It took 3 long years, but Team Kaliber finally made it to a Call of Duty World League finals and they didn’t let their moment slip by. Going into the first Championship Sunday of the CWL circuit, Team Kaliber was ranked at #2 in our CWL Power Rankings. That ranking was due to their incredible performance in Pool Play, mowing down every opponent that came their way, earning a 4-0 record when the clock struck midnight.
With such a strong wave of momentum behind them, TK made the competition on Championship Sunday look like rookies, recording one of the most shocking clean sweeps on their way to a CWL title. The team victimized by the boys in blue were none other than the reigning CWL Champions, Optic Gaming. TK came out roaring, dominating OG with coordinated strikes on Hardpoint, collectively holding zones and protecting each other all throughout. It didn’t stop in S&D, despite a decent push by the green giants of FormaL, Crimsix, Scump, and Karma. TK wouldn’t be denied and continued their dismantling of the green wall in Capture the Flag, ultimately eliminating OG, sending them to the Loser’s Bracket.
There, OG would face a hot Euro team in Splyce who had been fighting for their lives in the Loser’s Bracket. They took down the likes of a talented Echo Fox and Faze Clan on their way to playing what looked like a sluggish Optic Gaming team in the Loser’s Championship game. It’s no secret that Splyce vs Optic is an intense rivalry. Splyce always takes Optic to the limit, which was proven in their 5 game series in Round 2 of the Elimination round. The result of that battle wouldn’t repeat itself in the final game of the loser bracket as Splyce would sweep OG 3-0 in an uber competitive 3 game series.
That’s when we would find ourselves in the finals with a team no one saw coming in Team Kaliber and a perennial contender in Splyce. The first game saw TK take a competitive Hardpoint game in a come from behind victory on St. Maria. However, that victory would pale in comparison to what was a ridiculous victor in S&D that provided the crowd with a moment they had never seen before, a 1 vs 4 killing spree. 3 of TK’s team was killed in Ardennas Forest, looking like Splyce was poised for victory, but they left the wrong player alive. Accuracy would find a way to single handedly pull his team from the dumps, taking out all 4 members of the serpents.
Capture the Flag wouldn’t be as aggressive as the previous games had been, which turned out to be the downfall of TK. Splyce made them play their defensive game, finding the opening in last 30 seconds of the game, earning 1 point and forcing a 4th game in this series. The yellow serpents from the UK wouldn’t let TK take their first title easily, taking them to the brink in Hardpoint. At one point, both teams were at 200 points, but Splyce would use their expert coordination that brought them this far to win and force a Game 5.
Throughout the tournament, TK has been convincingly good at S&D and that didn’t change in the Grand Finals as they’d take a quick 4-0 lead. Splyce would answer back with the next 3, but they retook the momentum with a quick Round 8. They wouldn’t let there be a Round 10 as this would be the moment that TK would earn their FIRST major title! The Astro Gaming MVP would go to a well-deserved Accuracy who had a stellar tournament and an incredibly memorable 1 v 4 moment in Round 2.
While TK’s victory is a heart-warming story for esports viewers to digest, the main story that rocked the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center was the 3rd place finish by Optic. This has been a team that dominated the CWL circuit all throughout last season, even earning the championship in the end. However, 2 back to back blowouts ended OG’s hopes of taking the tournament in their new home city. Granted, CWL Dallas Open wasn’t your prototypical esports tournament, as it was marred by 2 bomb threats that caused the entire event to be delayed. That, in turn, forced everyone to neglect rest in favor of finishing up their matches quickly. Unlike most esports teams, OG was the busiest as they constantly interacted with fans, signing autographs, taking pictures, etc. Perhaps that and the lack of rest caused OG to look sluggish as they started out the CWL circuit with a 3rd place finish.
Still, 3rd place isn’t bad. They still earn a decent share of the Prize Pool, CWL Pro Points, and motivation to do better in New Orleans in January. The question leading up to that event will be if they can beat either of the teams that swept them in TK and Splyce.
Stay tuned for more from New Orleans on January 10-12, 2018!