“He is my most beloved friend and my bitterest rival, my confidant and my betrayer, my sustainer and my dependent, and scariest of all, my equal.”
Very rarely in any sport is an era defined by two of the greatest of all time at their craft sustaining a rivalry over an extended period of time. Rivalries of this manner, such as the one between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in the NBA during the 1980’s, occur once in a generation and transcend the sport that they inhabit; tales of their games are recounted as legend, something you had to see to believe. But what happens when the two greatest players ever can be found on the same team? What happens when the only person capable of challenging you is right by your side, playing with the same determination to win? Can a bitter rivalry, coexisting with mutual respect, between teammates exist all while the two players are transcending the game that is being played? In the case of Patrick “Aches” Price and Ian “Crimsix” Porter, the two greatest Call of Duty players of all time, the answer appears to be a resounding, “Yes.”
One of the main characteristics of a great rivalry is the clashing of personalities and backgrounds, although both individuals have the same desire to be the best. Magic Johnson came from a large public university in Michigan State and had an incredibly carefree and energetic attitude that often made him the center of attention, while Larry Bird came from a small school in Indiana State, and was often quieter and less out going in the public eye. But both demonstrated the same work ethic, devotion to and love of basketball that would characterize their careers for years to come.
On the outside, Aches and Crimsix are a seemingly unlikely pair. Aches has an outgoing and braggadocious personality; never one to back down while in an argument, Aches’ career has been characterized by drama and conflict. Twitter arguments with other players, repeated disputes with Major League Gaming, harsh criticisms of the community, loud opinions on proper rule sets for competitive play; if there has been a debate about something related to competitive Call of Duty, Aches has voiced his opinion about it. Crimsix, on the other hand, has been generally more reserved with his personality. Often seen as one of the more awkward members of the CoD community (especially in his earlier years), Crimsix’s Twitter is generally devoid of controversy; he rarely stirs up trouble with other players and has typically let his gameplay do the talking. Therein exists the primary difference between these two players. While Crimsix will just show you how great he is, Aches will tell you before the match how much you suck, beat you, and then remind you over Twitter how bad you are compared to him.
The question still remains though; how does a rivalry between the two greatest players exist when they play for the same team? In the second half of the Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 era, no other team was close to the level that compLexity Gaming was on. From MLG Anaheim to MLG Full Sail, the compLexity roster, now infused with new energy in James “Clayster” Eubanks and Mathew “Mr. X” Morello, dominated the professional scene, and Aches and Crimsix had proved that they were two of the very best. So how did the two of them battle each other while crushing the rest of the competition? In the simplest way of stating it, the two played a game of, “anything you can do I can do better.”
While it is likely that Aches and Crimsix never explicitly stated to each other that they were engaged in a game of one-upmanship, the play exhibited both players over compLexity’s period of dominance at the end of Black Ops 2 would lead one to believe that was the case. Competition occurred at every level between the two. Tournament to tournament, game to game, it did not matter. If one of the two was playing well than the other was bound to step up and play big at the next opportunity.
Tournament to Tournament
At UMG Atlanta Aches stole the show, dominating the tournament from his typical slayer role. CompLexity defeated Team Kaliber after facing them in both the Winner’s Finals and Grand Finals with a final map score of 6-4, with four of those compLexity wins being Hardpoints. Aches went on a slaying tear in Hardpoint, having two 40+ kill games, averaging an impressive 38 kills per Hardpoint with a 1.44 Kill/Death ratio. While Crimsix played well during the tournament, having some impressive individual performances of his own, he simply did not perform to the same extraordinary level as Aches. compLexity’s performance was a dominating one with Aches leading the charge, as he was named MVP of the tournament by Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez in the post-game show.
The next tournament that compLexity attended was Gfinity 2, and it was clear that the Crimbot had his oil changed because he was firing on all cylinders. After great plays from Crimsix throughout the entirety tournament, compLexity saw themselves matched up against Epsilon eSports in the Grand Finals. Instead of the team exerting their normal dominance, compLexity quickly found themselves down 0-2 in map count and in need of some sort of spark to begin a comeback. That spark was found in Crimsix who ignited the team with a dominant 38-17 performance on Slums – Capture the Flag as well as finishing set with an impressive 11-1 performance on Express – Search and Destroy. Crimsix was awarded “The GOAT,” not only for his incredibly clutch play in the finals but also for his dominant play throughout the entire tournament, making sure that it was him, not Aches, who stole the show.
Set to Set
MLG Anaheim 2013 is one of the most memorable Call of Duty tournaments for many reasons, one of those being how well each individual member of the newly formed compLexity squad played. While it was clear that Clayster deserved to be the MVP based on his play throughout the entire tournament, both Crimsix and Aches played at exceptionally high levels, closely matching each other over the course of the entire event. Excluding the Yemen – Hardpoint that compLexity played against Impact in the Winner’s Finals (for which the data could not be found), Aches averaged 33 kills to Crimsix’s 26.5 in Hardpoint, but in Search and Destroy, Crimsix averaged 9.14 kills per game to Aches’ 6.43. And in Capture the Flag the stats were incredibly close between the two with Aches and Crimsix having nearly identical numbers in terms of kills, deaths and flag captures.
The two seemed to play off of each other the entire tournament. Aches gets 34 kills in a Hardpoint against Impact? Crimsix follows it up by getting 11 kills in a Search and Destroy. Crimsix goes on a 6 kill streak in Standoff – Search and Destroy? Aches follows it up with a 6 kill streak of his own in the exact same game. It appeared as though neither player would allow the other to embrace the spotlight as their own, because if either of them got close the other would remind everyone else that he is just as good, if not better.
