And just like that, the Call of Duty World Championship is down to the final 16 teams. Unlike Day 1, Thursday's action at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, was packed with intrigue and suspense, with a majority of the championship bracket spots up in the air in the final pool. Many of the favorites lived to see another day, setting up an interesting set of matches for Friday.
Let's recap the action that took place during Day 2 of CoD Champs.
Team Infused survive extra rounds to claim second spot in Pool C
It wasn't a banner performance for most of the teams from Pool C, as the favorites eUnited ran roughshod over its competition en route to a perfect 9-0 map record in pool play. To make matters worse, neither of Team Infused, Mindfreak nor Lethal Gaming could separate themselves from the rest of the pack, as each team managed to win just one series against its adversaries -- all of them amounting to 3-1 series wins. The oddly specific performances from the three teams did provide some fun, however, as the trio managed to stumble through a series of tiebreakers into a three-way tie for the No. 2 seed from the pool, forcing a sudden death, round-robin situation where one team would need to win two consecutive rounds of Search and Destroy to advance to the championship bracket.
Team Infused mercifully took care of business, first knocking off Lethal Gaming before handling Mindfreak in the next series to live another day. For its troubles, Infused will get to face off against Rise Nation, who finished Pool D with a sterling 3-0 record, to begin championship bracket play on Friday.
Four "LCQ's" advance to bracket play
Many of the top teams in competitive Call of Duty held serve over the two days of pool play, with just four teams who participated in their region's Last Chance Qualifier -- Mindfreak.Black, Team Infused, Team Allegiance and Str8 Rippin -- advancing to Day 3 of competition.
The biggest surprise of the four was very clearly Mindfreak.Black, as it currently is the only team from the Australia-Pacific Coast (APAC) region still in the tournament, with sister team, Mindfreak, and regional powerhouse, Tainted Minds, both meeting their early demise. But the Australians surprise run through Pool B didn't come without any controversy. In a series amounting to a "win-and-you're-in" situation against European team eLevate, Mindfreak.Black entered Round 4 Hardpoint up 2-1 in the series. After the first set of hardpoint rotations, disaster struck, with eLevate slayer Zach "Zed" Denyer's controller not responding and causing him to be unable to move. That led to the entire team of eLevate refusing to complete the match, which according to an MLG statement resulted in a forfeit, giving Mindfreak.Black the series victory.
While the messy situation certainly puts a damper on what is no doubt the biggest win of the respective Mindfreak.Black players' careers, it may not mean all that much anyhow as it faces red-hot OpTic Gaming to open up championship bracket play Friday.
Team Allegiance and Str8 Rippin, on the other hand, should rejoice after surviving some feisty competition in their respective groups. Both could have a chance to surprise people, with Str8 Rippin facing its hardest challenge thus far in the form of FaZe Clan in the first round of the championship bracket, while Allegiance will duel one of the few remaining European teams, Fnatic on Friday.
OpTic Gaming, Team EnVyUs, eUnited on fire in pool play
Who is the hottest favorite of them all? Is it the aforementioned eUnited, who boldly proclaimed it would finish pool play with a 9-0 map record and kept to its promise? Or is it OpTic Gaming, who unsurprisingly shrugged off the competition as it registered a 3-0 record? Or could it be Team EnVyUs, with the Boys in Blue shaking off an early map loss to Mindfreak.Black to blitz through the remaining pool competition?
If you answered "all of them" you probably are right, as the relative lack of strong competition in the respective pools has made it tough to discern which team is playing at its best, or is simply beating who is in front of it. The real test should begin Friday, with only OpTic Gaming not facing a team that partook in Stage 1 or 2 of the Call of Duty Global Pro League.
Day 3 of the Call of Duty World Championships will begin bright and early Friday at 10 a.m. ET.