The opening stage of the Call of Duty World League has concluded. Jon Nicholson reports on this stage of the global pro league and looks at how Red Reserve represented Europe.
FaZe on top once again
Stage One is the first championship win for FaZe since the Advanced Warfare season three playoffs back in 2015.
Former FaZe coach turned player, James "Replays" Crowder', was key to FaZe's success. The 2015 world champion was on fine form, particularly in Search and Destroy, where a 1v3 clutch helped them make a miraculous comeback in the second best-of-five series.
The trio of Dillon "Attach" Price, Tommy "Zooma" Paparatto and Preston "Priestah" Greiner all shone in their respective roles against OpTic, in what was one of the closest Grand Finals in the history of Call of Duty esports.
Washed up ❌
Can't win together ❌
Need a roster change ❌
— FaZe Clan (@FaZeClan) April 9, 2018
OpTic return to their best
The return to boots on the ground Call of Duty excited many fans of the Green Wall, after having so much success in previous instalments of the game. Stage One was the first time that the team has managed to make it into a Grand Finals - and they were intent on securing their first championship of the 2018 season.
The new roles for Ian “Crimsix” Porter and Matt “Formal” Piper have made a difference, with Crimsix now in the main Assault Rifle role and Formal often the Flex player of the team.
Although second is not the result they were looking for, it gives them a really good foundation to build on as the 2018 season begins to heat up.
— OpTic Gaming™ (@OpTicGaming) April 8, 2018
Red Reserve represent Europe again
The team dropped to the loser’s bracket early on, after a close contest against North American juggernaut Luminosity Gaming.
Synonymous for their loser’s bracket runs this season, the European team would have to take down Rise Nation and managed to thanks to a clutch defuse from Rhys “Rated” Price in the first Search & Destroy.
Rise managed to answer back in game three to force a second Hardpoint match which went all the way down to the wire, with Red Reserve taking a narrow victory to set up a deciding final game. Joe “Joee” Pinnington proved why he is one of Europe’s best with a phenomenal S&D performance to give Red Reserve a 3-2 victory.
Their run was halted by a far superior Team Kaliber roster who were able to sweep them aside 3-0. Not the result that Europe’s best team were looking for, but they will have the chance to redeem themselves in just a few weeks’ time at CWL Seattle.
— Red Reserve (@RedReserve) April 8, 2018
Team Envy disappoint
At the beginning of the 2018 season, there was a sense of anticipation when it was announced that Cuyler “Huke” Garland and Donny “Temp” Laroda would be re-uniting under the Team Envy banner.
The former Denial Esports duo impressed many back in Advanced Warfare and were looking to re-establish their position as some of North America’s best players.
Teammate Austin “Slasher” Liddicoat quickly emerged as one of the world’s best Assault Rifle players, with his supreme slaying ability often securing map victories for the Boys in Blue. Despite his great performance, the team failed to defeat OpTic Gaming in their first match of the tournament and fell to FaZe Clan in a thrilling five-game series.
— Call of Duty esports (@CODWorldLeague) April 7, 2018
Immediately after the FaZe game, Slasher confirmed that he had departed Team Envy. With just days before roster lock for the second stage of the season, Slasher looks to have triggered several roster changes from a plethora of teams who could all do with acquiring one of the best players in Call of Duty: World War II.
A shock for Rise Nation
Considered to be one of the best teams in the world, it came as a big surprise when Rise Nation were eliminated by the Europeans of Red Reserve to bow out of the tournament with a top eight placement.
The duo of Anthony “Methodz” Zinni and Peirce “Gunless” Hillman were instrumental in their championship success at CWL Atlanta a few months ago, which leads to the question: what went wrong?
The disappointing result has also triggered a roster move for this team. Methodz announced his free agency when the finals had concluded, with several sources suggesting that it could be a straight swap for former Team Envy player Austin “Slasher” Liddicoat.
With just over a week until the rosters are locked ahead of the second stage of the CWL Pro League, it’s now a race against time to see which players end up on which team. In two weeks, teams will be competing at CWL Seattle, where $200,000 in prize money is up for grabs.