SCUF Affiliate of the Week: Matthew “Formal” Piper


Unlike many of his esteemed colleagues, Formal came to Call of Duty with the reputation of being a champion. Formal’s five-year stint on Halo saw him race through the ranks before eventually becoming one of the best in the game.

He found a home as part of Ambush — joining forces with some of the game’s most accomplished stars such as Heinz, iGotUrPistola, Snip3down and later Enable. His time in Halo saw him take home seven Major titles, spanning three games in the series.

Understandably then, Formal came into Call of Duty with a higher stock than most. Team Kaliber were willing to take a risk on the former Halo star and combining forces with Sharp, Theory and Goonjar, Formal and Team Kaliber took home a top 4 finish in the Winter Invitational back on Call of Duty Ghosts.

A top 16 finish at the 2014 Call of Duty Championship was to be Formal’s last major act in a Team Kaliber shirt, as soon FaZe Black came calling. It wasn’t until EnVyUs swooped in to acquire Formal’s talents, though, that his true potential was exposed and he quickly helped the Boys in Blue to their first major title in years — this was only the beginning of the Formal story.

Formal-At-CWL-OrlandoCurrent Team

The world champions (finally). Formal linked up with OpTic Gaming to deliver a Call of Duty Championship as part of a severe roster shuffle that also saw the acquisition of Crimsix.

The new-look OpTic Gaming had great promise and were a championship caliber team from offing, only denied on their debut by Aches and FaZe Clan. The first Major title would soon come, though, and was quickly followed by another before the team took first place at the Call of Duty Championship 2015 NA Regional Finals. The new OpTic Gaming were on course to achieve greatness.

Yet at the Call of Duty Championship, OpTic Gaming fell short, as Denial won the title. This forced a change in the ranks, with long-time OG man Nadeshot stepping down, with two-time Call of Duty Championship Winner Karma filling his boots.

With Karma, OpTic Gaming were even more successful, winning countless major titles along the way to the 2016 Call of Duty Championship. The heavy favourites again, OpTic Gaming were expected to deliver the world title after a season of dominance.

Yet again though, the Green Wall was demolished and Formal had to watch his former team, EnVyUs, lift the title instead of him. For the second year in a row, OpTic Gaming would place top 8.

Despite the defeat, OpTic Gaming decided not to make a change, confident that they had already assembled the game’s best roster. The next year was much of the same, with OpTic Gaming winning three Majors — the most of any roster on the pro circuit

This time, it was meant to be. In a year where OpTic Gaming weren’t the overwhelming favourites, the team assembled to win the world title won the world title. It was an outstanding achievement from a great team, starved of the one honor that deserted them.

OpTic Gaming finished the Infinite Warfare season having won titles in Paris, Dallas, Stage 2 in Columbus and of course, the all-important Call of Duty Championship title.


Greatest Achievement

Unquestionably Formal’s greatest achievement is his latest achievement. Lifting the Call of Duty Championship was Formal’s goal in the game. Formal didn’t just win the title though, he turned in five-days of superb Call of Duty that’ll go down in history.

The competition’s MVP was outstanding from the moment the first bullet was fired, and his stats paint the picture of a man playing at the very top of his game. At the close of play, Formal led all players in Overall K/D, Hardpoint K/D, Uplink points per game, and was second in Uplink K/D.

Formal rose to the occasion like no-other at the 2017 Call of Duty Championship and was the single most important OpTic Gaming player for almost every series spanning the five-day competition in Orlando, Florida.

After claims of wanting to go down as the best FPS player when he eventually hangs up the sticks, Formal took great strides in the right direction.



Formal is OpTic Gaming’s AR Slayer and is expecting to lead his team in kills — something he achieved to great effect at the Call of Duty Championship and in OpTic’s Stage 2 campaign.

Formal is among the most aggressive rifles in Call of Duty, and is comparable to Splyce’s Zer0 and Luminosity’s Octane in style of play.

What sets Formal apart though is the quality of his aim. The same talent that made him a winner on Halo, has made him a champion on Call of Duty as well. Precise and deadly, Formal has been the catalyst for OpTic’s success and rightly won the game’s biggest individual accolade at the 2017 Call of Duty Championship.


Public Persona

Formal has a clear vision of who he is as both a player and a person; he is a leader, a winner and a competitor first and foremost. This drive and determination largely defines his character, although even by his own acknowledgement, behind closed doors he can be a goofball.

As a long-time member of OpTic Gaming and one of the best players in Call of Duty, understandably Formal has amassed a sizeable social media following. He has 700,000 Twitter followers, making him one of the most popular stars in the whole of Call of Duty. Brief forays into YouTube and Twitch have been highly successful, despite being inconsistent.

Compared to some of his counterparts, Formal has barely even scratched the surface of YouTube, uploading a handful of videos since starting his channel three years ago. Despite that, his following is over 250,000 — an enviable amount to almost any aspiring content creator but just part a parcel of being OpTic Formal.

Crimsix Takes Over SCUF HQ!


Fresh from his 2017 CoD Championships win with the legendary OpTic Gaming, Ian “Crimsix” Porter invaded Scuf Gaming HQ! With his mind for tactics and tech, the Crimbot wanted a firsthand look at the patented technology that makes up each and every SCUF controller.

