GTA’s Adversary Mode, Injustice 2 Beta, and MORE!

2017 is well underway with a whole host of excellent games set for release this year. Here are our picks of the biggest stories for the last seven weeks in gaming.

GTA Introduce New Adversary Mode

It’s 2017 and GTA Online continues to deliver new experiences to their users. This week that experience is a new adversary mode. In the newest addition to the GTA library, players battle it out in teams of 2 or 4 to collect points in the forms of bags of money. The winner is the team with the most bags of money when the time runs out. As well as the new adversary mode, there’s a new custom car, premium race and a host of discounts available.

Resident Evil 7 Season Pass Announced

Details of the contents of the RE7 Season Pass were released this week, including the chapters that will be made available. The three downloads are entitled ‘Banned Footage Vol. 1,’ ‘Banned Footage Vol. 2,’ and Additional Story Episode. While the cards are being held close to Capcom’s chest, fans won’t have to wait all that long for all three to be revealed, as an announcement on Steam confirms that all three downloads will be released this year. The price of the Season Pass is also yet to be announced. The full game will be available to buy 24th January.

Half-Life 3 Still Not Happening

There’s been plenty of buzz around Gabe Newell’s AMA. The Valve co-founder took to Reddit to answer fan questions, several of which unsurprisingly included the possibility of Half-Life 3. While such a release hasn’t been completely ruled out, at the present time it looks unlikely to take shape. Instead, Newell confirmed the team was focusing on Single Player games. Gabe Newell did confirm that the JJ Abrams Half Life film project is still in the works.

Overwatch tease Year of the Rooster Event

The team behind Overwatch has teased what seems to be a Chinese New Year event, set to be revealed further later this month. Part of the reveal includes what seems to be new skins for characters D.Va. and Mei. 2016 saw Overwatch fans treated to a number of new maps and characters, the latter of which were slowly revealed to fans through a series of encrypted messages.

Injustice 2 Beta Announced

Fans of Injustice can now sign up to the BETA of the sequel to get their first taste of the game before the official release in May. The DC Comics based fighting game is set to launch in May of this year, with three packages being available to buy. As well as the Standard package, fans can also buy Deluxe and Ultimate editions of the title.

 

The SCUF News in Esports: January 4th – 10th

It’s a new year and a new chapter in the esports calendar. With the CWL heating up ahead of a busy event period, we take a look at the biggest talking points of the past 7 days in console esports.

ESWC Winter Boasts $100K Prize Pool

$100,000 will be up for grabs at ESWC Winter in Paris, France February 17th – 19th . 96 teams are expected to attend, including the world’s premier Call of Duty teams. Significant Pro Points are up for grabs, as well as the substantial prize fund; one of the largest ever awarded in Europe.

The competition will take place at the Paris Expo at Porte de Versailles, the usual home of the annual Paris Games Week. Team Passes and Spectator Tickets are both for sale right now from ESWC, so grab yours now before they sell out!

CWL Atlanta Details Released

Following on from the IW kick off tournament MLG Vegas, CWL Atlanta is the next stop on the NA World League circuit. $200,000 will be on the line in Atlanta, February 10th – 12th and one week before ESWC Winter in Paris, France.

As well as the Open Bracket, 10 North American teams and 6 European teams will automatically qualify to start their tournament in Pool Play – essentially bypassing the brutally unforgiving Open Bracket. 160 teams are expected to attend in total.

The Pro Points cut off for the tournament has been confirmed as January 30th , and will therefore incorporate the results of CWL London (details below).

CWL London Announced – Hosted by Gfinity

Europe’s CWL calendar gets truly underway this month, as the 16 top ranked teams will head to the Gfinity Arena for CWL London.

$25,000 will be up for grabs to the 16 attending teams, as well as a host of Pro Points which should have the final say on which 6 teams secure their place in the Pool Play at MLG Atlanta.

The 16 teams will be decided from the existing Pro Points rankings, with Splyce, Infused, and Elevate currently leading the way, thanks largely to their final placements in Las Vegas last year.

The tournament will take place January 28th – 29th in London, England.

