Reigning World Champions OpTic Gaming enter the year’s final event without a single victory this season. Stage 2 Playoffs was another event to forget, as the Greenwall finished with the worst map record of any squad (2-6). What’s going wrong for Call of Duty’s biggest organisation, and can they turn it around for Champs?
OpTic fans have endured a torrid year, seeing an end to their three-year dynasty in April. The recruitment of Anthony “Methodz” Zinni and Sam “Octane” Larew for Damon “Karma” Barlow and Matthew “FormaL” Piper initially seemed promising. However, Top 6 and Top 8 finishes at CWL Anaheim and Stage 2 respectively are far from desirable. The World Championship starts in just under two weeks. Improvements need to happen fast.
Replacing FormaL with Octane was a sensible swap, Main Assault Rifle (AR) for Main AR. Bringing in Methodz for Karma did raise concerns though, as Karma was the secondary Sub-Machine Gun (SMG) for OpTic. Methodz is technically in the “flex” role now – switching between AR or SMG depending on the map played. Problems arise as Zinni plays a very slow AR style in Hardpoints as he did on previous teams. A viewer unfamiliar to the squad would think he was, in fact, the Main AR instead of Octane.
While Methodz puts up impressive numbers in this manner, it leaves Octane out of his comfort zone with two players trying to achieve similar goals. This puts great pressure on legends Seth “Scump” Abner and Ian “Crimsix” Porter to play an aggressive style. Crimsix has had the most success this season in the “flex” role; wrestling him into the secondary SMG has caused him to struggle on occasion. Scump continues to hold his own in his favoured Main SMG position, but overall, the role dynamics are non-traditional. This does not seem to be affecting their Hardpoint play, however, a 30-6 record across the span of Stage 2.
Search and Destroy
If OpTic’s pure slaying power is keeping them afloat in Hardpoint despite an odd team makeup, the blame may lie elsewhere. While Hardpoint comprises 2/5 of a series, so does Search and Destroy (SnD), where OpTic have been poor. With the competition tighter than ever, winning Game 5 SnDs is a hallmark of a championship-winning squad. OpTic have only managed to win half their SnDs in Stage 2 (13-14), despite averaging 4.96 rounds to their opponents’ 4.06.
This shows OpTic have been the opposite of clutch, winning some SnDs comfortably, but losing all the close matches. The new squad has a 1-6 record in Round 11s since formation, surprising for a veteran line-up. Their SnD fundamentals are significantly behind most other top squads, a worrying trend for fans. On the bright side, there is an element of luck in clutch situations, which arguably hasn’t gone OpTic’s way so far. Flip a few Round 11s on their head and we’re looking at a very respectable SnD record instead. Coach Tyler “TeePee” Polchow has his work cut out to fix these inconsistencies.
It’s no secret that Scump isn’t the rip-roaring, dominant SMG slayer we’ve seen in the past few years. He finally won his World Championship ring last year, seemingly fulfilling all ambitions. Historically, when Scump is enjoying his Call of Duty, he’s uploading YouTube content all the time. Scump has not uploaded a CoD-related video in over six months. The “King” even said in a Dexerto interview that he “thinks [about retiring] every day”.
All signs point towards a fall in Scump’s hours played and overall commitment from previous years. However, this must not be easily conflated with Scump being the source of OpTic’s problems. Although he might not be the superstar, best-in-the-game player we’re used to, Abner is still performing at a very high level. He averaged a 1.11 KD throughout Stage 2 with more than his fair share of the team’s total kills. However, he has recently developed a habit of struggling in the biggest matches at the major events – putting up a 0.77 KD against FaZe Clan and UNILAD at Playoffs.
The World Championship is on the horizon, and OpTic certainly require improvement for a good shot at glory. Their problems likely lie in a combination of questionable roles, lacking clutch factor in SnD, and Scump not quite living up to his high standards. Rosters are of course locked, so SnD appears to be the main focus of the team. OpTic are far from favourites this time, but their reputation alone makes them impossible to count out. However, such are the expectations, anything but World Championship glory will surely see the end of this roster into Black Ops 4.
The 2018 Call of Duty World Championship kicks off on August 15th at 12pm. EST. Tune in to all the action at Call of Duty’s official Twitch page.
Featured image courtesy of: https://www.mlg.com/