Call of Duty XP: Biggest Winners and Losers
As the Call of Duty®: Black Ops III season winds down with an exciting 3-1 finals victory by Team EnVyUs over Splyce at the 2016 Call of Duty World League Championship, there is a one month lull for North American teams until UMG Orlando on Oct. 7.
It will also be two months until the release of Call of Duty’s next installment, Call of Duty®: Infinite Warfare, and the ensuing roster pandamonium before the game’s release.
This tournament brought great play from all three continents invited to the event, and taught fans a great amount about what teams will have momentum riding into UMG Orlando, or tournaments overseas, and the sides who will have a lot to figure out before heading down to Florida.
Here are the winners and losers from CoD XP:
Winner: Team EnVyUs
This one is obvious; if you win the tournament, you are a winner.
EnVyUs had a few bumps in the road earlier in the year, as they placed outside of the top-four in the Stage One regular season, playoffs and at MLG Anaheim, not to mention the small blip of drama over a minority owner in July.
But, after they replaced Patrick "ACHES" Price and Tyler "TeePee" Polchow with Bryan "Apathy" Zhelyazkov and Johnathon "John" Perez, they wound up grabbing first place in the Stage Two regular season and playoffs, and netted second at MLG Orlando.
To cap off their comeback, they came into CoD XP, swept their pool, and defeated esport giants OpTic Gaming and FaZe Clan in the first two rounds en route to their win over Splyce. They may not have reached that point had it not been for Apathy’s play in games four and five against Team eLevate, but in the end, EnVyUs became the biggest winners in terms of prize money and events among all other Call of Duty teams.
As a sidebar to nV’s victory, Jordan "JKap" Kaplan now has two championship rings over the past two years, and has cemented himself as the focal point of this Call of Duty team.
Loser: OpTic Gaming
The Green Wall needs to be rebuilt.
Finishing outside of the top-six is unacceptable when you are one of the biggest brands in Call of Duty esports. Granted, they did face eventual champion EnVyUs in the first round of bracket play, but getting kicked out by ACHES for the second year in a row (this time by Cloud9), is the ultimate salt in the wound.
So what can you blame as OpTic’s biggest issue? Search and Destroy. While OpTic went undefeated in Hardpoint over the entire tournament, they went 2-7 in Search and Destroy throughout the event, including two round 11 losses to the ACHES revenge tour.
Especially after taking home the MLG Orlando title just a month prior, OpTic finished right back in seventh like they did at last year's Champs, where they were also major favorites to win it all, and that is not good enough for the esports giant.
Winner: All of Europe
During the Call of Duty®: Advanced Warfare season, not a single European team made it past the first day of the Call of Duty Championship.
That all changed this year, as Splyce and FAB Games (formerly under Exertus) placed top-four, with Splyce being the first European team to ever make it to the Grand Finals of a Call of Duty Championship.
Some doubters are pointing towards poor matchups - OpTic and FaZe were on the EnVyUs warpath to destruction - as the bigger cause to EU success, however, Splyce had some quality victories over FaZe, Rise Nation and Team eLevate, as well as sweeping out Team Kaliber.
It may take another tournament or two to give the Europeans more credit, however, this tournament gave teams in the US notice that their neighbors across the pond can compete for a title.
Loser: All of Oceania
While Europe shined, Australia and New Zealand took a major reputation hit during CoD XP.
Every single team from the Southern Hemisphere was out of the competition by the end of the group stage, with two of them finishing dead last in their pool.
Granted, Oceania only brought four teams to the tournament, and next year could hopefully bring in some new teams, and talent, to the ANZ region. Until then, Australia and New Zealand have a lot to prove before they are respected as much as the American and European Call of Duty teams.
But let’s be honest here, an entire continent who has a resurgence at the Call of Duty Championship the year after a lackluster performance? Gee, that would never happen, right?
Winner: Team Kaliber
tK’s brand took a big hit after they failed to qualify for the Stage Two regular season.
Not appearing in the biggest league is detrimental to a Call of Duty esports team, however, Team Kaliber reminded the esports world who they are by having a strong showing at CoD XP.
Although their group stage could be considered a powderpuff league, with an Australian side as well as barely qualified Lethal Gaming in tow, tK performed well against eventual third place side eLevate, and kicked out compLexity Gaming with authority via a 6-0 game five win in Search and Destroy.
We have yet to see if tK can come back to all-day status, but a top-12 finish on a big stage sets up an exciting UMG Orlando, as well as their upcoming Infinite Warfare season.
Loser: Renegades and Jonas Jerebko
Many Boston sports fans were confused when it was announced that Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko bought out esports side Renegades, which recently took on Ground Zero’s (formerly known as Dream Team) spot at the Call of Duty Championship.
Of course, once you have a sport team in what’s considered to be the city of champions in the 21st century, you need to have a title to back it up to please the most ravenous fans in the United States. And needless to say, Renegades did not even come close to getting to the podium.
Getting kicked out of pool play by three teams who came via qualifiers is not the way to begin a new era for this esports team. Not only that, but having one of your players not show up for the pride game against PuLse, and tweet out how much the “equipment is trash” and “#buildabanner” is just embarrassing. We have yet to see how Jerebko or his company will discipline Adam "KiLLa" Sloss, but it will be an elephant in the room as this side moves forward into the Infinite Warfare season and UMG Orlando.
At least Jonas’ team made it to CoD XP, unlike Rick Fox’s Echo Fox, and he actually has a Call of Duty team unlike Shaq. And on top of that, he promised to pay his players on time, which also is a great improvement from the organization that formerly managed this Call of Duty side.
So out of the three basketball esports owners, Jerebko wins the participation award so far. Now what he needs is his team to win him a Call of Duty title, and he may have to cut a player loose before his team can get to that point.
Let’s recap what this company had this past weekend: An entertaining tournament that no doubt had millions of eyeballs watching, the reveal of the multiplayer experience for Infinite Warfare AND Modern Warfare Remastered, covered by almost every Call of Duty YouTuber under the sun, and a full PR event in the form of CoD XP that included several notable celebrities.
You can argue that tournament viewership most likely took a hit when favorites OpTic and FaZe went down, but overall, this entire weekend for Activision was a huge success for promoting their upcoming title and Call of Duty esports.
Oh, and their stock jumped up almost a dollar from the beginning of Call of Duty XP. That’s a win in my book.
Who do you think were the biggest winners and losers at CoD XP? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.