It took four intense best-of-five matches where a single series loss meant elimination, but against all odds, OpTic Gaming ran through the Losers Bracket on Sunday to win the crown as the Call of Duty World League Global Pro League Stage 2 Champions.
The Call of Duty World League Presented by PlayStation 4 Global Pro League Stage 2 Finals took place from July 28-30, with the top two teams from each of the Group Stage pools fighting for the largest share of the $500,000 prize pool over the weekend.
Six representatives from the North American region, as well as two of Europe’s best teams, played in front of a sold-out MLG Arena in Columbus, Ohio just days before the start of the CWL Championship. Those eight teams took part in a double-elimination tournament over three days, with the winner of the event not only earning a sizable payday, but picking up crucial momentum ahead of the biggest Call of Duty event of the season.
Here is what went down over the final three days of the Global Pro League for the 2017 Season:
Luminosity win CWL Anaheim Rematch, Team EnVyUs Sends FaZe to Losers
In the Stage 1 Playoffs, Call of Duty fans were treated to a Friday full of upsets, as every second place team in the Group Stages took out every top team in the first Winners Round.
However, for the Stage 2 Playoffs only one worse seeded team took down their favored opponent, with the other three games seeing the Red, Yellow, and Green Group winners advancing to the Winners Semifinals.
Kicking off the Stage 2 Playoffs was a friendly rivalry match between young North American organizations eUnited and Enigma6, where Jordon “General” General and his team took the first game on Scorch Hardpoint with a late comeback.
eUnited did not slip up again after giving Enigma6 the first Hardpoint though, and fought back with three unanswered wins to take the series. In those three games, eUnited successfully took a Breakout Search and Destroy 6-3, won a Precinct Uplink 10-3, and closed out the match with a 250-211 win on Retaliation Hardpoint.
Following that match was an OpTic Gaming and Fnatic one-sided affair, with the Green Wall crushing the European hopefuls in three games flat. Fnatic did gain an early advantage on OpTic on Scorch Hardpoint, but the Green Wall came back to tower over them 250-165. After that game, OpTic threw Fnatic into the Losers Bracket with a 6-2 win on Breakout Search and Destroy, as well as a 10-5 Precinct Uplink.
That sweep brought us to the rematch of the CWL Anaheim Open Grand Finals, as well as the Stage 1 Grand Finals, with Splyce and Luminosity locking horns once again in round one of the Stage 2 Playoffs. While the focus was on the two recent MVPs Trei “Zer0” Morris and Samuel “Octane” Larew, it was Luminosity’s Nicholas "Classic" DiCostanzo who burst into the spotlight during the first game of the series, stringing together an impressive streak towards the beginning of their Scorch Hardpoint scrap.
Classic ended that game with a team-leading 27 kills and only 13 deaths, and gave his LG squad the early advantage in the series. In game two, Splyce seemed to cruise forward with a 4-2 round lead on Breakout Search and Destroy, but disaster struck as Luminosity rattled off four straight round wins to go up 2-0 in the series. With one game separating Splyce from the Losers Bracket, the series came down the final seconds of Precinct Uplink, where a last second game-tying attempt by Zer0 missed the portal and gave LG the series sweep.
Through three matches, it seemed that every Group Stage winner would advance to Saturday in the Winners Bracket, but Team EnVyUs, a team that finished below OpTic in the Green Group, wanted to play spoiler to Group Blue winners FaZe Clan. FaZe struck first in the series, as they welcomed EnVy to the 100-point club on Scorch, but wound up losing the following game on Breakout S&D 6-4.
FaZe Clan then delivered another strong blow to EnVy with a 13-4 Precinct Uplink win, however they then found themselves dominated by EnVy on Retaliation Hardpoint, losing 250-45. That brought this series to the first game five of the weekend where, on Throwback Search and Destroy, Team EnVyUs engineered a comeback down 5-3 to take the series in an 11 round thriller.
