The 2018 Call of Duty World League Global Open event circuit kicked off this weekend at the CWL Dallas Open, held at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in the heart of downtown Dallas.
Sixteen teams fought to qualify for the championship winner’s bracket, with four more teams joining the fray late on Saturday via the Dallas open bracket.
Here’s what happened at the CWL Dallas Open pool play so far:
Final 2018 Global Open Events Announced
Before pool play began, the final three events of the Global Open Event calendar were revealed live at the event.
Just before the Stage 2 Relegation period, the CWL will be live at the Insomnia Gaming Festival in Birmingham, England from March 30 to April 1. This event will be the home field for all of the EU teams on the CWL circuit, and team passes for this event will be sold beginning on December 22.
The penultimate event of the 2018 CWL Global Open season will bring the CWL to Seattle, where Major League Gaming hosted some of their first ever events. The CWL Seattle Open will be held from April 20-22 at the CenturyLink Field Event Center, and will also have the Stage 2 Relegation event in the same location on April 19. Team passes for this event will be sold beginning on February 23.
Finishing up the CWL Global Open Event season will be the iconic event known as the CWL Anaheim Open. Set to take place from June 15-17, this event brings the CWL back to the Anaheim Convention Center for one last open event before the 2018 Call of Duty World League Championships. Team passes for the CWL Anaheim Open will be sold starting on April 27. These three events pack round out the full CWL season, and expand the competition to new arenas.
Four Up, Four Down for OpTic Gaming in Pool A
OpTic Gaming came into the CWL Dallas Open as the North American Pro Point Leaders, and left Pool A without a loss on their scorecard.
That’s not to say that the teams in Pool A were easy opponents, as Damon “Karma” Barlow acknowledged the level of talent in this pool earlier in the event.
“If we come out and go 4-0, we are doing that in the hardest or second hardest group, and that would be a great way to start this tournament,” Karma said.
The Green Wall started their pool play run by defeating Enigma6, and only lost a single Search and Destroy 6-2 in that series. OpTic kept a stranglehold on the three respawn maps, winning game one 250-218 despite Brandon “Dashy” Otell netting 43 kills, and then took games three and four 4-2 and 250-134 respectfully.
Next on OpTic’s agenda was European squad Unilad, who were another tough customer on Search and Destroy. Similar to the Green Wall’s last win, OG took Unilad down on every respawn game mode, and won the series 3-1.
For the last match involving qualified Pool Play teams, OpTic Gaming took on eClasico rival Team EnVyUs. Although this was a new EnVy roster, Karma said that the Boys in Blue were still his squad’s team to beat at this event.
“If there is any team that we want to play and beat bad, it’s them,” Karma said, “so they have a lot coming for them.”
What came at EnVy was Seth “Scump” Abner, who helped secure the 3-1 series over EnVy with some solid timing and gun skill.
OpTic Gaming once again dropped the only Search and Destroy game of the series, but just like in their matches against Unilad and Enigma6, they made up for that lost map by locking down the three respawn games.
OpTic then finalized their perfect pool play series record by sweeping Echo Fox, as the Green Wall finally capturing their first Search and Destroy map of the day in that series.
Despite being the dessert for OpTic’s appetite of Pool A destruction, Echo Fox became the only team to qualify for the championship winner’s bracket after going through the open bracket.
Echo Fox’s qualification also came after Unilad swept them in their first pool play series. But after that loss, Echo Fox came back to take down EnVy 3-1, and put insult to injury by taking EnVy out of the championship winner’s bracket picture with a sweep on Enigma6.
Due to tiebreaker rules, this win gave Echo Fox the head-to-head tiebreaker win over EnVy, and guaranteed themselves a top-12 placement at the CWL Dallas Open.
Luminosity Only Falters Once in Pool B
Luminosity Gaming began their pool B run with a sweep on Epsilon, where Samuel “Octane” Larew gave a vintage performance over three games.
After sending Epsilon into the 100-point club with 29 kills, Octane racked up 12 kills in his team’s 6-2 victory on Ardennes Forest Search and Destroy. LG then shut the door on the series with a 4-2 win on Ardennes Forest CTF.
As Octane explained after the series, his ability to hit shots affects his team’s gameplan and success.
“If your AR player does well, it really opens up the map for your SMG players to do whatever they want. And if I’m not doing well, then a lot of avenues aren’t open for them to wreak havoc,” Octane said.
Octane’s phenomenal play continued to shine in their match against Ground Zero. In their lone Search and Destroy game on U.S.S. Texas, Octane hit a nifty shot on Jeremy “StuDyy” Astacio through the wall of the ship’s upper deck.
Octane then picked up the final kill in a clutch round 11 victory, and LG went on to win the overall series 3-0.
Then, in an upset, Team Vitality took Luminosity in five games and came out victorious. Not only did the French team turn their winless day around against LG, but they also won a crucial game five, round 11 to seal the series outright.
After that loss, Luminosity rebounded against open bracket winners Team Allegiance to finish with a respectable 3-1 record in Pool B, and advanced into the championship winner’s bracket as the number one Pool B team.
