By Liam Phoenixx (@PhoenixxLB)

team-usa

This weekend in Paris we see the annual ESWC Call of Duty event, often the highlight of the year for players and spectators who get to experience the drama of a major French event. Once again we see three powerhouses travel over from North America.

A collection of the top teams from Europe will fight the Goliath’s, some hand-picked and others who battled through online qualifiers. So who are these teams from across the pond and what can the Europeans expect from them? Who can provoke the most noise in one of the loudest arenas in Call of Duty eSports?

OpTic Gaming

optic gaming 2

usa Formal canada Karma usa Crimsix usa Scump

Much like European champions Millenium, OpTic are enduring a rough start to Stage 2 of the CoD World League. A number of online issues has resulted in a dip in their form, losing to H2k in the NA Pro Division.

As said in the latest episode of their documentary series, Vision, discussions with CWL referees are ongoing to get a replay of the match. As for now, OpTic sit at 2-2, with wins over EnVy and eLevate (with Aches as a fill-in versus eLevate) – and suffering losses to Rise and H2k.

To me, this is the first tournament in a long time that OpTic are going into as not the clear favourites to win. Although scrims have been encouraging for the Green Wall faithful, I think the Rise defeat in the league solidifies them favourite going into this tournament.

It would be silly to write off OpTic however, they have proven, time and time again, that they are one of the best teams in Call of Duty – and can bounce back almost instantly. For me, the player to watch for OpTic is almost certainly Formal. After a week of connection issues forcing a quick temporary move to the OpTic House, it will be very interesting to see how he can rebound and perform in the arena he shone at last year.

Rise Nation

rise nation 1

usa Classic usa Octane usa Loony usa Slacked

Rise have shown really great form at the beginning of the Stage 2 in the North American CoD World League, sticking to the top of the scoreboard with FaZe on a 3-1 record – with a streak of wins versus TSM, C9 and OpTic before falling to Luminosity 3-2 in last week’s matches.

Even with that loss, I class Rise Nation as the favourites to take this tournament. They have bounced back extremely well from their Stage 1 Finals loss to OpTic, and have looked strong online and at LAN. If we see another OpTic vs Rise matchup, expect to be just as close as last time.

The only fear I have for Rise in their apparent lack of practice – according to Twitter, Octane went MIA for a few days in order to spend time with his girlfriend, which appeared to slightly annoy his teammates. Even without the practice for a couple of days, you expect this squad in the final.

FaZe Clan

faze gfin

usa Enable usa Zooma usa Clayster usa Attach

FaZe are currently sitting at the top of the Stage 2 standings with a 3-1 record. Despite the big names that memorably challenged OpTic in their year of dominance during AW, they have been relatively quiet this year.

Stage 2 FaZe is another form of FaZe entirely, and they look to be regaining their strong form of previous. However, with proven opponents of Rise and OpTic present at this event, and untested waters of European teams to play, if any of these North American teams are to fall to European’s, it’ll be FaZe.

My two players to watch will be Clayster and Enable. These are both players who can turn up in 2 different personas. FaZe’s performance will, in my opinion, balance on whether we get dominant AR Clay, or whether we get off-the-side-of-the-map Clayster. And as funny as that is, I don’t think he’d chuckle too much.


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