The very first iteration of a professional league for Call of Duty came during Ghosts, with Major League Gaming’s Call of Duty League. Naturally, that meant that the early seasons were dominated by the reigning monarchs of the day, compLexity (later Evil Geniuses).
Towards the end of the game’s life-cycle, however, Evil Geniuses had fallen apart, Damon ‘Karma’ Barlow had left the team and, notoriously inconsistent online anyway, the squad now featuring Kenneth ‘Dedo’ Dedo hadn’t qualified for the play-offs of the MLG CoD League Season 3.
This in itself meant a less clear-cut tournament than much of the year had been, but in fact, the results were some of the more surprising in Call of Duty history across the board.
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OpTic Gaming (Nadeshot, Clayster, Scump, ProoFy) had been the team to deal the first major blow to EG, taking them down at the MLG X Games. Denial (ZooMaa, Replays, Saints, Studyy) had won UMG Dallas before coming second at UMG Nashville just two weeks before the Season 3 play-offs. Nashville had seen FaZe Clan (Censor, Apathy, Parasite, Karma) emerge as champions, powered by the acquisition of Karma.
It is particularly remarkable, then, that at an eight-team event not one of these squads finished within the top three. It’s not as if they weren’t motivated – the MLG CoD League Season 3 boasted a $75,000 prize pool, three times as much as the recent UMG event.
Instead, however, it was a pair of underdog teams that stole the show. Noble Esports (Sender, Chino, Miyagi, SlasheR) powered through the winner bracket, while Most Wanted (Classic, Slacked, Huhdle, SpaceLy) eliminated all three aforementioned elite teams in succession from the lower bracket. This pair ultimately met in the loser bracket final, where it would be Noble emerging victorious from a five-game series.
There is, of course, one team that have been so far ignored, the favorites that did perform and ultimately won the tournament – Team EnVyUs (MerK, Nameless, JKap, FormaL). This would be the event at which they established themselves as leaders of that pack of potential top squads.
It also has additional significance, however, because this is the last time that this team would truly compete. Come their actual last competition together, ESWC, roster drama mid-event meant that the team were no longer on the same page.
To this day, this particular EnVyUs squad remain one of the biggest what-ifs in Call of Duty history. The coming together of this roster launched them to the top, but ultimately their reign would be short-lived, their demise brought about by attempts to create the god-squad that would ultimately find itself under OpTic Gaming.
What their impact on the game might have been with more time together we will never know. There was never a chance to find out exactly how they would have stacked up against the other all-time great squads, or how the Advanced Warfare landscape might have looked had they stuck together.
On that note, we leave you with the VoD of their victory, the moment of ascension for a team that fell too soon, to ponder on what might have been.
MLG CoD League Season 3 Play-offs final placements:
- 1st – Team EnVyUs (MerK, Nameless, JKap, FormaL)
- 2nd – Noble Esports (Sender, Chino, Miyagi, SlasheR)
- 3rd – Most Wanted (Classic, Slacked, Huhdle, SpaceLy)
- 4th – OpTic Gaming (Nadeshot, Clayster, Scump, ProoFy)
- 5th/6th – OpTic Nation (MBoZe, KiLLa, MiRx, Ricky)
- 5th/6th – Denial Esports (ZooMaa, Replays, Saints, Studyy)
- 7th/8th – FaZe Clan (Censor, Apathy, Parasite, Karma)
- 7th/8th – Rise Nation (Pacman, Whea7s, Loony, Attach)