The drought is over for the Greenwall. Over two years after forming a roster of impeccable skill, the longest standing roster in Call of Duty esports, OpTic Gaming, has finally been crowned a Call of Duty champion.
The Infinite Warfare season was not the greatest this OpTic Gaming roster has experienced, but they were able to finish it in style. With tournament wins at CWL Paris and CWL Dallas, OpTic was on the verge of another dominant season before poor placings in the Global Pro League (GPL) Stage One Playoffs and CWL Anaheim. They picked it up again just in time.
OpTic came into the Call of Duty Championship in Orlando fresh off a GPL Stage Two Playoff victory. That momentum made them a favorite, but not the only one, to win CoD Champs.
Unlike in years past, it was almost impossible to tell which team would emerge victorious. Would it be eUnited, or perhaps FaZe? The teams made high-profile roster swaps in hopes of a big payoff. How about Splyce? The European organization made it to the Grand Finals of CoD Champs on Black Ops III and was considered the best EU team again this year. Or what about Luminosity or Team EnVyUs? Both teams had solid years and were always able to contend with other top teams.
In the end, the Grand Final featured two of the oldest teams in Call of Duty esports: OpTic Gaming vs. Team EnVyUs. A regular ol’ eClassico.
OpTic and nV had played earlier on Championship Sunday in the winner’s bracket final, where nV was able to take a rare Hardpoint map off of OpTic to take the series 3-1. But OpTic surged right back in the loser’s final against Luminosity and the matchup was repeated. This time, OpTic had to defeat nV twice to take the crown. And they did just that.
The win cements OpTic Gaming as one of the greatest Call of Duty teams of all time, right up there with compLexity. Some would even say that with a CoD Champs title under their belt, OpTic has surpassed the old coL roster in that regard. Afterall, they were the team to beat for three years straight. It also helps that both Damon “Karma” Barlow and Ian “Crimsix” Porter were part of the coL dynasty, so essentially they have now surpassed themselves.
OpTic Gaming CoD Champs ring count
No other Call of Duty team collectively has as many CoD Champs rings as OpTic Gaming. They now have seven:
Damon “Karma (or three-rings)” Barlow x 3
Ian “Crimsix” Porter x 2
Seth “Scumpi” Abner x 1
Matt “FormaL” Piper x 1
Along with his first Call of Duty Championship win, FormaL is also going home with an MVP award. For OpTic, FormaL has always been a rock with the AR, keeping his team in contention when his teammates are having a bad game. The MVP award adds an additional $25,000 to his winnings from the tournament.
Even though he didn’t win MVP, it’s hard to say anyone deserved the CoD Champs win more than Scump. In player polls, he has consistently been considered the best player in the game. A part of OpTic Gaming since Modern Warfare 3, Scump has been to five CoD Champs with the team. In his first two, he managed to take home third place. In his next two, OpTic settled with seventh place finishes. But now, Scump has finally earned himself a ring. Perhaps more willl come.
Trailing right behind OpTic in CoD Champs in rings is Team EnVyUs, who, with the same roster as last year, returned to the Grand Final looking for a repeat win. If they had been successful, Jordan “Jkap” Kaplan would have been the first to three rings instead of Karma and the team would have nine rings combined.
Now, just two months remain until the release of the next game in the Call of Duty franchise: WWII. The game will put boots back on the ground, a return to traditional gameplay. It’s too early to tell which players will excel and which will fall off, but the next year of Call of Duty esports will be starting off on the right foot.
Josh Billy is a long time Call of Duty fan. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.
Image by Lalo Torres