The Call of Duty World League (CWL) Pro League has finally begun. The top 16 teams in the world will battle each other for the next five months. The 16 teams are divided into two divisions of eight teams; this week starts off with Division A’s matches. At the end of the CWL Pro League season, the top 10 teams will make it to the playoff finals sometime in July.
Division A has already been viewed as the stacked division. Current reigning champions OpTic Gaming come in at the first seed. However, their first matches are starting off with a substitute after their star player, Brandon “Dashy” Otell, had travel issues. Just as well, all eyes are on Midnight Esports, the breakout team after going flawless in the Pro League Qualifier. Regardless, this division is filled with talent with the likes of Luminosity Gaming, Evil Geniuses, and Gen.G (formerly Team Space).
The first match of the entire season would start off with a sibling rivalry. Former teammates and twin brothers, Matthew “Skrapz” Marshall and Bradley “wuskin” Marshall, faced off against each other. The two have been going back and forth on Twitter before the week, adding into the anticipation.
Red Reserve came out swinging in the first game, Hardpoint, off the back of Skrapz. He would come out with fire, doubling up on streaks and showing that he can be one of the best players in the division. Despite that, Reciprocity did their best to come back throughout the series, bringing the last two games a lot closer. Unfortunately, Red Reserve looks to be back in form, and they closed out the series.
Another anticipated but awkward match, a lot of people saw if Midnight Esports was the real deal. Likewise, many eyes were on OpTic Gaming as well. Their substitute, Tommy “ZooMaa” Paparatto (on loan from FaZe Clan), is definitely a strong player, but he may not be the replacement that OpTic needs. ZooMaa looked to prove himself a top player that should be on a Pro League team, while OpTic looked to hold off until the return of their prodigal son.
This disorganization in roles and team synergy showed in OpTic’s gameplay. They would be forced to play for kills and 1v1s against the purple storm. Unfortunately, Midnight Esports’ teamwork would show, always forcing OpTic into tough situations. After a close Hardpoint game, Midnight rode the momentum. League rookie Carson “Brack” Newberry would go off in the Search and Destroy and the team outslayed OpTic in the Control. Midnight swept OpTic in an unbelievable fashion.
Series scoreline: 3 – 0 Midnight Esports
MVP of the series: Carson “Brack” Newberry
Coming off of an explosive start, Red Reserve played a strong Hardpoint game with Joe “Joee” Pinnington uncharacteristically slaying out. Despite careful play from Red Reserve throughout the series, GEN.G just seemed to always edge them out off of miracle plays from Michael “MajorManiak” Szymaniak. The control also demonstrated GEN.G’s creative play, opening with both a thermal Paladin and a recon scope ICR.
Red Reserve is a team that mostly relies on good coordination and rotations with a little of star hero plays sprinkled in. Unfortunately, in this series, we did not see that come out of them. Instead, the aggressive frontline of Colt “Havok” McLendon and MajorManiak would always give GEN.G the advantage. This marks the third time Red Reserve has lost to GEN.G in a 3 – 1 fashion. Red Reserve needs to come up with a specialized gameplay plan for GEN.G, as currently, the matchup does not favor them.
Series scoreline: 3 – 1 GEN.G
MVP of the series: Michael “MajorManiak” Szymaniak
Evil Geniuses came into the Pro League looking like one of the stronger teams of the bunch. With well-balanced roles, a powerful frontline, and a strategic coach, EG is by no means an easy opponent. They would show this coordination in the Hardpoint, having perfect holds that did not allow Midnight Esports to break in easily. On the flipside, however, Evil Geniuses was not once able to break a Midnight setup. While EG had a strong early lead, Brack earning streaks would launch Midnight into a comeback.
This narrative continued onto the Search and Destroy, with Midnight having some issues breaking Evil Geniuses setups. However, they rode the momentum to take the match. Off solid and consistent plays off Eric “JetLi” Phan, Midnight was always put into great situations. The final game was a blowout with Midnight at peak momentum and EG losing complete composure.
Series scoreline: 3 – 0 Midnight Esports
MVP of the series: Eric “JetLi” Phan
Looking to bounce back from their thrashing yesterday, OpTic Gaming’s team play looked a lot better. By no means was their gameplay the structured play we saw at CWL Vegas, but it was good enough. The series would go the distance, with the first two games in favor of OpTic. A recurring theme is that while OpTic would take a strong start, UYU would always come back to bring it down to the wire. A combination of pacing and lackluster performance from Seth “Scump” Abner allowed UYU to take the Control and come back on the second Hardpoint. Mehran “Mayhem” Anjomshoa had a strong fourth game, going off to keep the series alive.
The final Search and Destroy saw the return of the OpTic Gaming that fans knew and love. A quick 6 – 0 in the Green Wall’s favor, the rounds were clinical. Ian “Crimsix” Porter also almost went flawless, were it not for an unfortunate Annihilator shot. It appears now that ZooMaa is starting to get into the groove of the things, and OpTic is feeling much better from its initial wakeup match.
Series scoreline: 3 – 2 OpTic Gaming
MVP of the series: Mehran “Mayhem” Anjomshoa
A lot of hopes were held for the Luminosity Gaming roster. A superstar-stacked roster, as well as a fourth place at CWL Vegas, meant this team showed promise. Unfortunately, LG came out flat, showing a multitude of flaws. LG seems to be uncoordinated, players were solo-challenging gunfights, and the specialist usage was awful. This resulted in constant team kills and trades not being made. While Luminosity would take the game leads off their firepower, their disorganization eventually led to Reciprocity coming back.
In reality, this series was largely put on the shoulders of Matthew “FormaL” Piper. The AR slayer would go off multiple times, whether it be slaying or good specialist usage. Unfortunately, this was not enough as Reciprocity would best them, with wuskin looking like a new player. His Annihilator usage may be the best in the league so far, always making impact plays with the specialist weapon.
Series scoreline: 3 – 2 Reciprocity
MVP of the series: Matthew “FormaL” Piper
The CWL Pro League has just started its first week, and already matches are highly competitive. We will see if teams adjust accordingly, but so far, there have been standout plays and botched misplays. Keep updated for part two of the CWL Pro League week one recap here on Daily Esports.
Competitive Call of Duty player and Rainbow Six Siege fanatic that sometimes writes about his opinion about video games. Based in Toronto but raised in Asia. When I’m not traveling to events, I’m probably streaming, editing, or doing too much at once.