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Article:Pre-Champs Power Rankings
|Pre-Champs: Power Rankings|
CWL Championship 2018: Pre-Tournament Power RankingsTeam Kaliber looking to ride their Stage 2 victory to glory at the big one. Defending champions OpTic Gaming plan to defend their title, but there are many strong contenders for the game's biggest prize. Censor has claimed this year's trophy has Doug's name on it, but only time will tell how his CompLexity squad faces up against the toughest competition we've ever seen. How likely is your team to win?
1. Rise Nation Stage 2: 2nd // Anaheim: 1st
Rise have been the team to beat for the majority of this year, and that doesn't change with Champs around the corner. Although they lost to Team Kaliber this time around, they won both CWL Seattle and Anaheim. Rise have been the most reliable team over all three game modes for the last few months, and with Gunless and SlasheR on top form they remain top dogs. Despite a lacklustre end to the regular season, this squad always impresses at major events. SlasheR has made the grand finals at the last two World Championships, winning in Black Ops 3, a run expected to continue.
2. Team Kaliber Stage 2: 1st // Anaheim: T12
Team Kaliber shocked many by taking home the Stage 2 title, a result which firmly moves them into the upper echelon of teams. An 8-5 map count against Rise over the weekend is no mean feat, with impressively comfortable victories over UNILAD and FaZe Clan. However, I feel the stars aligned for this tournament victory, and a T12 placing at Anaheim makes me question whether this is replicable. Fero had the event of his life, by the far the MVP of Playoffs, with Accuracy and Kenny also on top form. Enable was characteristically poor in SnD but it rarely costed them. In the longer format of Champs, TK will require greater SnD consistency to take them the distance.
3. Red Reserve Stage 2: 3rd // Anaheim: 2nd
Red Reserve enter the World Championship as Europe's most realistic hope. Rated's men have been ever-so-close to glory this year, but Rise Nation always seem to have their number. Rise have been the only team to beat Red at the last two events, and now hold a 9-2 head-to-head record for this year. Despite great placings they're yet to fully prove this squad have what it takes to bring a big one home. Joee and Rated made the World Championship final in Black Ops 3, and hope to go one better. If there was any time to finally defeat Rise, this is it: the UK's best will be licking their lips at a chance for redemption.
4. eUnited Stage 2: 4th // Anaheim: T12
EUnited are on the up as of late, turning a disappointing Anaheim into a Top 4 finish at Stage 2. A fantastic 6-1 final half of the regular season showed their form is only improving towards Champs. They bettered Echo Fox and UNILAD at Playoffs, only losing to top dogs Rise and Red. The foursome's fearsome respawn remained impressive, as eUnited hope to continue their crescendo. Clayster is now the last remaining member of the old FaZe (ZooMaa, Attach and Enable) that has yet to win a title since the split. The stage is set; the perfect time for Clay to prove he's still got what it takes to win big.
5. UNILAD Esports Stage 2: T6 // Anaheim: 4th
UNILAD have been immense since the trading of Skrapz to Red Reserve. The new darlings of the UK scene can't stop punching above the weight of their reputation. Few thought Zed would improve the squad, but Alexx's superb aggression, Seany's consistency and a revitalized Wuskin has worked wonders for placements. UNILAD fell slightly from Top 4 at Aneheim to Top 6 at Stage 2, only losing to eventual champions Team Kaliber and a strong eUnited. They can be counted on to beat the teams below them at the big events, once again dispatching of OpTic Gaming in comfortable fashion. UNILAD's phenomenal SnD teamplay gives them an outside shot of glory.
6. FaZe Clan Stage 2: T6 // Anaheim: T6
FaZe Clan have bounced back from a poor start to Stage 2, now consistently placing Top 6. They defeated Team Kaliber and eUnited at CWL Anaheim, and bettered OpTic at Playoffs once again. Their firepower is not quite sufficient to be truly top-tier, but excellent Search and Destroy gives them a chance in any series. Crowder and Attach won the World Championship on the last Sledgehammer game in 2015, so the their pedigree can not be doubted. Despite recent improvements, FaZe will surely need inspired respawn gameplay if they are to go all the way; SnD can only get you so far.
7. Luminosity Gaming Stage 2: T10 // Anaheim: 3rd
Luminosity are a questionable pick for 7th, considering they failed to make Stage 2 Playoffs. However, Rise's great performance and OpTic's disappointment showed league matches to be taken with a hefty grain of salt. Let's not forget that LG stormed through the Anaheim Open to Top 3, only losing to Rise and Red Reserve along the way. Taking into account their victory over OpTic at the same event, and JKap's heritage at the World Championship, their chances are better than their Stage 2 performances suggests. On paper they are a top contender; with more time to prepare with FormaL, and John looking like the best SMG in the game, LG are not to be undersold.
