The second major Call of Duty event of the World War Two season has concluded. CWL New Orleans saw over two hundred professional and amateur teams battle it out for a share of $200,000 and several thousand Pro Points. Team Kaliber managed to defeat Luminosity Gaming in a thrilling Grand Finals, taking home $80,000 in prize money.
A Mixed Bag For Europe
Before the event, weapon tuning to several Assault Rifles drastically influenced the top European sides in the early matches. European powerhouses, Splyce and Red Reserve, were slow to adapt to the LAN meta which saw the two sides finish third in their respective pools and forced them into the loser’s bracket. Splyce pulled off an incredible reverse sweep over the Lightning Pandas to set up a clash with Rise Nation, but the North American side led by Danny “Loony” Loza were able to sweep them aside to send the CWL Dallas runners-up home with a surprising top twelve placement.
On the other hand, Red Reserve performed an incredible run in the loser’s bracket to finish fourth. The European side took down fan favourites OpTic Gaming three games to one, swept aside both FaZe Clan and eUnited and came within miliseconds of defeating Rise Nation.
Over in the open bracket, the likes of excel, Team Infused and Millennium all made the trip stateside as they looked to secure a place in the opening stage of the Global Pro League. Millennium managed to make it into the championship bracket but fell short against Enigma6 to finish in the top thirty-two.
North America back on top
The grand final saw an intense battle between defending champions Team Kailber and Luminosity Gaming. Luminosity managed to take the opening series three maps to one to reset the bracket, thanks to stellar performances from Johnathon “John” Perez and two-time world champion, Jordan “JKap” Kaplan. Team Kaliber kick off the second series with a 250-249 win on London Docks Hardpoint to grab the early advantage. Luminosity would answer back on Ardennes Forest S&D, clutching a two versus four to level the series.
After losing Ardennes Forest CTF, Jordan “JKap” Kaplan put on another incredible display of slaying to secure game four 250-147 to take the series to a final map. An incredible 1v3 clutch from Lamar “Accuracy” Abedi gave Team Kaliber the early lead. Efficient trading from the defending champions enabled them to take the final map 6-3 to be crowned CWL New Orleans champions.
Since the introduction of the Call of Duty World League, the European region has significantly closed the gap on the North American opposition. With many people expecting Splyce to finish in the top three and failing to do so, the likes of Team Kaliber and Luminsoity have consolidated their position at the very top of the international Call of Duty scene. The passive nature of their top AR players combined with the sheer aggression of their SMG talent is certainly a scary prospect for any of the top teams.
OpTic Gaming looked back to their best after comfortably topping their pool with a flawless record. However, a shock loss to Echo Fox in their first winner’s bracket match, sent them into the loser’s bracket to take on Red Reserve where they would lose to finish in the top twelve along with Splyce. A huge shock for what is arguably the best Call of Duty team on paper.
The open bracket saw GGEA Blue and Orange book two of the places in pool play while Patrick “Aches” Price led his Evil Geniuses team to another. Perhaps the surprise from the open bracket was the Lightning Pandas taking the fourth and final place.
The roster of Jevon “Goonjar” Gooljar-Lim, Matthew “Royalty” Faithful, Nicholas “Proto” Maldonado and John “Xotic” Bruno had the chance to finish second in their pool but a 3-0 loss to Australian team Mindfreak meant that they would be in the loser’s bracket. The Canadian team took down EzG, Team Vitality and were reverse swept by Splyce in a game five round eleven decider.
Evil Geniuses had to defeat a newly formed Doom roster if they were to qualify for the Pro League and they did just that after a frantic ending to the second Hardpoint in the series. The victory meant that Enigma6 missed out on the opening stage of the league by just 105 Pro Points.
As the Call of Duty circus moves to the opening stage of the Global Pro League, there are so many questions that should be answered. Can Team Kaliber keep up their incredible start to the season? Will Splyce bounce back after a disappointing tournament? Can the likes of Doom and Evil Geniuses spring a surprise on the elite level teams? We will have to wait and see. Stage One of the Global Pro League begins on January 23rd where the worlds best Call of Duty teams will compete for a share of $500,000 and attempt to book their place at the world championships in August.