This past weekend saw the kick off of the Austin XGames, the high energy competitive event where the competition is usually based on an extreme sport. This year, however, we saw a significant change as Call of Duty:Ghosts debuted at the event as the first ever eSport to be integrated into the XGames.
The Austin XGames Call of Duty:Ghost event saw 8 of the best American teams competing for their shot at one of the three medal categories up for grabs. Coming into the tournament, Team Evil Geniuses (formerly team Complexity) were the stand out favorites for the event as they came from successive MLG event wins, as well as being the Call of Duty Championship title holders. They, however, were facing some stiff competition in the event. One of the teams ready to stand in their way was team Optic Gaming, whom had made some significant changes to their squad. The two teams would meet one another is the semi finals where only one team would go through to take on Team Kaliber (TK).
Optic Gaming Vs Evil Geniuses
This was the match that all the spectators were waiting for, the consistency of Evil Genius's taking on the fluctuating success of Optic Gaming. Going into the match, there was a theme of good vs evil (excuse the pun) as Optic Gaming are the public favorite, where as Evil Geniuses have been known to be the cocky title holders.
Former Team Complexity now Evil Geniuses
The match started out as a tight affair as both teams traded maps early leaving the score at 1 a piece, then going onto the third map of blitz on Warhawk Optic Gaming put up a jaw dropping defense to shut out the Evil Genius squad. This allowed Optic Gaming to take the lead going into the fourth map of domination on StrikeZone. If Optic Managed to take this map they would progress to the Finals and if Evil Genius's won, we would go to the final map of Search and Destroy. It so happened to pass that Optic Gaming managed to use their momentum from their previous map to propel themselves into an early lead, which they managed to retain to cause the upset of the tournament by knocking Evil Geniuses into the 3rd and 4th place playoff.
Watch: Map 1, Map 2, Map 3, Map 4
The final match of the evening would see the very first Call of Duty eSports team walk away with an XGames gold medal. The match of TK vs Optic Gaming would be one of the most interesting match up of the night. TK are renown to be one of the best domination squads and they showed this early by immeaditely putting Optic Gaming on the back foot by taking the first map. Optic Gaming, however, were ready to step it up when it came to Search and Destroy. Their star player, Mathew 'Nadeshot' Haag, carried the map by picking up a huge 12 kills to allow Optic to regain a map, bringing the scores to 1-1.
Going onto the third map of Blitz, Optic Gaming showed once again that they have the best defence in the game. They shut out TK in the same fashion that they did to Evil Geniuses in the semi finals, and managed to take the third map. This meant Optic were once again in the familiar territory of being one map away from clenching the win. Step up TK, a team that was prepared to show exactly why they were a powerhouse when it came to domination. TK managed to outslay and outplay thier opposition, and went ahead to take the fourth map, bringing the match score to 2-2. This meant that the last map would decide who would be the first XGames winner, and we would be watching it all go down in Search and Destroy on Sovereign.
Optic Gaming were coming aggressive out of the gates and managed to take the score to 4-1 in their favor before TK could gain any foothold on the game. TK then managed to put up a valiant effort by bringing the score back to 5-4, still in Optics favor. It came down to the last seconds, when Clayster from team Optic Gaming used a shotgun to secure the final kill as well as the gold medal for him and his squad as Optic Gaming became the first ever eSports winners at XGames.
Watch: Map 1, Map 2, Map 3, Map 4, Map 5
Nadeshot and Optic Gaming owner Hecz
This was one of the most unique events that we have seen in recent gaming history as we saw a pairing up with a brand that was almost completely associated with eSports and bring it to a greater audience. This might be a foreshadowing of what we can expect from the future of gaming, as it slowly infiltrates the mass market at more out-of-gaming events. As a eSports lover, I can personally say that I am very excited to see eSports moving further into the public realm.
What do you think of Call of Duty being played competitively at the XGames? Do you think eSports has a future with the XGames?
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