CWL Stage 2 Playoffs: Event Preview
As Stage Two comes to a close this weekend, we have written up a preview of all the teams from all three regions in the Call of Duty World League. The Stage Two playoffs will take place in Burbank, California from July 14-17.
The top eight teams from North America, top six from Europe and top four from Australia/New Zealand will compete within their respective region for the Stage Two crown and the biggest slice of a monetary prize.
There will be four matches a day, plus an All-Star match on July 16 featuring the top voted player from each EU and NA team in the playoffs (ANZ will not be featured so they are allowed adequate time to warm-up for their Grand Finals match).
With all the base information out there, here is your preview for the CWL Stage Two playoffs.
1st Seed: Team Orbit (12-2) - First round vs. Team Immunity
- Kainen “Swiftaz0r” Kini
- Giancarlo “Nimble” Vagnini
- Nathan “Bacabec” Munro-Ireland
- Rene “Zeuss” Corporal
The regular season champions only dropped two maps to the second and third seeded teams. The champs are tied for the second highest K/D ratio among the four teams representing ANZ at CWL Stage Two playoffs with a strong 1.06. The team placed top-four in the Stage One playoffs and is likely to place higher thanks to better performance throughout the season.
For Orbit, this event should be an easy win except potentially matching up against Mindfreak. Orbit has placed second at many events and placed top-six at the Crown Melbourne Invitational. However, given how Orbit’s recent success has been in the CWL, do not be surprised if they win it all.
2nd Seed: Mindfreak (11-3) - First round vs. Chiefs eSports Club
- Mitchell “BuZZO” Mader
- Conrad “Shockz” Rymarek
- Lincoln “Fighta” Ferguson
- Denholm “Denz” Taylor
The regular season runner-up was competitive for first throughout the entire season. Mindfreak has by the highest K/D ratio among the four teams representing ANZ at CWL Stage Two Playoffs with a 1.27. The team has a history of performing well at LANs, given the fact that this same four-man team has won 12 out of the 16 events they have attended since Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
For Mindfreak, this is all about playing how they usually do at LANs. This team placed top-six at COD Champs last year and top-four at the Crown Melbourne Invitational, which was stacked with worldwide talent. Given this, do not be surprised if Mindfreak repeats as champions.
3rd Seed: Chiefs eSports Club (11-3) - First round vs. Mindfreak
- Dean “Dean” Beldzinski
- Jake “Hopey” Hope
- Jack “Rival” Prendergast
- James “macka” McKenzie
The third place team saw this as a redemption season, because last season Chiefs barely missed the playoffs. The team is tied for the second-highest K/D ratio among the four teams representing ANZ at CWL Stage 2 Playoffs with a 1.06.
For Chiefs, this event is an opportunity to make a statement. Chiefs have place top-six in every event they have attended. This could be their breakout event to solidify their status as a top team in ANZ.
4th Seed: Team Immunity (8-6) - First round vs. Team Orbit
- Ryan “Killerpie” Wallath
- Cody ”Excite” Rugolo
- Steven “Azzi” Azzi
- Guy “Guydra” Worthington
The fourth place team placed top-four in last season’s playoffs. They matched up against ANZ’s best team in Mindfreak, so top-four was likely the only option for Immunity. However, now, despite having the lowest K/D ratio (1.0) of the teams representing ANZ at CWL Stage Two playoffs, Immunity has the underdog status. Underdog status can be extremely beneficial as long as the team goes in, takes care of their business and does what is needed for success.
For Immunity, the expectations are top-four. However, it is very possible that they sneak past Orbit in the first round and move on to the finals.
1st Seed: HyperGames (15-3) - First round bye
- Brian “Braaain” Fairlamb
- Nick “Nolson” Nolson
- Shea “QwiKeR” Sweeney
- Zach “Zed” Denyer
The regular season champions had a season that was not short of spectacular. Only dropping three games in a bracket filled with solid teams is something that no other team in EU can boast. Holding the top spot in EU with a 1.06 K/D ratio shows that HG is a strong objective team.
For HG, this is about proving their prowess on LAN. Placing first in online play is important - the first seed earns them a bye into the second round - but LAN is where all the big money and glory is at.
2nd Seed: Team Infused (14-4) - First round bye
- Mark “MarkyB” Bryceland
- Adam “Peatie” Peate
- David “Urban” Marsh
- Trei “Zer0” Morris
Infused is one of the best teams in EU, online and on LAN. Their 14-4 record for the regular season online coupled with their top-six placing at MLG Anaheim (the highest placing of any non-NA team for the event) shows just how formidable the team is. Boasting a 1.02 K/D ratio with the current roster of Infused, they are prepared to make their claim as EU CWL champions.
For Infused, this is about a second chance to win it all. Last Stage’s playoffs saw Infused losing 3-4 to Splyce in the semifinals, bringing Infused to a top-four placement. Infused has played with a fire lately, and this is their chance to prove they are the best team in EU.
