Rise Nation Storm Through CWL Atlanta 2018

After three days packed with action, the CWL Atlanta 2018 has finally ended and there's so much to discuss. From the Open Stage up to Championship Sunday, many of the storylines and expectations which we discussed here: http://www.gamers.com.mt/news/722/cwl-atlanta-2018-too-close-to-call, came into play. At the end of it all, Rise Nation did, in fact, come out on top, but there's so much more to cover. Sit back and get ready to scroll down while we review this event. 

Open Bracket - Plenty of New Blood

CWL Atlanta was one of the many Open events we'll be enjoying in this year of COD: WWII. Its Open nature allows up to 160 teams to battle it out to enter the Group Stage which has already been filled with teams who qualified thanks to the Pro League. This time around, the community was introduced to some new names who have never before made it past the Bracket. Names such as Heretics and Monaco Esports joined Ghost Gaming and GGEA Orange as they assimilated into their respective groups. Honestly, none of them had much of an effect as the competition was simply too much. So, what did happen in the Group Stage?

Group Stage -  Lightning Pandas Shock

The Group Stage kicked off swimmingly, except for one minor hiccup. Epsilon Esports, the Europeans, announced that they couldn't make it for the event. The underperforming team, which is currently contemplating roster change, was promptly replaced by Lightning Pandas in Group A. With Rise Nation and Splyce favourites to advance onto the Winners' Bracket, Lightning Pandas couldn't help themselves but mix things up. Beating Splyce, GGEA Orange and Echo Fox allowed them to finish with a second place finish that nobody predicted. Splyce were sent into the Losers' Bracket where they would find an early exit out of the competition. 

Meanwhile, Group B and Group C went a lot more smoothly. Luminosity cruised through the group while TK managed to take second place, ignoring the attempts of Evil Geniuses. Group C, which was predicted to be the group of death was less so. Since eUnited failed to show up with their A-game, continuing on their rough streak, Optic and Faze topped off the group in that order. However, this group was indeed a great source of controversy. As many of you know, a recent Gentlemen's ban within the professional community banned the use of items such as the FG-42 and more. One of those weapons was the M1 Garand due to its ridiculous two shot kill range. In the matchup between eRa Eternity and eUnited, Clayster pulled out the M1 Garand to his apparent oblivion. He used it in Game 5 SnD to help eUnited clutch up in this cheating fashion. After the game, Clayster realised his cheating and cheap ways as he took to Twitter, offering all of his individual earnings to eRa as he 'ruined their tournament'. eRa is yet to comment on the situation. 

Finally, Group D was quite interesting in itself too. As Team Envyus scooped up an easy first place, Red Reserve, and Mindfreak were at each other's necks. Mindfreak, who have recently been growing in capacity throughout the Pro League, managed to win second place thanks to map difference. Red Reserve was sent to the Losers' Bracket but was far from out of it. 

Bracket Play - Dominance on Both Sides

With no further delays, unlike November's bomb threats, bracket play was underway. Within three hours, Rise Nation swept Faze Clan, Optic Gaming swept a hopeful Lightning Pandas and two 5-game nailbiters gave the Winners' Bracket a huge amount of energy. Mindfreak dragged Luminosity Gaming to a 5th game which they barely lost and Team Envy shut down the weakened TK in a similar fashion.  Round 2 of the Winners' Bracket had arguably some of the most awaited series of the tournament - Optic vs Luminosity and Team Envy vs Rise Nation. 

We'll start with the disappointment. Optic vs Luminosity was meant to be a heaving battle between two giants with everyone agreeing that Luminosity had the edge with recent performance. However, the two teams hadn't encountered one another yet, so anything could happen. What did happen was a foul 3-0 scoreline for the boys in blue while the Greenwall was left shaking their heads. The maps were indeed close, but a recurring habit for Optic to not close out maps and not clutching up bit them in the back. The Greenwall would descend into the Losers' Bracket were they would finish with another undermining placement of 5-6th at the hands of Red Reserve. Many doubts are headed their way. Yes, Red Reserve is still there and fighting. 

The other series, thankfully, was a pure gem. Both sides saturated with emotional and talented youngsters gave way to an epic display of the future of Call of Duty. The fast-paced action from both sides was a joy to witness and quite exciting too. The daring plays from "TJHaly and the energy from opposing "Huke" made it action packed to the point that the casters were running out of breath. At the end of it, Rise Nation snatched the final map and Team Envy also fell out and into the Losers' bracket where they would be taken out by Red Reserve. 

The final round of bracket play placed Luminosity and Rise Nation in the same cage, fighting for the Grand Finals spot. These two teams were the point of polarisation between the community - it was one of these two teams which were scheduled to win this event. Rise Nation played tactically and floated to a 3-1 scoreline, awaiting their next opponent. 

Grand Finals - Bathed in Red 

Luminosity stumbled into the path of a clinical Red Reserve and needless to say, the European maniacs threw them off of the tracks. Red Reserve was part of the greatest Losers' Bracket run in the history of Call of Duty; playing a total of 20 maps on Championship Sunday just to get to the Grand Finals. Their endurance and determination were unmatched at the event. Red Reserve was the Grim Reaper of CWL Atlanta as they remained under the radar yet executing all the big names: Faze Clan, Team Kaliber, Luminosity and Optic Gaming in quick succession.

Now they headed into the Grand Finals with a little fuel left in the tank. Unfortunately, this wasn't enough. Although they equalised with a phenomenal SnD performance, Rise Nation then took the next two respawns to solidify themselves as the best team in Call of Duty at the moment. On the other side of things, Red Reserve are now the undisputed best in Europe and the Second best in the world after that incredible run where they faced everybody who is somebody in Call of Duty.  

Conclusion

CWL Atlanta 2018 was incredible, simply incredible. Arriving right at the climax of discussion and hypothesis, it gave the community answers it was craving. Optic Gaming is not Top 3, Team Kaliber is not on top, Rise Nation is the best in the world and Red Reserve is the best team in Europe.

Another topic which must be picked up on, before ending, is the casting. Many were those who disregarded the new talent, as they try to fill the gap that "Courage" left. Give them time, I'm sure that they'll be great. 

Posted by Gabriel Sciberras on 14th March 2018, 09:01

I'm Gabriel - 19 year-old dental student attending university working as a part-time esports journalist. I've been doing this for 3 years now. Having worked with GMR Entertainment in the past, I've come on board to write some articles this summer :).

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