FaZe win the NA 2K Tournament

After taking home third place at MLG Vegas, FaZe significantly added to their Pro Points tally by winning last weekend’s, beating eUNITED in the Final. A 3-2 victory over eUNITED saw FaZe Clan to the 2K title, having defeated Luminosity and EnVyUs en route.

The reward for FaZe was all important Pro Points, earning a lofty 2,000 for their finish, while eUNITED earned 1,200 for themselves.

Echo Fox and Luminosity split top 4 honours, while OpTic Gaming, Rise Nation, EnVyUs and Team Kaliber all placed top 8, earning 400 Pro Points a piece.

Orbit win the EU 2K Tournament

Over in Europe it was Orbit who took home the 2K title over Supremacy. Having finished 2nd at the Playstation Experience, Orbit found life at MLG Vegas much tougher and surprisingly failed to make it out of the brutal Open Bracket which also claimed the tournament life of Epsilon – COD XP’s fourth place finishers.

Orbit’s route to the title included victories over Elevate EU and Infused. Elevate EU and Aware Gaming EU split the top 4 spots, while Splyce surprisingly settled for a top 8 finish following defeat against Aware EU 3-2.

Orbit, Elevate, Infused, and Splyce are all expected to qualify in the top 16 for this month’s CWL London.

The SCUF Week In Gaming: Oct. 26th to Nov. 1st

With more exciting news this week, including some extra details on the launch of the next Call of Duty, we take a look back at the biggest stories from the past seven days.

Infinite Warfare Post-Beta Changes

A Reddit post outlined changes that are going to be made when Infinite Warfare is officially released as a full game. Major changes include tweaks to each category of weapon thanks to the goldmine of data received from the beta; changes to perks and rig traits; modifications to spawns that look to be ongoing; reduced speed of health regeneration; changes to matchmaking works; time to kill amendments and much more.

The entire Reddit post can be found here.

Gears DLC Released

If you’re a season pass holder, then you can get your hands on two new Gears 4 multiplayer maps today. The Coalition vowed to regularly release new maps and true to their word, they’re going live with two new gameplay arenas. The first two available are remakes of classic maps from Gears of War 3, Drydock and Checkout, while completely new maps will be made available on a monthly basis. If you’re not a season pass holder then you’ll have to wait until November 8th before you can get your hands on the new content.

Rainbow Six Siege Japan DLC Teaser

An image Tweeted by Rainbow Six developers Ubisoft, along with the phrase “the time has come” (written in Japanese), suggests that the game’s final DLC isn’t all that far away. This Tweet follows last week’s supposedly leaked footage from Twitter user @JonKay20 that appeared to show gameplay from the new map set in Japan. There is currently no official release date for the DLC pack.

You can see the Ubisoft Twitter post here:

The gameplay footage can be found here:

Hitman Also Heading to Japan

Like Rainbow Six players, Hitman fans will also head to Japan for the final Agent 47 DLC pack. Unlike Rainbow Six fans, there is to be no cryptic teaser at this point. The pack is now available to get your hands on to complete the final chapter of the episodic Hitman epic. Unsure about whether this DLC pack is for you? Check out the teaser trailer to whet your appetite.

Halloween Game Events

To celebrate the holiday period, a number of popular games have added Halloween themed game events to their releases. In a previous piece we covered Halloween changes to Rocket League and Overwatch, but elsewhere games like GTA Online, Pokémon GO and even Counter Strike: Global Offensive have been getting in on the act. Rockstar went all out for their GTA Online Halloween event, including launching an Angels vs Devils mode; a twist on the Lost vs Damned mode where players are rewarded depending on the time of day. There were also a host of other bonuses available.

Haunting.

The SCUF Week in eSports: Sept. 29th – Oct. 6th

Here are this week’s top stories from the last seven days in the eSports scene.

UMG Orlando 2016 Cancelled

Unfortunately, with Hurricane Matthew heading towards Floridian shores, UMG had to make the tough decision to cancel their Call of Duty event this weekend in the interest of player safety. Taking to their website, UMG wrote:

“It is with regret that we announce that due to the hurricane that is anticipated hit Florida this weekend, UMG Orlando has been cancelled.

