On the second day of the Call of Duty Championship, the final 16 teams were cut down to just three as double elimination bracket rules were put into effect. Meaning the fastest route to the top spot would be to keep winning, but should your team falter, you had a second chance to make it back to the finals should you rediscover your winning groove.
The matches for the second day were now set in a best of five format with Hardpoint, Search and Destroy, and Capture the Flag remaining the first three games. Should they be necessary, however, Hardpoint and Search and Destroy would return for games four and five, respectively, if needed. And once again, instead of giving you a perfect play-by-play, here are just the biggest things to take away from Day 2’s action.
As alluded to yesterday, I’ve watched enough sports over the years to know that everyone would be gunning for Fariko Impact. Not only had they won the previous two professional Call of Duty tournaments, as a team they were undefeated in the game. Not a single match had been dropped by this group of guys. Until now.
Although they faced stiff competition against Complexity, Epsilon, and OpTic Gaming in the winner’s bracket, Impact was able to sneak out some close, yet still impressive victories on the way to the Upper Bracket Championship Match. A victory there would ensure nothing worse than a second place finish. But fate would not be on their side as Envyus, who had not really impressed, but not yet faltered up to that point either, would follow their captain’s lead and constantly change strategies to keep Impact on their toes. And it worked.
The first Hardpoint match was the second closest of the event thus far, and both involved Envyus. Although Envyus beat Killerfish to win Group 4 on Day 1, they lost the Hardpoint game to Killerfish, 220-217. Utilizing a nearly identical strategy to what was used against them, Envyus pulled off a similar narrow victory with a 244-239 win that immediately got a buzz going around the Palladium Theater.
Impact would not have it, however, and would easily handle Envyus in the Search and Destroy match. Envyus would then earn another narrow victory in Capture the Flag to take a 2-1 lead. Impact would not make the same mistakes twice, though, and the second Hardpoint was close again, but this time favored Impact 229-192 and would tie the match at two games apiece.
And this is when things got really interesting. In this final Search and Destroy game, Envyus came out strong and jumped out to an early lead. Impact would catch up though and tie it at 4 rounds apiece. Both teams would trade rounds then to set up an epic tiebreaking round where Envyus’ genius would shine through.
For many of the Search and Destroy rounds Envyus had played the games tentatively, often splitting up to move through multiple map corridors. But in the final round, Envyus bum rushed Impact as a single cohesive unit. I’m not sure if it was planned or came to Rambo, the captain for Envyus, late in the match, but Impact, who had stuck with their tried and true method used in previous rounds, were scattered, trying to rely on their own individual skills whereas Envyus had become something greater than the sum of their parts and polished off Impact in near-record time in that final round.
The crowd then erupted for the mighty Impact had fallen. At least to the Lower Bracket anyway, due to the double elimination rules. But no longer was Impact invincible after we witnessed a match that may be one of the greatest in competitive Call of Duty history.
Whereas you could not escape the clean sweep on Day 1, Day 2 mostly had anything but. Aside for a few early sweeps against lesser teams like Pain Gaming, nearly every match went back and forth and we had several instances where, much like the Envyus vs Impact match, we saw a 2-2 game, 5-5 round tie. Everyone in attendance was on edge as we saw it happen time and again, including between Complexity and OpTic to decide who would finish in fourth place, and who would move onto the Lower Bracket Championship Match against Impact and have an outside chance still at the overall title.
We also saw a couple teams flirt with those matches once too often as Killerfish would advance in the Lower Bracket Championship and bring Quantic back down to Earth with a 6-5, 5th game win, but then see the clock strike midnight as they would then fall the very same way in their next match against vVv, missing the money matches by literally a single round of Search and Destroy.
Speaking of Killerfish, they were just one of the European teams to show up and provide a very good show, and give the typically more dominant American teams a run for their money. Inferno (Italy) and Epsilon (Ireland) would both wow me, and garner quite an underdog following, as they made runs into the money matches and put up strong fights against some of the more elite competition like OpTic. All of the European teams would eventually fall, but they were often in the most exciting matches and surely made their home countries proud. And for Inferno and Epsilon, well, I’m sure we’ll figure out the conversion rate for their winnings before sending them back across the pond.
With so many teams having fallen today, a lot of the money winners were decided before we even get to the major championships. Below is an official breakdown of the million dollars up for grabs and who has won what so far:
- 8th place: $25,000 – Inferno eSports
- 7th place: $35,000 – vVv Gaming
- 6th place: $50,000 – Epsilon
- 5th place: $70,000 – FEAR
- 4th place: $100,000 – Complexity
- 3rd place: $120,000 – ???
- 2nd place: $200,000 – ???
- 1st place: $400,000 – ???
So yesterday I made some prediction about the first eight matches we would see and went 6-2, including 1-1 in my upset picks. Not bad. Here’s a better breakdown of where I went right and where I went wrong:
- Complexitiy vs Killerfish – I saw the problems Killerfish gave Envyus on Day 1 and thought they could’ve done the same to Complexity. They did, but just like their match with Envyus, it was close but ended with a losing result. RESULT: WRONG
- Soar vs Quantic – Everyone saw that Quantic had taken advantage of a weakened Unite team to claim their group and Soar put them back in their place, with help from Killerfish who then knocked them out of the Lower Bracket. RESULT: RIGHT
- Fariko Impact vs Epsilon – Epsilon made a nice run in the Lower Bracket to get some cash, but they were never on Impact’s level. RESULT: RIGHT
- OpTic Gaming vs Pain Gaming – Another clear mismatch as OpTic crushed Pain before they were, unsurprisingly, expelled from the tournament altogether as the first team eliminated from the Lower Bracket. RESULT: RIGHT
- Donut Shop vs Enigma – Donut Shop came out on fire and crushed Enigma, but I think a lot of folks were secretly hoping both teams would’ve gone farther than they did, each coming up one round shy of the money matches. RESULT: RIGHT
- Envyus vs The Stand – I had no idea Envyus was as strong as they ended up being, but I knew enough to trust them against The Stand who barely even showed up on Day 2. RESULT: RIGHT
- Fariko All-Stars vs FEAR – I fell in love with the All-Stars after the fit they gave OpTic on Day 1 in a losing effort. I thought they’d be able to handle FEAR, but they succumbed as the first of FEAR’s victims, as FEAR was well on its way to a 5th place finish. RESULT: WRONG
- vVv Gaming vs Inferno eSports – A sign of things to come as both these teams would face off again to determine 7th/8th place with vVv winning both times, but I think many would agree vVv underperformed, while Inferno might’ve over performed, in this particular tournament overall. RESULT: RIGHT
So the stage is set for the final day. OpTic Gaming gets a rematch against Impact after Impact sent them down to the Lower Bracket to begin with, and the winner will take on Envyus for all the marbles. I still have a good feeling about the OpTic guys, even if they hit a rough patch yesterday against Impact, because after that loss they played ticked off and crushed everyone in their way. If they come with that fire from the get go, Impact ,and then Envyus, will have their hands full.
If you want to watch the results of these ensuing, epic battles, then watch the action live by heading over to http://www.twitch.tv/ or http://elite.callofduty.com/esports starting at 12 PM PT (3 PM ET).