With the opening day of the second major Call of Duty event of the 2018 season complete, there are a number of stand out storylines from the opening matches of CWL New Orleans.
The usual suspects in Team Kaliber, OpTic Gaming and eUnited all did as expected, finishing their pools 3-0, but other squads had a less than successful opening day, and will need to bounce back if they are to take the victory and their share of the $200,000 prize pool.
Team Envy still not living up to expectations
Envy roster dropping their 2016 world championship roster was one of the most controversial decisions of the off season prior to the release of Call of Duty: WWII. The decision to recruit returning pros Donovan "Temp" Laroda, after age restrictions had kept him sidelined in previous years, and Cuyler "Huke" Garland, coming back to CoD from Halo, was a risk that Envy clearly thought would pay off.
However, after a disappointing top 8 at CWL Dallas, and a slow start in New Orleans, where they were swept by OpTic Gaming and a crushing upset at the hands of Vitality, the roster still clearly is not up to their own, or fans, expectations.
European teams struggle in pool play
Despite Splyce's second place finish at CWL Dallas, they, and many of the other Europeans in pool play fail to sit in the top 2 of their respective pools after day one matches.
Splyce themselves threw away a series against eUnited, losing 3-2, and were also comfortably beaten by Echo Fox. Their 3-1 victory of Complexity only leaves them in the third spot, with both Echo Fox and eUnited beating them in map count and of course head to head.
Equally, Red Reserve and Epsilon only managed single series victories, and find themselves languishing outside of the top 2 in their pools. UNILAD failed to win either of their first two series, but did take down Australia's Mindfreak in a five map series, the match they would have expected to win coming in to the weekend.
One glimmer of hope is French side Team Vitality, who despite also only having a single series win, it came against Team Envy, in a similar scalp as they managed against Luminosity back in Dallas pool play. Whether they can fight to secure a top 2 spot tomorrow remains to be seen.
eUnited make a mockery of the supposed 'Pool of Death'
Placed into pool D alongside Splyce, Echo Fox and Complexity, eUnited challenge to top their group looked tougher than some, with many calling the pool the indisputable group of death.
Yet victories against all three opponents, including an incredible reverse sweep vs Complexity, in which they won the final SnD map 6-5 after being down 2-5, secured their top spot. The side also cemented their place in stage 1 of the Pro League, without even playing a single elimination match.
Team Kaliber continue to impress
Any early doubts over Team Kaliber's early success in Call of Duty: WWII as online dependent were wiped away as they swept the competition at CWL Dallas to take 1st place.
Regardless, their remains a recurring theme of teams who win the opening event of a new season failing to manage success later in the year.
However, Team Kaliber showed no signs of slowing down at New Orleans, as they top their group with a 3-0 record following a particularly impressive win over both FaZe Clan, and more routine matches against UNILAD and Mindfreak.
OpTic look back to their best
Any slight concerns that their defeat and 3rd place finish at CWL Dallas was perhaps the start of the end for the ever dominant OpTic Gaming roster are so far abolished with their impressive opening day in New Orleans.
A straightforward win over Epsilon was a sign of things to come, as the battled off a spirited French resistance from Team Vitality, and swept Team Envy in their final match, demolishing them in Search and Destroy, and making a 100 point comeback in the first hardpoint.
Dropping only a single map, the Green Wall looks like they will have plenty to cheer and chant about over the weekend.
Follow our coverage from the event via our dedicated hub with links to the stream, schedule, brackets, rosters, groups and more!