By Connor Peck
On Sunday, Wildcard went up against eUnited in the last 2K match before Call of Duty World League (CWL) kicks off its second tournament of the year in New Orleans. It was an intense match, and Wildcard gave the fourth-ranked team a serious run for their money.
Wildcard lost the first round in Hardpoint before winning the second round in Search and Destroy. They then played an extremely fast round of capture the flag that caught eUnited by surprise and gave Wildcard a 2-1 lead in the best of 5 series. EUnited then went on to win another Hardpoint for round 4, and squeaked out a win in the final round of Search and Destroy. Rather than disappointing them, this match has gotten team Wildcard itching for the up-coming tournament. The pressure is on, with just one week left leading up to CWL New Orleans (NOLA).
Each member of Wildcard’s Call of Duty squad –Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris, James “Evasion” Svetich, Wendell “Reedr” Stockton, and Erik “Skilliosis” Martin– comes to the team as a skilled individual player and, watching them play together, it’s easy to forget that they’ve been teammates for less than a month. The fact that this Sunday’s match was a loss is overshadowed by just how close a match it was, and it has Wildcard hopeful for NOLA’s open round. “If you can play with eUnited like that, and make the series that close, you should be able to play pretty much anyone.” said Ben Merritt, co-owner of Wildcard Gaming.
Now that the 2K matches have come to a close, the week leading up to NOLA will be spent preparing and training. aBeZy was straight-forward about where he felt the team needed to put their efforts. “We need to work at our S&Ds,” he said, “We haven’t played enough S&D together as a squad.” Evasion went on to outline the team’s schedule. “Our scrims start around 5pm or 6pm and run to about midnight,” he explained. “We’re also working on our respawns and doing Search and Destroy tournaments.” Dedication and talent are no issue, and the team is clocking in overtime in a race to log as much play time as possible.
Starting at 2PM on Friday January 12, 256 teams will be competing in New Orleans for $200,000 in prizes, gear, and the chance to play against the top 16 Call of Duty teams from around the world. New Orleans has received so much attention that, on November 28, Major League Gaming declared NOLA the largest Call of Duty event they’ve ever hosted:
New Orleans has sold out again. If you had issues purchasing please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to help out effected users if a screen shot of the issue is included.
256 teams in open + 16 pool, biggest Call of Duty event @MLG in our history
— Adam Apicella (@MrAdamAp) November 28, 2017
And the hype train kept rolling with the announcement of pools on January 5:
— Call of Duty esports (@CODWorldLeague) January 5, 2018
A few short hours after the tweet announcing the pools, Dot Esports declared pool D as the Group of Death, and they weren’t the only ones excited to see the grouping. When asked which open bracket he wanted most, Evasion’s response was immediate: “Group D.”
“Group D is the group of death, and I want to play the good teams.” Evasion said “Group D also has eUnited, so I’d like to get revenge on them. And I want to play Assault (Adam Garcia of Echo Fox), too – he’s one of my good friends.”
With the biggest Call of Duty tournament MLG’s ever hosted on the horizon, expectations and anticipations are running high, but both aBeZy and Evasion agree that this is about more than just New Orleans.
“I want to help build a stable team that can perform long term, like an ALG/GGEA.” Evasion began. “I feel that’s the way to come up nowadays, and I really hope it’s this team. I think we have top 8 potential written all over us.”
“I think we do too.” aBeZy agreed. “I want a team that can grind things out, get better as a team, and win events.”
NOLA is fast approaching and, with the preliminary 2K matches finished up, Wildcard is preparing to bring their A-game. To stay up-to-date with the team you can follow them on twitter at @EvasionYZY, @aBeZy_, @Reedr_, and @Skilliosis_eF, and watch them on aBeZy’s Twitch. Also, swing by Wildcard’s site and follow Wildcard on Twitter at @Wildcard_GG for the latest news and giveaways.