OpTic Gaming and Splyce eliminated from CWL New Orleans with top 12 placings
Both teams placed in the top three at the first major event of the season, the CWL Dallas Open in December. Splyce's losers bracket finals victory over OpTic in the event clinched their first grand finals appearance since the CWL Anaheim Open last June. Although Splyce would eventually fall just short of the title, losing to Team Kaliber in the grand finals, they solidified themselves as the top team in Europe and one of the best teams in the world.
But the same team didn't seem to show up for the CWL New Orleans Open this weekend. In pool play, the Europeans finished with a disappointing 2-2 record. This lackluster showing earned them a third-place finish in their group, meaning that Splyce would be slotted into the losers side to start the championship bracket.
After reverse sweeping Lightning Pandas late Saturday night, Splyce faced off against Rise Nation in their first match of Sunday. And it did not go well. Rise took the opening Hardpoint by 29 points and then dominated the Search and Destroy to take the 2-0 lead. And in a tight and low-scoring Ardennes Forest Capture the Flag, Rise closed out the series to eliminate Splyce with a top 12 placing—their lowest event finish in over a year.
Unlike Splyce, OpTic's showing in pool play was great. The defending world champs finished atop Pool B with a 4-0 match record and a 12-1 map count. This put them in the winners side of the championship bracket against Echo Fox in the first round. But as Splyce learned in pool play, EF cannot be taken lightly.
Echo Fox imposed their will on OpTic, tearing down the Green Wall with a 3-1 victory on Saturday night. But due to their pool play performance, they would have a chance to keep advancing through the tournament via the losers bracket. But Red Reserve stood in their way.
Red Reserve started off the series with a Hardpoint victory, a shocking result considering HP was OpTic's best gametype at CWL Dallas. In the Search and Destroy, OpTic tied the series up at one game apiece. But on London Docks CTF, Red took the series lead back despite OpTic having a 5-2 record on London Docks CTF in Dallas and Red having a 1-2 record.
In the final game, Sainte Marie du Mont Hardpoint, OpTic looked like they would be forcing a game five, but the late-game heroics of Red stopped OpTic from finishing the game. With just a handful of points to clinch the map, OpTic lost control of the Hardpoint, allowing Red to climb back to tie, surpass, and win the game.
This shocking result knocked OpTic out of the tournament with a top 12 placing—the lowest that the team has placed in four years. The last time that OpTic Gaming placed top 12 at an event was at UMG Philadelphia in January 2014, which was Will "BigTymeR" Johnson's final event.
These placings are extremely disappointing to both teams' players and fans, but OpTic and Splyce will look to bounce back in the 16-team CWL Pro League, which kicks off on Jan. 23.