Lopsided wins were dominant during the opening days of the Call of Duty World Championship Invitational in London, one of a handful of CWL tournaments that will take place in the coming weeks. While the beginning of the tournament didn't provide fireworks, the end most certainly did, as Splyce and Orbit battled it out to determine which team would walk away from London with a large chunk of the $25,000 prize pool. In the end, Splyce couldn't overcome the disadvantage that came from playing through the lower bracket, losing to Orbit in the second of the double-elimination series.
Here's how the rest of the action played out during the four-day tournament.
A fall from grace
It was only a matter of time, but London marked Millennium's fall from being one of Europe's top teams. That was thanks to an offseason rife with movement as most of Millenium's talent moved to other teams, such as Dylan "MadCat" Daly and Jordan "Jurd" Crowley to Splyce. The new Millennium couldn't even qualify for playoffs.
Newcomers to the European competitive scene, Hadouken and Aware, made some noise as the two teams displayed impressive skill. Hadouken's Wailers "Wailers" Locart premiered as a skilled slayer even against top talent like Fnatic. Meanwhile, Aware was able to knock out Fnatic from the tournament, earning themselves a spot in the playoffs. However, it failed to advance far, finishing in 5th/6th place alongside Team 3G.
Competition forges rivalry
A new rivalry seemed to ignite between Orbit and Splyce. Orbit became London's dark horse, breezing through the playoff brackets. Its first playoff match on Saturday was against the European titans Splyce. The match ended in a stunning 3-0 upset in which Orbit took a shocking win, forcing Splyce to trek through the lower bracket. The run to the grand finals would only get harder for Orbit from there, as eLevate and Team Infused pushed Orbit to a Game 5 in their respective playoff matches.
It seemed as if Splyce was determined for a rematch with Orbit, clawing their way through the lower brackets. Things culminated in an astounding back-to-back set of four matches against Team Infused and eLevate to reach the grand finals against Orbit.
Splyce needed to beat Orbit twice in the double-elimination tournament. Splyce was able to take the first series against Orbit in a shaky 3-1 match. Cracks in Splyce's armor were visible in the first series as the team nearly dropped two very close Hardpoint rounds against Orbit. Splyce lost Round 1 due to poor defense and just barely won Round 4 Hardpoint thanks to some last minute effective Payload uses. Then, in the second series, Splyce finally fell apart. Dylan "MadCat" Daly tried to hold the team together in a final Round 3 Uplink but some messy last-second plays prevented MadCat from tieing the round. In general, Splyce looked smooth in the first series -- out-slaying Orbit -- but they couldn't keep up the pressure in the second series.
Trei "Zer0" Morris was the MVP for Orbit. Not only was he confident in the first series, getting some great kills in Round 1 Hardpoint and Round 2 Search & Destroy, Zer0 absolutely dominated the second series. He was beastly in Search & Destroy, where he scored a 8/7 KD (kills/deaths) that saw him getting first blood most games. Round 3 Uplink saw him gain solid map control thanks to a strong opening fight. Zer0 and Rhys "Rated" Price followed the fight with a dunk that boxed Splyce into a corner. The demoralizing dunk threw Splyce off balance for the rest of the round. Orbit was then able to easily close out the series.