FaZe Clan's James "Replays" Crowder has been subject to criticizm from pockets of competitive Call of Duty fans, but his performance vs OpTic will have reminded everyone why he is a World Champion.
Some have suggested that Replays isn't in the same bracket as other top AR players, and in some senses they are correct - he doesn't put up the huge kill numbers like Rise Nation's SlasheR or OpTic's Octane.
But Replays is a very different AR player to these two, and so comparing them on K/D ratio and slaying power alone is a wasted conversation. What Replays brings to a team is much more nuanced, but just as important.
Up against OpTic in winners round one of the Stage Two playoffs, Replays was the factor for FaZe - it is hard to see them winning this series without his performance, as he made the big plays in games three and five to give them the win.
Just as it looked like Tommy "ZooMaa" Paparratto had missed his chance to secure the Capture the Flag, and given OpTic the tying score in doing so, it was Replays who stepped up in the crucial moment.
Shutting down both OpTic players as they attempted to pull away with the flag, Replays' composure shone through, despite the pressure he won the gunfight against both Octane and Crimsix
And despite taking a hammering in the game four hardpoint, Replays kept himself and his teammates composed for the game five Search and Destroy.
His 1v2 clutch was likely the play of the series, as he completely outwitted Octane, rounding him to take Methodz off the defuse with only milliseconds to spare.
Once again OpTic fought back, forcing a round 11, but once again Replays remained unwavering, making the smart play and dropping an artillery directly on top of Methodz, giving OpTic no chance in the round.
He later explained on the desk after the match, that it wasn't something practiced, but just in the moment he saw the opportunity, and despite the pressure of a game five round 11, Replays didn't put a foot wrong.
FaZe will take on Team Kaliber in winners round two, for a spot in the winners final, and if Replay can perform at this level again, many will tip FaZe to take it.
Of course, it is a team effort, and will require all four of the players to be at their best to knock down a formidable tK roster.
OpTic dropped to the losers bracket immediately, and will face UNILAD to begin what they hope will be a long losers bracket run.
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