Scuf Gaming’s affiliation with the two-time Call of Duty Champion goes back years, eventually culminating in the release of the Crimsix SCUF controller in 2016, and the limited edition Crimsix SCUF LE controller in 2017. In fact, in celebration of his arrival, Crimsix decided to offer one lucky winner the chance to take home an autographed Crimsix LE SCUF IMPACT!

This is a one of a kind opportunity, so don’t miss out! This is your chance to own a limited edition tribute to one of the best pro gamers of all time!

Our Time Is Now: What’s The Word At CoD Champs 2017?

In anticipation of the Call of Duty Championships, the biggest and most anticipated event of the season, we’ve taken a look at some of the stories that could potentially come to fruition as Infinite Warfare concludes.


OpTic’s time at last?

For a third consecutive year, OpTic Gaming are arguably the favorites heading into the Call of Duty Championships.

In Advanced Warfare, when Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter and Matthew ‘FormaL’ Piper first joined the roster, the team were untouched outside of the very first event of the season, but fell short at the crucial moment. In Black Ops 3, now with Damon ‘Karma’ Barlow, the team were once again a heavy favorite, having won the preceding MLG Orlando along with several other events over the course of the year. Once again, they fell short when it mattered most.

This time it’s a little different, however. In years past, such was the dominance of the squad that there was never any question of who the team to beat was. This time, OpTic’s rule has not been unchallenged, and their position as arguably the best team in the world has been hard-won, only re-affirmed by an impressive victory at the Global Pro League Stage Two.

Perhaps the mindset change in the run-up to the biggest event of the year might have done them a favor. Less than a month out, nobody, perhaps not even the team themselves, was certain that OpTic could win again on Infinite Warfare. Such a legendary line-up will never be utterly discounted, but maybe a little bit of doubt for the first time might have pushed OpTic to be more prepared than ever as the most important tournaments of the year approached.


The resurgence of Clayster and eUnited

When Clayster won the Call of Duty Championships as the MVP in 2015, it was after having been dropped first by OpTic Gaming at the end of the previous season, and then again by Team EnVyUs just months into Advanced Warfare.

Those events gave him a drive the pushed him to greater heights than perhaps ever before, becoming arguably the best player in the world for most of the year and picking up several titles – including that of World Champion – along the way.

Today, Clayster finds himself in a somewhat familiar position as the Call of Duty Championships approaches. Having been dropped after a two-year stint on FaZe, Clayster once again has a point to prove, this time with eUnited, and his performance has stepped up significantly since the move.

The squad weren’t able to win on their first outing, finishing third at the Global Pro League Stage Two Playoffs, but Clayster’s Denial weren’t instant champions back in 2015 either. When it mattered most, however, Clayster was at his most dangerous. This year, he’ll be looking to repeat the feat once more.

It’s not just validation for Clayster that a victory would bring, however. The rest of the eUnited squad rose higher and faster than perhaps any other team in history this year, from nowhere becoming one of the top two teams in the world. Much of that success was put on standout performances by Pierce ‘Gunless’ Hillman.

With Gunless’s departure from the team, the rest of the team are looking to prove definitively that they weren’t reliant on his play for success, and that they can still be the best team in the world without their former star.


Validation for FaZe

The decision by FaZe to replace James ‘Clayster’ Eubanks with rising star Pierce ‘Gunless’ Hillman wasn’t exactly met with unanimous praise. Clayster is arguably the most popular player outside of OpTic Gaming and has at times been one of the highest performers in the world, so his removal didn’t sit well with all fans. Meanwhile, Gunless himself came under criticism for the manner of his departure from eUnited.

Since the swap, it’s been eUnited that have taken the spotlight, with Clayster reaching new heights in Infinite Warfare and leading the squad to a third-place finish in Stage Two of the Global Pro League, while FaZe themselves were eliminated in the top-six.

For FaZe, the Call of Duty Championships therefore represents an opportunity for the squad to prove themselves. The three core members seek to demonstrate that they did not make a mistake in dropping Clayster and that they can be successful without him. For Gunless, it’s a chance to prove that he is the game-changing player he was touted as earlier in the season, and not reliant on the support of his former eUnited team mates as they have since suggested.

EnVy to repeat?

For the first time ever, there is a genuine possibility we might see the exact line-up take the World Championship title in two consecutive years.

Team EnVyUs, winners of the 2016 Call of Duty Championships, are the first squad ever to have survived the season following their victory. Previous winning teams have all been disbanded within months of their victory.

While the possibility is there simply because the line-up still exists, EnVy surprised the world at Stage Two by proving that they could actually be a championship contender again. While they ultimately lost the grand final to OpTic Gaming, the boys in blue were perhaps a handful of key kills away from repeating their Stage Two victory of the previous year.

With the squad’s inconsistencies over the season and the number of other teams that potentially pose a threat for the title, it would certainly be an overreaction to label EnVyUs as an outright favorite for this year’s Call of Duty Championships, but it’s suddenly within the realm of possibility that we might have a repeat champion for the first time.


Completing the ascension of Europe.

This year has been a landmark one for European Call of Duty. More teams have placed within the top eight of international events than ever before. Splyce made history by becoming the first EU squad to win a major event on US soil at the Global Pro League Stage One Playoffs. The following event they made the grand final again, while Epsilon joined them in the top three.

