The top placing teams at CWL Birmingham all share one common trait: Their rosters consist of a mix of competitive Call of Duty veterans and new talent hungry for success.
Old Guards and Young Blood
Veteran CoD pros Dylan “Madcat” Daly, Jordan “Jurd” Crowley, Mark “MarkyB” Bryceland, Tom “Tommey” Trewren, and Joshua-Lee “Joshh” Shepard all lead their own teams, with the exception of Jurd and Madcat both playing for Splyce. In the past, these vets have teamed together, but now each of them has taken charge of their teams and surrounded themselves with rising stars.
Gone are the days of one God Squad dominating the whole region. The competition in Europe is higher than it has ever been and a new dynamic between teams has been born.
Mainland Europe struggles
At this point in the European CoD scene, the UK reigns supreme.
With three teams starting in pools, and three qualifying form the Open Bracket, mainland European teams had many opportunities to crack the top six at CWL Birmingham. However, out of the six teams in pools, only one managed to place in the top eight.
The six teams from the European region that qualified for Stage One of the Global Pro League, again all from the UK, also took the top six placings at CWL Birmingham. Notable French teams such as Supremacy and Arma Team were unable to compete with the UK’s best. Other mainland teams (Black Forest Red, Eraiize Gaming, Movistar Riders, and FAB Esports) suffered the same fate.
Elevate remains inconsistent
After upsetting Red Reserve to top Group D, Elevate looked to continue their success into the weekend. With an impressive 9-1 map count in pools, Elevate seemed to have finally found their form with new addition Rhys “Rated” Price.
Unfortunately for Elevate, Splyce was waiting in the Winner Bracket semifinals, where they knocked Elevate into the Loser’s Bracket with a swift 3-0 victory. Facing Millenium in their first Loser’s Bracket match Elevate would fall again, 3-1. Having lost a very close Hardpoint by less than 15 points and choking a 5-1 lead in Search and Destroy, Elevate failed to keep composure and were eliminated, placing 5th-6th.
The new kings of European CoD
Coming into CWL Birmingham, Splyce looked to be in a league of their own amongst European teams. Finishing their pool with a 3-0 record, they managed to beat iGame, Black Forest Green, and Movistar Riders without losing a map.
Splyce continued their dominance with 3-0 victories against Team Vitality, Fnatic, and Elevate. Winning this event with a perfect record was within their grasp until they met up Epsilon Esports. Epsilon, now led by former Splyce player Joshh, put up a great fight and managed to take two maps off of Splyce before ultimately losing 3-2.
After dropping to the Loser’s Bracket, Epsilon would face off against Fnatic, who were hot off their 3-2 victory over Millenium in the Loser Bracket semifinal. Epsilon were too strong, as they ended Fnatic’s run at CWL Birmingham with a swift 3-0 victory. Epsilon then moved onto the Grand Finals for a rematch against Splyce.
To everyone’s surprise, Epsilon came out screaming during the first set and shocked Splyce with a 3-0 victory. Up until this point, Splyce hadn’t lost a series and had only dropped two maps the entire weekend, also to Epsilon.
With the series reset, it was do or die for both teams. In the second best-of-five, Epsilon would narrowly win the Hardpoint by less than ten points. Epsilon then went on to take the Search and Destroy and the Uplink, causing the biggest upset we’ve seen since eUnited won CWL Atlanta. With a total map count for the weekend of 8-3 against Splyce, Epsilon took the crown as kings of Europe.
Splyce will need to regain form before they head to face EnVyUs, Cloud9, and Mindfreak next weekend in Week One of the Global Pro League. On the flip side, eUnited, Luminosity, and Millenium may need to reconsider their strategies when facing Epsilon in Week Three.
With Epsilon’s win, the landscape of the European CoD scene has experienced its first real shift in power since the beginning of the season. The question is whether Epsilon can remain at the top, or will they go down as a one-LAN-wonder?
Jack Waters is an avid Call of Duty Esports fan and wants to hear from YOU! Find him on Twitter.