8. OpTic Gaming Stage 2: T8 // Anaheim: T6
OpTic Gaming have a torrid year all things considered. Breakup of the dynasty, poor average placements, choking Stage 1 Playoffs to FaZe, failing to win a chip so far etc. (sorry OpTic fans). However, Scump and Crimsix are reigning world champions for a reason, and all will be forgiven if they can help pull this one out the bag. The addition of Methodz and Octane looked initially promising, but poor Search and Destroy has plagued their chances at the big events. Despite an impressive regular season, losses to Luminosity, FaZe Clan and twice to UNILAD at recent majors make it difficult to give OpTic Gaming more than an outside chance of glory.
9. Echo Fox Stage 2: T8 // Anaheim: T12
Echo Fox showed great promise approaching Stage 2 Playoffs, but they ended up Top 8 after a tough bracket draw. In addition to tragic bracket play at Anaheim where they failed to win a map, Echo Fox find themselves on the fringe of the Top 10. Their Search and Destroy game has been exceptional, but Faccento's men have surprisingly struggled to get things going in Hardpoint. Aqua, Saints and Temp should make for a formidable slaying trio but this has rarely been on display. Faccento and Aqua have averaged 3rd place over the last three World Championships however, so a deep run would not be overly surprising.
10. compLexity Gaming Stage 2: T12 // Anaheim: T16
11. Evil Geniuses Stage 2: T10 // Anaheim: T16
12. Splyce Stage 2: T14 // Anaheim: T12
13. Team Envy Stage 2: T12 // Anaheim: T16
14. Mindfreak Stage 2: T14 // Anaheim: T8
I'm putting the above 5 teams all into roughly the same category, as they seem almost impossible to separate. None of these line-ups made Playoffs, so it's difficult to gauge their strength outside of regular season matches and CWL Anaheim. I've wrestled these teams into an order, but the placings of these squads will largely be determined by practice and preparation hidden from the viewers' eyes.
CompLexity just about have the edge with their impressive Pro League performances. They were crushed by both Splyce and EnvyUs at Anaheim, but 3-0 sweeps of LG and Rise in the Pro League make for good reading. Their potential to upset the very best outclasses that of the other four teams here. And hey, Doug is winning Champs. Evil Geniuses have fallen off dramatically since the start of Stage 2 and stumbled badly at Anaheim. They have shown great form at times though; ACHES at Champs (especially in OpTic's group) cannot be understimated.
Splyce have been disappointing as a European fan, failing to show much promise in recent months. I can't help but look to the heights these players have reached earlier this year and think they have a chance. Jurd has been phenomenal all season, but Bance will be called upon to perform if Splyce are to make something happen. Team Envy slot in just behind, as Splyce have beaten them in their last three bouts. Huke the Nuke will require a much stronger supporting cast if they are to go far. Mindfreak are probably hard-done by at #14, considering they've defeated CompLexity, Luminosity, Splyce, Evil Geniuses and Echo Fox across Stage 2 and Anaheim. Although, if I had to choose one team out of these five that is least likely to win Champs, Mindfreak takes the cake.
15. Tainted Minds Stage 2: T16 // Anaheim: T8
Tainted Minds were the unfortunate punching bags of Division B. Despite only winning one series (against OpTic of all teams), they showed promise at CWL Anaheim with a Top 8 finish. Swiftaz0r and crew took down Team Envy and Echo Fox in the losers' bracket without dropping a single map. Teams will no doubt continue to underestimate the Antipodeans, which gives them a chance. Their Search and Destroy has been relatively strong, a trend that will have to continue. However, they are restricted to practising against relatively weak teams from their homeland, which does not prepare them well.
16. Ghost Gaming Stage 2: N/A // Anaheim: T16
Ghost Gaming are my favourite of the LCQ teams to make some noise. Lacefield and Parasite especially are big-name players that have had success at previous World Championships. They defeated Tainted Minds at Anaheim after advancing through the Open Bracket, and took down fellow LCQ squad Enigma6 later on. Ghost Gaming are hungry to prove that they deserved a spot in the Stage 2 Pro League, but will have to better at least one of Red Reserve and Mindfreak to reach the Championship bracket. These players have been waiting for an opportunity to prove themselves from an even starting-point all year; the opportunity beckons.
The 2018 Call of Duty World Championship kicks off on August 15th at 12pm EST. Tune in to all the action at: twitch.tv/callofduty
Published on 02. Aug 2020