After months of hints and teases, the OpTic Gaming move to Envy Gaming has been officially announced a few days after the launch of Call of Duty’s latest title, Vanguard.
The merger between OpTic and Envy, which has been in the works since the end of the 2021 Call of Duty League season, as reported by Dot Esports, will see the retirement of both the OpTic Chicago and Dallas Empire branding. The team will move forward as OpTic Texas for the 2022 season.
After a disappointing finish to the 2021 season for both Dallas and Chicago, each team made multiple roster changes this offseason. In August, OpTic released Envoy, who later signed with the Los Angeles Thieves, while FormaL, a member of OpTic’s 2017 CoD Champs winning roster, announced his retirement and decision to transition to content creation.
Dallas also made some big changes after a third-place finish in the 2021 CDL playoffs, opting to release Crimsix, who’s widely hailed as one of the greatest CoD players of all time, and Vivid. Crimsix recently signed with the New York Subliners, while Vivid joined the Florida Mutineers.
The new-look OpTic Texas team will consist of Scump, Dashy, Shotzzy, and iLLeY, giving OpTic one of the most talented teams in the entire league. It’s unclear how this roster will stack up compared to 2021 powerhouses like the Atlanta FaZe or Toronto Ultra, but OpTic Texas appear to be a clear-cut top-three team heading into the Vanguard season.
While the roster itself is great news for fans of both OpTic and Envy, this acquisition comes at a cost for the competitive scene within Call of Duty. With the teams merging, it marks the abrupt end of competitive Call of Duty’s greatest rivalry. OpTic vs. Envy felt like Call of Duty’s version of Michigan vs. Ohio State, Yankees vs. Red Sox, Lakers vs. Celtics, or North Carolina vs. Duke. Every time the teams met, a championship seemed to be at stake, whether it was in the Black Ops II or Black Ops Cold War seasons.
“We’ve competed against each other since 2008, and I have a ton of respect for Hector and what he’s built,” Envy’s chief gaming officer Mike “Hastr0” Rufail said in a press release. “We genuinely care about each other. We are going to be much stronger together than apart.”
“I love Dallas, Seth loves Dallas, everyone in OpTic loves being in Texas,” OpTic Gaming leader Hector “HECZ” Rodriguez said. “This is the best thing for OpTic. Period.”
The CDL’s Chicago-based franchise is now owned by Envy and OpTic, according to the press release announcing today’s merger. “Through the merger, Envy/OpTic acquired the Chicago team slot,” the press release reads. “That team slot will be sold, with viable interest in the slot at this time. Envy/OpTic will retain the OpTic Texas team slot.” The group that owns the Overwatch League’s Washington Justice, Washington Esports Ventures, was reportedly in discussions to acquire the Chicago franchise slot with plans to move the team to Washington D.C. before backing out last week.
The 2022 CDL schedule has not been released, though if past seasons are any indication, play could start around February.