The first event on the Major League Gaming schedule of 2017 was the Call of Duty World League Atlanta Invitational. The top 16 international teams competed in Pool Play with 170 teams in the Open Bracket with a chance to make the main stage finals. The Championship match between crowd-favorite OpTic Gaming and eUnited Gaming came down to a second-set, final game victory for eUnited to take the title, 25,000 Pro Points and $80,000.
“We just had to play our own game not their’s,” said Alec “Arcitys” Sanderseon moments after the upset win that came down to a game five win.
“Honestly at this rate, I think we’ll win (next week) in Paris the way we’re playing,” Justin “SiLLY” Fargo-Palmer said.
Pierce “Gunless” Hillman gave credit to his teammates for their play and timing for him to win the Team MVP award. All four players tipped their caps to OpTic for providing such an intense match.
The invited teams included FaZe Clan, Cloud9, Rise Nation, Luminosity Gaming, Team EnVyUs, Engima6 and Orbirt Esport for four-on-four team matches. The final eight teams made the money round for a share of the $200,000 prize pool.
Thousands of fans filled the conference hall dressed in MLG team gear, bringing kids that chased gamers through crowds hoping to grab an autograph. Vendor booths lined the walls selling top-shelf controllers, monitors and electric-colored energy drinks selling by “the tub.”
In poker terms, half of the event was an invitational for the top 16 teams determined accumulated Pro Points. Pool Play broke down to four pools of five teams each. Day 1 say teams play round-robin within the pool and Day 2 the Open Bracket qualifiers competed within the pool, having to run the gauntlet to advance to the Championship Bracket.
The Atlanta Open fielded more than 170 teams ranging from teams on the verge of stardom like PNDA Gaming to four guys that scribbled their gamer tags on a white tee with a Sharpie. A team need to win six straight wins to advance out of the Open Bracket for a chance at the money and even more valuable Pro Points.
Gamers expect to play 13-hour days to get through the intense action. It’s essentially a week of qualifying satellite events boiled to down to a single day. Crowds lined four to five deep sweating the match-ups of well-known teams.
Almost every team had a manager streaming the live action of their match-ups for fans not in attendance. Friday night’s Open Bracket madness gave way to Saturday’s Game Battle zone, where teams compete for Pro Points in sanctioned matches that didn’t make it the Championship bracket.
The MLG tour continues to Paris February 17 – 19 and then returns stateside for the Dallas Open on March 17 – 19.
MLG Call of Duty WL Atlanta Open Finals
1. eUnited – $80,000, 25,000 Pro Points
2. OpTic Gaming – $48,000, 15,000 Pro Points
3. Team EnVyUs – $32,000, 11,000 Pro Points
4. Luminosity – $16,000, 9,000 Pro Points
5/6. Faze Clan, Team Infused – $8,000, 8,000 Pro Points
7/8. PNDA Gaming, Splyce – $4,000, 7,000 Pro Points