• George "GCG" Geddes

Post CWL Vegas, what’s next for European Call of Duty?

The aftershock of CWL Vegas seems to have concluded. OpTic Gaming solidified their place at the top after a year-long drought. However, the era of European Call of Duty that was foretold seems to have taken a small hiccup along the way.

European Call of Duty seems to have a stigma regarding its performance at the biggest events of the year. The issue seems to lie in the ending. The final push. For context, the last European team to win a Call of Duty event was Splyce, when they won the 2017 CWL Global Pro League. This seems to carry onto the fourth installment in the Black Ops franchise. Whereby, the titans of Call of Duty come close to the top, but always fall at the last hurdle.

But this isn't what happened. Arguably one of the European titans going into the event, Reciprocity were expected to place inside the top 6 at a minimum. They have a star-studded line-up consisting of: Australian talent in: Denholm "Denz" Taylor, veteran leadership in Thomas "Tommey" Trewren, and slaying potential in Zach "Zed" Denyer, Sean "Seany" O'Connorand and, Bradley "wuskin" Marshall.

Reciprocity placed Top-12. Speaking on the placement, Reciprocity’s Zed suggested it was down to a lack of practice:

“We knew going into the event we were under practiced [,] but I don’t think any of us realised actually how under practiced we were, so after the event we kept the moral high, and we are all ready to put the time in as a team.”

Although the placing is not what one expected, it seems like Reciprocity are making the suitable adjustments to their playstyle in order to improve. The most recent CMG ‘ProDown’ saw Reciprocity come second, only to the aforementioned OpTic Gaming. Reciprocity looked stellar, playing aggressive and using the new specialist ‘Zero’ to huge effect.

The second titan that fell in CWL Vegas was Red Reserve. Reciprocities twin brother with twin brother on the team. Speaking of, Skrapz had an unusual tournament for him. It didn’t seem like the same kind of lights-out play that took the scene by storm in the previous seasons.

Red Reserve also placed top 12. However, there wasn’t one player who went missing. One could argue that Joseph "Joee" Pinnington having a 0.92 K/D could have caused this deficit, but some of the community don't seem to realise that this is the role that Joee plays. He plays in order to allow his other teammates to shine, which could result in a poor K/D. Therefore, if it’s not individual performances, then it’s reasonable to suggest that the problem is similar to that of Reciprocity.

So, here’s one of the apparent issues for the titans of European Call of Duty; Practise.

To counter this, both Reciprocity and Red Reserve have moved to North America. Therefore, they can practise against some of the best teams in the game including the likes of OpTic Gaming & eUnited.

So, one can expect these two teams to make huge improvements going into the next CWL event.

If not Reciprocity or Red, then who?

To the surprise of many, Team Sween & Lightning Pandas placed the highest out of all European teams. Heavily considered to be the EU underdogs, it’s clear to see that they have a point to prove.

Team Sween placing top 6 at CWL Vegas was the joint highest in the EU region with Lightning Pandas. Although many looked past them both, the talent these rosters have is extremely high.

In particular, ‘Team Sween’s’ Nick "Nolson" Nolsonand and Dylan "Dylan" Henderson both performed extremely well. Nolson is considered to be a consistent slayer, but over the last year his talent has skyrocketed. Nolson finished the event with a stunning 1.26 K/D which was the 9th highest at CWL Vegas.

Dylan is a more recent professional who was a well-known amateur. This was the highest performance of his young professional career and achieving a stunning 1.15 K/D against the best in the world is nothing to scoff at.

Lightning Pandas are another team that are filled to the brim with talent and potential. A somewhat overlooked team, no one expected them to get as far as they did. However, Alex "Alexx" Carpenter, continuing his incredible form from WWII, achieved the second highest K/D at the tournament with a 1.3.

There is huge potential with these teams and this is exemplified by the fact that there is seemingly a hole to fill for European talent to shine through. Potentially at the deficit of Reciprocity and Red Reserve.

So, what now?

Next, we look to the CWL Pro League qualifier that Lightning Pandas and Team Sween are both going to be competing in for a chance to get into the coveted CWL Pro League.

As Zed suggested, practise will be improving for Reciprocity and Red Reserve considering their recent move to the United States. So, we can expect these teams to make improvements for the coming events.

It’s difficult to predict, there seems to be a complete reversal of the titans in Europe, but I expect this to change.

Lightning Pandas and Team Sween both being extremely talented line-ups does mean that they have the potential to go far in tournaments, but as for them winning events, that’s a completely different story.

It’s difficult to see Europe at this stage, but we can expect that the titans will make a return, but hopefully not at the expense of the underdogs.