Last weekend, Splyce and Red Reserve’s UK Call of Duty teams travelled out to Columbus, Ohio, to play in their group during stage 2 of the Global Pro League, Jacob Hale reports.
Splyce were heading in to the weekend as one of the top two teams in the world, alongside North American powerhouse Luminosity Gaming.
They were heavy favourites to top the group alongside NA team eUnited, who have also been competing at the highest level in Infinite Warfare, including a tournament win at CWL Atlanta.
Red Reserve, on the other hand, were favourites to place last in their group, with many believing CWL Vegas winners Rise Nation would finish above them and possibly even qualify for playoffs.
With three tournament winners and a recently-revived Red Reserve team, this group was often cited as the ‘Group of Death’ in the lead up to stage 2.
The standings (shown at the end of this post) tell a side of the story that maybe isn’t quite accurate – Splyce looked positively atrocious for much of the weekend by their standards, and Red Reserve looked like a side that could have just as easily come first as they did third. Not to mention they only missed out on a playoff spot due to their losses to Splyce.
Here’s a day-by-day breakdown of the team performances:
Splyce v Red Reserve was the first match for each UK team on Friday, and it didn’t disappoint.
The two traded maps one by one, taking it all up to a game 5, Retaliation Search and Destroy. Here, Splyce showed why they were the stage 1 champions and got the kills where it counted, finally taking the map 6-3.
Next up was Red Reserve facing off against Rise Nation. Red stormed to a 2-0 lead with dominating wins in games one and two, hardly giving Rise any time to get points on the board.
In the following Uplink and Hardpoint maps though, Red couldn’t quite get the win.
Rise looked convincing in the Precinct Uplink, and Red just missed out on Scorch Hardpoint with a 250-238 loss.
Once again though, Red Reserve got to a game five but this time they managed to win it. The map finished 6-1 in Red Reserve’s favour - their second 6-1 win of the series.
Following on from this, Splyce faced eUnited in the final series of the day. These two have been regarded as two of the top CoD teams over the past few months, with both having won a tournament and made the grand final of a tournament each.
However, it was eUnited who won this series, and they did so comfortably.
The series opened with two of Splyce’s worst maps: Breakout Hardpoint and Throwback S&D. Their problems flourished on Breakout, where they lost by a huge 250-117 scoreline and really failed to get anything going throughout.
On the other hand, Splyce managed to win the Search and Destroy 6-4, which initially seemed to be a change of pace for this series.
Unfortunately, Splyce could not rally this momentum and lost games four and five. There were clearly imbalances within the team that resulted in all four of them (with the possible exception of Jurd) playing much weaker than expected.
After Day One, both UK teams sat at a 1-1 record.
Red Reserve opened Day Two against eUnited, and again they went to a fifth game. Just like their Rise Nation series, Red came out on top in the final Search and Destroy, winning 6-4 despite eUnited’s Silly having a monstrous game with a 12-5 KDR.
Next up was Splyce v Rise Nation, a match that Splyce really should have closed out earlier than they did.
The Brits took the first map, Scorch Hardpoint, 250-205, with efficient teamwork and pushes finally deciding the map for them, as opposed to Rise’s attempts at individual performances dictating the game.
The next map, Crusher Search and Destroy, was a completely different story. The team lost 6-1, with only MadCat capable of ending with a positive KDR, with six kills and deaths alike.
Fortunately, Splyce dictated play in both of the next two maps, with a 7-5 Uplink win (though the score line is deceivingly close) and a 250-86 Retaliation Hardpoint win, including a huge performance from Ben Bance, who consistently outgunned people throughout the map.
Up next was, again, Splyce v Red Reserve. Once again, Splyce came out on top, as many would expect.
The result between the two is not shocking, but many had high hopes for Red Reserve as they had certainly seemed like the stronger team throughout the weekend, especially against the strong NA teams.
Sadly, the only map Red could take from their UK counterparts was the second map, Breakout Search and Destroy, where both Urban and Joee put on a clinic to take the win, with 12 and 11 kills respectively.
At the end of Day Two, Splyce had a 3-1 record and Red Reserve were 2-2.
With the poor individual performances adding up, Splyce were looking shaky going in to Day Three, and this was replicated in their first performance of the day.
Splyce came up again against Rise Nation, who before this had been seen pretty much as a free win.
As it turns out this wasn’t the case at all, with Rise beating Splyce 3-0, with no players performing even halfway towards their best.
Following this, Red Reserve put in a similar performance against eUnited, losing 3-0 and really struggling to put together any momentum.
Next was Red Reserve v Rise Nation, and Red put Rise back in their place to avenge their UK brethren.
Despite losing the Uplink, Red won the series 3-1 and took their record to 3-3, and due to their Head to Head matches with Splyce, could no longer qualify for playoffs regardless of how Splyce played against eUnited.
This situation was a fortunate one for Splyce, who took their worst performances in to Sunday and lost to eUnited 3-0.
Both teams finished with a 3-3 record and Splyce scraped through in to stage 2 playoffs despite being stage 1 champions.
Splyce now join Fnatic for the stage 2 playoffs, taking place in the MLG Arena from July 28th to 30th, where the top eight teams in global Call of Duty aim to win their share of $700,000.
This coming weekend, Epsilon are the last UK team to attempt to qualify for playoffs.