CWL Pro League
As the 2018 CWL Pro League’s Opening Night approaches, here is a look at the eight Division A teams who will compete for a chance at Stage One’s $700,000 prize pool.
After fielding 16 of the world’s best Call of Duty teams through two Call of Duty World League Presented by PlayStation 4 Global Opens and 21 CWL 2K tournaments played across three international regions, the CWL League Pro League is ready to kick off starting on January 23, 2018.
Ten North American teams, as well as five squads from Europe and one team from Australia, will compete over nine weeks at the MLG Arena in Columbus, Ohio for a $700,000 prize pool. The teams are split into two divisions of eight, and the top four teams in each division will advance to the Playoffs stage, while the bottom two teams in each division will head to a Relegation tournament in April.
Be sure to tune in for the 100 plus matches planned for the CWL Pro League Stage One regular season, and let’s take a look at all eight Stage One competitors who will play in Division A:
The Team: Dylan “Theory” McGee, Lamar “Accuracy” Abedi, Kenny “Kenny” Williams, Martin “Chino” Chino
The CWL Dallas Open winners closed the curtain on their 2018 CWL Pro League prologue with another title run in New Orleans, and are ready to do it again in the Pro League.
Team Kaliber proved to be a master among the Call of Duty teams so far this season, only dropping one match out of 17 played across both Global Opens. This success came not only because of each Team Kaliber member’s solo performance, but also because of the terrific communication and teamwork between all players.
While Team Kaliber have all the ingredients for a championship winning roster, they are, however, prone to giving their opponents ample time to build up a lead. Despite this issue, tK have made tournament-defining comebacks in these scenarios, notably in the New Orleans Open second Grand Final series against Luminosity Gaming.
With a world-class skill ceiling and an ironclad will to succeed after years of professional hardship, Team Kaliber will be ready to fight all of their Division A opponents for Stage 1 Playoffs qualification.
The Team: Seth “Scump” Abner, Matthew “FormaL” Piper, Ian “Crimsix” Porter, Damon “Karma” Barlow
The Green Wall seemed to crumble at the CWL New Orleans Open, as the squad had their worst ever placement ever at any CWL Global Open event. Is OpTic Gaming no longer an elite team after this top-12 placement? Of course they are.
This is the same OpTic Gaming team who won the 2017 CWL Championship, and who had perfect series records at both the CWL Dallas and New Orleans Open Pool Play stages. While OpTic ran out of steam by the end of both of those weekends, they still had their fair share of dominant victories, and remain a full team of world-class Call of Duty competitors.
OpTic Gaming will have to prove that this rough patch is over in Stage One of the CWL Pro League, but given this team’s track record, it should not be difficult for the Green Wall to rebuild itself and stand tall again.
The Team: Daniel “Loony” Loza, Thomas “TJHaLy” Haly, Anthony “Methodz” Zinni, Peirce “Gunless” Hillman
After making an Open Bracket run in Dallas with Next Threat, Methodz took his talents to Rise Nation before the CWL New Orleans Open, and delivered the best overall K/D ratio at that event.
Methodz is a deadly sharpshooter with his rifle, and as seen in New Orleans, his skillset meshes well with what his Rise teammates bring to the table. TJHaly is the team’s Search and Destroy specialist, while Loony and Gunless have consistent play and provide their own highlights.
Although Rise is a complete team, if Methodz cannot run the slaying department, it is tough for Rise to win a game. On average in New Orleans, Methodz’ K/D dropped by a third in all losses compared to all of Rise’s wins, which is the largest K/D differential between wins and losses out of the entire team.
Together, Rise ran through Splyce, Evil Geniuses, Echo Fox and Red Reserve in the New Orleans Championship Losers Bracket. At Stage One of the CWL Pro League, Rise will have a longer marathon of elite international teams, with a potential Stage One Playoff gauntlet to the title should they succeed in Division Play.
The Team: Renato “Saints” Forza, Brice “Faccento” Faccento, Adam “Assault” Garcia, Ulysses “Aqua” Silva
Echo Fox were among the North American teams affected by the post-Dallas Rostermania, as they released Gunless in exchange for Aqua.
Aqua reunited with his old Rise teammate Faccento on Echo Fox, and in New Orleans, it appeared that the chemistry between the two remains strong. Along with Saints and Assault’s efficiency, the reformed duo led Echo Fox to solid wins over Splyce and OpTic Gaming, as well as a top-six placement overall.
