The last four Pro League qualifying spots were filled during Day Five’s bracket play. Excelerate Gaming, Team Space, Overtime Esport, and Red Reserve qualified on the final day. It was a day of high hopes and heartbreak for many players, organizations, and fans at the venue. Upsets and the elimination of traditionally high-performing Call of Duty teams from the Pro League was unlike anything Call of Duty fans have witnessed before. Several qualified teams are new to the professional scene, although some of these new organizations roster players recognizable from CWL seasons past.
Perhaps one of the biggest shockers that highlighted the intensity of this final day was the elimination of FaZe Clan. A grueling Losers Bracket run ended with a heartbreaking defeat for FaZe Clan at the hands of French up-and-comers Overtime Esport. Game 5 Search and Destroy finished with a decisive victory for Overtime Esport, as FaZe Clan finally ran out of steam.
Another underdog team that made waves was Team Space. Maux was a human highlight reel for the squad, notably versus Mindfreak, where he pulled of a stunning 1v3 clutch play in a Game 5 Search and Destroy that secured Team Space’s spot in the Pro League and sealed Mindfreak’s elimination. Team Space have not yet signed with an organization, a risky move coming into the tournament because without a salary, their players did not have guaranteed income. Now that they’re in the Pro League, they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank; either an organization will pay the big bucks to sign them, or they’ll get a chance at earning prize money in the Pro League.
Speaking of highlights, Red Reserve certainly made their presence known on the final day. Skrapz had a Search and Destroy game where the casters declared he could “do no wrong”, highlighted by an 11-kill streak during Red Reserve’s match against Fact Revolution. Skrapz’ kill streak came to an end in the sixth round of the game, but Red Reserve soldiered on to claim victory against Fact Revolution. Later, in a nail-bitingly close match against G2 Esports, Rated found redemption from a previously scoreless Search and Destroy, where he got his first kill in a Game 5 Round 11 — a first blood of Chino from G2 Esports. This kill earned him his Annihilator weapon that he used to help Red Reserve clutch the win. Red Reserve eventually went on to defeat Team Sween to clinch their spot in the Pro League, highlighted by a triple kill Gravity Slam from Zer0.
Excelerate Gaming were yet another dark horse to qualify for the Pro League. This team should not be underestimated, however, as fan favorites ProFeeZy and Fa5tballa came up just short of competing in the Pro League during the Infinite Warfare and WWII seasons. ProFeeZy and Fa5tballa will join a record number of newcomers into the Pro League; 25 new players enter the league according to EUnited Clayster’s tweet. Excelerate proved they can compete, and win, against other professional teams, but the grueling gauntlet that is the Pro League will be the biggest test this team has faced. The same can be said for newcomers Midnight Esports, UYU, and Overtime Esport. These teams have talent, team chemistry, and the work ethic to succeed, but time will tell if they can match up to juggernauts like OpTic Gaming, eUnited, and Luminosity.
The Call of Duty Pro League begins on February 4th, as 16 teams will compete in daily competition. Stay updated on competitive CoD by following on us on Twitter.
Image via Dexerto