Ever since OpTic Gaming solidified its roster in July 2015, the team of Damon “Karma” Barlow, Seth “Scump” Abner, Ian “Crimsix” Porter, and Matthew “FormaL” Piper have been regarded as one of the best Call of Duty teams in the world. But despite winning multiple events during a reign that has lasted over two years, this OpTic team has had no Call of Duty World Championship trophy to show for their success.
That is until they lifted the CWL Championship trophy in front of a packed Amway Center sports and entertainment complex in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, Augist 13.
Surviving five days of tough competition, as well as taking a dip into the Losers Bracket, the legend of OpTic Gaming has finally been forged and the team will live forever as one of the greatest to play Call of Duty.
Here is what happened in the final five matches of the 2017 CWL Championship.
Luminosity Punch their Ticket to the Losers Final
Championship Sunday began early at Orlando’s Amway Center with Rise Nation and Luminosity battling it out for a spot on the medal podium. Both of these teams made phenomenal Losers Bracket runs, and before the CWL Championship they each had an Open Event title. Rise Nation won the inaugural Open event of the 2017 CWL Season in Las Vegas, while Luminosity Gaming won the last Open event of the season in Anaheim.
LG had the most recent success on their resume, as they placed second at Stage 1 of the Global Pro League and made the Playoffs in Stage 2, while Rise Nation have only made a recent resurgence after they missed both Global Pro League Stage Playoffs.
Game one took the two teams to Throwback Hardpoint, where Rise Nation had an early single digit advantage through the first set of rotations. Luminosity crushed that small lead on the next Train Platform and Bard Hardpoints, as Josiah “Slacked” Berry and Renato “SAINTS” Forza had their full streaks to cause difficulties for Rise on the second hill rotation set. As Slacked finished the game with 40 kills and 85 seconds of hill time, Luminosity drew first blood with a 250-208 victory.
Luminosity then went up 2-0 in the series with a Breakout Search and Destroy win, as Samuel “Octane” Larew showed why he was the CWL Anaheim Open MVP. In LG’s 6-4 victory, Octane collected 12 kills and earned his Active Camo payload before any other player could pick up their respective payload abilities.
With one more loss meaning elimination for Rise Nation, the Vegas Open Champions came out strong in game three on Frost Uplink, holding a slight one-point lead at halftime. Although Luminosity tied the score a minute into the second half, Rise Nation took the lead back with a Brice “Faccento” Faccento dunk, and put the game on ice with one final score to stay alive in the series.
Rise attempted to continue their rally back from 2-0 down on Scorch Hardpoint, as Ulysses “Aqua” Silva’s heroics on the second rotation kept the game within Rise’s reach. However, Luminosity Gaming shut down Rise’s reverse sweep bid in the third rotation, locking down the Turbine hill to win 250-189 and advanced to the Losers Bracket final.
Ending the 2017 CWL Season with an Open title and a top-four placement at the CWL Championship, Rise Nation fought valiantly through all five days of the 2017 Season Finale, and the squad of Aqua, Faccento, Daniel “Loony” Loza and Tyler “Felony” Johnson will walk away from the Amway Center sports and entertainment venue with $80,000.
Team EnVyUs Win the First eClasico of the Day
OpTic Gaming. Team EnVyUs.
Is there really any introduction needed for both of these Call of Duty dynasties? If you happen to need it, here is the tale of the tape:
OpTic and EnVy have a rivalry that spans years of competitive Call of Duty, and beyond. Two players, Damon “Karma” Barlow and Jordan “JKap” Kaplan, entered the CWL Championship with two World Championship rings, and each of them looked for a third with their respective teams.
A CWL Championship win would mean validation for the success of OpTic Gaming over the past two years, while a win for EnVy would mark them as the first team to ever win back-to-back CWL Championships as a full team of four.
With the Amway Center sports and entertainment venue crowd driven into a frenzy before the series even started, game one of the CWL Championship eClasico kicked off with OpTic Gaming soon taking over a Throwback Hardpoint by the end of the first rotation, leading 96-54 entering the second rotation set. The Green Wall were the first to 200 points entering the closing hills, and although Team EnVyUs had all four of their payload abilities available to launch a comeback, it seemed that nobody could stop Matthew “FormaL” Piper and Seth “Scump” Abner who had 44 and 45 kills respectively.
Game two on Breakout Search and Destroy saw both teams trade rounds up until the sixth round, where momentum shifted to EnVy as Jordan “JKap” Kaplan won a 2v1 against OpTic. EnVy quickly snatched up the two rounds following that, knotting up the series at one apiece.
In Frost Uplink, Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov started hot with a 21-9 clip in the first half to help his EnVy squad earn a 4-1 lead going into halftime. As his teammates caught up to his slaying ability in the second half, EnVy held off OpTic to put themselves within one game of the CWL Championship Grand Final.
Team EnVyUs jumped out to a 102-39 lead on the first Scorch Hardpoint rotation set and didn’t look back, advancing to the Grand Finals with a hard fought 250-161 victory. That series win also meant that JKap has made it to four out of five World Championship Grand Finals, and put himself within reach of his third Championship ring.
