While "Rostermania" failed to provide the same level of excitement as it has in previous years, there were a handful of notable moves made by some of the lesser teams in the Call of Duty World League, as well as a larger (and much needed) shakeup for Team EnVyUs.
Let's take a look at some of the rosters heading into Stage 2!
OpTic Gaming and Rise Nation Reign Supreme
To no one's surprise, both of the teams that found themselves in the NA CWL Stage 1 finals opted to keep the same rosters. Complacency can often be a problem for teams that have so much success over the years, but I'm not a fan of making moves just for the sake of making them.
What's more, it's unclear if any of the marquee free agents, such as Patrick "Aches" Price or Chris "Parasite" Duarte, really would have made a positive difference to either team , since both players have a history of causing problems with team chemistry.
In the end, both OpTic Gaming and Rise Nation chose to stay the same during the offseason, a move that should solidify their status as forces in Stage 2.
- Rise Slacked (@Slacked) April 13, 2016
It's far too early to begin making bold predictions about where teams might place by the end of the season, but at least for the moment, it seems like the two squads will be dueling for supremacy once again.
Team EnVyUs Cleans House
During week five, Team EnVyUs was riding high, sitting near the top of the standings with an 8-2 record. However, things quickly spiraled out of control from there, as the team limped to a 12-10 finish.
Amidst "toxic environment" chants from sources surrounding the organization, the team opted not to scrimmage prior to its playoff loss to eLevate.
As a result, both Patrick "ACHES" Price and TeeP were released from the team, leaving just Jordan "Jkap" Kaplan and Austin "Slasher" Liddicoat as the remaining members of EnVyUs until the organization announced the signing of Johnathon "John" Perez from Luminosity Gaming and Bryan "Apathy" Zhelyazkov from Team Liquid.
- Bryan Z (@EnVy_Apathy) April 16, 2016
While the signing of Apathy comes with some fanfare thanks to name recognition, John may end up the more pivotal signing of the two as he was one of the main threats for Luminosity.
It's clear both players will provide a certain level of killing potential, but it remains to be seen if the group as a whole can develop a level of cohesiveness necessary to take down OpTic Gaming or Rise Nation in a best-of-seven series.
compLexity Gaming Goes "Goony"
In what is quickly becoming a disturbing trend in the Call of Duty scene, another talented player, Parasite, was released from his team due to poor behavior.
The move to replace Parasite with former Team Kaliber member Jevon "Goonjar" Gooljar-Lim most likely will not improve the team, since Parasite was one of the better slayers in the world.
Happy to be apart of @compLexityLive for s2 of CWL cant wait to play with them :)
- coL Goonjar (@Goonjar) April 12, 2016
The old adage "addition by subtraction" may effectively come into play here, since it was clear compLexity Gaming was not going anywhere in the CWL.
In a sense, the move to bring in Goonjar effectively wipes the slate clean for Stage 2, as the team can now focus on building unity and structure during decisive matches, rather than watch when it all crumbles down.
Question Marks Surrounding Notable Free Agents
A handful of talented players still remain unsigned, or at the very least, have not announced a commitment. While some of them may very well end up on rosters by the end of stage, it's clear that more organizations are putting teamwork before talent.
Case in point: Parasite.
Despite his recent issues with compLexity Gaming, it appeared as if he was going to join Dream Team in a standings shaking move after the club reportedly released Troy "Sender" Michaels and Steven "Diabolic" Rivero.
However, during a scrimmage against eLevate just one day later, a war of words erupted between Parasite and Martin "Chino" Chino, where Parasite would eventually mute his entire team and proceed to bash them on stream, ending his tenure with the organization before it even began.
Parasite suggested in a tweet that he could be joining another team as a substitute for Stage 2, but it might not be a surprise if he's left off from the CWL lineup altogether. Like most team sports, success depends on a myriad of factors, but the most important might just be the mindset of the team. Top organizations thrive with teamwork and an open line of communication.
With the CWL effectively rendering any outside tournaments pointless, the opportunities to gain notoriety and fame rests on exposure, something free agents will have to work much harder for without finding themselves on a professional roster.
With access to players at an all-time high thanks to social media, reputations can be built and destroyed with just the click of a button. I, for one, want to see the game continue to grow from the Stage 1 finals that may have been one of the single greatest competitive Call of Duty match-up of all-time.