leaving Mentality and Prismatic to battle for pride alone. Mentality won the rat race, but UNILAD’s demolition job of Group F remains the big news of an otherwise uneventful pool, a sign of things to come?
1. Luminosity Gaming // 2. Team Vitality // 3. Echo Fox // 4. Havok Esports
The group recaps finish where they started; another incredible upset. Luminosity continued Wednesday’s momentum, storming through all competitors without losing a map. Havok, on the other hand, failed to win a single map, leaving qualification down to an all-or-nothing series between Vitality and Echo Fox. The European underdogs, led by veteran Thomas “Tommey” Trewen, outplayed the Americans in every respawn to grasp an unlikely spot in bracket play.
- ACHES eliminates OpTic Gaming, for the 4th World Championship in 6 years. “PattyP” also knocked OpTic into Losers’ Bracket in 2014 where they were then eliminated.
- Vitality’s Tommey outplaces former team Splyce (T24) who cut him from the line-up in April.
- Luminosity’s FormaL outplaces former team OpTic Gaming (T24), who split in April.
- Luminosity’s Slacked outplaces former teammate Octane, and had something to say about it on Twitter.
— LG Slacked (@Slacked) August 16, 2018
Championship Winners’ Bracket
All these upsets create an enticing Championship Bracket. The five best teams in the world arguably all lie in the bottom half. Rise Nation, Team Kaliber, Red Reserve, eUnited, UNILAD: only one can make it to Winners’ Finals. The top half contains much lower ranked teams on average, a great opportunity to sky-rocket up the prize purse.
The pick of the WR1 matches has to be Rise Nation vs Team Kaliber: a repeat of the Stage 2 Playoffs grand finals. TK defeated the juggernauts there, but Rise won the prior two events. Incredibly, one of the #1 and #2 seed will drop to Losers’ in the very first round, surely making victory impossible.
Red Reserve vs eUnited also deserves significant attention. Red should be feeling confident after eUnited’s falter to Team Sween, but Clayster’s men should not be underestimated. Both these squads are high on the favourites list, losing this series would be an almost fatal blow.
Best of the Day
COMEBACK: Déjà vu, anyone? Ghost Gaming, requiring victory over Mindfreak to avoid elimination, elected to play Valkyrie Hardpoint first up. Ghost threw away an 80-point lead on this very same map just yesterday against Red Reserve. Today they managed one better. Up 242-148, the Australians embarked on the impossible. Outscoring their opponents 102-7 to the final tick, Ghost managed to throw away one of the most intense matches of the season.
— MLG (@MLG) August 16, 2018
However, they recovered impressively to win the SnD and CTF, establishing another 100+ lead in Map 4. Andres “Lacefield” Lacefield and Christopher “Parasite” Duarte started a combined 32-6, but Mindfreak were edging ever closer. An unmatched display of grit and determination, the Australians completed the second remarkable comeback of the very same series. Unfortunately for Antipodean fans, Ghost rallied to win the final SnD 6-1, crushing any APAC dreams of a bracket run.
— MLG (@MLG) August 16, 2018
Bracket Play of the $1,500,000 championship begins today, Friday 17th at 12 pm Eastern Time. Tune in LIVE @ https://www.twitch.tv/callofduty.
See here for tomorrow’s 12-match schedule and rosters.
Featured image courtesy of: mlg.com