3rd Seed: Splyce (12-6) - First round vs. Supremacy
- Joshua-Lee “Joshh” Shephard
- Ben “Bance” Bance
- Rhys “Rated” Price
- Joseph “Joee” Pinnington
Splyce is easily overlooked due to not having the best online record and a star-studded achievements list, but they are one of the best teams in EU. They do not boast an amazing K/D - a respectable 1.06 - or a fantastic record, but they show up on LAN and hang with the best. They have given top NA teams like FaZe Clan and Team EnVyUs a run for their money, so expect them to hang with EU’s best.
For Splyce, this is about solidifying their recent hot streak. Whether they are around to play with EU’s best for a long time or if they are just a flash of something great remains to be seen.
4th Seed: Epsilon eSports (10-8) - First round vs. Millenium
- Tom “Moose” Handley
- Jordan “Reedy” Reed
- Gurdip “SunnyB” Bains
- Matt “Skrapz” Marshall
Epsilon used to be heralded as one of the best organizations in EU along with TCM Gaming. That was the past - now, Epsilon has been fighting for notoriety, trying to reclaim old glory. They have a mediocre 1.0 K/D ratio as a team, but it is worth noting that Skrapz has a 1.20 individual K/D ratio. Look for him to go big throughout the event.
For Epsilon, this is about gunning to bring back the lost fame. Even though this roster was not the team that Epsilon won with, the organization has a history of winning and it is imperative for the team that they bring back the consistent winning pattern.
5th Seed: Millenium (10-8) - First round vs. Epsilon eSports
- Jordan “Jurd” Crowley
- Dylan “MadCat” Daly
- Callum “Swanny” Swan
- Tom “Tommey” Trewen
Millenium’s roster is one of, if not the best, rosters in EU. They won last season’s playoffs and expected to tear apart the competition this Stage; but, they did not. Miscues, and frankly poor play, led to Millenium falling to the fifth seed. Repping a K/D of 1.06, Millenium is looking to bring back their dominance of EU that they had so firmly last Stage.
For Millenium, this is all about playing to their potential. They have some of the best players EU has ever seen, but faltering throughout the regular season is not very hopeful if Millenium wants to continue their hold over EU.
6th Seed: Supremacy (10-8) - First round vs. Splyce
- Eddy “Malls” Maillard
- Brandon “Vortex” Gomes
- Maxime “mAxxie” Ebran
- Arthur “Zayrox” Chabas
Supremacy is one of EU’s newer teams in the CWL, but that does not mean they do not deserve their spot in the CWL. They have a 0.89 K/D as a team, which is the lowest K/D of all playoff teams by far, but the positive is that Supremacy now ha underdog status and that could play to their favor.
For Supremacy, this is about trying to hang with the best of EU. Supremacy may not have a place with the top dogs, but that is okay. Making it to the playoffs is a big deal and Supremacy could potentially take a game or even a series win off of Splyce.
1st Seed: Team EnVyUs (16-6) - First round vs. H2K
- Jordan “JKap” Kaplan
- Austin “Slasher” Liddicoat
- Johnathon “John” Perez
- Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov
EnVyUs is one of the teams who happen to make it deep at every event, but never seem to win. Look at their achievements - you see a ton of top-eight placings with a few top-four. They are good, but they have never been able to edge out close series and often find themselves being their own worst enemy. With a 1.06 K/D ratio, EnVyUs is not the best slaying team, but they play well as an objective team and they often sacrifice killing for objective control.
For EnVyUs, this is about making the push to win an event. EnVyUs has not won an event since Advanced Warfare, and that was only one event won throughout the entire lifespan of the game. The team simply does not win events, but this is an opportunity to change that.
2nd Seed: OpTic Gaming (16-6) - First round vs. Luminosity Gaming
- Seth “Scump” Abner
- Ian “Crimsix” Porter
- Damon “Karma” Barlow
- Matthew “Formal” Piper
OpTic Gaming - love ‘em or hate ‘em, you cannot deny them as the best CoD team in the world currently, and maybe even better than the compLexity/Evil Geniuses era of CoD. Why are they not the first seed then? Well, they were forced the forfeit four of the six losses due to various reasons. To many fans and players, they are actually 20-2. But, repping a 1.06 K/D overall, the team does not necessarily outslay every team in every game; they outplay and outsmart every team in every game.
For OpTic, this is all about staying on the track of dominance. It is no fluke that teams either want to beat OpTic, to be the next OpTic. They are dominant and smart, and they win. This is about doing just that.