This team also had some relative success in the two CWL 2K tournaments prior to the CWL New Orleans Open, and exit the event with the potential to be in the Stage 1 Playoffs out of Division A. Although Echo Fox must figure out a way to remedy their issues in Hardpoint, specifically on the London Docks and Gibraltar maps, they have plenty of time during the season to work on their game, or at least play the pick-ban system around those trouble spots.
eRa Eternity (Formerly DooM Clan)
The Team: Richard “Ricky” Stacy, Embry “Bevils” Bevil, Jacob “Decemate” Cato, Maurice “Fero” Henriquez
Before the CWL New Orleans Open, Ricky lost Rasim “Blazt” Ogresevic to Enigma6 Group, but gained a returning star in Embry “Bevils” Bevil. Unfortunately, this change put Ricky and the rest of his team out of the running for a New Orleans Pool Play invitation, which meant they had to compete in the event’s Open Bracket.
Under DooM Clan, Ricky and company narrowly made it out of the Open Losers Bracket over Supremacy, and qualified for the CWL Pro League by winning a five game series over UNILAD Esports.
Ricky will have to guide a team full of first time Call of Duty pro players through an entire stage of a CWL Pro League division, but these new faces are anything but new recruits. If these three newcomers can overcome the Pro League spotlight, then eRa Eternity will have a rising Search and Destroy star in Fero, and two well-rounded competitors in Decemate and Bevils.
The Team: Joseph “Joee” Pinnington, Joshua-Lee “Joshh” Shephard, Rhys “Rated” Price, Trei “Zer0” Morris
Red Reserve have enough talent to be considered one of Europe’s best Call of Duty teams, but they are also one of the most passionate teams in the esport. This passion drives Red Reserve to focus on improvement after every tournament, as they are not satisfied with any result but first place.
Red’s concentrated passion and skill allowed them to run through OpTic Gaming, FaZe Clan and eUnited in the New Orleans Championship Losers Bracket. During that run, Red were stronger in respawn game modes than they were in Search and Destroy, and Rated led the whole team in slaying across all game modes.
Passion is a dangerous resource in any esport, especially in the CWL, but as long as Red Reserve use it to their advantage, they will be a deadly team to face off against in Division A.
The Team: Wailers “Wailers” Locart, Eddy “Malls” Maillard, Clement “RiskiN” Hattée, Arthur “Zayrox” Chabas
Wailers, Malls, RiskiN and Zayrox are the first four French players to compete in the international CWL Pro League. But rather than just breaking barriers for their country, these four Team Vitality members also want to destroy their Division A competition, and qualify for the Stage One Playoffs.
In Dallas, Vitality upset Luminosity Gaming, while in New Orleans, Vitality earned a narrow victory over Team EnVyUs. Online in Europe, Vitality have a commendable CWL 2K record, which includes a gold medal from the December 3 CWL 2K series.
While Vitality has yet to place within the top-16 teams at any Global Open so far, they enter Stage One of the CWL Pro League with upset potential and drive for both their club and country.
The Team: Mitchell “BuZZO” Mader, Conrad “Shockz” Rymarek, Lincoln “Fighta” Ferguson, Denholm “Denz” Taylor
As Asia-Pacific region’s sole representative, Mindfreak shoulder the burden of being the APAC’s best team entering Stage One of the Global Pro League.
Out of the seven regional CWL 2K events Mindfreak has played in so far this season, they have won five and never placed below top-eight in the two that they lost. Mindfreak also placed better that every other APAC team at the two Global Open Events, but only amassed a 5-9 series record across both events.
Despite that record, Mindfreak still have career-building wins over fellow Stage One participants Epsilon and Evil Geniuses, and could gain worthwhile experience by scrimmaging against other Stage One teams in Columbus.
The APAC leaders may not be the strongest Division A team on paper, but they are a team that continues to grow through international competition, and could eventually throw the North American-European power struggle off balance.
The 2018 CWL Pro League kicks off on January 23 at 1pm Pacific / 4pm Eastern, with five matches, including a primetime series between OpTic Gaming and Team Kaliber. You can catch all the action on mlg.tv/callofduty, where you can also participate in the Scorestreak prediction game and see player statistics updated in real time.
For more intel about Call of Duty World League, be sure to visit CallofDuty.com/esports and follow @CallofDuty and @CODWorldLeague on Twitter.