After a stellar performance throughout this year’s $1.5 million prize pool tournament, OpTic Gaming can finally call themselves Call of Duty World League champions.
Now in its fourth year and featuring Infinite Warfare, the esports event featured 32 teams, each of which garnered spots through competing in various other tournaments over the last year. But by earlier today, there were only three still left in contention, including last year’s winners and all-star squad eager to prove it was the best in the world in OpTic Gaming.
But when the two finally met it looked like everything was over for OpTic after rivals Team EnVyUs convincingly dismantled them during the winners bracket finals. OpTic haven’t come close to winning the championship in the modern era of the game, and this year looked like it might be no different. But facing Luminosity in the losers bracket the wheels started turning again. The last game of the series went 11-2 the way of OpTic. They were newly invigorated and ready for a rematch.
EnVyUs, it now seems, was not. Far from a return to the form that got the previous year’s champions to the grand finals, EnVyUs entered the best-of-five series somewhat flat footed and a step behind. OpTic performed as expected in a beginning Hardpoint match, a mode whose rules they seem to have written, and took an early lead. While EnVyUs gained a foothold in game two with a 6-2 score in Search and Destroy, OpTic struck back to take the third and fourth matches and force a second series.
If there was a moment for EnVyUs to take their three minute pause and rally it was then, but the “Boys in Blue” didn’t, entering into the final leg of the grand finals with seemingly even less steam than when they’d entered. OpTic again benefited from an early match on Hardpoint, but EnVyUs didn’t managed to get a foothold even after that point.
By the seventh, and what would turn out to be the last, match, OpTic was showing everyone watching that they would not be denied a victory commensurate with their talent and experience again. In one especially sublime moment that spoke to just how good OpTic can be, Matthew “FormaL” Piper, who posted great numbers throughout the tournament and went on to be crowned the MVP, managed to collect the satellite drone out of mid-air after it had been launched by his teammate hail mary-style toward the Uplink objective ahead.
The team comfortably finished the last match with such a commanding lead they jumped out of their seats to celebrate and embrace one another with the match’s final seconds still ticking down. While some players on the team were collecting their second or third championship rings, most notably Damon “Karma” Barlow, who had previously won the tournament with both Fariko Impact and Complexity Gaming.
But OpTic itself hadn’t taken home a championship in the game’s modern era, despite looking promising at various points over the last several years. Last year was especially crushing after a crushing defeat in the 2016 championship left them to exit the tournament in seventh place. The organization’s only previous win was in 2011, when the series’ competitive championship was still held as part of Call of Duty XP and the game being played was Modern Warfare 3. Taking the title this year, and in such a lopsided victory, means that the team can end its current chapter as the champions they always believed themselves capable of becoming.