Although Vitality surged late in pool play, it was not enough to catch Ground Zero, who secured second place in the pool with a 3-1 record.
Ground Zero’s first series against Vitality went the distance, and in game five, StuDyy led his team with 15 kills and full streaks. That, along with his teammate Rasim “Blazt” Ogresevic throwing a clutch grenade in round 11, gave Ground Zero the 6-5 Sainte Marie du Mont Search and Destroy win, and the series.
“Game five is something that I just build off of,” StuDyy said after the win. “Even when I was on EnVy, I knew that if I get into that situation, I have to step up for my team. Fortunately, they were just running at me, and I got seven kills without getting shot at once for full streaks.”
After losing to LG, Ground Zero came back out to face Epsilon, where they only lost London Docks Search and Destroy in their 3-1 series victory. Ground Zero then followed up with another 3-1 series victory, this time over Allegiance, to punch their ticket to the championship winner’s bracket.
tK Ran Pool C All Day on Saturday
Team Kaliber earned the early advantage by defeating Red Reserve in a tightly contested match, and continued to roll through Pool C to take the pool’s top championship bracket seed.
After losing the first four rounds in game five on Ardennes Forest, Kenny “Kenny” Williams said that he and his team stayed “calm and collected” in their communications to come back and win 6-5.
“My team kept composure and we knew that we had them under our belt after Chino earned full streaks in the sixth round,” Kenny said. “His 1v3 clutch was really big and helped us keep it together.”
Although this is Kenny’s first event back in Call of Duty esports in two years, Kenny said that readjusting to the game was easy because of the CWL community.
“The fans really helped me out with their support,” said Kenny, “and they really helped me adjust easily. The game itself just comes naturally.”
tK continued to win all day Saturday, beating Rise Nation, Mindfreak and Next Threat to finish 4-0 in Pool C.
Team Kaliber’s win over Rise Nation came with another game two loss in Search and Destroy, but they still took every respawn to win the series outright 3-1. And even in their loss to Rise on U.S.S. Texas, Kenny still found a way to creatively take down his opponents.
Mindfreak failed to take a map off of Team Kaliber, but open bracket challenger Next Threat were just that to tK’s perfect series record. After trading games with Doug “Censor” Martin’s team, Team Kaliber had to rely on Martin “Chino” Chino to clutch up in game five, and he delivered in the eighth round to give tK the series win.
Despite a loss to Team Kaliber, Red Reserve still finished well enough in Pool C to be a winner’s bracket team, with the Europeans earning wins over Next Threat, Rise Nation, and Mindfreak.
Joshua-Lee “Joshh” Shephard said that he and his team were not pleased after their loss, but they were not going to let that ruin their pool play run.
“We could have sat there and been annoyed,” Joshh said, “Or we could get over it, move on, and do what we do. We were not going to sabotage our tournament over one unfortunate circumstance.”
While Team Kaliber will face Echo Fox on Sunday, Red Reserve will square up against OpTic Gaming in the first championship winner’s bracket round.
In the Pool of Death, Splyce Survives
In what some considered the CWL Dallas “Pool of Death,” eUnited started strong by forcing Evil Geniuses into the 50-point club. Two games later, eUnited pulled off another memorable win on Hardpoint, as they wrestled their way back from being down 100 points and won the series outright with a 250-248 victory.
eUnited’s win a call to a motto that James “Clayster” Eubanks said he and his team adopted for the season: “Don’t Panic.”
“It goes back to last year and even how we played in the first couple of CWL 2Ks. We know we can win, and when EG was pulling away with streaks, all I was saying to my team was ‘Don’t panic, keep rotating, win our gunfights, and we’ll get this comeback,’” Clayster said.
There was not much to panic about in eUnited’s second series against Ghost Gaming, as they defeated them in three straight games 250-83, 6-2 and 4-2. But Splyce soon struck with a five game series victory, which sent Group D’s status into question until the last matches of the night.
This was because Splyce won their contest against eUnited after sweeping Ghost Gaming 3-0, but also lost to Evil Geniuses in a five game series. That meant that Splyce and eUnited’s games against FaZe would decide the championship bracket seeding for Pool D.
Heading into their game against FaZe, Dylan “MadCat” Daly knew what was at stake, and said that the obvious result was a sweep on FaZe.
“We’ve already made our mistake losing to Evil Geniuses, so all we can do is go on from here and perform well at the rest of the event,” MadCat said.
Splyce wound up winning that series 3-1, but eUnited finished worse against Clayster’s old team, having to go through the full five games in order to get that win over FaZe. This gave Splyce the first Pool D championship bracket seed, while eUnited were handed the second seed out of the pool.
Despite being key to the Pool D conundrum, FaZe Clan were left out of the winner’s bracket dance after their open bracket run, while Splyce will take on Ground Zero and eUnited will face Luminosity on Sunday.
The CWL Dallas Open’s final day of matches will begin on Sunday. You can watch the event live on mlg.tv/callofduty, where you can also participate in the Scorestreak prediction game and see player statistics updated in real time.