Map to Map
Both Aches and Crimsix have been known to perform under pressure and there is no better example of this than at Gfinity 1 when compLexity played against Icons.Impact in the Semi-Finals. Tied 1-1 in a Best-of-5 set, the two teams would play Standoff – Capture the Flag and head into overtime. While both teams failed to score in the first half of the overtime, CompLexity was able to quickly take control of the second half behind the play of Aches. With two minutes left in the round Tyler “TeePee” Polchow quickly pulled a flag and ran it down the left side of the map, getting the capture and winning the game, putting compLexity up 2-1 in the series. Heading into the second half of overtime, Aches was 28-35, but in that second half the intensity was turned up and his clutch gene kicked in. He went 12-5 and got a critical two-piece that kept two Impact players from reaching their cutoffs, which allowed TeePee to pull the flag to safety. When called upon, Aches stepped up, proving just how clutch he could be again one of the best teams in the world.
The story of the set did not end there though. Now up 2-1, compLexity would face Impact on Raid – Hardpoint, arguably one of the best maps for both teams. Once again the game was incredibly close between arguably the two best teams in the world, and Crimsix was the rock that compLexity was relying on. Earning full streaks about halfway through the map, Crimsix would use those scorestreaks later on during the map in order to allow his team to keep control of the Ring Hardpoint, keeping compLexity in the lead. The game was still incredibly tight though, and compLexity would find themselves down 15 points heading into the last hill. In the midst of the madness that is the last hill on Raid, Crimsix would get a hugely important two-piece to end the game, sealing the game victory and set victory for compLexity. Crimsix would end the game with 36 kills and 6 captures, both team highs, stepping up in the moment to put away the team’s rival, just as his teammate Aches had done the map before.
Round to Round
While all of the previous examples point to Aches and Crimsix having an unspoken competition between them, one example stands above the rest; compLexity’s comeback on Express – Search and Destroy against OpTic Gaming at MLG Full Sail. Dominant play from OpTic Gaming, accompanied with some incredible flanks from Matthew “NaDeSHoT” Haag in particular, would give the Green Wall a commanding 5-0 round advantage. OpTic looked to seal away the best team in the world in the hopes of mounting a comeback in the Grand Finals, but unfortunately for them, this tournament is remembered for a much different comeback, sparked by the plays of Crimsix and Aches.
After winning two rounds to bring the round score to 5-2 in favor of OpTic, Crimsix would find himself in a 1v3 situation in the eighth round. After finding a kill on Will “BigTymer” Johnson in the middle of the map, Crimsix would rotate into the bottom of the B-Bomb site finding himself against Jordan “JKap” Kaplan and Nadeshot. With 30 seconds on the clock, the Crimbot was activated, picking off Nadeshot and then winning the 1v1 gun battle against JKap to give compLexity the round win, keeping them alive in the map against OpTic.
Now down 5-3, compLexity still needed another three straight round wins to pull off this seemingly impossible comeback, and this time it was Aches’ turn to step up. After some good entry kills by OpTic, Crimsix would fall to JKap, leaving Aches in a 1v2 situation. Aches would trail the two remaining members of OpTic as they rotated to the A-Bomb site. After securing a kill on Seth “Scumpii” Abner as the OpTic member was attempting to plant the bomb, Aches found himself in a 1v1 situation against JKap, just as Crimsix had the round before. JKap would plant the bomb and escape to lockers but Aches quickly jumped down from the control room looking for a gun fight. In typical Aches fashion, not only did he win the gun battle, but he topped it off with some shots to JKap’s dead body before going to defuse the bomb.
This game between compLexity and OpTic has been remembered as, arguably, the greatest Search and Destroy comeback in the history of competitive Call of Duty, but it is also the best example of the competition that existed between Aches and Crimsix. One player (Crimsix) stepped into the spotlight when his team needed him the most and performed, clutching out a 1v3, but his teammate (Aches) would not let that spotlight shine on just one player. The next round Aches performed just as well, clutching out a similarly difficult situation in a 1v2, not allowing Crimsix to take all of the glory for himself. The two played off of each other incredibly well, not just because they are two of the most talented players ever to put their hands on the sticks, but because neither wanted to be shown up by the other, pushing them both to levels never before seen in Call of Duty.
While the rivalry between Aches and Crimsix is defined pretty heavily by the competition between the two, the desire by both to be the best the game has ever seen, it is a different trait that helps capture the entirety of their rivalry; respect. When Larry Bird and Magic Johnson played in the NBA, they understood that the only people they could realistically compete with were each other. As a result, a bond, grown out of mutual respect and admiration, emerged between the two, a bond that continues to hold strong to this day. Such is the case with Aches and Crimsix.
In a recent YouTube video, Crimsix elaborated on this idea. When asked about his relationship with Aches now that Crimsix had transitioned to OpTic and found success elsewhere, Crimsix described the level of respect between the two very bluntly, but with an incredible amount of honesty. “Honestly, I respect the shit out of Aches…We both benefitted off of each other. You know, we both kind of wouldn’t be where we are without each other.” Aches took a chance on a relatively unknown Halo player at the beginning of the Black Ops 2 season, and it paid off enormously for both players, granting them levels of success that hadn’t yet been found in Call of Duty. They are the two winningest players of all time and the two greatest players of all time, and the rivalry that they had, even though they were playing on the same team for the majority of their careers, is something special. It produced some of the most memorable moments and some of the greatest plays, defining an era of greatness that may never be seen again.
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