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CWL New Orleans Recap

16 Jan , 2018  

The second ever CoD WWII event was played in New Orleans this past weekend as the first official tournament of the 2018 calendar year and the second official stop on the Call of Duty World League Pro Tour. There was $200, 000 up for grabs this weekend along with serious bragging rights until the next major LAN event March 9-11th in Atlanta.
 

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Team Kaliber entered the tournament as champions and sought to defend their title meanwhile fan favorites OpTic Gaming looked to bounce back from a third place finish in Dallas. After emerging victorious at the final two Infinite Warfare events the Greenwall believed they would be able to regain their throne. Suffice to say only one of these teams would see the weekend play out the way they imagined.

Both Team Kaliber and OpTic began the tournament with perfect 4-0 records in their respective pools, but it was OpTic who looked stronger to kick things off only dropping a single map throughout all of pool play compared to Kaliber’s four.

Things turned out quite differently through the Championship Bracket for OpTic however as they lost their initial match against Echo Fox in a crushing 3-1. This sent them down to the lower bracket where they immediately had to face off against the on-fire European Red Reserve squad and were quickly handed another 3-1 defeat to eliminate them from the event.

The top 12 elimination for OpTic is their first placing outside the top 8 in over four years, the last time occurring at UMG Philadelphia the first weekend of 2014. While obviously a disappointment for fans of the Greenwall the organization hasn’t gone three consecutive events without emerging victorious since the latter half of 2014 providing some hope things will turn out differently next time.

It should be noted that OpTic wasn’t the only team with high expectations to fare poorly in New Orleans. The runners up from Dallas and traditionally best European team Splyce, were also sent home with a top 12 finish making it initially appear like a dismal weekend for European fans. Unlikely candidates Red Reserve stepped up to the plate however by defeating OpTic and making it all the way to the final four on an impressive lower bracket run.

For Dallas champions Team Kaliber the event continued to go exactly as planned. After dispatching Rise Nation 3-1 they were able to squeak past eUnited in a nail biting five game series to secure a spot in the Winner’s Bracket Finals. There they encountered Luminosity and defeated them 3-1 to earn a place in the final match of the weekend.

Luminosity encountered Rise Nation in the Lower Bracket Finals but were determined to have a chance at revenge on the Dallas champions. After an intense five game series their determination was rewarded and Luminosity was given a second chance at the current kings of WWII.

Fueled by the energy of the terrific series they had just played Luminosity entered the finals roaring and grabbed the initial win before Kaliber found their footing and tied things up in game two. The next few games went heavily in Luminosity’s favor and forced a reset of the bracket; the teams would have to play another best of five.

Evolution in strategy was apparent by both of these squads over the course of the finals as bans were adjusted to avoid game types that had been heavily one sided in their previous encounter. As a result fans were treated to a full final series of games that came down to the final moments.

With neither team being able to win more than a single match in a row it was ultimately Team Kaliber being able to strike first, and last, that got them the victory. Winning back-to-back events to kick off WWII’s competitive history definitely makes Team Kaliber the group to beat moving forward and despite the lack of attention given to them coming into the title, proves they are elite talents. 
 

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With New Orleans in the books players will have to compete online to get CWL points until March 9-11th when the CWL heads to Atlanta for the next major LAN competition. For full CWL standings, schedules and information on competing check out the official Call of Duty World League page.

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