Back in April, Cameron ‘Cammy’ McKilligan, a professional Call of Duty player from Scotland, was reprimanded by his organisation, Toronto Ultra, for writing the word ‘c**t’ in a tweet.
To the surprise of British folks the world over, what to many Scotsmen and women is standard vernacular was taken to mean something far worse than was likely intended.
“We’re building an inclusive culture,” Toronto Ultra said in a statement. “Our players and staff have the responsibility to meet those standards and live out the values of our organisation.” Cammy, the Scot, had to undergo ‘sensitivity training’ for using the word c**t. Maybe it’s the org that should undergo de-sensitivity training — spend a week in Glasgow, or most anywhere else in Britain, and you’ll soon find that the word is common, often unoffensive, and quite unremarkable. Mark the incident a culture clash, then.
Cammy: A CDL superstar
On the server, however, in a league filled wall to wall with talent, it’s been less contentious for Cammy. He has been among the cream of the crop, particularly in respawn game modes. He has the highest damage per 10 minutes in Hardpoint in the CDL; the third-highest kills per 10 minutes in Control; and the fourth-highest kills per 10 minutes in Hardpoint, according to Breaking Point.
Cammy is part of an all-EU starting four. Benjamin Bance (surname also server name) is from the UK, as is starlet rookie Jamie ‘Insight’ Craven, and Tobias ‘CleanX’ Jonsson is Danish. This is the best season an EU team has had in years. Toronto won the Stage 2 Major, placed second in the recent Stage 5 Major, and finished third in the Stage 3 and 4 Majors.
Did moving to an all-EU roster in March help the team perform better? It did, but not necessarily because of player nationalities. “I wouldn’t say it’s anything to do with having an all-EU roster,” Cammy told Esports News UK. “It’s more so that Jamie [Insight] fit in perfectly for what the other three players needed.” Insight did fit in, and how: going into Champs, the English rookie has the fourth-highest kill/death ratio in the CDL.
This star-studded Toronto Ultra roster will have a live audience to feed off this weekend, just as in Texas for the Stage 5 Major. But IRL fans don’t affect Cammy’s game much. “No, [a live crowd] doesn’t impact my performance. For our team we’ve performed consistently across both LAN with fans and online, but you do get a bit more excited when you make a big play.”
What are Toronto’s ambitions heading into Champs this weekend? Not winning the event will disappoint any team with such talent, but Cammy is proud of his team no matter what happens. “I think we’ve had a pretty good season. It’d be disappointing if we didn’t win for sure, but I’m proud of how we’ve played throughout the season.” Naturally, any team that’s won one Major and made the podium of three others has its eyes on first place.
Toronto Ultra: Call of Duty World Champions? It has a ring to it.
Call of Duty’s best, in Cammy’s experience
Looking ahead to Champs, I asked Cammy: who is the best player you’ve ever played with?
“I think Tobi [CleanX] is the most talented player that I’ve ever played with.”
And the best player he’s played against? “Simp on Black Ops 4,” Cammy said bluntly. Shocker.
And the best EU player ever in his opinion? His teammate Bance, with Mark ‘MarkyB’ Bryceland, Toronto’s head coach, a close second. The debate of best EU player ever is a compelling one because it’s so close. Bance, Tommey, MarkyB, Dylan and Rated are just a few contenders. Whatever your pick, players need to be given an opportunity before they can shine. Case in point: Insight.
CoD path to pro: Where orgs are going wrong
An oversight that’s perhaps common across all sports also affects pro CoD, in Cammy’s opinion. Oftentimes clubs will opt for players with hard-to-value traits like ‘experience’ or ‘know-how’ over younger players still wet behind the ears. Right now in the Premier League, Brentford — a club with innovative, fresh ideas and almost no top-flight experience — have just begun their first Premier League season ever with a win over Arsenal.
When asked whether his team’s lack of PL experience worries him, Brentford’s young, enigmatic manager said before their match against Arsenal: “No, not at all. You can also see our transfer policy — not looking for experienced players, or former players of the Premier League. I think if they are skilful enough, they can play … I don’t think [experience] matters too much.”
Cammy feels a similar way about pro Call of Duty. When asked about the current path to pro in CoD, he said, in addition to needing “proper servers” that enable pro teams to practice against amateur rosters, there is a need for organisations to trust unproven players. “Teams should be putting more emphasis on scouting talent and not just sticking with the established pros,” he said. Toronto Ultra is a great example of this approach: promoting rookie Insight to the starting line-up in place of veteran player Methodz has paid dividends, skyrocketing them to the top of the CDL.
And what of the current batch of players competing in Challengers? Cammy has a few prospects fans should watch closely. “I think players like Nastie, Gismo, Mohak, Pred and Spart are very talented and will make some moves next season,” he told Esports News UK.
The more opportunity young players get, the more they will shine. Right now though, all roads lead to Champs 2021 — commencing today. Toronto Ultra is second favourite to become Call of Duty world champion according to Sky Bet, behind only Atlanta FaZe.
Champs kicks off today at 8pm BST. How many fans have their money on Cammy and Toronto Ultra?