Infinite Warfare has undoubtedly seen more European success on the international stage than ever before, it somehow still seems that there’s potential for more. Inconsistencies from various squads over the year have meant that while many have had the potential to make deep runs, they seemed often to take turns hitting good form.

The result is that despite the successes, many still point to shortcomings and argue that Europe’s allocated spots in the Global Pro League, for example, are misplaced. The Call of Duty Championships represents an opportunity for the region to dispel doubts once again, and conclude the season on a high note.

The Best Players. The Greatest Teams. One Championship. Our Time Is Now.

SCUF Affiliate of the Week: Thomas “ZooMaa” Paparratto

This week’s profile looks at FaZe Clan’s Thomas ‘ZooMaa’ Paparratto.



Once derided as primarily an online player, ZooMaa first began to build a name for himself as a Search and Destroy specialist. During Call of Duty Ghosts, he began to transition into playing respawn game modes as well and attending his first events.

Having qualified for Season 2 of the MLG CoD League, ZooMaa’s squad were acquired by Denial. Although the squad qualified for the international playoffs at MLG Anaheim, a last-place finish prompted a major team shuffle, with the squad rebuilt around ZooMaa.

The new team – now featuring prominent pro players Renato ‘Saints’ Forza, James ‘Replays’ Crowder and Jeremy ‘StuDyy’ Astacio, was an instant success, picking up victory at UMG Dallas on their very first outing together. Despite now being surrounded by high-profile names, ZooMaa continued to distinguish himself as a potential superstar.

It was in Advanced Warfare, however, that he completed his ascent to becoming one of Call of Duty’s superstars. After transitioning with Denial into the new season, ZooMaa would move to Team EnVyUs for a stint before finding himself on FaZe Clan.

The first iteration of the FaZe squad challenged the dominant OpTic Gaming in a couple of finals, but didn’t look in much danger of actually toppling them. After losing in the grand finals of the MLG Pro League Season 2 Playoffs, ZooMaa and Ian ‘Enable’ Wyatt teamed up with Denial duo and World Champions James ‘Clayster’ Eubanks and Dillon ‘Attach’ Price.

The squad would go undefeated against the previously indomitable OpTic for the rest of the season, picking up three championships during which ZooMaa himself was praised as one of the best players in the world.

Current team

ZooMaa remains a member of that FaZe Clan squad today, although recently the team have been through their first team change in over two years. Despite their success towards the end Advanced Warfare, the team had a much less successful year on Black Ops 3. Though results picked up noticeably in Infinite Warfare, as the year progressed the team remained without a championship win.

Things finally came to a head after a top-16 finish at CWL Anaheim, and a change had to be made. To some controversy, it was James ‘Clayster’ Eubanks on the chopping block, with Peirce ‘Gunless’ Hillman, one of the rising talents behind eUnited’s success, brought in as a replacement.

The new FaZe roster was unable to pick up its first trophy on its debut, instead coming in at 5th/6th at the Global Pro League Stage Two Playoffs. The squad were arguably unfortunate to run into both eventual grand finalists EnVyUs and OpTic Gaming, but the placement leaves the team still looking to prove themselves as they head into this year’s Call of Duty Championships.


Greatest achievement

With multiple trophies to his name, it’s difficult to isolate a single greatest achievement for ZooMaa. It’s easier to narrow down a time period – between the formation of the FaZe Clan roster that held until recently, and the end of the Advanced Warfare season.

During that time, ZooMaa helped to push his squad to three major championship victories, taking down the god-squad of OpTic Gaming in all three grand finals. ZooMaa was arguably in his prime on an individual level, and the team became the first to ever deny OpTic Gaming of multiple trophies.

If a single event were to be selected, however, it would probably be the Gfinity Summer Championship. Offering a $50,000 first place prize – one of the biggest pay-outs of the year outside of the Call of Duty Championships – it was only the second event the then-new FaZe had competed at.

Having previously won UMG Dallas, the squad were looking to prove that they weren’t a one-hit wonder, that they could go toe-to-toe with OpTic on a consistent basis. The two teams would meet in an epic best-of-seven final in which FaZe came back from a 1-3 deficit to win 4-3. The match was an instant classic, and also the first time OpTic had fallen short at consecutive events since the addition of Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter and Matthew ‘FormaL’ Piper.



In his rise to the top, ZooMaa quickly developed a reputation as one of the fastest players in the game. While he’s experimented with an Assault Rifle at times, ZooMaa is at his best with an SMG in his hands.

Particularly during Advanced Warfare, ZooMaa was a player to get up in the enemy’s face and force as many interactions as possible, making space for his team and drawing attention away from the dominant riflers. In prime form, ZooMaa would become a one-man wrecking ball, not only taking more fights than any other player but winning most of them as well, almost single-handedly forcing back opponents.

In Search and Destroy, he became known for this aggressive behaviour that it practically became a meme: everyone knew the “ZooMaa flank” was coming, but he retained a remarkably high success rate nonetheless.

Today, ZooMaa is a little more conservative in his play, having amassed more experience at the highest level and learnt when it’s better to reign in the aggression.


