Team Pnda is the best team you’ve never heard of at Major League Gaming Call of Duty World League Atlanta Open. They fought their way out of the Open Bracket division, winning six matches in a row and met OpTic Gaming with a spot in the championship on the line in front of a few thousand fans.
OpTic Gaming beat Pnda 3-2 in a hotly contested match that turned heads from industry insiders. “It was real fun to get out of our pool,” said Sean “Pemby” Pembroke. “We played, OpTic and we choked. We could have taken them but they clustered up. We had to play three back-to-back matches just to get there.”
Team Pnda earned 7,000 Pro Points for their showing in the World League Atlanta Open. They got their chance to play on the main stage by topping a bracket of over 120 teams. “We came here after putting in a lot of work at home, we were shooting for first even coming out of the Open Bracket,” said Chris “Profeezy” Astudillo. “We had to beat six teams to get to pool play.”
A huge crowd gathered around the secondary stage for the OpTic Gaming match, cheering on the pro team. ““You always have to focus in on your team and your strategy,” Astudillo added. “Keep the crowd noise out and focus on communication.”
“Top eight isn’t enough – I wanted more. We should have beat OpTic twice this weekend,” Astudillo continued. “I’m very disappointed. We’ve got to look at the positives, we played well and we’re going to Paris to play our game. Most of all we learned a lot at this tournament.”
The next stop on the MGL tour is in Paris in under a week and Team Pnda already has their tickets booked. Precious Pro Points are up for grabs and that’s exactly what the team needs to break through to the next level.
“We have been doing this for a while, we know what it takes to make it to the top. Although we haven’t been there yet, we have a really good idea of what it takes,” said Jay “Prophet” Nicoletti – the oldest member of the team at 24 years-old. “We have the experience, the preparation and the chemistry. During the tournament we had to own the moment, each and every one – we didn’t. But as long as we move forward and improve I believe we’ll be the best in the world.”
Ethan “Fa5tballa” Wedgeworth echoed his teammates’ drive to be the best. “We’re a team that’s had the goal since day one has been to at least secure a top nine seed so we get to get into the league. Our ultimate goal is a championship, but we’re trying get in the league first.”
“I don’t do this for the money – I’m not making a lot doing this. Of course, I have some sponsors but I’m not on OpTic’s level,” Wedgeworth said. “I just do it for the love of the game and I know that I have what it takes to win. There’s no end in sight. We’re staying on the grind, working even hard than we did for this event.”
“The League is why we put in work every day – the Game Battles, the Pro Points,” said Astudillo. “The League is everything.”