A beginner’s guide to CWL Dallas, one of Call of Duty’s biggest events yet

Roughly 176 teams will battle it out in the Lone Star State for their share of $200,000.

One of the most important events in Call of Duty history begins on March 17. The best teams from across the globe will converge in the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas to compete in the Call of Duty World League’s latest LAN event: the CWL Dallas Open.

CWL Dallas will feature roughly 176 teams playing Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, approximately 160 of which will have to battle through the open bracket. Pro points, Major League Gaming’s ranking system for professional players, were used to rank the top-16 teams who qualified for pool play. These spots were divided among the three international regions. The top-nine teams from North America, the top-five European squads and the top-two organizations from the APAC region all earned invites.

Due to North America being the strongest region for Call of Duty, the top-four NA teams were each automatically placed as the first seed in one of the four pools, while the remaining 12 teams were randomly drawn into their respective groups. These are the pools for CWL Dallas, as well as the rosters for each team:

Pool A

  • OpTic Gaming: Seth “Scump” Abner, Damon “Karma” Barlow, Ian “Crimsix” Porter and Matthew “Formal” Piper
  • Team EnVyUs: Jordan “JKap” Kaplan, Austin “SlasheR” Liddicoat, Johnathan “John” Perez and Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov
  • Red Reserve: Joe “Joee” Pinnington, David “Urban” Marsh, Niall “Niall” Sunderland and Sean “Seany” O’Connor
  • Tainted Minds: Giancarlo “Nimble” Vagnini, Rene “Zeuss” Corporal, Hayden “Damage” Handakas and Denholm “Denz” Taylor
  • Open Bracket Team (TBD)

Pool B

  • eUnited: Justin “SiLLY” Fargo-Palmer, Preston “Prestinni” Sanderson, Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson and Pierce “Gunless” Hillman
  • Team Infused: Mark “MarkyB” Bryceland, Tom “Moose” Handley, Nick “Nolson” Nolson and Adam “Peatie” Peate
  • Cloud9: Patrick “ACHES” Price, Richard “Ricky” Stacy, Adam “Assault” Garcia and Andres “Lacefield” Lacefield
  • Mindfreak: Mitchell “BuZZO” Mader, Conrad “Shockz” Rymarek, Lincoln “Fighta” Ferguson and Cody “Excite” Rugolo
  • Open Bracket Team (TBD)

Pool C

  • FaZe Clan: James “Clayster” Eubanks, Dillon “Attach” Price, Tommy “ZooMaa” Paparatto and Ian “Enable” Wyatt
  • Luminosity Gaming: Josiah “Slacked” Berry, Nicholas “Classic” DiCostanzo, Sam “Octane” Larew and Renato “Saints” Forza
  • Elevate: Jordan “Reedy” Reed, Zach “Zed” Denyer, Josh “Watson” Watson and Rhys “Rated” Price
  • Fnatic: Tom “Tommey” Trewen, Matthew “Skrapz” Marshall, Bradley “wuskin” Marshall and Gurdip “SunnyB” Bains
  • Open Bracket Team (TBD)

Pool D

  • Rise Nation: Daniel “Loony” Loza, Tyler “FeLo” Johnson, Brice “Faccento” Faccento and Ulysses “Aqua” Silva
  • Splyce: Jordan “Jurd” Crowley, Dylan “MadCat” Daly, Ben “Bance” Bance and Trei “Zer0” Morris
  • Enigma6: Jordon “General” Holloway, Kade “Kade” Jones, Nicholas “Proto” Maldonado and Mike “MRuiz” Ruiz
  • Pnda Gaming: Ethan “FA5TBALLA” Wedgeworth, Christopher “ProFeeZy” Astudillo, Sean “Pemby” Pembroke and Jay “Prophet” Nicoletti
  • Open Bracket Team (TBD)

The four remaining pool play spots will be granted to the top-four teams in the open bracket. There, teams will play multiple best-of-three series for their shot at one of the spots. For the first time ever, CWL Dallas will feature best-of-five series in the later rounds of the open bracket, which is a long-awaited addition to the scene.

The three game modes that comprise a Call of Duty series include Hardpoint, Search and Destroy, and Uplink. For non-Call of Duty fans, Hardpoint is similar to “King of the Hill,” where both teams are fighting for control of an area of the map for an allotted amount of time. Hardpoint spots last for one minute, and these locations continuously change until one team reaches 250 points to win the map. Search and Destroy is essentially the same as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive—each player has one life, and an attacking team tries to plant a bomb. The defensive team either needs to defuse the bomb or eliminate the opposing players to win a round. Search and Destroy, also called SnD, is played as a best-of-11, so the first team to six round victories wins that map. Finally, in Uplink, there are two portals on each side of the map, and the teams fight for control of a drone, or ball, that they try to throw or dunk into the portal for points. A throw is worth one point, while a dunk is worth two. The team with the most points after 10 minutes wins.

