Despite having a run of unimpressive results at recent majors and in the CWL Pro League, Splyce’s UK Call of Duty team waved the flag with pride at CWL Birmingham, finishing runners up of the tournament.
Jacob Hale reports from Insomnia62 at the Birmingham NEC.
The team, consisting of Thomas ‘Tommey’ Trewren, Jordan ‘Jurd’ Crowley, Dylan ‘Madcat’ Daly and Ben ‘Bance’ Bance, fought off teams such as OpTic Gaming, FaZe Clan and recent major winners Rise Nation in their tournament run, showing that UK teams are simply improving year-on-year and can compete with the best of the best.
Splyce started out the weekend incredibly well, recording a 4-0 win/loss record in Pool Play, beating each team in their pool and dropping only 3 maps in the process, one of those being to fellow Englishmen Red Reserve and the other two being to eventual champions Luminosity Gaming, despite being them in the series.
Following Pool Play, Splyce had a tough run in the bracket to reach the Grand Final. In Round One they faced FaZe Clan, their rivals in Division B of the Pro League who ended up placing top of the group, whilst Splyce narrowly missed out after a rough first week without Jurd.
The matchup was a tight one, with Splyce eventually winning 3-2, the map coming right down to the wire in a Game Five, Round 11 fashion. At this point, the team was showing a cohesiveness and communication that they have lacked in recent months, and seemed to be looking good for the rest of the weekend.
Championship bracket disappointments
After beating FaZe Clan, Splyce faced CWL Atlanta champions Rise Nation, hotly tipped as favourites to take this event too.
Unfortunately, Splyce looked weak here, with Rise showing their prowess and sweeping the UK team 3-0. This meant that Splyce would go in to Championship Sunday facing a Loser’s Bracket run, with only one chance to fight for survival. One more loss and they were out of the tournament.
To open this run, they came out strong against Reckless, the players formerly of eRa Eternity, beating them 3-0 and looking like the team they have been when on top of their game. Though the games weren’t won easily, the win seemed to catapult them to a new level of confidence and the fire was clear going into the Loser’s Bracket semi-final against North American powerhouse OpTic Gaming.
This match itself set off an electric atmosphere in the Insomnia crowd that is unlikely to be matched at a CWL event in the near future. OpTic Gaming, so used to being the undisputed fan favourite, finally found competition when setting foot on Splyce territory.
“Splyce would go into Championship Sunday facing a Loser’s Bracket run, with only one chance to fight for survival. One more loss and they were out of the tournament”
The series was incredibly back and forth; the two teams contested each map closely, with each of the four players showing up at the right time to take home their wins.
It was also here where Bance excelled past even his form from Friday and Saturday, displaying his excellency across each map. They won the first Hardpoint, but lost the first Search and Destroy with a 6-5 score line, having slowly pulled it back from being 5-5 down.
The two teams continued to trade maps until it came down, once again, to a Game Five Search and Destroy, reaching Round 11 once more.
As everyone should have expected, Bance won the game with a ludicrous 16/6 performance, knocking the esports’ favourite team out of the tournament and pushing his team in the Loser’s Bracket Final against a deflated Rise Nation.
— Call of Duty World League (@CODWorldLeague) April 1, 2018
This series was much easier for Splyce than the first meeting between the two; Splyce won 3-1, only losing the Search and Destroy map.
The series included one of the closest map wins in the tournament: a last-second Capture the Flag win to give Splyce the lead.
— Call of Duty World League (@CODWorldLeague) April 1, 2018
Splyce went on to win the next map and the series, preparing to take on Luminosity Gaming in the Grand Final. By this point, the crowd was in full swing, acting just how you would expect a large British crowd with one common interest to be. This time, the one common interest was clear: help Splyce win this major.
And didn’t they come close.
The fire dwindles
The boys won the first series 3-1 but, due to the double elimination format, had to win two best-of-5’s to take the win.
The crowd is booing LG when they have the hill and cheering when Splyce controls the hill. We need this at American events, I love the passion pic.twitter.com/cfm7O2dUrV
— 100T Muddawg (@Muddawg) April 1, 2018
Every time I talk about LG there is a “SHUT UP MAVEN” chant hahahah
This is incredible.
LG vs Splyce tied 1-1. https://t.co/orleuunRUe
— Clint Evans (@Maven) April 1, 2018
In the second best-of-5, Splyce didn’t quite play how they are capable though. The gas had clearly started to run out, hours of frantic Call of Duty action whittling them down and finally hitting them when they needed the energy the most.
Splyce ended up losing the series 3-1, despite Bance continuing to play out of his mind and his teammates filling the very small gaps he left around him.
Though heartbreaking, the energy of the event and the national pride of seeing our players take on the world’s best in such entertaining fashion was enough to satisfy every fan in the NEC and at home watching.
CWL Birmingham has already been named one of the best in Call of Duty esports history, despite issues faced throughout the event in regards to player’s equipment and violence towards org owners.
With any luck, we may start getting more UK Call of Duty events in the future.
The final standings
The final placements for the top 16 of the tournament were as follows:
- Luminosity Gaming
- Splyce (UK)
- Rise Nation
- OpTic Gaming
5-6th. Team EnVy
7-8th. Echo Fox
7-8th. Lightning Pandas
9-12th. Ghost Gaming
9-12th. Team Kaliber
9-12th. FaZe Clan
9-12th. Enigma6 Group
13-16th. UNILAD Esports (UK)
13-16th. Cyclone (UK)
13-16th. Red Reserve (UK)
Check out more CWL Birmingham articles and reports from Jacob Hale on Esports News UK over the coming days.
(Featured image courtesy of MLG)