This past weekend, London’s Gfinity Arena hosted the European portion of the Last Chance Qualifier for CoD Champs, the most prestigious annual Call of Duty event. Jacob Hale reports on the results.
At the Last Chance Qualifier event, 16 of the highest ranked European teams not already in the league fought in a double-elimination bracket, with the top six qualifying for August’s Championships event.
Of the six teams that qualified, two were made up entirely of UK players and two more featured at least two Brits on their team. They will be joining the already-qualified teams in Florida in August, including our very own Fnatic, Splyce, Elevate, Red Reserve and Epsilon.
As well as gaining an all-expenses paid trip to Florida for the event, the following teams all won $3,000 each.
Millenium are a team many did not expect to be in this position earlier in the year. For the first few months of the Infinite Warfare season, Millenium were a top European team that many would have included in their top three. Despite this, they have slowly fallen off throughout the year, failing to adapt to the play styles of the other elite teams.
This caused the team’s swift decline out of the Global Pro League and into the Last Chance Qualifier.
Prior to the event, Millenium dropped one of their lead slayers in Nolson, and replaced him with the fast-moving sub player in Qwiker. The move was met with some skepticism, with some arguing that other players deserved to have been replaced. Nonetheless the move proved to be a strong one as Millenium saw off their opponents dZ Reserve and eRa Eternity with relative ease, something they may not have done under the old roster.
Team Infused very quickly picked up the eRa roster of CWL Birmingham, consisting of Niall, Alexx, Zerg and former Millenium player Nolson. The team looked promising ahead of the event, with Nolson and Niall both having experience in the Global Pro League against the best teams and players in the globe.
Although yet to prove themselves against top competition, with some practice this team may be able to turn some heads.
The players of Team Vitality have all struggled at the upper end of the amateur scene throughout this year. With veteran Shane as captain, though, the team was always set to qualify for Champs; doing so is his specialty.
— Alexander Mikalsen (@Alex_Mikalsen) July 2, 2017
Nevertheless, they did not have an easy route to it; frequently Vitality, also featuring UK players Braaain and Weeman alongside Frenchman Wailers, found themselves being toppled by less-accomplished opposition.
It was not until this weekend that Vitality really found themselves against tougher opposition and came out looking stronger.
After beating Eraiize Gaming in the first round, Vitality lost to the mixed-European team MRN, knocking them into the Loser’s Bracket to face an intimidating eRa side. Vitality came out with passion and fire, though, and saw off eRa in a 3-0 victory, granting their qualification.
Opulent Esports were the last EU team to qualify for Champs, and feature two UK players in dReeall and Carbines. Both players have been floating amongst the upper echelon of players for a couple of years now, unable to break in to the professional positions that they all seek to achieve.
Regardless, the two fired their team to victory in an explosive final match-up against Aerox Esports, with the match coming down to a Game 5 Round 11.
The Call of Duty Championships this year feature a $1.5 million prize pool to fight for, with the event MVP getting an added $25,000 on top of that.
We can only hope to see the fast-improving UK talent fight for a spot at the top of the pack, especially with teams like Stage 1 Champions Splyce and up-and-comers Epsilon only starting to prove their worth in the run-up to the big one.
(Featured image credit: Joe Brady and Gfinity)