Public persona

Like almost all Call of Duty professional players, ZooMaa is no stranger to a range of social media sites. His largest following is to be found on Twitter, boasting more than 278,000 followers, though ZooMaa hasn’t dedicated quite so much time to content creation for sites like YouTube and Twitch as some of his fellow competitors. An active Instagram makes up his second most popular account, with over 138,000 followers.

Unlike some, ZooMaa generally isn’t a particularly divisive or controversial figure. Typically coming across as humble and honest in interviews, even those who may support fierce rivals are rarely found with a bad word to say about ZooMaa on a personal level.

SCUF Affiliate of the Week: Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov

This week’s profile features a member of the reigning world champion Team EnVyUs squad – Bryan ‘Apathy’ Zhelyazkov.


Apathy’s rise to prominence came first in the original Call of Duty: Black Ops. Having proven he could compete on LAN, he found himself playing alongside Chris ‘Parasite’ Duarte as part of apex.Collapse, a squad that placed second at MLG Raleigh and finished fourth to round out the year at the MLG National Championship in 2011.

After a solid but unexceptional Black Ops 2 season, Apathy cemented himself among the truly elite on Call of Duty Ghosts. Starting the year with Strictly Business, a few early roster changes built a team that would ultimately be the first to deny compLexity a title, albeit the prize-less Call of Duty Championships NA Qualifier.

His first real trophy came within the same year, after strictly Business had separated but still alongside Doug ‘Censor’ Martin. Apathy had moved to FaZe, where the addition of two World Champions – Chris ‘Parasite’ Duarte and Damon ‘Karma’ Barlow – rounded out an elite squad that collected FaZe Clan’s first ever championship victory at UMG Nashville.


Current team

Since the mid-season of Black Ops 3, Apathy has played for Team EnVyUs. Following his addition to the squad, EnVy rose to become arguably the number one team in the world, appearing in the grand finals of the last three events of the year and winning two, including the Call of Duty Championships.

Since that moment of triumph, however, it’s been a downhill slope for the boys in blue. Though their Infinite Warfare season has seen periodic decent results – a third-place at the CWL Atlanta Open, top six at CWL Dallas – on the whole the team have been unable to live up to their former glory.

The decline culminated recently at the CWL Anaheim Open, where EnVyUs picked up their worst placing in the organisation’s history, a 21st-24th finish. It’s a huge fall from grace and one that certainly raises questions for the team.

EnVyUs defied the expectations of most by escaping a dangerous Group Green in Stage Two of the Global Pro League, assuring themselves a top-eight finish, but there’s still work to do if they are to return to being considered a truly elite team.

However, the source of their recent troubles seems to be largely based in team chemistry – individuals have still shone at times, with Apathy himself having some particularly stand-out series at some events. Whatever the future of the team, nobody is questioning that Apathy remains one of the most dangerous SMG players in the world.


Greatest achievement

There’s no question as to Apathy’s greatest accomplishment in Call of Duty. He’s part of an exclusive group of players to have won the game’s most prestigious trophy – that of the Call of Duty Championships.

In Apathy’s case, it happened to also be the single biggest prize pool in Call of Duty history, but it’s not so much about that. The Call of Duty Championships has always been more about the competition than the money – the chance to own one of those exclusive rings, and call yourself a World Champion.

To do it, Apathy and co had to go through their toughest opponent – OpTic Gaming – in the very first round of bracket play. Having pulled off the victory, from there the team cruised through the winner bracket, ultimately beating Splyce in the grand finals.



Apathy made his name as a fast-paced, high-impact SMG player. For many of his teams, he is the first point of contact, the sharp tip of the spear.

While at times over the years consistency has perhaps kept him out of the conversation for the best SMG in the world, Apathy always has a dominant game in him. When Apathy is on form he’s explosive, capable of taking over single-handedly and dictating the game.

The value of a player who poses such a threat is the room he creates for his team mates. When Apathy explodes, he’s a one-man wrecking ball, but the rest of the time he’s still drawing disproportionate attention from his opponents.

Whether or not they survive his attack, Apathy’s aim is to give the enemy no room to breathe – if he can’t take care of them himself, it still becomes all the easier for the rest of his squad to clean up.

Public persona

Often found with a smile on his face, Apathy often comes across as one of the more light-hearted professional players. Easy-going and likeable, Apathy has built a solid fanbase of supporters.

While he may not match the astronomical numbers of those players who have had extended tenure under the likes of the OpTic or FaZe brands, Apathy nevertheless tweets to more than 211,000 followers, streams to nearly 50,000 followers and occasionally uploads for his 96,000 YouTube subscribers.


SCUF Affiliate of the Week: Tyler “Ninja” Blevins

This week’s profile takes a look at one of Halo’s most prominent ambassadors, Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins.

Original photo by David Doran (


There are likely very few people who have played quite as much Halo as Ninja. Having picked up the very first game in the franchise on the day of release and dedicating almost every available minute in the years since to the series, it’s not outlandish to suggest that Ninja might have played more Halo than almost anyone else on the planet.

Despite falling in love with the game on day one, it wouldn’t be until Halo 3 that Ninja discovered team competition. GameBattles would open the door for him, and through it he would eventually start competing at Major League Gaming LAN events.

