The Call of Duty World League, Presented by PlayStation 4 Finals of Stage 1 Pro Division concluded this weekend with the best Pro Division teams in North America earning their share of the more than $3 million prize pool for 2016.
In addition to the cash payout, OpTic Gaming moved closer to securing a qualifying spot at the 2016 Call of Duty Championship, Presented by PlayStation 4 this fall.
Eager fans in attendance at ESL Studios in Burbank, online via livestream, and tuning-in directly through an in-game (Black Ops III PS4) Live Event Viewer, witnessed the thrilling conclusion to months of rigorous competition of Stage 1, as the first step toward the year's grand competition and piece of the overall $3 million in the year-long prize pool of the CWL.
The top eight North American teams battled over the weekend. After falling behind OpTic Gaming 3-0, Rise Nation fought back to force a winner take all game 7, and thousands of Call of Duty fans saw OpTic Gaming emerge victorious as they were crowned Stage 1 champions in the first major tournament on the road to the highly-anticipated Call of Duty Championship this fall.
Meanwhile, established players and aspiring amateurs alike competed as top teams from the CWL Challenge Division earned a chance at a spot in the Pro Division for Stage 2. As part of the Relegation tournament, the top four Challenge Division teams, Cloud 9, Team Liquid, Cloud 9 Eclipse and King Papey, faced off against the bottom four Pro Division teams. Dream Team and H2K Gaming held onto their Pro Division spots while Cloud 9 and King Papey won their matches and will participate in the CWL North American Pro Division Stage 2 and a chance to qualify for the Call of Duty Championship.
The North American Stage 1 Finals followed the Australia/New Zealand and European regional finals last week. All 30 CWL Pro Division teams competed in multiple week regional seasons prior to each set of finals. Mindfreak (ANZ) and Millenium (EU) took home the top spot in their regions and their share of CWL prize pools respectively.
The ANZ region featured a few different key match ups as perennial favorite Mindfreak beat Team Immunity and Tainted Minds on their way to being the CWL ANZ Pro Division Stage 1 Champions. New team, Incept, beat Exile.5 in Relegation for a spot in Stage 2 as Nv, Chiefs eSports Club, and Apotheon eSports all beat their challengers to remain in the Pro Division for Stage 2.
The EU region had multiple top teams vying for the Stage 1 prize pool. Millenium and Splyce met in the finals with Millenium winning the series handily 4 maps to 1. The road to the finals for each team was very different with Splyce fighting off top ranked Team Infused and exceL eSports in back to back 4-3 series wins to make the finals. Millenium, who had earned the number two seed in the tournament because of their success during the 18 match season, only had to beat Epsilon eSports in a 4-1 series to reach the finals, thanks to a first round bye. Similar to the ANZ region, one team was replaced in Relegation. French team, PuLse Gaming was beaten by UK team Exertus 4 maps to 1. Vitality, Team LDLC, and Giants Gaming all beat their opponents to continue in Stage 2 of the CWL Pro Division.
Here are the final rankings for each CWL Stage 1 Pro Division region:
1st OpTic Gaming
Seth "Scump" Abner2nd Rise Nation
Ian "Crimsix" Porter
Matthew "Formal" Piper
Damon "Karma" Barlow
3rd - 4th Faze Clan/Team Elevate
5th - 8th compLexity Gaming/Luminosity Gaming/Team EnVyUs/Team SoloMid
Callum "Swanny" Swan2nd Splyce
Jordan "Jurd" Crowley
Thomas "Tommey" Trewen
Dylan "MadCat" Daly
3rd - 4th Epsilon eSports/Team Infused
5th - 6th exceL eSports/TCM Gaming
Mitchell "Buzzo" Mader2nd Tainted Minds
Denholm "Denz" Taylor
Lincoln "Fighta" Ferguson
Conrad "Shockz" Rymarek
3rd - 4th Orbit/Team Immunity