Tag Archives: Call of Duty

The Greenwall Prevails in Paris

The Call of Duty community had barely recovered from the thrills and spills of MLG Atlanta last weekend, before the whole show moved east to Europe for ESWC Paris. There are only a couple of events in Europe across the season, and so each one is special. The favourites going into this one were Atlanta finalists Optic Gaming and EUnited. Faze and EnVyUs were also lurking in the background should either of these sides slip up.

It was a three horse race right from day 1, with Optic, EnVyUs and Faze all looking unplayable, and they were dominating the smaller teams from the off. Just like last week, there were some shocks and surprises from the start. Cloud9 would have been hoping for a better performance than last week in Atlanta, as they were one of the first teams to fall in bracket play. However, it was not to be as they fell at the same hurdle in the French capital.  Nobody quite knows what has happened to C9, but they need to pick up their form soon otherwise it’s going to be a long season for them.

In contrast, the European teams performed very well over the whole weekend on their home continent. Fnatic shocked everyone by making it into the further stages of the tournament. However, the biggest surprise was that British team Infused, led by Glaswegian MarkyB, came fourth overall. Couple this with their run last week in Atlanta, and this is looking like a very good season for them indeed.

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EUnited failed to replicate their success back home in the USA, and had a disappointing tournament, falling a lot earlier than expected. Rise Nation managed to rediscover the form that won them MLG Vegas, coming in at a solid third place.

In the end, it all came down to a showpiece final between the two big boys, Optic and Faze. Both teams had swept aside the competition over the weekend to reach this stage. It was Optic that had the advantage going in to it, as Faze would have to beat them in two ‘best of fives’, whereas Optic only had to win one. As it turned out, Optic didn’t need two series to beat their opponents, instead they swept Faze 3-0 to claim a third successive ESWC championship. In fact, one of the Optic roster, Crimsix, has now won the event 5 years in a row with three different teams. Watch the final moments here:

It may not go down as one of the greatest tournaments of all time, but it was still a great weekend of Call of Duty action nonetheless. All eyes now turn to MLG Dallas in a few weeks time, which is set up to be a massive battle for success where anyone has the chance of taking home the crown.

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EUnited Take It Home: MLG Atlanta Recap

The community expected big things from this weekend, but nobody could possibly have predicted just how good this event would be. From start to finish, every moment was exciting, from the very first match in pool play right up until the grand finals.

The tournament started off with pool play on Friday, with 16 teams playing each other to progress further into the weekend. There were some huge crunch matches in the four pools, which were tense and exciting to watch. For example, the match in pool D between EUnited and Envyus was an absolute cracker, and showed the community the talent that lies behind the squads. There were also numerous surprises on the first day, with Luminosity going unbeaten and MLG Vegas runners up Cloud9 losing every match and going home on the first day. EUnited started the tournament as well as they could, going unbeaten in pool play. This quickly shook off their tag as ‘online warriors’, as they had been beating everyone in the online league and 2K tournaments.

One of the biggest surprises of day 1 was just how well the European teams were doing. Splyce, In the run up to Atlanta, there had been some arguments between pro players on Twitter over the qualities of the European Call of Duty scene, and whether they could cut it against the big North American teams. Infused, Elevate and Orbit were all performing their best, and were looking good to progress through the Saturday. Day 1 had been better than the community could have hoped for, and really got everyone excited for the rest of the weekend.

On day 2, the open bracket teams entered the fray, and this really heated up the competition. One open team which really shocked everyone was PNDA (pronounced ‘panda’) who even made it out of their group. The biggest story of the day was that Optic were defeated by EnVyUs, and so would have to make a losers bracket run the next day. Rise nation, winners of MLG Vegas, also disappointed on the Saturday by losing to Luminosity, and so they too were forced into the losers bracket. It was Faze who looked on fire on day 2, easily sweeping aside everyone they came across, and they looked one of the favourites to win the tournament the next day. Friday’s surprise package, EUnited, also continued their form, beating huge opposition in both EnVyUs and Splyce. With so many teams looking towards the crown, Championship Sunday was set up to be one of the greatest ever seen.

There was two main storylines on Championship Sunday of MLG Atlanta. The heroic push of Optic Gaming, and the incredible story of ‘online warriors’ EUnited. At the start of the day, the Greenwall had to win five straight matches to progress to the Grand Finals. Firstly, they swept aside Elevate and came up against open bracket team PNDA yet again. The underdogs really took it to Optic, and really gave them a run for their money. Not only that, they took Optic to a game 5, round 11, and whoever lost would be eliminated from the tournament. It all came down to Karma vs Fastballa, and it was the former who won the gunfight, sending PNDA home. It will go down as one of the biggest moments in competitive COD history. Watch it here:

Optic soon swept aside Luminosity, Faze, and even got revenge for their loss against EnVyUs, who sent them into the losers bracket in the first place. Against all the odds, the Greenwall made it to the grand finals. While this was happening, a fairytale was slowly taking shape. EUnited were in the grand finals. Wins against heavyweights Faze and EnVyUs earlier in the day had got them there, and they awaited Optic in the final.

To win the tournament, Optic needed to win two best of fives against EUnited, while the latter needed to win only one. It all looked so good for Optic as they demolished them 3-0 in the first series. However, after 8 straight hours of Call of Duty, the Optic roster finally faltered and EUnited won the second series 3-2, crowning them MLG Atlanta 2017 champions. Watch the final moments here:

MLG Atlanta was one of the best tournaments for shocks and surprises that we have seen in a long time. It serves to prove that this year, for Infinite Warfare, anyone can surprise us.