Stage 1 Champions Splyce Fall, as an All-American Top-Four is Sealed on Saturday,
Splyce, FaZe, Fnatic and Enigma6 all looked to rebound after their losses on Friday, but by the end of Saturday’s matches, the four Stage 2 Playoffs contenders were all out of the running for the Stage 2 title.
Saturday began with FaZe Clan taking on the European giants Splyce, with FaZe drawing first blood on Throwback Hardpoint thanks to locking down Barn for most of the game. Splyce retaliated on Crusher Search and Destroy, where a team effort helped the Stage 1 Champions beat down FaZe 6-1 to tie the series. Not seeming to be phased from their Search and Destroy loss, FaZe came out in the following Throwback Uplink to a tune of three dunks in 55 seconds, which lead to FaZe’s eventual beatdown of Splyce 18-2.
Game four brought the teams to Breakout Hardpoint, where Splyce attempted to comeback from an early FaZe lead to stay alive in the Stage 2 Playoffs. Although they were within single-digits of their North American opponents, FaZe’s ability to break Splyce on the Commissary hill ended the European’s Playoffs run, and guaranteed a new Global Pro League champion by the end of the weekend.
The European region got their revenge in the next match though, as Fnatic sent Enigma6 packing with a 3-1 series win. Taking the first map 239-204 thanks to clock management, Fnatic began their next game on Crusher Search and Destroy with an ace from the veteran Thomas "Tommey" Trewren.
Enigma6 were unable to take game two away from Fnatic, as the Europeans won 6-4, but they kept the series alive on Throwback Uplink by scoring 14 points to Fnatic’s five. That win made a reverse sweep possible for E6, but another Hardpoint spelt the end of the line for the young guns, who lost on Breakout 250-208.
Over on the Winners side of the bracket, OpTic Gaming had to face their old rival James “Clayster” Eubanks and his eUnited squad in order to advance to the Winners Finals, but OG could not muster a single game win in that entire series.
OpTic came within striking distance in all three games to take one over Clayster and company, starting in Throwback Hardpoint where they almost stole a win by scrapping for the Train Platform hill. With a gunfight taking out most of the squad though, Preston "Prestinni" Sanderson dove onto the hill to earn the final seconds of eUnited’s 250-239 win.
The Green Wall then went the distance with eUnited on Crusher Search and Destroy, but in the 11th round, Clayster and Alec "Arcitys" Sanderson won the final 2v2 to give eUnited the 2-0 advantage.
With their backs against their own Green Wall, OpTic could not rally past eUnited on Throwback Uplink, as Clayster and Prestinni shot for four points apiece to end the series.
In the other Winners Bracket semifinal, Luminosity fought against Team EnVyUs in a series that went for all five games, with EnVy snatching up the first Hardpoint on Throwback right out from LG who were only four points away from winning.
EnVy then set themselves up for a sweep by taking the Crusher Search and Destroy 6-3, but were then forced into a game five thanks to LG’s two straight wins on Throwback Uplink and Breakout Hardpoint. In the final game of the series, EnVy rallied around Johnathon "John" Perez’s double-digit kill performance that ended with the game winning kill.
Dealt into Losers Bracket, both Luminosity and OpTic wasted no time getting back into a winning groove, taking out Fnatic and FaZe respectively to advance to Championship Sunday.
While Luminosity’s win saw a quick sweep of the Europeans, the OpTic and FaZe match saw the two teams fight through all five games in the series. OpTic took the first two games against FaZe, as Seth “Scump” Abner shut the door on FaZe’s comeback on Breakout Hardpoint in game one, before he and his team won the Retaliation Search and Destroy 6-3.
FaZe fought back with two straight map wins of their own, and the fates of these teams had to be decided in a single game of Throwback Search and Destroy. With his team tied 3-3, Scump once again pulled off some heroics in round seven, picking off a last-second diffuse to give his team the round win.
OpTic then brought their fans in attendance to their feet with two straight rounds after that, keeping their championship hopes alive by making it through to the next Losers Round.
