OpTic Gaming has, once again, emerged as the winners, this time of the Call of Duty Global Pro League Stage 2 Playoffs after a grueling and unexpected weekend. To say expectations were broken would be an understatement. Team EnVyUs would take second place in the championship, eUnited third, Luminosity fourth, and Fnatic fifth place while teams like Enigma6 and Splyce were the first to drop. The wild placements caught everyone off-guard which benefited Fnatic and OpTic Gaming. Not only that, but the OpTic Gaming vs. Team EnVyUs championship series was a mirror match from last year’s Stage 2 finals. To win Stage 2, OpTic Gaming had to make a run through the Loser’s Bracket and beat Team EnVyUs twice in a run, a feat they accomplished in a spectacular fashion.
Day 1 was the only day that went as planned for anybody, and even then it was by a narrow margin. Enigma6 and eUnited began the weekend with an explosive match. James “Clayster” Eubanks started the day hot, while Jordan “General” General struggled to catch up. Dramatically, Splyce would fall to Luminosity Gaming and into the Loser’s Bracket. Trei “Zer0” Morris still struggled to bring up his numbers from Group Stages, weakening Splyce significantly. Then to cap the day off, FaZe Clan and Team EnVyUs had a barn burner of a match. Team EnVyUs narrowly won out thanks to Austin “SlasheR” Liddicoat’s insane KD that carried his team through the series.
Thing got crazy on Day 2 with Splyce immediately dropping out of the tournament to FaZe Clan in the first match Saturday. Splyce, the champions of Stage 1, were suddenly the first to fall in Stage 2 Playoffs. However, Fnatic kept Europe’s hopes alive for a sweet moment. The European underdogs were able to beat Enigma6 3-1 thanks to the likes of Bradley “wuskin” Marshall. Reversals continued with eUnited stomping OpTic Gaming 3-0, sending “The Green Wall” into the Loser’s Bracket, while Luminosity Gaming suffered a stunning loss to Team EnVyUs. The 2016 World Champions looked stronger than ever. Then Europe’s run ended. Fnatic would be stomped by Luminosity Gaming 3-0, looking utterly outclassed. Despite that, Fnatic scored a much higher seeding than anyone could’ve guessed. With Team EnVyUs, OpTic Gaming, Luminosity Gaming and eUnited left, the tournament looked up for grabs.
The cream of the crop quickly separated Championship Sunday. OpTic Gaming steamrolled Luminosity Gaming, champions at CWL Anaheim, 3-0’ing the team thanks to Matthew “FormaL” Piper going beast in Search & Destroy. Not only was OpTic Gaming one step closer to championships, but they got revenge against Luminosity Gaming for Stage 1 Playoffs, where LG knocked out OpTic Gaming in the same exact seed. Team EnVyUs also stomped eUnited 3-0 due to a viciously slow start from eUnited. Dropping into the Loser’s Bracket, eUnited was set to have a hot match against OpTic Gaming. After an explosive series where every member of each team made some kind of play, eUnited fell into third play 3-2 against OpTic Gaming. The stage for the final match, OpTic Gaming against Team EnVyUs, was set.
The Championship series was one that demanded perfection from both sides as Team EnVyUs cruelly slowed the pace of the game down to a crawl. Both sides were constantly neck-and-neck, each map was nail-bitingly close with Hardpoints being won by seconds. But OpTic Gaming was able to win back-to-back series against Team EnVyUs due to some amazing clutches from FormaL. Small mistakes cost Team EnVyUs entire series, such as when “JKap” missed a game-winning one-point throw in the final seconds of Round 3 Uplink. At the end of the day, OpTic Gaming team leader Seth “Scump” Abner held the Stage 2 CWL trophy, FormaL proudly paraded his MVP trophy while signing autographs for fans, and Team EnVyUs’ Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov sat on stage, head cupped in his hands, utterly shocked.
EnVy will have a chance to rebound in two weeks at the Call of Duty World Championships, a five day event that will send off the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare season with a bang.