By: Patrick "ACHES" Price
I set myself up for being the “villain” of Call of Duty esports.
On Thursday, my team, Evil Geniuses, played OpTic Gaming at the CWL Championship. Before the game, we heard OpTic warming up saying, “All we have to do is win one map and we’re in. One map.”
After the match, Pro players were in my direct messages. Fans were retweeting my reaction. To some Green Wall supporters, I was seen as the man who ruined their Champs.
I’ll admit it: being the villain sucks sometimes. People jump on a bandwagon. They hate without even knowing the backstory.
So, here’s the history, as I see it:
In 2011, my team, Quantic LeveraGe, was a top-two team alongside OpTic Gaming. We were competing the whole year to see who was the best; they knocked us out of a few tournaments and we did the same to them.
Right at the end of 2012, I played in Chicago, the hometown of OpTic’s very own NaDeShoT (Matthew "NaDeShoT" Haag), for the first major event of that season. We ended up losing in the finals and some words were exchanged between me and Matt, to say the least.
It was the original spark of the rivalry between me and OpTic, and that’s when the public eye looked at me as a villain. The world thinks it was ACHES vs. OpTic – really it was ACHES vs. NaDeShoT. NaDeShoT was the face of OpTic Gaming. He was in the spotlight for what he did for Call of Duty esports and me, his biggest rival, was seen as the outspoken villain.
In 2013, they eliminated me at the Call of Duty Championship. I remember that unfortunate series still: Game Five. Round 11.
Winner gets top-three.
Scump (Seth “Scump” Abner) three pieces us.
Crowd goes wild.
I knew we were the better team, and yet we lost. My team, compLexity, was capable of being a dynasty, and they took that away from us. From that moment on, I knew that it wasn’t going to happen again.
And it hasn’t.
My compLexity team started dominating every tournament. We got Clayster (James “Clayster” Eubanks) who elevated us to the next level. We shut competition down all year long; no team was close to our level of talent.
Despite that, we made changes. After dropping Clay and picking up Karma (Damon “Karma” Barlow), OpTic added my former teammate. Adding Clay through a new layer onto the growing rivalry.
OpTic was sure they were going to upset us that year. Once again, however, I helped take OpTic out of the Championship conversation. That 2014 Winners Bracket moment – a 3-2 capped off with a 6-0 smashing on the last map – was a great feeling.
Later that year, Damon (“Karma” Barlow) left.
And then OpTic Gaming poached my entire roster from Evil Geniuses.
After buying out all four contracts, OpTic released me. They kept Crim (Ian “Crimsix” Porter) on the main team, Tyler (“TeePee” Polchow), and Damon went to OpTic Nation. I was left to fight on my own.
I wound up finding FaZe Clan and at MLG Columbus 2015, the first event of the season, we defeated OpTic once again. The Call of Duty Esports community knows the story but if you’re new to the scene let me explain: Despite a cut in my hand we beat OpTic in two best-of-five series to win the event.
That moment cemented the ACHES vs. Crim rivalry forever. We were the top-two players for two games in a row, and now he’s on another team. My biggest rival.
At Champs 2015, as part of FaZe Red, we absolutely smashed them 3-0 in the Losers Bracket. Everyone thought they were going to win, and they didn’t.
It was the fastest series of my life.
At Champs 2016, my Cloud9 team should not have taken them down. They were by far the better team but somehow, we edged out two Search and Destroys in round 11 and won the CTF 3-1. I remember playing that match on a side station and feeling like it was the only match the crowd was watching.
I’ll admit: OpTic Gaming has more fans and they have more accolades than I do. Sometimes they even have the better teams. They should be winning this year, but they haven’t.
I set myself up for being in the villain role, but on the other side, I see it as a good thing. You need to have a strong villain. You need someone who may not be the most liked but can help tell a good story. Imagine a book where the heroes always win. Imagine there is no antagonist. No weird plot where the heroes have to overcome something.
Back to 2018. We somehow lost a series to Elevate and it became an elimination situation. For us to make it through, Supremacy would have to upset Elevate, gifting OpTic advancement. Or OpTic would have to take one map against Evil Geniuses to make it to Friday at the 2018 Call of Duty World League Championship.
OpTic Gaming was sent home.
I’m ten years into this, and my title as “villain” is never going to go away. There is no way to flip that switch. It is what it is, and I’m stuck in that role.
But if I’m stuck as the villain, I’m going to be the best villain until I retire.
The rest is history.