The Call of Duty competitive season is in full swing and with a ton of cash up for grabs the stakes have never been higher. With well over a million dollars being committed to the upcoming LAN League, securing a spot in the competition is what every team is working towards. Sure there may be the chance of winning tens of thousands of dollars at events right now, but getting into the league almost guarantees a massive pay day.
As the league portion of the CWL draws closer the chances to stack up those all important pro points decrease, and ESWC 2017 in Paris this weekend is the penultimate international event before teams are locked in for stage one. All of the top teams from both sides of the Atlantic are in attendance and one final good result for them could almost secure a spot in the LAN League.
So to get you up to speed on the teams to watch this weekend in Paris we have compiled a quick look at the big names.
You’d be forgiven for not really knowing who these guys are if you aren’t a regular watcher of NA CoD action, but after MLG Atlanta you sure as hell cannot ignore them. eUnited took first place at MLG last weekend, beating OpTic in the final and also knocking off current world champions Team EnVyUs.
They sit atop of the NA pro points standings as a result and probably won’t fall too far from that position any time soon. They do, however, have the tough task of coming through the open bracket at ESWC, but they should overcome that and probably make it out of pools as well. Expect them to do well providing they don’t mess up in the open bracket.
Splyce is probably the best team in Europe right now. The team is made up of two players who took second at champs last year and two players who won the EU Pro League last year. They have done pretty well so far, taking 2nd at Gfinity, top eight in Atlanta and claiming first in a few of the online 2K’s to secure a comfortable lead at the top of the EU pro points ladder.
They sit in group C and it feels like they should make it out alongside FaZe Clan, with the match between the two being one of the more interesting of the weekend.
The Green Wall is an ever present fixture when it comes to Call of Duty and they have finally found a bit of form. They had a pretty good lower bracket run last week in Atlanta, ultimately losing in the final to eUnited. They have proven that they are again a contender for Champs this year and have a history of doing well at ESWC, so we expect them to make top four at least.
OpTic is one team that you won’t want to miss playing, as even if the in game action is a little mundane the crowd response will be the best of the weekend.
Orbit features the other two players who made it to second at CoD Champs last year and they sit just behind Splyce in the EU pro points standings. However they certainly had their number at Gfinity, where they beat Splyce twice to win the whole event. On LAN Orbit have looked pretty solid and narrowly missed out on top eight in Atlanta thanks to a tough group. Things haven’t exactly got better for ESWC, as they have both OpTic and Team 3G in their group, but they have every chance of making it through.
FaZe have had a weird year so far, never really doing as well as they should but still hanging around the top end of most events. A win overall at ESWC would be a massive surprise, but it’s still a possibility, especially when you consider that they have one of the easier groups on paper. It’s a difficult one to call, and with some bad luck in terms of who comes through the open bracket FaZe could easily have an early exit.
Infused remains one of the better EU teams and while Orbit and Splyce are fighting against each other, Infused seems to slip a little under the radar. With the advantage of no massive transatlantic flights they have a solid chance and will probably upset a big name or two. Getting out of their group should be the minimum for Infused, and a favourable draw for the knockout stage could see them hit the top 4.
The current world champions had a slow start to the year, taking a little more time off than most. But now they are back and have rocketed up the pro points ladder with some strong performances both online and at LAN. They came third in Atlanta, but have been inconsistent online. Sometimes they win the whole thing and then other times they crash out early. Obviously ESWC is a little more important than online events but raises questions about their ability to get it done in the open bracket, where they will have a tough run.
In terms of entertainment value outside of the game Elevate are up there with the best. Any interview with Reedy from across the weekend will certainly be worth checking out, as he certainly doesn’t hold back with his thoughts. In game however Elevate could be in for a tough weekend.
Matched with Cloud9 and Fnatic in their group it certainly won’t be a walk in the park, and if they come up against one of the big NA teams it could be a step too far. That being said they did destroy Cloud9 3-0 in Atlanta, so that rematch is going to be a highlight you certainly won’t want to miss.