OpTic Texas is the biggest brand in the Call of Duty League by a considerable margin, but after a couple of years of struggling to really meet expectations, they might face the tough task of choosing whether to stick or twist, heading into the Modern Warfare 2 season.
To get the obvious out of the way: the Vanguard season was definitely a very tough anomaly for OpTic. Apart from a first-place finish at Major I, results weren’t really there, and Indervir ‘iLLeY’ Dhaliwal’s injury left the team in limbo for a couple of months during a crucial leg of the season.
It’s hard to hold that against them, and it does raise the question of how far OpTic could have gone if iLLeY had been able to continue the season as normal, but 2022 followed a concerning trend for OpTic, one that has seen them start seasons strongly before tailing off. As the months go on, other teams learn the game quicker and eventually catch up to OpTic’s superior gunskill. From thereon, the ‘Green Wall’ is found lacking against its main rivals.
iLLeY was back for Champs, and Scump was in his fine Champs form, but it wasn’t enough to achieve anything more than fourth place, a far cry from where both players and fans expect the team to be.
With the dust now settling on the 2022 season, contracts are coming to an end, and players are entering free agency or seeing their deals extended.
According to popular leaker CDL Intel, four OpTic players are entering free agency, though this doesn’t strictly mean they’re off the team completely, just that a new contract hasn’t been signed.
Those players are iLLeY, Anthony ‘Shotzzy’ Cuevas-Castro, Jordan ‘General’ General, and Byron ‘Prolute’ Vera.
Is iLLeY replaceable?
General and Prolute have already said their goodbyes to OpTic, but the same hasn’t happened with Shotzzy or iLLeY. This suggests — as many expect — that they plan on staying with the team.
Shotzzy is one of the greatest SMG talents in Call of Duty right now, and someone with that elite-level ability is about as undroppable as it gets.
It’s hard to put iLLeY in the same category, despite how much he brings to the table. He’s not the kind of slay-heavy Flex, like McArthur ‘Cellium’ Jovel or a Daunte ‘Sib’ Gray, that other teams have found success with. Instead, what he brings is a thorough understanding of the game as a proficient shot-caller and IGL.
The issue is that his role is one that is dominated by extremely talented players. Not just those mentioned above, who seem set to stay with Atlanta FaZe and Seattle Surge respectively, but across the league, where more are becoming available as free agents.
For example, Dillon ‘Attach’ Price is now a veteran player that not only is capable of helping make the calls, but also registered the fourth-highest KD in the Vanguard season. That slaying is not something you can simply turn your nose up at, and with his ability to play either main or flex, he could perfectly complement Brandon ‘Dashy’ Otell as an AR duo.
Toronto Ultra’s Cameron ‘Cammy’ McKilligan is another free agent Flex who multiple teams will be interested in this off-season, having been a shining star in Toronto for the past couple of seasons.
It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that OpTic Texas assess their options in the coming weeks, despite assurances from owner Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez that the team “all wants to stay.”
What about Scump and Dashy?
The situation for Seth ‘Scump’ Abner and Dashy is much easier to settle. Scump is undroppable in every sense of the word and the face of Call of Duty esports. He also reportedly had his team option extended through 2023, despite rumors once again that he might be contemplating retirement.
Dashy was an MVP candidate and topped all kinds of leaderboards throughout the Vanguard season, and also apparently had his team option extended.
Will OpTic Texas make a change? It’s unlikely, especially given H3CZ’s reassurances that the roster wants to stay together, but it’s not completely impossible. They’re a high-upside team that might feel reassured by having a more dominant flex that can be for them what Cellium is to Atlanta FaZe.
So worry not, OpTic fans. Your favored quartet should still be hitting the stage together when the 2023 season starts — but it’s impossible to ignore the idea of a potential upgrade as the rostermania rumor rill runs rampant.