It's unfathomable to consider, but yet here we are on Day 2 of the 2018 Call of Duty World League Championship and OpTic Gaming is out of the tournament.
Last year's Call of Duty World Championship winners, OpTic Gaming, were eliminated from the CWL World Championship on just the second day of competition on Thursday.
OpTic, along with five other teams who previously played in the CWL Pro League, won't get a chance to play in the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. It's a crushing end to the season for a team that saw its dynasty roster disassembled earlier in the year.
The Green Wall crumbles
Despite OpTic's struggles this season, this early elimination is likely one of the most improbable moments in CoD Champs history.
This year's version of OpTic Gaming was not the same caliber of team that claimed victory in 2017, but the fan favorites were still among a handful of teams likely to be in contention for the trophy once more. A midseason roster change that brought in Anthony "Methodz" Zinni and Sam "Octane" Larew for Matthew "FormaL" Piper and Damon "Karma" Barlow was supposed to help rectify what had been a season-long inability to play a consistent series of Call of Duty. A fifth/sixth-place run at the CWL Anaheim Open was comforting given the historic changes to a roster that had been together for the better part of three years.
But a dismal last-place finish at the CWL Stage 2 playoffs foreshadowed what ultimately will be considered one of the darkest moments in OpTic's Call of Duty history.
Credit goes to Evil Geniuses first and foremost, as it successfully swept OpTic Gaming in its final game -- the only win condition that would have seen the Green Wall fail to make it the championship bracket. The leader of Evil Geniuses, Patrick "Aches" Price, is no stranger to dealing devastating news to OpTic fans, as he has been a part of three separate teams that have eliminated the Green Wall from CoD Champs, including a notable lower-bracket victory with Cloud9 during the 2016 Call of Duty XP. His legend will continue to grow regardless of how Evil Geniuses does in the subsequent days thanks solely to this win.
Then there's eLevate, the lucky beneficiaries of the tie-breaking scenario, as its 3-0 win over Supremacy allowed it to sneak past OpTic Gaming in the standings by a single map. The team now joins five other teams who qualified by virtue of the Last Chance Qualifier to move on to the championship bracket -- an astounding number in its own right.
OpTic's loss will likely continue to be a divisive point for fans throughout the remainder of the tournament. Time will tell how it will impact the likes of Seth "Scump" Abner and Ian "Crimsix" Porter, but it's likely safe to assume even more changes could be on the horizon for this former dynasty heading into the new season.
Favorites collide to open Day 3
Team Kaliber's stunning Day 1 loss was merely a blip in the radar, as the Stage 2 champions managed to claim the second seed from Group A by virtue of beating Epsilon Esports 3-1. The victor's prize: a first-round date with Rise Nation, arguably the favorites to walk away with the title. It's a heavyweight matchup that will put a massive damper on the loser's prospects to walk away with the grand prize as either team would likely be favored in the subsequent upper-round matchups.
It has to be a little disheartening for Rise Nation given it won all three of its pool play matches. Had Rise Nation lost its final series of the day to Lethal Gaming, another surprisingly aggressive Last Chance Qualifying team, it would have arguably been in the better bracket position, facing off against Pool A winner Lightning Pandas, but a Round 5 Search and Destroy victory against Lethal meant that Rise would get the cream of the crop to start Friday's pivotal day of competition.
With so many Pro League teams already out of the tournament, it's quite possible whoever loses Thursday's second-to-last match could run the table in the lower bracket, but to do so would be an almost unparalleled feat. It should make for an exciting series, but also one poised to create an even more tumultuous bracket.