It wasn’t until Halo: Reach, however, that Ninja really began to make a name for himself. He would place fifth at the MLG D.C. Combine, a tournament specifically geared towards exposure for up-and-coming amateurs. Not long after, Ninja would find himself playing alongside some of Halo’s most legendary names, competing for Final Boss, playing alongside Dave ‘Walshy’ Walsh in Turning Point, and playing for Str8 Rippin’. Today, Ninja can count himself among them as one of Halo’s most prominent players.


Current team

Having closed out 2016 with Evil Geniuses, at the start of the new year Ninja found himself a new home under Luminosity’s banner. A staple of the upper echelons, the squad have picked up consistent top-eight and top-six placements since Ninja’s addition.

One such top-six finish came at this year’s Halo World Championship, where the squad were unfortunate to fall in the path of both eventual champions OpTic Gaming and runners-up Team EnVyUs.

Halo isn’t the only game in which Ninja has competed for Luminosity, however. In recent years he’s also turned his hand to H1Z1, participating in several of the game’s more high-profile events, such as the H1Z1: Fight for the Crown at which he placed third as part of a Luminosity team, and the H1Z1 Invitational in 2015, where he won one of the solo games.


Career highlight

Ninja’s first championship, and his most successful season, would come during Halo 4. The inaugural event for the game would take place a few days before official release, at the MLG Fall Championship in 2012. Playing for Warriors, Ninja would win the tournament, taking down future OpTic Gaming Call of Duty star Matthew ‘FormaL’ Piper’s Ambush in the finals.

If there were any doubts about the legitimacy of the Ninja’s first win, given that it came so early into the new game’s lifecycle that it hadn’t even been released yet, Ninja would put those doubts to rest over the rest of the season.  

With several different rosters, Ninja would continue to collect high placements for the game’s duration, appearing in several grand finals and collecting two further titles.


Every player has a unique perspective on how they play the game and Ninja is no different, with a recognizable and distinct playstyle. An incredibly talented player mechanically, he doesn’t shy away from risky situations or avoid conflict. Instead he seeks it out, pushing the pace of a game and forcing the opposing team to constantly be reacting to his movement around the map.

This forces the other team to focus on him and play his game while freeing up space for his teammates to get to the positions they’d like to control.

He has the ability to completely dominate a game against even some of the highest-level opponents when he is performing at his peak. His ability to use the sniper rifle is comparable with any of the greats currently in the game while his aggression with the weapon can catch opposing teams off guard.

While such a play style naturally comes with its risks, it makes Ninja one of the most entertaining players to watch on the circuit.

Public persona

Many professional players stay away from regular match-making, fearing the development of bad habits by playing against less skilled opponents that won’t punish mistakes in the same way as fellow pro’s. However, as Halo’s most popular streaming figure for the past half a decade, Ninja has done the opposite. Instead he has always taken his role as an entertainer and ambassador of Halo very seriously and dedicated himself to streaming and making content.

It is incredibly unique to be such a popular figure amongst casual fans while simultaneously being a legitimate professional talent, yet that is the position Ninja is in. Thousands of people tune in to support his matches and it’s no wonder why. His engagement with the fans outside of the game has helped build a community around Halo, while his exciting play style in game makes him a very enjoyable player to watch.

As a result Ninja has thrived, building up a Twitch following of more than 475,000, while amassing nearly 100,000 Twitter followers and over 130,000 YouTube subscribers.

SCUF Affiliate of the Week: Sam “Octane” Larew

This week’s profile takes a look at one of the best players in the world right now – Luminosity super-star and CWL Anaheim MVP Sam ‘Octane’ Larew.



Octane’s is one of the more interesting origin stories in Call of Duty. The star of today might never have realized his potential, had a friend not asked him to join their team for UMG St Louis in 2013. Octane had never considered playing competitively before, but decided to give it a go.

It was an inauspicious start to his career. An unexceptional event ended in a top-17 placement, and Octane was summarily dropped – while still at the event. Hardly the explosive arrival you might expect of a player who would one day be considered one of the best in the world.

Nevertheless, it was enough that Octane evidently caught the competitive bug. It would be in Advanced Warfare that his career would begin to gather momentum, working his way into the ranks of the elite. He’d close out the season as a member of a formidable Team EnVyUs squad, but with the dominance of the OpTic Gaming, Denial and FaZe Clan rosters throughout the season, Octane was unable to find his first championship win.

That would be rectified quickly on Black Ops 3. Joining up with a new team under Rise Nation, Octane’s first trophy was technically at the often-dismissed Totino’s Invitational. To prove they could do it in a more competitive environment, Octane and Rise would win the next event of the season as well, UMG South Carolina.

For the first half of the year, Rise went toe-to-toe with the formidable OpTic Gaming, the two teams a clear step ahead of the rest of the field. During this time, Octane was praised as one of the best players in the world, but the success wouldn’t last. Both Rise Nation’s results and Octane’s personal performance began to dip a little, and it wouldn’t be until the second half of Infinite Warfare – now playing under Luminosity – that he returned to full strength.

Now, however, we’re seeing Octane at perhaps his greatest ever, a huge factor in Luminosity’s success of late and a strong contender to be the best player in the world.