“Regardless of the financial losses, which not hosting the event exposes us to, we felt the safety of our community was obviously far more important.

“For UMG, the community comes first over everything.

“In due course we will be refunding all team passes and attendee passes.

“Our thoughts are with the people of Florida and all people impacted by this storm front, we hope you stay safe.”

Gears 4 Launch Invitational Teams

With Gears 4 on the horizon, the teams have been finalized for the first major tournament. The Gears 4 MLG Launch Invitational will take place at the MLG Arena in Columbus, Ohio on October 22nd , with $25,000 up for grabs over the course of the weekend. Six American teams – OpTic Gaming, EUnited, EnVyUS, eLevate, NRG, and Enigma6 – will be joined by Latin American Splyce and Australian Mindfreak in the 8 team showdown. Notably, Europe will be unrepresented in the competition after controversy led to the qualifying team being removed from the tournament and replaced by North Americans Enigma6.

Callum ‘Swanny’ Swan Announces Return

Swanny, one of Europe’s most decorated players, was forced to pull out of Call of Duty XP at the last minute following an unexpected illness. Millenium instead played with MiRx at this year’s World Championship but question marks still remained about Swanny and his Call of Duty future. This week, the Stage 2 Champion took to his private Twitter to reassure fans and thank them for their concern. He said:

Paris Saint-Germaine Esports Team Coming Soon

Yet another major sports team are set to join the eSports arms race, with news that French football team PSG will launch their own competitive gaming division in the near future. The announcement came as part of a bigger release that included news of ESWC being acquired by Webedia, the company behind prominent French esports team Millenium. The exact details of the PSG esports team are yet to be announced, but a brief release promised, “you will soon see the teams ‘Paris Saint-Germain eSports’, wearing the same jersey like the players of the football team.”.

Team Dignitas Acquired by Philadelphia 76ers

On a day when news broke that Team Liquid had been acquired by a consortium that already owned two basketball teams, Team Dignitas announced that they had been purchased by NBA team the Philadelphia 76ers. Also part of the deal is the acquisition of the Apex LCS team, who will merge into the Dignitas brand going forward. Dignitas have a long-standing history in both the PC and console esports scenes, supporting teams in Halo, Gears of War, Call of Duty and FIFA, among others, over the years.

The SCUF Week In Gaming: September 26th — 30th

It’s Friday so that means another wrap up of this week in video games. Here we take a look at the biggest stories of the past week. Here are our picks.

Are you ready for the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Full Beta?

On October 14th Playstation 4 players will be able to get their hands on the full beta of the new Call of Duty for the first time, running until October 17th. When the Beta reopens on the 21st, it will be available to both PS4 plays and Xbox One players until the 24th. The beta is currently only available to players who have pre-ordered the game or can get their hands on a beta code. Fans were able to get hands on with Infinite Warfare for the first time as part of Call of Duty XP. The full game is due for release in November.

Details Release of Battlefield 1 Five Mini-Campaigns

EA and Dice this week have revealed more info on Battlefield 1’s five ‘War Stories’ that make up the game’s campaign. The five levels are as follows:

 Friends in High Places: Take to the skies over the western front in the cockpit of a British fighter plane against German aces.

 Nothing is Written: You’ll take control of a Bedouin warrior fighting alongside Lawrence of Arabia, taking on technologically superior Ottoman Empire forces.

 Through Mud and Blood: You’ll join a tank crew driving an unreliable Mark V as the British forces prepare for a mass assault on the town of Cambrai, France.

 Avanti Savoia: Here you’ll take part in mountain battle between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian Empire clashing over a strategic fort.

 The Runner: Finally, ‘The Runner’ will put you in the shoes of an Anzac runner on the D-Day of World War 1.

Battlefield 1 is set for release October 21st and will be available on Playstation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows PCs.

GTA Online Bikes DLC Release Date Announced

The exciting new Bikers DLC for GTA Online now has a release date, with fans only having to wait until October 4th to get their hands on the latest major free DLC. In the new content you’ll be able to run your own motorcycle club, with players being able to join as a Prospect and work their way up to the top rank of Club President. There’ll also be a whole host of new bikes, weapons, missions and more.

