It’s finally time. CWL Dallas starts this Friday and marks the first major LAN event for the return of boots-on-the-ground competitive Call of Duty. It is, more importantly, the first significant test for every team as they adjust to the new rule, structure, and gameplay changes that have occurred since Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. One of the most significant changes, outside of the removal of jetpacks and massive roster changes, is the inclusion of the Capture the Flag game mode for Game 4.
CWL Dallas will simultaneously start with open bracket teams and pool play matches, with the final four open bracket teams hoping into their respective pools. Only two of the five pool play teams will earn a spot in the upper tier of the championship bracket.
Group A consists of OpTic Gaming, Enigma6, UNILAD and Team EnVyUs. To no one’s surprise, OpTic Gaming is set to take first seed. The Green Wall has been on a rampage since winning the 2017 CWL Championships, tearing through every 2K tournament and scoring the most Pro Points in the league by a wide margin. No other team has as many victories under their belt as OpTic Gaming. Second place will be a toss-up between Team EnVyUs, UNILAD and Enigma6 . The new organization UNILAD consists of twins Matthew “skrapz” and Bradley “wuskin” Marshall, Sean “Seany” O’Connor and Thomas “Moose” Handley. Seany, skrapz and wuskin all played together last season on Fnatic, giving them a distinct veteran’s edge in this pool. However, Team EnVyUs and Enigma6 seem to offer a sharper, punchier playstyle than UNILAD. Enigma6, once again taking on scrappy newcomers, are hungry to make their LAN mark after online victories, while Team EnVyUs also enter the new year with a relatively young squad. All in all, Team EnVyUs is poised to take second after OpTic Gaming.
Group B contains Luminosity Gaming, Ground Zero, Team Vitality and Epsilon eSports. The two European teams, Team Vitality and Epsilon eSports, are distinctly outclassed by Ground Zero (Christopher “Parasite” Duarte’s team) and Luminosity Gaming. Luminosity Gaming will easily dominate this group. They are second only to OpTic Gaming in terms of Pro Points and victories. Ground Zero, on the other hand, has everything to prove. All four team members had a terrible 2017 season full of ups-and-downs. And with Parasite making the calls, for now, it’s unlikely things will go south for him. Both Team Vitality and Epsilon eSports don’t have the same accolades, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to steal a win or two. However, this also makes it the easiest pool for an open bracket team to take over. If a team like Echo Fox or Str8 Rippin slot in here, which has a high chance of happening, then expect an open bracket team to take second in this pool.
Group C holds Rise Nation, Red Reserve, Team Kaliber and Mindfreak. Team Kaliber, an organization more known for their streaming presence as opposed to competitive play in recent years, have made an incredible name for themselves in recent 2K tournaments, rewarding them the condescending moniker of “Online Warriors”. This is despite Team Kaliber having a great shot at grabbing a playoff seed. The favorites for first and second place here are, of course, Rise Nation and Red Reserve respectively. Red Reserve is stacked with Europe’s greatest players while Rise Nation has rebuilt itself to be better than ever. But it will take Team Kaliber only one win to knock Rise Nation and Red Reserve out if either team stumbles even once. Mindfreak will likely take fourth as the APAC region still seems outclassed by other regions.
Finally, Group D is eUnited, Evil Geniuses, Ghost Gaming and Splyce. This will be another very, very tight group. Splyce and eUnited are set to be the top of this pool if predictions are based solely off recent 2K results, but Ghost Gaming and Evil Geniuses absolutely cannot be counted out. Evil Geniuses consists of some the smartest players in the scene as well as three CWL Championship winners, while Ghost Gaming made a massive name for themselves last year thanks to their unparalleled preparation. Only that might not be enough to take eUnited, an aggressive team with strong slaying and teamwork, or Splyce, Europe’s best team. Seeding will likely come down to a single map win, which may mean an open bracket team has a chance to steal a seeding here if that team wins a series.
CWL Dallas starts on Friday, December 8 at 2:00 pm CST.