You wouldn’t be the first person confused by Bittersweet’s upward trajectory. Qualifying for Stage 2 of the CWL Global Pro League under the name Supreme Team, the team would eventually enter CWL Anaheim under the name Bittersweet. Despite veteran presence Michael “SpaceLy” Schmale tweeting on the first day of the tournament the roster would be looking for another organization at the conclusion of Anaheim, it was clear Bittersweet wasn’t just another org-hopping group thirsty for a bigger payday. They simply wanted an org they felt comfortable being with in the long-term. Above all else, they wanted to win.
Bittersweet’s accomplishments are even more impressive given the team formed just three weeks prior. The first players to join the team were SpaceLy, formerly of G2 Esports, and Chance “Maux” Moncivaez, by way of Gosu Crew. Just two days later, Devin “LlamaGod” Tran, coming off a short stint with Echo Fox, and Andres “Lacefield” Lacefield, joining after a controversial exit from Cloud9, jumped on, completing the roster. With all the players locked in, all that was left was jumping right into the grind and trying to develop some team cohesion.
While the roster was put together seemingly at the last minute, they benefitted from an intense practice regime. “We scrim two times a day, sometimes three, to make sure that everything is down pat for this event,” recalled Lacefield when asked about the team’s practice schedule. It was clear even before the team was close to playing on the main stage that they meant business.
Bittersweet’s time in Anaheim actually got started with the CWL Stage 2 Relegation Qualifier where the team got in some reps before hitting the main stage on Friday. Lacefield said that “the qualifier was the most important thing” during the weekend, and the sentiment certainly showed once the team hit the stage on Thursday. While the team opened with a close loss against Fnatic, they swept both eRa Gaming and Tainted Minds to punch their ticket to Stage 2 of the CWL.
With the qualifiers out of the way, it was time for Bittersweet to get down to business in Pool C of CWL Anaheim. With CWL stalwarts Evils Geniuses and FaZe Clan in their group, Bittersweet certainly had their work cut out for them. Playing with veteran poise, SpaceLy and crew were unfazed by the the vaunted teams it had to face.
Opening their play at CWL Anaheim against Evil Geniuses, Bittersweet made a statement early on in the form of a scorching 3-0 sweep over the North American squad. They didn’t stop there, though. Bittersweet kept rolling right along with three more wins during the rest of the pool play. They took down the vaunted FaZe Clan 3-1, swept Elevate, and then came up with a narrow 3-2 victory over the open bracket team, eRa Gaming, in their final series of the pool play. Bittersweet matched OpTic step for step as the only two teams to come out the group stage with a clean 4-0 record.
With the pool play out of the way, it was time to get to business in the Championship Bracket. Unbeknownst to anyone outside the team, though, there was an air of uncertainty surrounding Bittersweet on Saturday. It became evident after a first round upper bracket sweep at the hands Splyce. “Even with winning [3-2 win over eRa], I saw it. We weren’t ourselves,” said SpaceLy. That certainly looked like the case, as the team’s play style switched up notably from the previous days.
Even with a night to recover and reflect on the loss, Bittersweet struggled again on Championship Sunday. Facing Red Red Reserve in the lower bracket, they were once again easily handled, this time in 3-1 fashion.
While SpaceLy was admittedly frustrated with the tough exit to the weekend, he managed to find a silver lining in the midst of the storm. “With every negative there’s a positive. The positive here is that we let it be [Anaheim] where we let this happen rather than Stage 2 and Champs. We’re going to grind through it,” proclaimed SpaceLy in the wake of the disappointing weekend.
Despite the less than stellar ending to the weekend, the outlook for this squad is extremely positive. Not only do they have a strong core of players, but the owner of Bittersweet, Alex Gonzalez, is doing his best to find a great home for the players. This is certainly a squad that will only grow with more time and practice, making them a dark horse contender once Stage 2 kicks off in a couple weeks.