Hitman – Episode 5: Colorado Out Now

The fifth episode of the latest Hitman, set in Colorado, was released to the public this week. Colorado has a different feel to the previous four episodes, in that you’re operating in hostile territory rather than in a public space, forcing the player to better utilize stealth. If you want to get a sneak peak of the action, the following trailer will wet your appetite.

Portal Movie Teased by JJ Abrams

Finally, this week we have seen the first signs of movement with the rumored Half-Life and/or Portal movie(s) with Star Wars and Star Trek director, JJ Abrams, at the helm. Speaking to IGN at the recent Westworld premiere, Abrams said, “We have a meeting coming up next week with Valve, we’re very active, I’m hoping that there will be a Portal announcement fairly soon. We are having some really interesting discussions with writers, many of whom…once you said you’re doing a movie or show about a specific thing that is a known quantity you start to find people who are rabid about these things.”

The SCUF Week in Video Gaming: Sept. 20th – 26th

It’s Friday, so that means we’re taking a look at the goings-on from across the video gaming world this week. Here are our top stories from the last seven days.

Rocket League Set for October Update

October will see a new update to Rocket League entitled ‘Aquadome’ and will include a water-themed arena. Two new DLC Battle-cars – Proteus and Triton – will release at the same time, available for purchase at $1.99. Rocket League recently released their September DLC pack which included a new mode called Rumble.

Battlefield 1 Maps Announced

The entire map list for Battlefield 1 has been revealed. As well as Sinai Desert, which is playable in the beta, the following maps will be available out the box:

 Ballroom Blitz

 Argonne Forest

 Fao Fortress

 Suez

 The St. Quentin Scar

 Amiens

 Monte Grappa

 Empire’s Edge

The game also ships with a variety of modes familiar to regular Battlefield players, including Conquest, Domination, Operations, Rush, War Pigeons and Team Deathmatch. The full game is set for release 21 st October. Not only that, the first DLC map has also been announced and is due for release, for free, in December. The free map will be called Giant’s Shadow.

Street Fighter 5 Getting New Character

Street Fighter 5 players on PS4 and PC can now take advantage of a new major update. The patch introduces ‘vs CPU’ mode to SFV for the first time, enabling you to take on an A.I. opponent – a mode that bizarrely didn’t ship with the game. Perhaps more excitingly, you can now get your hands on a new playable character, Urien, the Vice President of the Illuminati. You can download Urien from the relevant market place, or you’ll receive the character for free if you’re a season pass holder. The update also includes a number of new KO options across the different maps, while premium costumes are also available to buy.

GTA Online Bikers Update

GTA Online is the gift that just keeps on giving and the next major expansion is just around the corner. This most recent update is focused around motorbikes, giving players the opportunity to run their own motorcycle club. The update will even introduce a hierarchy, where perspective members can progress through the ranks from prospect right the way up to club president. There’s also set to be a number of new modes for both cooperative and competitive gameplay, as well as a host of bikes, tats and motorbike club-themed weapons. If you want to live life in the fast lane on two wheels, this is the update for you.

TwitchCon Update

As TwitchCon edges closer, Twitch has made more major announcements about new features added to the show. Firstly, Twitch have announced ‘The Party,’ headlined by regular streamer and world famous DJ, Steve Aoki, supported by T-Pain and Darude. TwitchCon will also feature an area for eSports battles which will host a number of competitive tournaments aimed at both amateurs and pro-gamers.

If you just want to relax and watch some eSports then you’re also in luck, as the event will feature a dedicated eSports viewing lounge. Attendees can also enjoy a scavenger hunt over the course of the weekend, or tap into their creative side and do a paint-along with Bob Ross. What more could you want? TwitchCon takes place September 30th – October 2nd at the San Diego Convention Center.

The SCUF Week in eSports: Sept. 13th – 20th

This week in eSports we’ve had major competitions get underway in Gears of War and Halo, while the Call of Duty off-season has begun in Europe. Here are the biggest stories of the past seven days.

