OpTic Chicago fell to 2-2 in Stage 4 and 17-13 on the season with a loss to the last-place Seattle Surge Thursday afternoon.
OpTic entered the season as a clear top-three favorite alongside the Atlanta Faze and Dallas Empire, but are yet to finish above top-four at a major this season. A loss to the Surge is a new low for the squad, who had portrayed a more positive appearance on social media and claimed to be improving their teamwork and results in practice sessions.
OpTic out-slayed Seattle by +14 over the course of the series but lost the decisive map five Search and Destroy on Raid after falling behind 0-3 in the round count. Dashy and Scump were on the verge of forcing the eleventh round after “The King” popped a two-piece on the defending side of the map, but Prestinni and Gunless succeeded where their teammates fell and closed OpTic out 6-4.
This team had been projected as one of the best in the history of competitive Call of Duty, given the overwhelming talent of Dashy and Envoy, the best sub-machine gun player ever in Scump, and a top-three assault rifle player in FormaL. However, as determined as the group of friends may be to improve their fortunes, it may be time to think about making a roster change either at the end of Stage Four or in the offseason.
Dashy has the second-best kill/death ratio in the entire CDL, trailing World Champion and former league-MVP Simp. “Bruce” is also within the top-10 in K/D across all game modes, but has surprisingly low numbers in metrics that measure engagements and pace of play. Dashy is considered to have the best shot in Call of Duty history and is at his best when he is let off the leash and can control lanes and central portions of the map, though the numbers suggest that his impact is being lessened by his current role.
Envoy broke onto the scene in Black Ops 4 with Midnight Gaming and was immediately recognized as having a natural feel for the game and a knack for coming up with clutch plays, whether they be late-round kills in search and Destroy or timely flanks in respawn modes. “The Prince” was an MVP candidate in Modern Warfare last year but has drastically underperformed this season, posting a 1.02 K/D for the season. While this number is not bad, especially for a title that has an AR-dominant meta, they are not what the other young superstars have put up.
Envoy’s case is a tricky one to figure— while he seems like the most obvious choice to drop from the team if the decision is made, OpTic has branded him as the man to carry the torch once the older veteran decides to retire. The Green Wall must also be careful not to lose a player with his talent, even if he has a bad season. The Dallas Empire made a move of similar circumstances by dropping Huke and picking up FeLo, and it hurt their performance immediately.
Scump is virtually untouchable at OpTic: he has been the face of the most successful CoD team for nine years, is the most popular figure in the scene, and is considered to be a top-five player of all time. Scump is sitting at an even 1.00 K/D for the year, only .02 behind Envoy, and is also second in overall Search and Destroy K/D. His presence on the team alone drives viewership, brand recognition and sales for OpTic and the CDL as a whole, and he is one of the three players that will never be allowed to be dropped in their careers.
The final member of the team is FormaL, a former World Champion, World Championship MVP and a multiple-first person shooter champion. The second half of T2P, a duo he formed with Scump before the CDL was created, has come into question for his slower style of play in a game that is centered around quick movement mechanics and flying at enemies. FormaL has an abundance of leadership qualities and can still shoot laser beams, but he does not seem to be able to dominate other top ARs such as Octane and Cellium.
OpTic’s recent loss adds a dark layer to the reality of a disappointing Cold War season. Whereas they had only struggled against better teams in the past, going 3-8 against top-four teams and 14-5 against lower-tier teams, they now appear to be floundering and running thin on excuses.
The Stage Four major will be taking place in a localized area network, the first since March 7-8 2020. If OpTic cannot produce enough performances to carry them into the top-three finishing positions, the whispers will only grow louder.
Unfortunately for the Green Wall, there is not an abundance of talent available on the market. Sib is regarded as a talented up-and-comer but has been reprimanded for character issues, and without a clear sense of what role needs to be filled, OpTic would struggle to find where to even begin its search.
A potential swap could come from the free-agent pool: a popular choice would be Samuel “Octane” Larew, who led the lobby with a 1.28 K/D in Thursday’s match between Optic and the Surge. Octane teamed up with Scump for the latter half of the World War II season and could slot into the main AR position, should OpTic choose to take FormaL off of the starting lineup.
The most obvious way for OpTic to quell the roar of the fans would simply be to win, which is what their roster was formed around. Storylines will become clearer after the result at LAN and the removal of ping-based discrepancies online.
The Green Wall has one match left in week three of Stage Four against the Los Angeles Thieves at 6:00 p.m. ET; after that, it is do-or-die for everyone on the roster.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.