Time to mark it in the record books. The best team in competitive Call of Duty for the better part of two years finally took home the biggest championship, as OpTic Gaming rallied from the lower bracket to knock off Team EnVyUs and earn the 2017 Call of Duty World Championship title on Sunday at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.
The stage had been set for yet another heartbreak. Notoriously a team that struggles in its first match of the day, OpTic Gaming held true to its form, losing the upper bracket finals against Team EnVyUs 3-1. The series that wasn't all that close, with OpTic Gaming winning the first Hardpoint before losing the next three rounds, with Round 3 Uplink being the only one that was particularly tight score-wise (4-2).
For practically any other team, the prospect of having to win three consecutive best-of-five series, and two against that same opponent in the Grand Finals, would seem like an impossible task. But in a decidedly pro-OpTic Gaming audience, the atmosphere never seemed to change: Despite being in a difficult situation, the Green Wall still felt like the favorites to claim the title. After all, OpTic Gaming had just pulled off this same feat two weeks prior, having lost in the upper bracket semifinals of the CWL Global Pro League Stage 2 Playoffs before rallying to beat Team EnVyUs in the Grand Finals twice.
OpTic Gaming players would later admit they were "p***ed" to have lost, and the team came out with ferocity in its lower bracket finals match against Luminosity Gaming, unleashing two years' worth of fire and frustration that had been building to this moment. A 3-0 sweep of Luminosity felt more like a formality than anything else as the Green Wall blitzed through its opposition, never even allowing a round to be close.
In a rematch of the battle deemed "eClassico", OpTic Gaming would once again get the edge, winning the initial Hardpoint before Team EnVyUs would tie up the series at 1-1 with a brilliant round of Search and Destroy. The similarities between the earlier meeting would end there, however, as OpTic Gaming would go on to win the next two rounds to reset the bracket.
Having beaten the previously undefeated EnVyUs, all the signs appeared to be pointing toward a historic OpTic win. Once again relying on the slaying power of Matthew "FormaL" Piper and Seth "Scump" Abner, OpTic would take care of business in the Round 1 Hardpoint, securing the 250-176 round win. All hope at a comeback was essentially lost once EnVy, which had won Search and Destroy in the previous two matchups, fell 6-3 in Round 2. OpTic Gaming would clinch the win with a scintillating Round 3 Uplink performance and claim the first championship rings for 2017 Call of Duty World Championship MVP FormaL and Scump.
For Ian "Crimsix" Porter and Damon "Karma" Barlow, the win is another mark on their increasingly long championship resume. While Crimsix is the winningest player of all time, Karma became the first player ever to earn three championship rings, having won the title back in 2013 and 2014.
If it wasn't a given before, it certainly is now: OpTic Gaming was the best team in the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare season. Some would say it might even be the greatest team to ever play the game.