Current team

Due in no small part to Octane’s form as one of the best players in the world, his current team – Luminosity – are arguably the strongest squad in the world right now.

The team still features three of the four members of Octane’s Rise Nation roster from Black Ops 3. At the start of Infinite Warfare, Josiah ‘Slacked’ Berry, Nicholas ‘Classic’ DiConstanzo and Octane parted ways with Rise to join Renato ‘Saints’ Forza under the Luminosity banner.

On paper, it was always a fearsome proposition, but the squad stuggled to find the success their roster should have been capable of early in the season, notably underperforming in Search and Destroy.

Finally, nearly six months after Infinite Warfare’s release, Luminosity began to figure out their deficiencies – and at perhaps the perfect time. Coinciding with a surge in form for Octane himself, the team made it all the way to the grand finals of the Global Pro League Stage One Playoffs – the biggest event of the year so far.

They would ultimately fall to Splyce at Stage One, but Luminosity would take their first trophy just a few weeks later at the CWL Anaheim Open, with revenge against Splyce in the grand final as a cherry on top.

Now, Luminosity are one of the most formidable teams in the world as the season hits its apex. With the $700,000 Stage Two of the Global Pro League underway and the $1.5million Call of Duty Championships to follow closely, Octane and co might have peaked at exactly the right moment.


Greatest achievement

Octane’s greatest achievement is also his most recent – victory at the CWL Anaheim Open.

For Octane, the win at CWL Anaheim didn’t just mean a trophy. It meant a triumphant return to the top for a player who had been too long without a title. It meant pushing his team into the number one spot by the rankings of most observers.

In picking up the MVP trophy, it meant establishing himself as arguably the greatest player in the world right now. In their fortune to face Splyce in the grand finals once more, it meant revenge for the Stage One title that Luminosity were denied.

Critically for Luminosity, Octane’s phenomenal form hasn’t come exclusively in respawn modes, the more typical domain for exceptionally talented slayers. In fact, Octane has also been the driving force behind Luminosity’s surge in Search and Destroy results, the change which has taken them from a good team to perhaps the best in the world.

In Anaheim, Octane led the way for the team in SnD, putting up a 1.38 kill/death ratio across the event and an immense 0.90 kills per round on average. The performance helped Luminosity to a 64% win rate in the mode – their highest to date. It’s no accident that such a performance coincided with the team’s first trophy on Infinite Warfare, and it’s yet another reason that Anaheim stands as Octane’s greatest accomplishment to date.



Octane’s rise came initially as a stereotypical Assault Rifle player – turret-like, with impeccable aim and at his best when set up and offered a shooting gallery of opponents to eliminate.

The best players in the world, however, have never quite been “stereotypical” anything – it takes something special to earn that distinction, something beyond what even other great players are capable of.

Even amongst other greats, Octane can still distinguish himself by his aim – right now, his gun skill is at a peak matched by maybe no other player. Perhaps the more important factor, however, is the impact Octane is capable of making as a play-maker – a role usually reserved for SMG stars.

As a primary AR, Octane’s position is traditionally a fairly static one, but he has managed to add a dynamic element to his repertoire that makes him even more dangerous. While he undoubtedly benefits from and utilizes well strong positioning, Octane’s ability to go on the offensive, or improvise to deadly effect when a perfect set-up isn’t possible, are part of what has separated him as one of the best and most dangerous players in the world.


Public Persona

Being the best player in the world is usually a sure way to earn at least some grudging respect, but there’s no guarantee that in-game success translates into popularity. When you represent one of the largest barriers standing in the way of the immensely popular OpTic Gaming, it can be even harder to find fans.

Even in such a circumstance, Octane manages to be an immensely popular star. Easy-going and humble, he’s earned nothing but support during his time in the spotlight, while his willingness to interact with fans and the general community arguably makes him one of the more relatable players in spite of his super-star status.

Having never played under the likes of OpTic or FaZe, and never having dedicated large amounts of time to content creation, Octane boasts a relatively modest 52,000 Twitter followers. As he continues to shine at the biggest events of the year, however, it seems inevitable that Octane’s fanbase will only continue to grow.

Watch Octane Tell His Story On SCUF’s Living Esports

SCUF Affiliate of the Week: Jeremy “StuDyy” Astacio

This week’s profile takes a look at Jeremy ‘StuDyy’ Astacio. Once a young talent looking to break into the established elite, StuDyy has now competed at the professional level for four years, and made his mark on the game along the way.



Though his career wouldn’t hit full swing until the following year, StuDyy first began to draw attention on Black Ops 2. Most notable was his performance at MLG Anaheim in June 2013, one of the few events he attended in the season, at which he played for the Conquer squad that eliminated Call of Duty Championships finalists EnVyUs in 9th-12th place.

His real breakout season, however, would be Call of Duty: Ghosts. At the very first event for the new game, MLG Columbus in November 2013, he played for a JusTus squad that ultimately placed 3rd/4th, eliminating both OpTic Gaming and EnVyUs along the way.

Having been eliminated twice by a rising star, EnVyUs would ultimately decide that, as they apparently couldn’t beat him, they would join him – or rather, ask him to join them. Having landed a place under the prestigious organisation, under the tutelage of Raymond ‘Rambo’ Lussier, StuDyy would become the tip of the spear that led the team to yet another Call of Duty Championships grand final.