Gears 4 Launch Invitational Teams Finalized

With the conclusion of the online qualifiers, the 8 teams heading to Columbus, Ohio for the $25,000 MLG run finals have been decided. Included in the list are Australian’s Mindfreak, France’s Vitality and Mexico’s Splyce as the only non-North American sides competing in the tournament. Joining them will be five NA sides, including Team EnVyUs and OpTic Gaming who will continue their much storied rivalry on the Gears of War battlefield for the first time. The competition will take place October 22nd to October 23rd , with Gears of War 4 set to release internationally October 11th .

Full list of competing teams:

• Team EnVyUs

• OpTic Gaming

• Team eLevate

• NRG eSports

• Dream Team

• Mindfreak

• Splyce

• Team Vitality

Europe Get Splyced

It’s been a volatile week for European Call of Duty, with countless team transfers changing the face of the scene ahead of Infinite Warfare’s release date. Things really kicked off when Joshh was unexpectedly dropped from COD XP Runners Up, Splyce, much to the shock of fellow pros and fans alike. His removal was to be short-lived, however, and he soon linked back up with Splyce as part of a new-look team that sees Joshh and Bance join forces with Millenium duo Jurd and Madcat.

The future of Millenium remains uncertain, with Tommey announcing that he’s considering calling time on his glittering career, offering a final decision after the return of long-time teammate, Callum ‘Swanny’ Swan. Two more of UK’s elite also announced their breakdown, with both Team Infused and Epsilon revealing that they were going their separate ways. The Infused split calls time on what has been one of Call of Duty’s longest standing rosters. With so many talented free agents now looking for a new place to ply their trade, this is only the beginning of Europe’s roster mania. Expect plenty more to come.

OpTic Gaming Sign World Champions

The latest OpTic Vision started with an emotional monolog, as long-time OG man Maniac spoke of his Halo retirement after years on the pro scene. Shown live via their Twitch channel, the entire console esports scene was captivated by the moment. This also meant the end of the OpTic Gaming Halo team, who we’ll see at the HCS Pro League under a different name.

But just when you thought you’d seen the last of OpTic on Halo, Vision ended with the surprise appearance of Lethul wearing an OpTic Gaming hoody. As if the episode couldn’t get any more action packed, with the entire story of CoD XP also being shown, OpTic announced they’d signed the former CLG team and current World Champions as their new Halo roster. The new OpTic team have already been in action in the HCS Pro League where they’ll look to defend their title.

If you missed OpTic Vision, you can catch it below.

Teams Confirm UMG Orlando Attendance

The CoD World League may be over but Black Ops 3 is set to have one last stand at UMG Orlando. It’s been a little over a month since Call of Duty last headed to Florida and with $100,000 on the line, we’re all set to return again. It’s now been confirmed that almost every NA pro team is gearing up to attend, including world champions EnVyUs, eLevate, OpTic Gaming, and Cloud9. Renegades and eUnited will also attend after making team changes. Renegades replaced Killa with Ivy, while eUnited replaced departing Ivy and Whea7s with Legal and Silly.

Clayster Chronicle Released

If you’re missing the World League and have the Call of Duty blues, now’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy one of the finest CoD videos ever put together. Clayster, 2015 World Champion and one of the game’s best players, has assembled a montage he calls ‘Clayster: The Chronicle’ that brings together many of his best clips from Ghosts, Advanced Warfare and Black Ops 3. In all, it’s 28 minutes of pure Clayster action; what more could any Call of Duty fan want? You can find the whole video below.

The SCUF Week In Video Gaming: September 13th – 19th

It’s a new Monday, and that means we’re taking a look at the biggest stories from video games last week.

Star Wars Battlefront Death Star DLC Release Date

The Star Wars Battlefront Death Star DLC will finally be released to season pass holders September 20th . The new DLC will allow players to take control of Chewbacca and Bossk, as well as featuring the new Battle Station mode, which will see players take up arms on a Death Star for the first time.

