By: James Mattone

The 2018 Call of Duty World League Championship, Presented by PlayStation 4, is finally here and our casters and sideline talent could not be more excited.

Over the past nine months, the CWL crew of hosts, analysts and commentators have all worked tirelessly to call the action between the greatest Call of Duty teams in the world. Throughout the season, they have broken down some of the biggest plays, rallied fans together for some epic matches and got into the minds of the best players in the esport today. As we enter the final event of the season, we’d like to thank each and every one of them for being a part of the CWL family.

Of course, as the CWL’s resident experts on the league itself, we also wanted to know what they thought of the 2018 season so far. Here’s what some of our talented cast remember most about another exciting year for the CWL, as well as their predictions for who will hoist the CWL Championship trophy come Sunday:

Thomas “Chance” Ashworth

My favorite series of the year comes from the second best-of-five match in the Grand Finals of CWL NOLA between Team Kaliber and Luminosity.

A 250-249 miracle comeback win for tK. A round 11 2v4 for Luminosity. A 3-2 extra time hero flag return for tK. And a game 5 with an instant 1v3 clutch from Lamar “Accuracy” Abedi. The series had it all, and was a showcase of some of that tK black magic we had earlier in the year.

My favorite moment, however, was during the All-Star match at CWL Anaheim. When the final map Shipment SnD loads in, there was a listen-in of Peirce “Gunless” Hillman detailing to his team what the spawns were and explaining the strategy for the map. That was completely absurd.

As for my prediction, I believe eUnited is going to win CoD Champs this year. I know this prediction makes less sense than say Team Kaliber, Rise Nation, or Red Reserve; but predictions don't have to make sense, they just have to be right.

Ben “Benson” Bowe

‪During the year, Unilad v OG at Anaheim was insane for me as a match. As a moment, Birmingham final. Being with the fans in the crowd and chanting away is a moment I’m never going to forget!

For who I think is winning Champs, you have to look at Team Kaliber. In the last two years, the team that won the event previous to Champs has gone on to win the big one. I see an in form tK looking comfortable against all the competition. History looks set to repeat itself.

Jess Brohard

For Champs, I believe Red Reserve will win it all. They have incredible Losers Bracket runs and they often come so close only to lose at the last minute - so I think this might be their moment. 

Speaking of moments, my favorite one of the season was the all-star match at Anaheim with translators. That was hilarious and tons of fun to be a part of! And my favorite match has to be Tainted Minds vs. OpTic Gaming during Stage 2. It was mind-blowing (no pun intended) to see veterans like OpTic get blown out 3-0 versus an up-and-comer from the APAC region. That really highlighted what I love about Call of Duty: anything can happen.

Joe “MerK” DeLuca

My favorite moment of the season was the Grand Finals of the Stage 1 Playoffs. All of the clutch plays, the OpTic and FaZe Clan rivalry, and the biggest tournament of the year at that point. It was the final that everyone wanted, well not everyone, that broke up the infamous OpTic Gaming roster.

The team I am picking to win CWL Champs 2018 is Rise Nation. They have been the most consistent team these past tournaments. When you look at their roster, there isn't a weakness, they are strong at all three game modes. It also helps when you have some of the most talented players in the world on your roster, Gunless and Austin "SlasheR" Liddicoat.

Miles Ross

For me there is one clear winner here at Champs. Other teams have had their chances this year and proved their worth, but none are more formidable than Rise Nation. No one in the league is as dominant or ruthless in their victories as they are. 

Greater than the sum of their already outstanding parts: the Mastermind Daniel “Loony” Loza, the indomitable SlasheR, the phenom Thomas "TJHaLy" Haly and the demigod Gunless. The squad handles internal strife, adversity and pressure with confidence. This team isn’t without its failures, but come Sunday, Champs is their tournament to lose.

My favorite match of the year was Splyce vs. LG in the CWL Birmingham Open Grand Finals. Watching home crowd favourites take on the tournament’s clear champions was an unforgettable experience. Fueled by pure patriotism and the greatest crowd console esports has ever seen (cheers Ben), it was the best Grand Final I’ve ever been a part of.

Also shut up Maven.

Last, my favorite moment was Team Kaliber’s Kenny “Kenny” Williams’ rampage in the dying seconds of a Hardpoint Gibraltar, which won his team the match against Echo Fox in Stage 2 of the CWL Pro League.

Eric “Muddawg” Sanders

My favorite match from the season was CWL New Orleans Open Grand Final between Team Kaliber and Luminosity Gaming. The first map was one of the best Hardpoints we’ve ever seen, and both teams kept that intensity up through the full match.

My favorite moment during the season was definitely the CWL Birmingham Open. The European crowd was electric and set a new standard for what it means to be at CWL fan at these events - the chants were awesome!

I think Rise will win champs, mainly due to the explosiveness that Slasher and Gunless provide. Those two are a PROBLEM for other teams.

Chris Tunn

My pick for this year’s Champs winner is Red Reserve. It’s their time to win a tournament and we've seen Rise can bleed.

Red’s performances tie into my favorite moment for this season, which is really a collection of what Europe has done this year. As a region, they've been in every Grand Final apart from one at the CWL Global Open events. The win is coming on the 19th of August, I can feel it! 

Outside of what Europe has done, my favorite match was the New Orleans Grand Final where LG and tK played Hardpoint on London Docks. Team Kaliber won it 250-249 and it just epitomized tK at the time; they were a team that had great results that they shouldn't have managed and ultimately ground out back-to-back championships in dramatic fashion.

Phillip “Momo” Whitfield

One of the moments of the season that stood out to me was the notorious draw at the CWL Anaheim Open. In a Hardpoint on Ardennes Forest between Red Reserve and Rise Nation, they drew 227-227, yet Matthew “Skrapz” Marshall stood up in celebration. Rise then went on to win the series and the tournament. I genuinely feel that if Red scored, one more point and Red could have won that event for Europe.

My favorite match has to be the Stage 1 Playoffs Grand Finals between OpTic and FaZe Clan, where it was OpTic's chance to get a W. The fact this went 10 maps and all the way to the final bullet makes this my favourite series by far.

As for Champs, I feel Rise will win due to the consistency toward the end of the year. Even though they lost out to tK, they have just placed first, first and second at the three most recent CWL events. I would be really shocked to see them not make the Grand Final…

But with that said, I’m rooting for Red. #EU

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Whose prediction for this year’s world champion is right? We’ll find out when the 2018 CWL Championship runs its course from August 15 through August 19.

You can catch every single game of the CWL Championship live on MLG.com/CallofDuty and Twitch.tv/CallofDuty. Tickets are also still on sale at the official CWL Championship page for the Championship Bracket stage, which will be held live at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio from August 17 through August 19.

For more intel about Call of Duty World League, be sure to visit CallofDuty.com/esports and follow @CallofDuty and @CODWorldLeague on Twitter.