OpTic Bounce Back into the Grand Finals by Sweeping Luminosity
There is something to be said about a team’s ability to keep their composure, as well as showing resilience just minutes after a tough loss. That mental toughness is exactly what OpTic Gaming had in their Losers Bracket Final against the red-hot Luminosity Gaming, as the Green Wall swept them out of the 2017 CWL Championship.
Starting on Breakout Hardpoint, OpTic Gaming nearly threw LG into the 100-point club, outscoring Luminosity 151-31 on the Cell Block and Graveyard hills combined to run away with game one.
OpTic wrapped up the series on Precinct Uplink, a game where OG only had a 5-2 lead at the half, but they left Luminosity in the dust during the second half, scoring six unanswered points to win 11-2.
OpTic’s first ever World Championship Grand Finals bid marked the end of Luminosity Gaming’s run at the 2017 CWL Championship, with their season coming to a close with a bronze medal and $100,000 at the biggest event of the year.
Although they exited the CWL Championship before the Grand Final, LG have had one of the most successful seasons out of all the Global Pro League teams, winning a major Open during the season, and consistently placing above top-12 at almost every other event.
Team EnVyUs Fail to Break the Green Wall, FormaL named CWL Champs MVP
Fans packed the the house for the Grand Finals at the 2017 CWL Championship, which saw an eClasico rematch that spanned across two best-of-five series.
The crowd roared in anticipation as the two teams prepared themselves for Retaliation Hardpoint, the first game of the series where OpTic Gaming started out with a 134-76 lead through five hills. Similar to the first game of the Winners Finals, the Green Wall towered over EnVy as they cruised to a 250-135 win.
Knowing how to keep his fans on their feet, FormaL whipped out the sniper and picked up two kills on the opening Throwback Search and Destroy round.
Although flashy plays can help a team win, Team EnVyUs kept calm and focused on their winning strategy, allowing Apathy to earn his Reactive Armor in an 11 kill game, and taking game two 6-2.
After a short break, OpTic Gaming came out with hot hands in Throwback Uplink, scoring two dunks and a throw in the first half and ultimately winning game three 9-2.
Just like that, the Green Wall were one game away from forcing another best-of-five series, as they were the Losers Bracket team and needed to beat Team EnVyUs twice to win the CWL Championship. And OpTic did just that on Scorch Hardpoint, as Scump closed out the series with a hold of the Turbine hill for the 250-204 map victory.
In the first ever second best of five Grand Final at a Call of Duty World League Championship event, OpTic won their third straight game across two matches, with this win being a 250-176 victory on Throwback Hardpoint.
Following OpTic’s win, the two teams took the first six rounds to figure out each other’s strategies on Crusher Search and Destroy, skating out to a 3-3 tie entering round seven. The Green Wall seemed to be better at reading their opponents after that, taking three straight rounds to put them within one game of the 2017 CWL Championship.
At that point, OpTic’s long journey towards a CWL Championship came to an end on Precinct Uplink, and as fans chanted “one more map” for OpTic to win their title, they gave the crowd exactly what they wanted with the final win of the 2017 Call of Duty World League season.
After the event, Scump said that he and his team were able to bounce back against Luminosity and ultimately win CWL Champs because it was a situation that they were all too familiar with getting out of.
“I mean, we did the same thing two weeks ago,” Scump said. “We played LG and eUnited, and then EnVy twice. So we said to ourselves that we just had to beat LG, and do the exact same thing we did in Stage 2. After that first series against EnVy, they were probably like, ‘Oh no, we are letting it slip.’ And they knew in the back in their minds that we did the same thing two weeks ago.”
In regards to his MVP award, FormaL said that it was earned through all the time he has practiced playing Call of Duty competitively, but he also said that the MVP award was thanks to his teammates.
“I put in a lot of extra hours this year,” FormaL said. “Three months ago, I started to look at Octane and Zer0, and said to myself, ‘I should play like they do.’ But I pretty much owe it all to my teammates who let me play like that, because if they weren’t doing the right things, I wouldn’t look that good.”
“Let me add onto that,” Karma said. “Before the tournament, Seth said that if Matt doesn’t get MVP, we are doing something wrong.”
And as for beating their “eClasico” rivals? Almost all the players said that it was not anything special on top of winning the CWL Championship, until Crimsix spoke up.
“I would say yes, after losing last year to them,” Crimsix said.
“Oh yeah, you’re right,” Scump responded.
“That was the worst loss I’ve ever had, I don’t know about any of you guys,” Crimsix said.
“If there was any match to happen this year that could have happened with the teams left, for the Finals to be us against EnVy… I was just looking at it as me against JKap, because I didn’t want him to get a third ring before me. He already caught up to me in the last two years, and honestly, I didn’t want to lose to Kap,” Karma said.
Congratulations are in order for OpTic Gaming, who proved to be the best team in Call of Duty today by winning the 2017 CWL Championship. Being the only team this year to win four events, including this Championship, they have a lot to be proud of when they look back at their 2017 campaign.
To their credit, the defending champions Team EnVyUs also deserve a lot of praise for their journey this season, recently placing second in the Stage 2 Finals as well as at the CWL Championship. They are the only full team to make it to back-to-back CWL Championships, and they have a lot to be proud of this season.
And finally, thank you to all the teams who competed throughout the 2017 season, the men and women who made the Call of Duty World League possible, and of course, the fans who tuned in and attended these events throughout the CWL. We’ll see you next season!