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.
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.
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.
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.