Current Team

Recently, StuDyy has found himself presented with a new challenge. Having parted ways with Evil Geniuses following Stage One of the Global Pro League, StuDyy may once again have to work his way back into the elite.

To do so, he’s joined up with a roster of similar intentions. Richard ‘Ricky’ Stacy is in a similar position, having played on Cloud9 in Stage One. Jonathan ‘SinfuL’ Baez started Infinite Warfare strong with a fourth-place at CWL Vegas under Team Allegiance, but failed to replicate the result going forward. Finally, Brandon ‘Dashy’ Otell is a young talent, much like StuDyy was earlier in his career, looking to break out for the very first time.

For their crusade to break into the upper tiers of Call of Duty, the team are representing a historic name from Halo – Str8 Rippin.

The team’s first outing at CWL Anaheim was a moderate success. Although a top-20 finish might not have been ideal, for a brand-new line-up starting in the increasingly tough open bracket it’s certainly a sufficient start.

Anaheim was, however, a mere warm-up for this squad. Now, they’ll be looking to the tournament that really matters – qualifying for, and performing at, the Call of Duty Championships.


Greatest achievement

For StuDyy, it’s easy to pinpoint a greatest achievement – it is undoubtedly the role he played in the epic run of Team EnVyUs to reach the Call of Duty Championships grand final in 2014.

The placement itself is one that few will ever manage – second place at the most competitive and prestigious event of the year is an impressive achievement in its own right. What makes EnVy’s second-place particularly memorable compared to the stories of other runners-up over the years, however, is the nature of their path to do so.

The team made it out of their group in first place – albeit slightly fortuitously, having come out on top of a three-way tie – but in the very first round they would come up against Strictly Business, the number one seed out of the North American qualifier. The team were sent to the lower bracket immediately, and an early exit seemed inevitable.

Their first two series of the lower bracket would be against Team Kaliber and Epsilon, both incredibly formidable opponents and both of which went to a fifth map before EnVy clinched it. Having survived that challenge, StuDyy and co stormed all the way back to the grand final, taking the longest possible route and going through both Strictly Business and OpTic Gaming along the way.

Despite their ultimate loss to the indomitable compLexity in the grand final, EnVy put on one of the greatest lower bracket runs of all time, and their performance remains one of the great stories in Call of Duty to this day.



As with many players who have competed over multiple years – and particularly those whose breakout came prior to the paradigm shift that Advanced Warfare brought – StuDyy has played multiple roles over the years.

During his time with EnVyUs, and arguably at his peak, StuDyy was a fast-paced slayer, the first-point-of-contact player who made space for the rest of his team. A particular trait of that era was his sniper specialism, often opting for a scoped weapon in Search and Destroy and wreaking havoc with first bloods.

In more recent years, however, StuDyy has stepped back from the primary star position he occupied in his prime. As the game shifts, so too must players, and StuDyy has learnt to become a more supportive player, reaping less individual glory perhaps but nevertheless playing a vital role and helping his team to victory.

Public persona

Like the vast majority pro players, StuDyy is no stranger to social media. Over the course of his career, he’s amassed a sizeable Twitter following of more than 185,000.

In a recent profile by MLG for the Call of Duty World League, StuDyy opened up about a tough childhood, and the impact the game has had on his life, giving a little more insight into the man behind the screen.

Unlike some, StuDyy has not opted to focus on developing a YouTube channel, instead focusing solely on streaming to some 51,000 Twitch followers. On air, StuDyy typically comes across as lively and energetic, a player who genuinely loves and revels in the fact that he is able to play Call of Duty for a living.

SCUF Affiliate of the Week: Alastair “Ali-A” Aiken

This week’s affiliate profile takes a look at the man behind the largest and most-viewed Call of Duty YouTube channel in the world – Alastair ‘Ali-A’ Aiken.



Like many who explode in popularity on a given platform, YouTube included, Ali-A worked years to become an “overnight success”, of a sort. Uploading his first videos as far back as 2009, it wasn’t until 2013 that he reached his first 1 million subscribers.

That proved to be something of a critical mass for Ali, however, and within the same year he had more than tripled that number. Less than two years later, it had doubled again to a massive six million subscribers.

Today, Ali-A is one of the biggest gaming channels on YouTube, boasting an audience of 8.8 million subs. Frequently found on social media, Ali-A also tweets and posts Instagram photos to more than two million people on each site.


Call of Duty fanatic

When Ali-A was on his own rise to popularity, Call of Duty was the game to play. At its peak, Call of Duty was one of the biggest entertainment franchises on the planet, and it didn’t just dominate gaming itself, but gaming content as well.

Times change, however, and in recent years many of Ali-A’s contemporaries have moved on from Call of Duty, playing it sporadically at best and producing more content around alternative titles or real-life videos.

A cynical viewer might see such evolution as view-chasing, the more charitable may recognise that tastes change, and that includes content-creators themselves – either way, it’s not an accusation that could ever be levelled at Ali-A.

A genuine love of the game that made him famous is as evident today as it ever was, with his primary channel still providing daily Call of Duty content to his enormous audience.


