This blog post will tell the chronological story of Day 1 at CoD Champs for ESN’s Community Manager, Josh Reilly and Editor-in-Chief, Thomas Reese. It will alternate paragraphs by author to tell the full story and share two different perspectives.
Thomas – CoD Champs is no joke. When we arrived at the venue, the first thing you saw was tight security and checkpoints at all entrances just to get inside the venue. While hundreds of spectators waited in a line outside, we made our way through the security checkpoint. They are running a tight ship over here at LA LIVE. They searched bags and made everyone entering go through a metal detector.
Josh – While we were in line for media check-in, we had a chance to catch up with former JusTus player Cole “Doubt” Cook. He is on the outside looking in this event, taking photos for Orbit and hanging out with old friends in the community. We also had a chance to talk to Zach Shelton of Ringleader Photos and a member of Charlie Intel.
Thomas – As players were warming up, they opened the doors and we got our first looks at the incredible venue. The first things you see are giant plaques with all team logos. They also have the championship trophy and rings on display so people can take photos with them.
They also have a life size figure of a soldier in an Exo-Suit standing in front of a display that lets spectators read all about Call of Duty Advanced Warfare.
Josh – The only real surprise for me was when I walked into the venue and saw Fwiz sitting at the stage preparing to broadcast next to Raymond “Rambo” Lussier, former pro player and current eSports Advisor for Sledgehammer Games. For me, along with most CoD fans, this was a blessing as many of us hoped he would show up at the tournament, even though he stated on Twitter that he would not be attending.
Thomas – Throughout the day, I spent my time interviewing fans and YouTubers in attendance for an article I’m working on. I had the chance to interview Ashley, “OpTic Midnite,” and Tucker “IIJERiiCHOII” to get their thoughts on the event and their perspectives of CoD eSports as YouTubers. That will be included in a feature article going up on Saturday.
Josh – One series that has stood out to me at this point was FaZe Black vs. Below Zero. Although bZ lost the series, they sure put up one hell of a fight. After being down 0-2 in the series, they were able to clutch up and win CTF and Uplink to tie it up 2-2 with FaZe. They showed true professionalism and composure while facing the titans that are FaZe Black. Sadly, they just were not able to close it out on a tight scoring Search and Destroy on Terrace, and FaZe Black took the series.
Thomas – Activision set us up with a tab at the concession stand so we grabbed lunch on them. I got the chance to talk to other members of the media as well. We chatted with a reporter from Sport-Magazine in the United Kingdom, as well as a freelance worker for the Escapist magazine. The networking possibilities were endless with a packed house of people from all over the world.
Josh – I have never seen owners of a team so excited to have their team at an event, or so passionate about the in-game play as Strictly Business. The owners watched the whole game screaming and supporting their team. You heard the pride in their voice when they made a great play and sigh in their heart when a teammate went down in game or missed the objective points. It is refreshing to have that level of intensity in the competitive Call of Duty scene from owners. My favorite moment of the game was in the first ten seconds when Phizzurp had the ADS glitch with the BAL. He ended up hip firing at a long range, got the kill against Epsilon, and yelled, “I don’t even need to aim man, let’s go!”
Thomas – I got myself a front row seat to watch OpTic Gaming take on Orbit in a match that would determine who would win the pool. I sat near other players such as Sharp, Goonjar, Jkap, Enable, Muddawg, and Doubt. OpTic came out strong and took Retreat Hardpoint, but Orbit responded and won a decisive S&D game 6-3 to tie the series. This was the first time that S&D on Drift was played on the mainstage, and Orbit took advantage of the underprepared OpTic squad. OpTic went on to win Bio Lab CTF and Comeback Uplink to take the series 3-1. There were close to a thousand people in the stands watching and it was an incredible sight to see.
Josh – In a really important matchup,Team Kaliber found themselves down 0-2 to Epsilon, who were playing for their tournament lives. Team Kaliber pulled together as a team to tie it up 2-2 with assistance from fans in the audience, as well as Deathly and Kosdff, who were screaming the entire time. They went on to win a close Detroit S&D and took the series 3-2 to send Epsilon home.
Thomas – As the day came to a close, the top two ranked European teams, TCM Gaming and Epsilon eSports, were eliminated from CoD Champs. This was shocking to most people that expected at least one of those teams to make it into the bracket. TCM played Below Zero, the NA team that earned one of the last spots in the NA Regional. TCM struggled and lost 0-3 to Below Zero. Epsilon lost to Team Kaliber in a crazy series that resulted in a 0-2 comeback.
Day One was filled with intense matchups and a few upsets. Fans from all over the world gathered around to represent the CoD eSports community in Los Angeles. Despite a few initial stream issues, MLG and Activision did well and the production level of the event was much improved compared to last year’s. We saw all group play matchups take place and we’re ready for an insane day of games during Game 2.