The pools for the second event of the Call of Duty Infinite Warfare season, MLG Atlanta, have been announced. 16 professional teams and 4 amateur teams will play each other in a round robin format with the top 2 from each pool progressing through to bracket play. The event runs from February 10th to 12th and you can watch at mlg.tv/callofduty. Here I take a look at the pools and how I think they will play out:
Pool A for Atlanta is what could be described as Call of Duty’s version of a ‘pool of death’. It contains number 1 seed Rise Nation, as well as the extremely talented Faze Clan. The first two tournaments of this season have been won by these teams, with Faze winning the PSX Invitational and Rise Nation winning MLG Vegas. However, while Faze have kept up this solid form in the online COD World League and 2K tournaments, Rise have failed to recapture the form that saw them take home the trophy in Vegas. It is not just these two teams to watch in pool A. Both Infused and Enigma 6 have plenty of star quality in their roster, and so can give any team a run for their money. We saw proof of this at MLG Vegas, when E6 wiped the floor with Optic Gaming in pool play, beating them 3-0 without reply. Infused have a lot of experience in their side, led by Glasgow born MarkyB, and know how to cause an upset if they want to. And don’t count out the open bracket team, some of which have plenty of skill to go toe to toe with the professionals.
PREDICTION: Rise Nation and Faze advance
Although pool B is not necessarily as competitive as pool A, there is still huge competition for the two places to progress. Pool B contains what most would consider the most skilled team in North America, as well as the top team in Europe. Both Optic Gaming and Splyce have had some great successes in competitive COD in recent years, and will be hoping to pick up their first tournament win of Infinite Warfare. Optic have a point to prove after disappointing in Vegas, with a placing far below what they are capable of. Also in this group are Allegiance, led by veteran player Mochilla. Allegiance placed 4th in Vegas and so will be looking to build on this form in Atlanta. Making up the professional teams in this pool are Evil Geniuses. This team have been disappointing in the last few years, and will be looking to kick-start their season with a good placing.
PREDICTION: Splyce and Optic advance
Cloud 9 will be ecstatic with the draw that they have been given for pool play. It is probably the easiest draw that they could have got, and will feel confident about progressing into bracket play. The runners up from Vegas have been looking unstoppable online and will be a good shout for a top three placing in Atlanta. The favourite for runner up in this pool is very hard to call, but it should be between Elevate and Luminosity Gaming. This Luminosity roster were predicted to achieve great thinks this year, but it has not been the case so far. The foursome of ‘Classic’, ‘Octane’, ‘Slacked’ and ‘Saints’ had performed brilliantly online at the tail end of last year, but have failed to find that same form on LAN thus yet. Elevate meanwhile are considered one of Europe’s best teams, and will be looking to upset some of America’s biggest teams in this pool. The last remaining pro team in this pool are Team 3G, a group of veteran players who are not yet signed to a major organisation, but will be looking to cause a major upset regardless.
PREDICTION: Cloud 9 and Elevate advance
This is certainly the most interesting pool at MLG Atlanta. It is a three-way battle for the top spot, and any one of the four pro teams could clinch that second spot. Seeded highest in the group are Orbit, a European team with a lot to prove on the big stage. The team have been talking up themselves and the other European teams on Twitter recently, and so need to ‘walk the walk’ as well as ‘talk the talk’. Orbit come in to this having just won a European only tournament in London, and so will be looking to keep their fine form rolling. Next up in this pool are EUnited, who have been one of the top teams online so far this year. But will this good form transfer over to LAN? We’ll just have to wait and see. Team Envyus were last season’s Call of Duty Champions, but have really struggled to get to grips with Infinite Warfare. They will be hoping to show their championship winning credentials here. Last up in this pool are Fnatic, a team who are known more for their Counter Strike than Call of Duty. However, we’ll just have to see if they have the potential to become a top COD team of the future.
PREDICTION: Orbit and Envyus advance