The fifth week of play in the CWL Pro League has concluded, with Division A and B teams squaring off for the first time. The next cross-division week takes place on Monday, April 1 at the MLG Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Even though there were some solid teams featured this past week, no one foresaw almost every team performing well. Three teams went 3-1, two went 2-2, and the remaining teams went 1-3. However, with the exception of UYU, every team put up a terrific fight in every match. If you want some great in-depth looks at each day of this week’s Pro League, check out our recaps.
So, with all of these great matches, what did we learn from the first week of cross-division play?
Whatever is in the water at Team Heretics’ apartment in Columbus must be working. Time and time again, whether it’s cross-division or not, Heretics always seem to play extremely well in the MLG Arena. They dominated the Pro League Qualifier and their first two weeks of Division B. Now, after a rocky start against UYU, they beat one of the top teams in the CWL.
Defeating Red Reserve, Evil Geniuses, and Fort Worth champions Luminosity, Heretics showed they weren’t a one-hit wonder. While they did manage to secure a 7th-8th place finish at Fort Worth, it was entirely from the losers bracket. Some wondered if they just had a lucky streak at the Pro League and fizzled out when they got to a real LAN event.
Though that stigma of not performing at events could be true, Heretics proved they can hang with the best. Their win over Luminosity helped to solidify this, but they will need better performances at events to be considered a top squad. Currently, they sit atop the Division B standings at 8-3 with eUnited right behind them.
The controversial decision to drop two-time World Champ Jordan “Jkap” Kaplan seems to be paying off. EUnited made a risky move to replace him with an unproven prodigy in Chris “Simp” Lehr, but they’re happy they did. Simp was a monster the entire week, holding almost a 1.60 KD in Search and Destroy. He was named to the MLG Team of the Week at his first ever event as a professional.
While Simp made a real difference in his first week, the rest of the eUnited roster stepped up as well. Maybe it was the recent drama with Jkap that brought them closer together, but whatever it is needs to continue. They were a bit shaky in respawns and S&D, though some of that can be attributed to little practice time with Simp. For the most part, however, eUnited looked great all the way around.
If this was only their first week playing with Simp, what does the future hold? Jkap by no means held this team back personally, but he did in terms of roles. Preston “Prestinni” Sanderson is now able to run a Maddox with Simp playing a Saug. This opens up the map for Prestinni and it showed in their matches. Only suffering a loss to Luminosity, each member of the eUnited roster had his moment in Week 5. If this was any indication of their future performances, later events could see the finals feature eUnited more times than once.
Picking up Dillon “Attach” Price was a genius move by EG (pun intended). Even though he’s had some iffy maps at Fort Worth and the Pro League, he’s a terrific player. Not to mention he has tons of experience competing and winning at a high level. He is on loan from FaZe, but EG needs to build around Attach for Black Ops 4.
This week it seemed like EG was one or two plays from potentially going 3-1. They lost 3-2 twice against Team Heretics and eUnited and just made some rookie mistakes to lose maps. As a whole, they can’t seem to make that next leap as a team. It’s apparent that this current roster doesn’t have what it takes to make a deep run in any future event. With a whopping two wins in the Pro League, a roster change is needed.
Attach, Matthew “Royalty” Faithfull, and John “Xotic” Bruno are the players most likely to stay in place should a roster change occur. Tyler “FeLo” Johnson is the member that is probably going to be dropped. FeLo is not having the best year in Black Ops 4, going negative consistently in both respawns and S&D. EG has hung on hoping to see the return of past FeLo, but that day doesn’t seem to be coming. There are a plethora of premier free agents, including Attach’s FaZe teammate Tommy “ZooMaa” Paparatto.
No matter which free agents are on the market, there’s no question EG needs to make a switch. They currently sit dead last in Division A at 2-9, but a fresh face or two could make a world of difference.
If there was one thing we learned from this week, it’s that no team is a shoo-in to win. Every team in Week 5 won at least one game and held its own in matches. Aside from maybe UYU, even though they 3-0’ed Heretics, there is no team that looks completely outclassed.
In previous years, this was not the case. In the Pro League last year, Epsilon Esports and Team Vitality won three games combined at Stage 1. This year, teams are consistently winning maps and have a shot to win. For example, Excelerate Gaming is 3-8, but they’ve won 19 maps overall, meaning they play close matches but can’t finish the job.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that some teams aren’t better than others. The difference between OpTic Gaming and Evil Geniuses (as of right now) talent-wise is vast. However, if OpTic and EG were to play at a LAN event, it’s safe to assume the match wouldn’t be a cakewalk for the Greenwall.
This is great to see for the Call of Duty scene. No one enjoys watching one or two teams completely obliterate the competition event after event. It’s exciting to see different teams come out and upset the top dogs from time to time. This was on full display at Fort Worth and should remain the norm for the remainder of Black Ops 4.
What did you think of the fifth week of the Pro League? Let us know in the comments below. Make sure to stay tuned to Daily Esports for all of your Call of Duty coverage.
Joey Carr is a University of North Georgia Journalism graduate. He has 5+ years of experience covering esports and traditional sporting events, including Dreamhack Atlanta, Call of Duty Championships 2017, and Super Bowl 53.