It was fitting that at the first ever LAN league for Call of Duty history was made. For the first time ever, a European team won a premier international tournament.
The champions, Splyce, consist of long-time veterans Dylan “MadCat” Daly and Jordan “Jurd” Crowley alongside two young stars in Ben “Bance” Bance and Trei “Zer0” Morris. The core of the team has been knocking on the door for a while. They finished second at the Call of Duty World Championship last year and have had notable matches against the likes of OpTic and Rise Nation. Splyce’s slow but sure rise has done wonders for European Call of Duty, and several factors have contributed to their success.
As aforementioned, the squad contains MadCat and Jurd, who have been at the top of EU CoD for some time. These players have generated many followers over the years – something that has been crucial to Splyce’s popularity.
Their fellow teammates in Bance and Zer0 have added firepower and the ability to make game-changing plays. Players with such ability always draw in fans and with the stable support of such consistent veterans can only help. Bance really took off at the 2016 World Championship and was the catalyst for their losers’ bracket run. His impressive performance led to an influx in popularity.
The combination of both older and newer players makes the team enjoyable for all fans.
Even outside of Call of Duty, Splyce as an organization has a growing following. They field a League of Legends team that made it to the finals of the EU LCS in 2016 as well as pro teams in Halo and Gears of War.
Part of the organization’s popularity comes from the fact that they love a project. For example, picking up a European CoD team as opposed to an American one. They also did this in GoW and LoL, fielding a Mexican line-up and an all Danish LCS roster for some time, respectively.
Having such a popular European team not only makes more casual EU CoD fans want to tune in but also the Americans to see if they can take down the NA giants.
Another reason for the growth of European CoD was the introduction of the World League. Back in Black Ops 3, the circuit brought in by Activision allowed fans to watch their favorite game being played on a regular schedule every week.
The various 2K series are a nightmare for fans to watch, even the ones for Europeans. But seeing strong teams such as Millennium, Splyce and Team Infused play in a competitive environment every week steadily increased European viewership. However, Splyce was one of few teams who were able to translate those performances to the international stage. They achieved top placings numerous times, at tournaments like ESWC 2016 and of course the World Championship, further increasing fans’ desire to see them play.
BRINGING IT HOME
If Splyce can continue their run of good results and exciting games it may bring international tournaments back to Europe. One of my most memorable events was Gfinity 3. Being from the UK, it was a pleasure to see the Copperbox Arena being filled with Call of Duty fans, even though I couldn’t attend.
It’s nice to see Activision pumping money into the circuit here, however, it would attract many more fans if we could have the international teams flying out to compete. If Splyce and other European teams such as Epsilon and Elevate keep contesting NA teams, there might be more events available over here in Europe.
Perhaps if a European were to win the World Championship, the tournament could be brought over to Europe the following year. It would be refreshing to see a change of location and there are many smaller venues in the UK that could be filled with Call of Duty fans. Only time will tell. Maybe if Splyce makes another run to the finals we could see it happen. At this point, it’s not unlikely.
The next big LAN is MLG Anaheim on June 16th-18th, where it will be interesting to see if Splyce can reach newer heights. With eUnited and OpTic dropping out early in Stage One playoffs, many critics will say that Splyce had it easy. It will be on the Brits to prove them wrong and continue to fly the European flag.