The first day of the Call of Duty World League New Orleans Open has concluded and we’ve already seen plenty of great triumphs, failures, and drama.
Here are five of the biggest storylines from day one of CWL New Orleans.
Pool play’s unbeaten
Each group has an undefeated team to call their own after the first day. In Pool A, it’s the CWL Dallas Open champions Team Kaliber. Although they had a tough test against FaZe in the last match of the day, tK breezed through their group, going 9-2 in map count on Friday.
The defending world champions OpTic Gaming are Pool B’s top team. With only one total map loss coming in their three matches, it looks like we might see another OpTic grand finals appearance this weekend.
Luminosity didn’t have as smooth of a road as tK or OpTic, but they’re still undefeated heading into Saturday. Their wins over Red Reserve and Enigma6 were rather straightforward, but it took a lot to put away Rise Nation. The series went the distance and the final game nearly went all 11 rounds, but LG finished it in the 10th round to clinch the series.
And eUnited is on top in the group of death. Their road to 3-0 in Pool D was anything but easy, considering they came back from a series deficit in each of the three matches. In their first match against Echo Fox, eUnited was 100-point clubbed in the opening game, but came back to win the next three games. Against Splyce, eU dropped two of the first three games, but battled back to win the series with strong showings on Sainte Marie du Mont Hardpoint and Ardennes Forest Search and Destroy. EUnited saved their best heroics for last, however, as they reverse swept compLexity and even came back from a 5-2 deficit in the final game to complete their perfect first day.
Open bracket in the bayou
The open bracket, as expected, has been full of upsets. From Rockets Esports finishing with a top 80 placing, to Ghost Gaming getting knocked in the losers bracket, there’s no way to predict what will happen when best-of-three series, career dreams, and a lot of CoD skill collide.
DooM Clan, the No. 1 open bracket seed, have looked solid thus far. The team have yet to drop a map, but they’re set to take on the always-dangerous eRa Eternity in round five of the bracket. Evil Geniuses have also made their way through the bracket, penciling in a meeting with the Australians of Tainted Minds.
Starting off with hundreds of rosters, the open bracket is now down to just 16 undefeated teams and 32 one-loss squads. With just a few more rounds to go until pool play qualification, the open bracket action is going to get even more fun on Saturday.
The CWL Dallas Open runners-up didn’t get off to a good start in New Orleans. Despite beating all three of their New Orleans pool play adversaries in Dallas (albeit with different lineups), Splyce were shaky in Pool D on Friday.
In Dallas, Splyce only lost five of their 17 Hardpoint games, according to CoD Stats. On day one in New Orleans, Splyce lost three of six, averaging nearly 11 points per game less than their opponents. Their Search and Destroy play was also poor, and Thomas “Tommey” Trewren especially seemed off his game. His 0.45 kill/death ratio in the gametype was the lowest of the 64 players in pool play on Friday. In Dallas, Tommey led his team in Search and Destroy with a 1.16 K/D.
Sitting at 1-2 in their group, Splyce will need some help to make it through as one of the top two teams. Both eUnited and Echo Fox hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Europeans, so Splyce will have to beat the open bracket team in their group while also hoping Echo Fox loses to that team. But they also don’t want the open bracket team to do better than them.
Splyce weren’t the only EU team that had trouble on day one. Pretty much every European squad suffered a setback or two.
Each of the five EU pool play teams—Red Reserve, Team Vitality, Epsilon Esports, Splyce, and UNILAD—finished 1-2 on Friday. This means that there’s a chance that none of the European teams that originally qualified for pool play will make it to the championship winners bracket. Open bracket teams from across the pond still have a shot, but there aren’t many.
Upsets have ruined the EU teams so far in New Orleans. Renegades, exceL, Brash, Heretics, Supremacy, and more were all ousted from the winners side of the open bracket in the first few rounds.
Of the 16 undefeated open bracket teams remaining, three are European—Millenium, Giants Gaming, and Team Infused are the only ones left standing with a chance to move on to pool play and represent Europe. They all have their hands full, though. Millenium take on GGEA Orange in their opening match of the day. If they win that, and Giants win their match against EMP, the two will collide for a pool play spot. Infused will take on GGEA Blue in their first match of Saturday.
Sam “Octane” Larew, star player of Luminosity, topped all of pool play in respawn kill/death ratio on Friday with a 1.29 over 12 maps, according to CoD Stats. But this shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody.
Since CoD Stats started consistently tracking events in March 2017, Octane hasn’t finished outside of the top 10 in respawn K/D at any event. That means for each of the last eight events dating back to CWL Dallas 2017, he’s been one of the most proficient slayers in the world without a hiccup. That doesn’t mean he just turned it on in March, though. He’s been killing it for a while now.
Presumably, Octane will be looking to add another MVP award to his trophy case to go along with the one he picked up at the CWL Anaheim Open last June.
The CWL New Orleans Open will resume with open bracket madness today (Jan. 13) at 10am CT, while the broadcast will go live with more pool play action at 2pm CT.