Above and beyond the Call

That said, naturally Call of Duty isn’t Ali’s only pass-time. As a gamer, he naturally enjoys a variety of games, and as an entertainer his audience are naturally interested in the man behind the content.

To share these sorts of things with those that are interested, Ali-A has created a second channel which has developed its own sizeable following – more than 4.5 million subscribers. There, Ali posts a variety of content, frequently including Pokémon GO, vlogs, and appearances from girlfriend and fellow YouTuber Clare Siobhan.


Outside the game

Though gaming takes up a significant amount of Ali-A’s time and content, the platform it’s given him has allowed him opportunities beyond his natural field.

As a Call of Duty personality and internet celebrity, Ali-A has appeared at a number of events, including those in esports. As well as appearing at a handful of tournaments over the years as part of a broadcast, Ali presented an award at the inaugural Esports Industry Awards last year.

Ali’s popularity has even brought him opportunities beyond gaming entirely. It was announced this year that the YouTube star would be writing a graphic novel, starring himself as the chief character, to be published by Puffin and Random House Children’s Books.

SCUF Affiliate of the Week: Dylan “Theory” McGee

This week’s profile takes a look at Team Kaliber’s Dylan ‘Theory’ McGee.



Theory is one of the few pros that didn’t take long to reach the dizzying heights at the top of the scene. He kicked off the Black Ops 2 season in considerable fashion and almost immediately after finding his way onto the vVv roster, had landed 3rd place at MLG Winter Championship and a top 8 finish at the 2013 Call of Duty Championships.

From there, Theory linked up with the newly formed Team Kaliber where he has spent the vast, vast majority of his Call of Duty career, minus a few brief cameos for other established outfits.

Current Team

While no one would claim that the current iteration of Team Kaliber is the best ever, there’s certainly some potential in the ranks. Having gone into hiding after a bizarre and unfortunate series of events largely contributed to the team unfortunately missing out on last year’s CWL Stage Two, Team Kaliber returned at the eleventh hour of Black Ops 3 to make a notable cameo and snatch top 12 at last year’s Championships.

Heading into the new year and many believed that Team Kaliber would have a launch pad with which to start their new era. Unfortunately, after a decent start where the team achieved top 16, tK’s ambitions have been somewhat thwarted by having begin each Major tournament in the Open Bracket.

Despite tough runs at almost every subsequent event post Vegas, Team Kaliber have continually been knocking on the door but have fallen just short. In Paris the team had two opportunities to break into the Championship Bracket but were defeated in each instance. In both Dallas and Atlanta, Team Kaliber did reach the latter stages but were eliminated by European opposition – Supremacy and Fnatic respectively.

This has all added up to a frustrating season for a team packed with genuine potential. Having just missed out on a spot in Stage One Relegation, the team will look ahead to Anaheim where they’ll make their debut appearance since switching ColeChan for Accuracy.

On current form at least, Theory and Team Kaliber are very much on course to snatch up a place at this year’s Championships, where they’ll look to show the scene what they’re really made of on the biggest stage.


Career Highlight

While Theory has moved about occasionally, he’s largely been a Team Kaliber player over the course of his playing career. His sustained quality has led Theory to be an ever-present at Call of Duty Championship events over the years, achieving top 8 on two occasions along the way.

Arguably though his career highlight was during the latter stages of Black Ops 2 and the earlier stages of Call of Duty Ghosts. It was during this period that Team Kaliber were at their pinnacle and had it not been for the incredible quality of compLexity – a team whose dominance hasn’t since been matched – Theory would likely have won at least one Major title.

Unfortunately, playing in the era of the most dominant team ever left Theory empty handed on the Major title front; he did however win a Minor offline competition in the form of AEL Dallas 2014 upon return to Team Kaliber after a hiatus with FaZe.

At their peak, Team Kaliber earned second place finishes at the MLG Fall Championship 2013, UMG Philadelphia 2013 and a top 3 finish at Gfinity 2. Had Theory not made the move to FaZe Clan when he did, arguably he could have been a catalyst to finally land a first-place finish for Team Kaliber as compLexity started to run out of steam. Coincidentally, by the time Theory did return, Team Kaliber themselves had gone somewhat off the boil and finished the season empty handed anyway.



Theory has long been associated with being an objective player. While he leans towards a more aggressive style of play, his understanding of the fundamentals is what has led him to being a top player for many years and has kept his stock high for such a prolonged period of his career.

His cool and collected demeanor translates to both inside and outside of Call of Duty, helping his team keep a level headedness at important moments in time. Fundamentally, Theory is better suited to boots on the ground Call of Duty, as his career statistics show. Despite still enjoying success during the ‘jetpack era,’ look out for Theory to have a big year when CoD returns to boots on the ground action later in 2017.


Public Persona

Theory has never been a particularly outspoken pro and tends to remain reserved and professional regardless of the situation. On Twitter Theory has amassed almost 60K followers, but has largely shunned the limelight, despite opportunities to boost his own profile.

As a former member of the Team Kaliber house, Theory regularly appeared in videos with housemates including Sharp and Kosdff, but never used the opportunity to launch his own YouTube channel with regular content. Theory is an occasional streamer but that’s where his content production ends. Theory, unlike many of his counterparts, is a dedicated player first and foremost.

Learn More About Theory In His Own Words With SCUF Living Esports