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MLG Atlanta Day 1 in 100 Words

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MLG Atlanta has kicked off with a bang, with plenty of shocks and surprises. Faze and Optic have swept their respective pools, which was expected.

Also unbeaten are EUnited, who could be a shock contender for the title. Also in pool D are reigning champs Envyus, who have performed better than recent months.

The biggest surprise is pool C, where Luminosity are also unbeaten, while MLG Vegas finalists Cloud9 have failed to turn up, losing all of their matches so far. And can the open bracket teams shake things up on day 2? Whatever happens, it’s sure to be a belter!

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MLG Atlanta Pool Play Preview

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:

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POOL A

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

POOL B

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

POOL C

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

POOL D

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

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What Would Improve eSports?

Over the past seven weeks of this blog, I have not been shy about praising the eSports scene. It truly is a remarkable community of like-minded people who all have the same interests and all enjoy eSports in every sense of the word. However, like everything, there are some things that could be improved about eSports, and I have outlined some of my thoughts and opinions below on how to make this remarkable community even better.

For some strange reason, all competitive events and tournaments have an age limit. This is for both playing and even for just watching the action. This is just a mind-boggling rule, as most spectators on the eSports scene are in the 15-18 age bracket, which means a lot of people are missing out on the experience of live events and getting to see their heroes in real life, instead of on a computer screen. If the age limit was taken away, the events would be much more popular than they are now.

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Continuing the theme of events, most can be very expensive and very hard for fans to get to. Tickets for events can reach hundreds of pounds, and that is before adding in hotels and travel. In addition, events throughout the year are not spread evenly across the globe. For example, COD events are held mostly in the U.S, which is a very expensive trip for fans and teams in Europe. If events were held worldwide and were cheap or even subsidised for loyal fans, then turnout would be much higher than is currently.

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In a world where equality is the buzzword, eSports is lacking in this in a major way. Women are heavily underrepresented in the community, with almost all players and coaches on the professional scene being men. It would be of huge benefit to the community if there was an incentive to attract more women, as this would increase the potential audience of eSports.

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These ideas and thoughts are just my own, but if they were implemented, I have no doubt that they would do wonders for eSports and improve what is already a thriving and exciting community.

Is COD eSports Really Global?

When people think of gaming and competitive eSports, they tend to think of Asia, for one reason or another. Maybe it’s their technological advancements, or maybe it is that they are proven to be some of the best gamers in the world. Whatever reason, this stereotype may be true for certain games such as League of Legends or DOTA, but is completely different from COD eSports.

Call of Duty in fact has almost no influence and following in Asia. Instead, it is most popular in North America, Europe and Australia. That is because this is where all professional teams originate from. In the past, the competitive scene has been dominated by North American teams, but European and Australian teams have grown in popularity and success in the past few years.

North America has dominated with teams such as Optic Gaming, Faze and Team Envyus. These teams can be made up of players of different nationalities, but are based in the US. These teams have been able to attract the best players in the world through their success and the US lifestyle. The majority of COD audiences also live in America, so are more likely to support teams based there. The majority of tournaments are also held in America, in places such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

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Although COD eSports is not nearly as popular in Europe, their are still some top teams that hail from there. One prime example would be Team Infused, who have enjoyed some success in recent years against some larger opposition. This team happens to include Mark ‘MarkyB’ Bryceland, the only Scottish player on the competitive COD scene. Some of the yearly tournaments are held in the UK, with the most prominent of these being the Gfinity Masters, which is held in London during the summer.

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So although the basis of competitive Call of Duty lies in North America, it is not as if the whole scene takes place there. COD eSports can definitely be described as a global community, and hopefully this will only continue to get bigger and better.

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The Beginning of Infinate Warfare: MLG Vegas Review

16-18 December saw the first major event of the new competitive Call of Duty season, MLG Vegas.

MLG Vegas Main Site: http://www.majorleaguegaming.com/mlgvegas

This was really the first time that audiences got to see the game being played to a high level, and it certainly lived up to all the pre-event hype. With $40,000 on the line for the winning team, the weekend was no joke for everyone involved. 

The tournament format was modified from the format that it was in last season, and it gave smaller teams a greater chance of success. Teams were placed in pools based on their rankings in the COD World League (CWL). These teams would competed against each other as well as the best amateur teams, who would play each other in an attempt to face off against the big boys. This made each match very exciting as it gave unknown players and teams a chance to shine on the big stage.

Throughout the whole weekend, every match was thrilling to watch, from the first match between Cloud 9 and Team Kaliber, all the way through to the Grand Final between the former and the eventual winners, Rise Nation (Logo Below).

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The viewing experience online of the event was better than ever before, with viewer interaction a key focus between the tournament livestream and social media. All in all, the non-stop action and viewer enticing stream left me captivated for the entire weekend. To be honest, I didn’t do much else but watch Call of Duty for three straight days.

Below is a clip of just a fraction of the action from the weekend, and you can see for yourself what makes this community so popular.

 

Even though this was only the first event of  the new Infinite Warfare season, it showed huge potential for the year as a whole, and it has left competitive Call of Duty fans hungry for more.