Fourteen teams qualified for the Call of Duty Championship this weekend at the North American Regionals hosted by Major League Gaming (MLG), but only one of them looks like they’re going win the top prize at the $1 million tournament.
OpTic Gaming earned their third straight tournament victory when they swept Denial in the finals. It was their most convincing tournament win yet.
They didn’t lose a single map until the upper bracket finals on championship Sunday against FaZe Red, when the only team that’s won a tournament other than OpTic since the release of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare took the first map of the series. But OpTic quickly recovered, winning six maps in a row to close out the event.
At MLG Columbus, the first major live Advanced Warfare event, OpTic won 62 percent of their maps, or 23 of 37 games. At UMG Orlando, where they won their first title, they bumped that number to 67 percent. The recent MLG Season 1 Playoffs saw OpTic take a whopping 12 of 15 games for an 80 percent win rate. But this weekend, they won a whopping 95 percent of their games, 18 of 19 maps played.
That’s a more dominant tournament victory than even the legendary Complexity’s run at last year’s Call of Duty Championship, where they took 24 of 28 maps, an 85.7 percent win rate.
Of course, OpTic’s win means nothing without the accompanying victory at the Championship. That Complexity team was the most dominant in Call of Duty history, but their one loss came at the regional tournament just before that. If that happened at the Championship, history would tell a much different tale.
Right now OpTic looks nearly untouchable, but their match against FaZe Red exposed their potential for a loss.
FaZe Red, the team featuring controversial 19-time tourney winner Patrick “ACHES” Price and fiery talents Chris “Parasite” Duarte and Austin “SlasheR” Liddicoat, took the opening map of the series, Hardpoint Solar, by a 192-180 score. Then they nearly took a 2-0 lead in the series on Search and Destroy Recovery, taking OpTic to the decisive eleventh round before Ian “Crimsix” Porter pulled off an impressive three-piece to barely save his team.
OpTic would go on to win CTF Bio Lab by a 3-2 score before controlling the uplink game to secure the match.
It was a dominating performance, with OpTic getting clutch plays from their ridiculously skilled lineup when they needed them most. But what if the other team makes the clutch plays, like at MLG Columbus, when FaZe beat them?
It’s possible a team like FaZe Red or Denial, who may have been swept in the final but also took OpTic to an 11-game search and destroy game and only just lost the Hardpoint map, could off them. But it sure seems unlikely with the way they’re playing right now.
OpTic Gaming, FaZe Red, Denial, and the other 11 teams that qualified for the big Call of Duty Championship will reconvene for the big bash on March 27 in Los Angeles, where they’ll clash with top teams around the globe to determine a world champion.