3rd Seed: FaZe Clan (13-9) - First round vs. Dream Team
- James “Clayster” Eubanks
- Dillon “Attach” Price
- Ian “Enable” Wyatt
- Thomas “ZooMaa” Paparatto
FaZe is a fan-favorite team. From early beginnings as a trick-shotting clan to now becoming one of the best CoD organizations in the world, FaZe has only just become bigger and better. Their fast-paced, aggressive playstyle is one of their saving graces, but also one of their biggest flaws. Give FaZe some momentum, and they will rip you apart with their gunskill and superior movement, but shut them down, and they can have a hard time recovering. With their dominant 1.13 K/D, it’s no surprise that they can demoralize and destroy you if you give them the opportunity.
For FaZe, this is about continuing to be one of NA’s top teams, but also about trying to push into bringing back the talk of whether an event’s champion would be OpTic or FaZe, like it was a year ago.
4th Seed: Rise Nation (13-9) - First round vs. Cloud9
- Daniel “Loony” Loza
- Josiah “Slacked” Berry
- Nicholas “Classic” Di Costanzo
- Sam “Octane” Larew
Rise has quietly been one of the best NA organizations since Black Ops III was released. They do not boast about their success and they do not have the largest fanbase, yet they are taken events from OpTic in the finals and have given many other teams a hard time due to their superior teamwork. However, Rise has fallen in some sort of a slump in online play, falling from a potential top seed to fourth seed. With their 1.06 K/D and proven play on LAN, expect them to do well.
For Rise, this is about not losing their streak of competition with OpTic. Rise has not looked very promising online since the beginning of Stage Two, but this is LAN, and frankly, Rise is a monster on LAN.
5th Seed: Cloud9 (13-9) - First round vs. Rise Nation
- Colt “Havok” McLendon
- Devin “LlamaGod” Tran
- Nick “Happy” Suda
- Adam “Assault” Garcia
Cloud9 has a history in many other esports, and good history at that. In their first few months in CoD, Cloud9 managed to qualify for Stage Two, then qualify for playoffs. With this momentum as a new team, coupled with the history that Cloud9 has as an organization, there are high expectations for the team. Despite having a 1.06 K/D, this team slays well and has the potential to put out upsets and streaky plays.
For Cloud9, this about making a name for the team and organization in CoD. Each of these players have had rocky times in CoD, despite being strong individual players. They put together a nice run at MLG Anaheim, placing top-eight, but they could put something bigger together here.
6th Seed: Dream Team (11-11) - First round vs. FaZe Clan
- Martin “Chino” Chino
- Adam “KiLLa” Sloss
- Troy “Sender” Michaels
- Steven “Diabolic” Rivero
Dream Team is a team of comebacks and near-upsets. Many times, this organization has almost pulled out upsets/wins on just about every team in the league...but almost isn’t good enough. Just last Stage, Dream Team was facing relegation due to finishing in 10th place. Now, they are moving on to playoffs where they hope their newfound pride and teamwork can bring money and respect. Their 0.94 K/D is not flashy in any way you spin it, but they are not aiming to outslay you, they are simply aiming to beat you.
For Dream Team, this is about finding success as a team. Since qualifying for Stage Two, the team has looked a inconsistent, but they have shown a lot of potential to hang with the best NA. If they can show up here, they can easily make waves in the community.
7th Seed: Luminosity Gaming (11-11) - First round vs. OpTic Gaming
- Renato “Saints” Forza
- Jeremy “StuDyy” Astacio
- Michael “SpaceLy” Schmale
- Anthony “NAMELESS” Wheeler
Luminosity is a strong team on LAN, but not as much online. They give teams a slight challenge online, as proven by their 11-11 record, but they have almost only placed top-eight since their inception. They have a 1.06 K/D, but they are not extremely objective. They play straightforward, nothing flashy, but they do it well and that can and does amount to wins for Luminosity.
For Luminosity, this is about trying to press into the top teams of NA. They are heralded as a mid-tier team, but they could change that name if they do well at playoffs.
8th Seed: H2k-Gaming (11-11) - First round vs. Team EnVyUs
- Damod “FEARS” Abney
- Tyree “LegaL” Glover
- Phillip “PHiZZURP” Klemenov
- Andrew “Lacefield” Lacefield
H2K started out as one of the best teams in the Stage. It was a shock to many that they were at the top of the standings despite being such a young team. As the season went on, they leveled out and barely qualified for playoffs with an 11-11 record. Their 1.0 K/D lines up perfectly with their record. But that does not mean they should be counted out.
For H2K, this is about showing that they mean business. The chances of them winning playoffs and being crowned champions are minimal at best, but they can still make a name for themselves by upsetting EnVyUs or giving them a close series.
ANZ semifinal matches begin on July 15 at 3 p.m PDT (Orbit vs. Team Immunity). EU semifinal matches begin on July 14 at 10 a.m PDT (Splyce vs. Supremacy). NA semifinal matches begin on July 14 at 3 a.m PDT (Team EnVyUs vs. H2K).
What are your thoughts on the Stage Two Playoffs? What teams do you think will win it all? What upsets will happen? Let us know in the comments below or on our Twitter - @GAMURScom.