Sunday Finale Sees OpTic Win the eClasico Twice for the Stage 2 Title
Completing a full circle from their Grand Finals matchup at the 2016 MLG Orlando Open, OpTic and Team EnVyUs fought in a Grand Final at the last event before the CWL Championship, which this year, coincidentally enough, is going to be held in Orlando, Florida. It was all thanks to OpTic’s Losers Bracket run on Sunday, and EnVy’s ability to fight off eUnited in the Winners Bracket.
Showing vintage form to start Championship Sunday’s games, OpTic swept out Luminosity to guarantee a top-three placement at the Stage 2 Playoffs, and did so despite some trickery from LG.
After OpTic won the opening Retaliation Hardpoint 250-138, Luminosity began game two on Throwback Search and Destroy with a nifty diffuse to counter OpTic’s smoke screened plant.
Those flashy plays did not save Luminosity from the Green Wall though, who won that Search and Destroy 6-3 before launching LG out of the arena with a 11-1 win on Frost Uplink.
eUnited and EnVy duked it out in the Winners Finals shortly after OpTic’s sweep over LG, and it seems that EnVy also turned back the clock to their 2016 form with their killer instinct against eUnited. Nearly taking the first Retaliation Hardpoint by 100 points, EnVy swept eUnited into the Losers Bracket by winning the Throwback Search and Destroy 6-2, and edging out their opponents 5-2 on Frost Uplink.
OpTic had the pleasure of welcoming eUnited into the very bracket they were placed in by eUnited, but lost the opening game on Throwback Hardpoint 250-193 thanks to Clayster’s clutch picks on the Green Wall.
OG had a clutch factor of their own in this series, and showed it early in the Crusher Search and Destroy following. With Matthew "FormaL" Piper left alive on his old rival Clayster in the tenth round, FormaL stood firm and gunned down the vocal eUnited frontman to tie the series.
The two rivals traded wins on Throwback Uplink and Breakout Hardpoint, forcing one last dance on Retaliation Search and Destroy so that the score could be settled before the CWL Championship. Despite early clutches from Arcitys, eUnited could not handle the red hot OpTic, who advanced to the Grand Finals off of a 6-3 game win.
Sizing up against their eClasico rivals, OG were down by 80 seconds towards the end of the first game on Breakout Hardpoint, but rallied back in incredible fashion to win 250-236.
Although John showcased some impressive gunskill on Retaliation Search and Destroy, he and his EnVy squad still lost the game 6-4. John still followed it up with a 30-kill game on Precinct Uplink, which helped his team take the game away from OpTic 8-4. In the fourth game on Scorch Hardpoint however, EnVy were not able to stop Ian “Crimsix” Porter and FormaL, who melted them on the Hanger Operation Hardpoint to win the map 250-238.
That win sent the Grand Finals into a full reset, where OpTic once again took the first Hardpoint, but ultimately fell in the first Search and Destroy in the 11th round thanks to a solid defense by EnVy on the Crusher A bomb site.
The following Frost Uplink was sent into overtime due to Damon “Karma” Barlow’s camo dunk, and the unfortunate last-second Overdrive miss by Jordan “JKap” Kaplan.
That swung momentum over to OpTic, who closed the game out with a dunk inside of the first minute. After that, OG won the Retaliation Hardpoint to take the series, which meant that OpTic Gaming will walk into the 2017 Call of Duty World League Championship as the Stage 2 Global Pro League Champions, with FormaL as their Astro Gaming MVP of the Stage 2 Playoffs.
Now that the Global Pro League has concluded, prepare yourself for the CWL Championship. Held from Aug. 9-13, the CWL Championship will bring the 32 best teams from around the world together to see which four-man squad has the right to call themselves Call of Duty World League Champions.
You can watch the CWL Championship, which will be broadcast live from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, over on mlg.tv/callofduty, on the official MLG Facebook page, on the official MLG Twitch Channel, or on the official MLG YouTube channel. If you rather be in the arena live for the final three days of the Championship, general admission tickets are still on sale over on ticketmaster.com.