H3CZ reveals why OpTic Chicago has no interest in building CDL Academy team

Brad Norton
H3CZ on CoD Challengers

Will we ever see an OpTic Chicago roster in the Call of Duty Challengers scene? Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodrigues has outlined what it’ll take for the Green Wall to build an Academy team.

With the Call of Duty League now back in full force for its second season, so too is the amateur scene. Challengers competition has been thriving across North America and Europe but most of the top contenders are playing without an organization.

While certain CDL franchises dipped their toes into the amateur circuit last year, only a few remain in 2021. LAG Academy has seen mixed results through early Challengers Cups though Subliners Academy already has multiple first-place finishes. But what about the rest? 

Despite a bigger push this time around, with official streams on the CDL channel pulling thousands of viewers each day, the biggest brands in Call of Duty are without Academy teams. Here’s why H3CZ isn’t interested in signing a new roster to OpTic just yet.

New York Subliners player on stage
New York Subliners is one of the few teams currently operating an Academy team.

WestR has become a dominant force in the NA Challengers scene of late. They won the first four events in a row and currently top the standings in the first Challengers Elite season. Naturally, an OpTic fan envisioned the WestR lineup competing for the Green Wall.

However, H3CZ explained why it’s simply not on his radar for the time being. “I don’t know if it would work for us,” he said during a February 18 episode of the OpTic Podcast.

In order for the most popular brand in Call of Duty to join the amateur scene, H3CZ wants to see a little more from the system first. “I would have an Academy team if Challengers was a little better and there was more exposure.”

“I would, it just needs to be displayed more. There needs to be something that’s actually rewarding for the org to make that sort of commitment.”

Whether it’s a bigger prize pool, increased viewership, a more consistent pathway to CDL teams, or anything in between, H3CZ didn’t elaborate. That’s not to say he’s completely against the idea of an OpTic Academy team down the line, however.

The Green Wall recently brought back the GOAT, Damon ‘Karma’ Barlow as a content creator. He competed in a handful of Challengers events before this announcement, so building a roster around the three-time champion could be the best way to bring eyes over.

The relevant topic begins at the 15:00 mark below.

One thing is for certain though: if H3CZ ever gets involved, “it wouldn’t be an OpTic Gaming or an OpTic Chicago team.” Instead, he would be bringing back the secondary OpTic Nation brand that hasn’t been utilized since 2015.

If you’re yet to tune into this year’s Challengers action, you can get caught up on the current Elite season with our dedicated hub.

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About The Author

Brad Norton is the Australian Managing Editor at Dexerto. He graduated from Swinburne University with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and has been working full-time in the field for the past six years at the likes of Gamurs Group and now Dexerto. He loves all things single-player gaming (with Uncharted a personal favorite) but has a history on the competitive side having previously run Oceanic esports org Mindfreak. You can contact Brad at brad.norton@dexerto.com