In case you can’t wait, you can check out the latest gameplay trailer from EA here:

South Park: Fractured But Whole Delayed

South Park fans will be eagerly awaiting the sequel to the 2014 Stick of Truth, Fractured But Whole, but unfortunately the release date has been moved back to Q1 of 2016. Developers Ubisoft announced via their blog that, “the development team wants to make sure the game experience meets the high expectations of fans and the additional time will help them achieve this goal.” No official release date has been announced as yet.

PS4 Software Update 4.00

Playstation players enjoyed a significant update this week which introduced a number of new features including music being added to the Quick Menu, High Dynamic Range (HDR) capability for existing PS4s, ‘What’s New’ – a Facebook like friend feed to keep up to date with your friends, a wired data transfer option for moving saved files from one PS4 to another, and more. The update also included provisions for the upcoming PS4 Pro to enable 1080p streaming on a number of platforms.

Kit Harington Hits CoD Infinite Warfare

If you’re a fan of both Call of Duty and Game of Thrones then you’re in for a treat, with Kit Harington aka Jon Snow being unveiled as a villain like character in the latest Infinite Warfare Story Trailer. This in stark contrast to his hero persona portrayed in Game of Thrones and may be a little difficult for fans to get to grips with. Harington follows in the footsteps of Kevin Spacey who headlined Advanced Warfare’s single player story mode. The trailer features more explosions then you can shake an M8 at and plenty of promise that it’ll be yet another epic. Plenty to look forward to beyond the excellent multiplayer and the Modern Warfare remake.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Survival horror fans should be rejoicing at what promises to be the best Resident Evil game in years, if not ever, if the demo is anything to go by. Fresh out of Tokyo Games Week, the latest demo gives players limited access to the house which could play a key role in the full game when it’s eventually released. There are several clues and items you can collect and inspect, with suggests that the demo may be further extended to make these become useful at a later date. Beyond that, there are talks of scary VHS tapes used to alter the outcome of the game that you can also get a taste of in the demo. With all the hallmarks of a classic Resident Evil but with haunting first person twists, you’ll be hiding behind your sofa in no time.

The SCUF Week In Video Gaming: September 5th – 12th

Call of Duty dominated the airwaves this week, as COD XP not only brought the public the finale of the World League but also the first opportunity to play Infinite Warfare, Modern Warfare Remastered and the Salvation DLC Pack. Here are our top stories from this week in gaming.

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare Trailer

Usually revealed earlier in the year, Activision held out until Call of Duty XP for the full public reveal of this year’s CoD smash hit, Infinite Warfare. The game is set for a November 4th release and was fully previewed for the first time in LA last weekend. Trailers are now universally available which show the full extent of the new Call of Duty. You can watch the trailer here.

Not only that, fans at Call of Duty XP could get hands on for the first time with Infinite Warfare. Among the many CoD stars and personalities in attendance were Ali-A, who uploaded the following video of the Infinite Warfare multiplayer to his YouTube channel.

CoD Pros play Salvation DLC

With Infinite Warfare a couple of months away, the final downloadable content for Black Ops 3 was released this week. The pack includes four new multiplayer maps and the finale to the BO3 Zombies saga. The new multiplayer maps include two remakes from earlier Call of Duty titles and two originals. With so much to learn, why not let OpTic Gaming’s Pamaj give you the grand tour?

Pamaj plays Micro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyCTvYJ2qXE

Pamaj plays Citadel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxGhZvrz7uQ

Pamaj plays Outlaw: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DanksYtFfJE

Pamaj plays Rupture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NxGT2EANJw

We’ve covered the conclusion of the Zombies saga in previously articles, with the public finally able to get their hands on the finale. One such player is ProSyndicate, who took to his YouTube channel to take on the final Zombie apocalypse. You can watch the two hour long video here:

Call of Duty 4: Remastered Remastered Gameplay

As if the prospect of Infinite Warfare wasn’t enough, the game will also ship with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered. For many CoD fans, Modern Warfare is fondly remembered as the greatest title in the series to date. For the first time Call of Duty players will be able to enjoy both boots on the ground and futuristic CoD as part of a singular release. If you’ve still not seen what the Remastered version of Modern Warfare looks like, allow Nadeshot to show you the ropes:

FIFA Demo Release Date

The FIFA17 demo is set to be publicly available September 17th across Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC for football (soccer) fans around the world. German Marco Reus will be the cover star on this year’s game, where Portuguese captain and Euros winner, Cristiano Ronaldo has piped Lionel Messi as the game’s top rated player. The full game is set to be released September 27th in North America and two days later to the rest of the world.

