This weekend the OpTic Gaming train continued to roll, scoring its second-straight Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare win at the Gfinity Spring Masters championship at the Gfinity Arena in the United Kingdom.
That’s their fifth win in six tournaments and their fifth victory in seven events since the release of Advanced Warfare. But the one slump on the list is the Call of Duty Championship, the $1 million shebang that accounts for more than half the prize money awarded in the game so far.
That failure will always hang over the head of the most dominant team in the game during one of the most dominant streaks in the game’s history. The team replaced Matt “NaDeShOt” Haag after Champs with Damon “Karma” Barlow and hasn’t missed a beat despite requiring Ian “Enable” Wyatt to sub in for two European events while Barlow is stuck in the United States finishing his citizenship application.
But Gfinity showed that the next chapter of OpTic Gaming dominance may not be that easy.
In one of the most exciting Call of Duty finals this year, Prophecy took OpTic to a decisive fifth game where the Green Wall narrowly survived a Search and Destroy that lasted 10 rounds.
The series itself was a spectacle. OpTic Gaming jumped to a 2-0 lead, but needed a close 6-4 SnD victory on Riot to do it. Then Prophecy returned with a 17-13 win on Uplink, setting up a game four Capture the Flag showdown on Retreat. OpTic Gaming took a lead into the final minutes, but a clutch Prophecy scored the tying capture before nailing the winning tally in overtime. The final SnD on Detroit was a close one, but OpTic Gaming managed to stay just barely ahead of Prophecy in large part due to the clutch play of Ian “Crimsix” Porter.
The series had special meaning for Crimsix. The former teammate of ACHES on Complexity, the most dominant team in Call of Duty history, the two players’ histories are intertwined. ACHES had 19 championship wins heading into this event, with Crimsix sitting at 18. Could Crimsix, the more skilled player in-game, tie the tally of ACHES? Or would ACHES, the game’s great team builder and leader, score his 20th championship win?
Crimsix took the title, and as he put it in the post-game interview, the “student becomes the master.”
“We’re tied right now, me and ACHES,” Crimsix said. “So I look forward to playing him at other tournaments and basically contesting him for the most accomplished Call of Duty player ever.
(Sorry, this embed was not found.)Crimsix scored the tally this time, also bringing the two’s head-to-head series record against each other at LAN events closer. While OpTic has dominated in Advanced Warfare, ACHES had bested Crimsix and company in three of their four previous best-of-five meetings.
While the new Prophecy squad didn’t add to that mark, it’s poised to challenge OpTic at future events. The team includes Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov as primary slayer, one of the few players who has topped OpTic in an Advanced Warfare tournament finals alongside ACHES on FaZe Red. They’re flanked by Ulysses “AquA” Silva and Jared “Nagafen” Harrell, two core members of the Team Revenge squad that placed second at the Call of Duty Championship.
Those four have barely had a full week of practice together, but they showed they have the ability to challenge OpTic when it counts. Of note: Search and Destroy is supposedly OpTic’s weakest game mode, yet OpTic required two SnD wins to beat Prophecy. That shows Prophecy could be the rare team with slaying power to challenge OpTic, and SnD is the game mode that requires the most practice together before really geling into a unit.
Still, this tournament was a win for OpTic Gaming. They outpaced Prophecy, even if it wasn’t easy. They beat Europe’s best, TCM Gaming, who were fired up trying to give retiring legend Tomas “Gunshy” Jones a fitting farewell. The winners of the big dance, Denial, fell in the bracket stage to OpTic Gaming’s sister team, OpTic Nation. Even the normally consistent Denial couldn’t hold up at Gfinity, but the OpTic train just keeps rolling.
Things might get even better for the team once their regular fourth player, Karma, rejoins the lineup. But even with a team featuring literally four superstars, it’s not going to be easy for OpTic Gaming to maintain their run. Prophecy is coming for them, a team led by ACHES, who may be hungrier than ever to end the growth of a budding dynasty that could rival the one he lead in 2013 and 2014.