Christopher “Parasite” Duarte used to be someone that opposing teams feared. At one time, he captured a world title and was widely regarded as the most dangerous and talented players in all of Call of Duty.
And yet, days away from competing at his fifth Call of Duty World League Championship event, he and his team, Ghost Gaming, aren’t even viewed as serious contenders.
“Our team isn’t even looked at now,” Parasite told Dot Esports. “Pro teams barely even scrim us. I don’t know—it’s a stigma, it’s a bad reputation, people just don’t like me, people just don’t like scrimming my teams. I don’t know what it is. I could be just talking out of my ass. But that’s what it seems.”
Possibly due to being involved in one too many situations that showed off his admittedly conflicting personality, Parasite finds himself in an odd scenario. Although people still view him as a good player, Parasite is on a team with no championships—his teammates have one grand finals appearance combined, in fact.
After competing alongside former world champions and representing some of the most popular organizations in esports, Parasite is with a team that entered Call of Duty just last year. That may be a sobering experience for some, but Parasite sees potential in his team.
“I think there’s a lot of young and hungry talent on this team,” Parasite said. “We’ve been just grinding and putting in a lot of work to get up there with all of the other pro teams in terms of placements.”
Even after missing out on Stage Two of the CWL Pro League, Parasite and Ghost put their heads down and focused on the second half of the WWII season. That attitude resulted in a top six finish at CWL Seattle and a top 16 placing at CWL Anaheim.
But many world champions don’t end up on Ghost Gaming. Most are still in the CWL Pro League. And despite consistently proving his skill to fans and players alike, Parasite has struggled to stick with teams. This is because of a stigma of toxicity, the 24-year-old says.
“[Criticisms of my behavior] were warranted a long time ago when I was younger and coming up in my career,” Parasite said. “But I think nowadays, at least for the most part of this year, I think it’s more just a stigma that’s kind of hard to get rid of.”
After winning the first annual Call of Duty Championship in April 2013 and earning the $400,000 grand prize, the iconic Fariko Impact lineup had a very nasty and public breakup.
While the former teammates’ verbal war at UMG Atlanta in August 2013 is now an infamous—and somewhat fondly-remembered—scene in CoD history, it was a very bad look for Parasite. His participation in a shouting match with players, team owners, and spectators wasn’t good for his image, and it’s had a lasting effect on his reputation.
Although he doesn’t know for sure if he will ever be able to change what people think, Parasite does believe that winning could solve a lot of the issues fans have with him.
“If you’re not winning or not performing the way that you want to or the way champions should, you’re just another player,” Parasite said. “You’re nothing special. You got to start winning so people can view you in a different light, view you as a champion, view you as a good leader, view you as somebody at the top. And until I start doing that again, that stigma of my toxicity is going to stick around a lot more than it would if I were a champion.”
Parasite picked out Rise Nation star Austin “SlasheR” Liddicoat as a player who proves his point that no matter whether you’re considered toxic, it doesn’t really last when you’re at the top.
But Parasite has not been at the top in a long time—1,206 days to be exact. Nearly three and a half years ago, Parasite won his last non-local LAN event, taking home the UGC Niagara grand prize as a part of Team Kaliber. Before that, his last MLG title win was at the MLG PAX Prime Invitational in September 2013. His struggles have even extended to the CWL Championship, most notably last year’s disastrous last-place showing with Evil Geniuses.
Despite feeling confident going into the event, EG didn’t win a single match in Pool F, losing to Fnatic, Str8 Rippin, and Tainted Minds to finish in a tie for last place. It was a deflating experience for Parasite, who had not failed to make it past pool play before in his Champs career.
“It just felt like that year of my life was a waste,” Parasite said. “I didn’t really earn any good placings, I didn’t improve my image, I didn’t improve anything. It just felt like it was a wasted year.”
Now, Parasite has returned to the tournament where he has felt the high of winning a world championship as well as the low of finishing without a single win. With a young and relatively unproven roster alongside him, it’s an opportunity at redemption for Parasite.
“I’ve been viewed upon in this community in a very negative light for a long time—ever since those Impact days,” Parasite said. “If I were to win another championship with players that no one thought would ever win a championship, it would be an incredible comeback story and something I could be extremely proud of—even more than my first championship win.”
Parasite has never been really shy about anything. Whether it was telling other players he was much better than them, or even flipping off opposing players after a loss, Parasite is one-of-a-kind. And it would only make sense for a player like this—one who goes against the grain at seemingly every opportunity—to upset teams on the grandest stage and reclaim his spot on top of the Call of Duty world.