Hitman Epsiode 5 Release Date Announced

Finally, this week IO Interactive announced that the 5th Hitman episode will be released September 27th, as Agent 47 heads to Colorado, USA. The next episode will feature a new host of disguises, as well as 70 challenges for players to sink their teeth into in a range of new terrains in what’s set to be one of the toughest episodes so far. IO Interactive also confirmed the release of a Japanese episode slated for the latter end of 2016.

The SCUF News in eSports: CoD XP Edition!

This weekend will see the best Call of Duty teams in the world head to LA for this year’s Call of Duty Championship as part of CoD XP. 32 teams from around the world will battle it out for the biggest ever Call of Duty prize purse. In this piece we take a look at each group and what you should be expecting.

Group A: Millenium, Splyce, eUnited, Black Forest Games

Group A brings together three British teams with Americans, eUnited, the remnants of the TSM team that competed in Stage 2. Black Forest Games will come into the group as heavy outsiders, having not competed in the Pro League at any stage this season. With two places up for grabs, Group A could prove to be very unforgiving with Millenium, Splyce and eUnited all expected to reach the latter stages. Millenium will now be without Swanny who was forced to pull out last minute. Instead they’ll compete with former winning MiRx who now has very little time to bed into the line up. It’s far too soon to rule Millenium out, though, having won the European leg of Stage 2 only weeks ago. This really could be the one to watch.

IMG_7794

Group B: Rise Nation, HyperGames, Apotheon, Supremacy

After such a dominant year, Rise Nation should expect to advance through as Group B winners. The second spot is completely up for grabs though, as Britons HyperGames, the Frenchmen of Supremacy and North Americans Apotheon fight tooth and nail for a spot in the double elimination bracket. HyperGames have had an excellent year, particularly online, and have emerged as one of Europe’s powerhouses thanks to a meteoric rise that few would have predicted as little as 10 months ago. Supremacy are now firmly established as France’s top team and have enough talent in their ranks to do the business on the day. Then there’s Apotheon; a squad that emerged through an extremely tough online North American bracket to secure their place in the finals. Perhaps the Americans are the underdogs, at least in terms of experience on Black Ops 3, but something about this screams fairy tale for a team with nothing to lose. Certainly the draw could have been a lot lot tougher on them.

Group C: Luminosity, Mindfreak, fabE, Chiefs

Luminosity have shown signs of continued improvement and their giant killing of OpTic Gaming at the Stage 2 Finals is a sign of their capability. Certainly the Americans will expect to be in the conversation when the tournament reaches the latter stages and anything but a group topping performance will be seen as a disappointment. Mindfreak and Chiefs will both look to continue a fine tradition of Australians doing damage at world finals. The Group C draw isn’t necessarily a bad one either, with at least one place looking well contested. Given Mindfreak’s year so far and their dominance over their domestic scene, they’ll be heavy favorites over their fellow countryment but this is Champs where anything can happen. fabE acquired Exertus after the team narrowly missed out on a spot at the European Stage 2 Finals. This is a team that has nothing to lose and everything to gain coming into CoD XP this weekend. A three-way dance between fabE, Chiefs and Mindfreak looks to be the order of the day here.

Group D: Renegades, Allegiance, Epsilon, Pulse

Appropriately named Renegades, the former Dream Team line up come into CoD XP with lofty expectations on their shoulders. The addition of Killa to their roster before the conclusion of Stage 1 turned their fortunes from NA struggles to eventual Stage 2 runners up. Group D will still be a difficult proving ground, though, with Epsilon and Allegiance both boasting sizeable credentials of their own. MLG Orlando did little to demonstrate the full potential of Allegiance, while Epsilon have had a modest time of Stage 2. Despite that, both teams will expect to reach the knockout stages of the competition and Renegades could very easily be pulled into a dog fight with them. Pulse Gaming, on the other hand, have their work cut out if they’re to take anything from Group D. Stranger things have happened, though.

