After some of the best games ever to grace a Call of Duty competitive stage, Team Kaliber has been crowned CWL New Orleans champions. Moreover, we know now the 16 teams that will battle it during Stage 1 of the CWL Pro League starting January 23.
The biggest story is, of course, how Team Kaliber has now won two straight Open events after winning CWL Dallas last month. Team Kaliber bucked the idea that their previous win was a fluke and proved that, unlike eUnited and Enigma6 last season, Team Kaliber is no flash-in-the-pan. However, the road to victory was a hard and brutal one with most of their series going to a Round 5.
But before that, some shocking upsets happened in the lower brackets. DooM, an unknown team that formed in the wake of Next Threat’s and Str8 Rippin’s demise, managed to steal a Stage 1 seed from Enigma6. While it isn’t surprising Enigma6 lost a seed after a whirlwind of drama devastated the organization, it is shocking that they lost it to an open bracket team. Evil Geniuses also narrowly secured their Stage 1 spot this tournament thanks to a strong lower bracket run, nudging out teams like compLexity Gaming and Enigma6.
Amongst the battle for American seeds was the battle for European seeds. Vitality locked up a spot after stealing a handful of maps off OpTic Gaming on Day 1. Both Red Reserve and Splyce struggled to make their towering presence felt going into Stage 1 as both teams were slow to start the weekend. But while Splyce and Red Reserve were knocked into the lower brackets by Day 3, only Red Reserve were able to make a strong run into the final day.
That final day was downright brutal. Nearly every series went to Round 5 as the teams plotted and hatched strategies against each other. Red Reserve played the part of spoiler and knocked out OpTic Gaming, FaZe Clan, and eUnited in what became a miraculous run. Their fourth-place finish alone was impressive enough, but that fact was bolstered by the fact that they knocked out some of NA’s top teams. But right behind them were Echo Fox and Rise Nation, two teams that have become infamous for lower bracket runs. Rise Nation’s recent team changes, picking up both Peirce “Gunless” Hillman and Anthony “Methodz” Zinni, turned out to be a massive boon for the team as the team stomped match after match.
Rise Nation ultimately defeated Evil Geniuses and Echo Fox, only to face off against the hot Red Reserve. The two would take the series to a nail-biting Round 5 Search & Destroy where Rise Nation ultimately found victory. But up in the winner’s bracket, Team Kaliber and Luminosity Gaming were slugging it out. Luminosity Gaming seemed to have a carefully planned strategy for every team. The only team to buck that trend was Team Kaliber, who sent the titanic Luminosity into the lower bracket.
After a grueling game against Rise Nation, Luminosity found their chance at a rematch against the invincible Team Kaliber in the grand finals.
While Luminosity Gaming were unable to defeat Team Kaliber in the grand finals, they did the next best thing: they made the invincible bleed. The two teams went toe-to-toe with Luminosity Gaming handing Team Kailber their first LAN loss of the 2018 season. The blow was significant but not fatal. Luminosity went the distance against Team Kaliber in the grand finals reset match only to choke the Round 5 Search & Destroy. Thanks to some unbelievable clutches from Team Kaliber, they walked away champions once more. They had become, in that instant, titans of Call of Duty.
Team Kaliber will now enter Stage 1 of the CWL as the number one seed and overwhelming favorites to continue piling on wins over the next few weeks.