Every best-of-five series in Call of Duty will be played in this order: Hardpoint, Search and Destroy, Uplink, Hardpoint, and Search and Destroy. The first team to win three of these maps will earn the series victory.

In pool play, each team will play the other squads once in a best-of-five series. Once that is completed, the top two teams from each group will advance to the championship winners bracket, while the other three organizations in each pool will be sent to separate rounds of the championship losers bracket, based on their performance and record in pool play.

Following the conclusion of pool play, teams will compete in a double-elimination championship bracket until there is only one team left standing, who will be crowned the CWL Dallas champion. The prize pool for this event includes $200,000 and, arguably even more important, over 150,000 pro points, which are essential for teams hoping to qualify for the CWL Global LAN League.

CWL Dallas is the final event before the start of this new LAN league, so everything is on the line for teams looking to secure one of the 16 available spots. The top-nine North American, top-six European and first place APAC teams will make up the 16 organizations competing in the first stage, which begins on April 20.

There are several storylines that fans are preparing for heading into CWL Dallas. The most highly-anticipated showdown will be in Group A, when two of the biggest organizations in Call of Duty, OpTic Gaming and Team EnVyUs, square off during primetime on Friday night, in what will likely decide the winner of that group.

Group B is surrounded by questions. Can eUnited prove all the doubters wrong again and have a performance similar to CWL Atlanta? Can ACHES and Cloud9 bounce back from their disappointing finishes in the past two events? Or will the foreign squads in Mindfreak and Infused show up and take both spots from the NA teams in this group? This group has the potential to feature some of the closest matches in pool play.

FaZe Clan taking on Luminosity Gaming is the main storyline in Group C, as two of NA’s finest teams vying for the top spot in their pool face off in the final match on Friday night. Two strong European squads, however, stand in their way; Fnatic and Elevate will continue their effort to show the strength of EU Call of Duty.

Finally, Group D plays host to the CWL Vegas champions, Rise Nation, as well as the highest ranked team from Europe, Splyce. The main storyline here is how will Splyce perform after replacing Joshh with Zer0. This was a major roster change that could have a significant impact on Splyce’s style of play, so Enigma6 and Pnda Gaming will have to capitalize on their team’s chemistry if they want to make it out of pool play.

All of this weekend’s action can be watched live on MLG.tv. There will also be streams on Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook on day one of CWL Dallas, however, the Alpha stream (main stage matches) will only be on MLG.tv for day two and day three. A Twitch stream with an hour delay will be available, along with the main MLG.tv stream, on the final day of CWL Dallas.

The complete broadcast schedule for the 2017 CWL Dallas Open can be found below (all times are in Central Daylight Time).

Friday, March 17:

2:00 pm CDT

  • Rise Nation vs. Splyce
  • Team EnVyUs vs. Red Reserve
  • Enigma6 vs. Pnda Gaming
  • OpTic Gaming vs. Tainted Minds

3:30 pm CDT

  • eUnited vs. Infused
  • FaZe Clan vs. Elevate
  • Luminosity Gaming vs. Fnatic
  • Cloud9 vs. Mindfreak

5:00 pm CDT

  • OpTic Gaming vs. Red Reserve
  • Rise Nation vs. Enigma6
  • Splyce vs. Pnda Gaming
  • Team EnVyUs vs. Tainted Minds

6:30 pm CDT

  • eUnited vs. Cloud9
  • FaZe Clan vs. Fnatic
  • Luminosity Gaming vs. Elevate
  • Infused vs. Mindfreak

8:00 pm CDT

  • OpTic Gaming vs. Team EnVyUs
  • Splyce vs. Enigma6
  • Rise Nation vs. Pnda Gaming
  • Red Reserve vs. Tainted Minds

9:30 pm CDT

  • FaZe Clan vs. Luminosity Gaming
  • eUnited vs. Mindfreak
  • Elevate vs. Fnatic
  • Infused vs. Cloud9

Saturday, March 18:

11:00am CT – Open winners round five (Bravo only)

1:00pm CT – Pool play match one (pro team vs. open team)

2:30pm CT – Pool play match two (pro team vs. open team)

4:00pm CT – Pool play match three (pro team vs. open team)

5:30pm CT – Pool play match four (pro team vs. open team)

8:00pm CT – Championship winners round one

9:30pm CT – Championship winners round two

Sunday, March 19:

10:00am CT – First winners semifinal

11:30am CT – Second winners semifinal

1:00pm CT – Losers round six

2:30pm CT – Winners final

4:00pm CT – Losers final

5:30pm CT – Grand finals

7:00pm CT – Grand finals second series (if necessary)