_DSC6275

Group E: FaZe Clan, eLevate, Most Wanted, Giants

Giants and Most Wanted will have wept when they saw the draw for Group E, being matched with two of the tournament’s favorites. On paper the group really looks like it’ll be a battle for the top spot, with both FaZe and eLevate aiming to avoid a tough match up in the first round of the knockout stages. This leaves the door open for an upset, though, especially if teams start their group stage off poorly. Most Wanted could prove to be something of a wildcard this weekend and are not without their own talent, including TcM who competes in a major for only the second in since the MLG World Finals back on AW. Giants from Spain have had two seasons of Pro League to hone their skills and in a best of 5 with some favourable maps, could pose a serious threat to FaZe or eLevate. Anything but a solid start could leave FaZe or eLevate with a lot to do.

Group F: Infused, Team Kaliber, Lethal Gaming, Tainted Minds

Infused have started tournaments strongly all year, topping their Anaheim and Orlando groups with a flawless 3-0 record. There are no easy draws at CoD XP but the Infused quartet will definitely be happier with their draw than many of their fellow Britons. Team Kaliber announced their return to Call of Duty with a roster that combines the familiar with the new, bringing together a foursome more than capable of doing the Team Kaliber brand justice, with arguably the best tK team of BO3 to date. That said, Infused and Team Kaliber are expected to fight it out for the first and second spots. No one should be ruling out Lethal Gaming or Tainted Minds though either. Lethal enter Group F having navigated the tough NA Online Qualifier which included a 3-2 defeat against Team Kaliber. Tained Minds from down under will equally fancy their chances in a group that could offer up plenty of surprises. Nothing is a guarantee here.

Group G: Team EnVyUS, Orbit ANZ, Cloud9, Vitality

Group G looks to be rather cut and dry, on paper at least. While it’s proven foolish to write off Australian teams in the past, it’s very hard to look beyond the American pairing given their obvious quality. Much like Group E, EnVyUS and Cloud9 are teams that will expect to be mixing it up on the final day of competition so anything beyond that would be a total disappointment. When the two teams last met at MLG Orlando, C9 were edged 3-2 by EnVyUS who then went on to finish 2nd . With that in mind, there appears very little to separate the two teams that each boast a former CoD World Champion within their ranks. Vitality’s approach for CoDXP has very much been out with the old and in with the new. Gone are the veteran Frenchmen in place of young, British talent to link up with the emerging French talent of Wailers. Given the relatively unproven nature of this side, it’s hard to know what to expect of them. Their comparative lack of experience makes it extremely tough to see them offering a true threat to nV or C9, however. Then there’s Orbit ANZ who will also look to cause another southern hemisphere upset. Having led the regular season rankings in Stage 2 Regular Season, Orbit will be disappointed with their showing at the Stage 2 Finals and this weekend offers an incredible shot at retribution. With almost no meetings between northern and southern hemisphere teams so far on Black Ops 3, maybe the door is open for a shock.

IMG_6427

Group H: OpTic Gaming, compLexity, Pnda Gaming, LDLC

Anything but first place at CoD XP for OpTic Gaming is unacceptable, such is the talent boasted on this roster. Right now, anything but first place also seems inconceivable. For compLexity, PNDA and LDLC this poses an interesting conundrum. When teams with such huge expectations are knocked off their game, all bets are off. We saw it with OpTic Gaming last year and there’s equal opportunity this year to be giant killers. Thankfully two teams will emerge from Group H and there’s plenty to fight for for the three teams that look rather evenly matched. Complexity and PNDA both came through the NA online qualifiers to secure their place in the finals and largely represent the best of the players who missed out on much of this year’s Pro League, with a few exceptions. LDLC are the only non-NA team in Group H and will also be confident of making it through into the latter stages. Watson and Shane are no strangers to the Champs, with the latter being only of the few players to be making his fifth appearance at a world finals.

Coverage of the competition will be live all weekend. Be sure to tune into the broadcast live on twitch.tv/cod.