The playoffs of Call of Duty’s first ever LAN league are upon us. With only eight teams remaining every matchup has the potential to be a thriller. While some games may be more clear-cut than others, in this article, I’m going to be looking at my players to watch for each match if the underdogs are going to emerge victoriously.
James “Clayster” Eubanks
Call of Duty’s longest standing rivalry goes head to head again in the first match between OpTic and FaZe. It’s a shame this game isn’t deeper in the bracket, making the action that much more intense. While it’s no secret that OpTic Gaming is the world number one right now, Clayster could be the catalyst for a FaZe win.
Although the chances of beating such an incredibly dominant team are slim, if anyone is going to reignite the FaZe of old it has to be their captain. Clayster has won all types of championships ranging from Gold Medals to World Championships. A player like that only stays down for so long. We’ve seen him dust himself off after being dropped from Complexity in favor of now OpTic player Damon “Karma” Barlow, and later being kicked from OpTic themselves. There’s no reason why he can’t do it now.
There is no doubt that FaZe is a talented squad which they have demonstrated in the past; they are just missing that level of coordinated teamwork that OpTic and eUnited have. If Clayster can open up the series well, it could give the rest of the team the confidence they need to win. In OpTic’s YouTube series Vision, Karma stated that FaZe was the easiest matchup they could have gotten. It’s up to Clayster and the rest of FaZe to prove them wrong.
Josiah “Slacked” Berry
The match between Team EnVyUs and Luminosity is somewhat murky. Probably the least predictable of the lot, EnVy looked seemingly stronger in the group stage. However, they played worse opposition in Cloud9 and Mindfreaks. I believe that LG will take this series, but if they are to beat consistent players like Apathy and JKap, then it will be through youngster Slacked.
Slacked showed his potential playing for UNiTE Gaming back in Black Ops 2. Since then he has had a number of top finishes under Most Wanted, Elevate, and Rise Nation.
Since joining the organization Luminosity Gaming, the team has been unable to replicate the results from the previous year. They have flown just under the radar finishing 5th – 6th, 4th and 7th – 8th at the premiere events in Infinite Warfare.
However, LG made waves in group stages of the Global Pro League after claiming the second seed and taking a series off of eUnited. Their much-improved Search and Destroy was a reason for their boost in success.
Slacked had the highest KD ratio across all members of his team topping the board in that very game type, whilst competing for the top spot with the likes of Octane and Saints in Hardpoint and Uplink. If that slaying continues into the playoffs, it’s likely they will best rocky reigning World Champions Team EnVyUs.
Jordon “General” General
Since bursting onto the scene in Advanced Warfare, General has been hailed for his deadly Assault Rifle play. If his team Enigma 6 is to overcome giant-killers eUnited, then he will have to be at his best to beat his counterpart Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson.
Enigma6’s best game type in the group stage was Uplink in which they only lost once to OpTic Gaming. It’s no surprise that General led the fragging in that game type, controlling large portions of the map with his assault rifle.
At CWL Las Vegas, E6 took down OpTic Gaming in the group stage showing that when the pressure is off they can perform. In this quarter-final, they will have to defeat a team of similar caliber with much more on the line if they are to earn that place in the semi-finals.
Anthony “NAMELESS” Wheeler
By now everyone is aware of the shocking feat Evil Geniuses achieved in the group stage. NAMELESS’ KBAR wreaked havoc in the latter half of group blue. However, their opponents, Europe’s final hope, Splyce has seen much more consistent results than their group stage opposition. If Evil Geniuses are to continue the Cinderella story NAMELESS will have to carry his form from the groups over into the playoffs.
Similarly to the other leaders in Clayster and General if NAMELESS can lead the team from the top of the scoreboard it will likely spur the rest of his team on to reach their heights.
An interesting note about EG is that they are a team capable of performing under pressure. This can be seen from how they qualified for the GPL in the first place and from how they bounced back in the group stages.
Splyce will be a formidable opponent with most people pegging them to take the victory. An intriguing stat on the Europeans is that they won 83% of their games despite being out slain in the majority of them. This shows that NAMELESS will need more than just raw skill to take them down, but I’m sure such a storied veteran is up to the task.