AquA: A Premature End To A Promising Career
Throughout the past decade of Call of Duty esports, there have been several players come and go much earlier than many anticipated, due to a multitude of reasons. Since the switch to a franchised model, places in the highest tier of the esport have decreased significantly, leaving many players some would consider mainstays out in the dark.
One player that was once considered to be one of the very best slayers in the world was Ulysses "AquA" Silva, and on October 16th 2021, the former Paris Legion assault rifle player called time on a career that contained numerous top-three placements and what could be considered to be one of the biggest world championship shocks in Call of Duty history.
Despite showcasing that he was more than capable of competing alongside the very best, AquA was left without a team for the 2022 season after the Paris Legion ditched its 2021 starting line-up in a bid to rebuild from a hugely disappointing year of Black Ops Cold War.
AquA’s departure from the competitive scene was a shock for many, after showcasing immense skill in the opening stages of the competition. Although the skill was still on show and it was clear there was plenty more in the tank, AquA’s promising career has come to a somewhat abrupt end.
Skyrocketing To Success
AquA started to make a name for himself back in late 2014 with the release of Advanced Warfare. A top-16 finish at UMG Orlando may not have been something to ride home about, but it was the foundation of what would propel a hot prospect into the limelight. In January 2015, he joined Team Revenge and quickly started to find consistent results in online tournaments before booking his place at the 2015 world championship with a top-six result at the regional finals. As a team of relative unknowns, defeating the likes of Denial Esports and FaZe Black quickly put them on the map heading into the biggest tournament of the season.
The pace of Advanced Warfare suited AquA and the rest of Team Revenge well, with constant pressure being applied to Hardpoint hills and Uplink portals enabling them to execute strategies to perfection even when the stakes were at their highest. Revenge kicked off the tournament topping their group before defeating Mindfreak, Prophecy, and FaZe Red twice to book their place in the Grand Finals against Denial Esports. Considering the majority of the team, including AquA, were at their very first world championship and had made it to the finals defeating teams with a wealth of experience, Team Revenge had the chance to cause an incredible upset to score the $400,000 first prize and the championship rings.
Despite an incredible comeback on Detroit Uplink, Denial emerged the victors in a thrilling five-game series and although the team finished second, Team Revenge and AquA were the names on everyone’s lips.
Now a household name, AquA spent the rest of the Advanced Warfare bouncing around teams under the Team Envy, Prophecy, and Epsilon banners, maintaining impressive levels of consistency with regular top-eight placements, but that inaugural tournament victory continued to elude him.
Breaking The Duck
The levels of consistency were carried over into the Black Ops 3 season under Team Elevate with another second-place score at MLG Anaheim after navigating their way through a highly competitive lower bracket. The world championship came around once again, with many tipping AquA and Elevate for success and to an extent, a third-place is still a strong showing, but it was a step backwards having come so close to grabbing a first championship ring a year earlier.
AquA decided to part ways with Elevate and join Rise Nation for Infinite Warfare, a decision that would become pivotal in scoring his very first tournament win at CWL Las Vegas despite running the gauntlet of the Open bracket.
Thanks to AquA’s sublime skill with the NV4 in hand, the rest of the team was able to roam around the map with ease while he locked down specific areas of the map. The number of kills may not have been the highest, but AquA played an integral role in the success of Rise Nation in 2017. The team came close to another win, achieving third at CWL Paris, which was followed up with AquA’s third consecutive top-four finish at a world championship.
Fourth place was still solid, but it was another missed opportunity to get his hands on a championship ring.
So Close, Yet So Far
The win at CWL Las Vegas would be the only major championship victory for AquA. Although he continued to come extremely close to victory throughout Black Ops 4, he struggled to keep pace at the top of the Call of Duty mountain as a new wave of talent burst into view and dominated from the outset.
Having managed to work his way into the CDL under the Los Angeles Guerrillas, AquA showed glimmers of brilliance with an assault rifle in hand, but his efforts were in vain as the team spent the vast majority of the year holding up the rest of the league table.
Black Ops Cold War would be one last shot for success under the Paris Legion, a team built around outcasts with a point to prove to their previous teams. AquA quickly found his feet with the Krig 6, regularly making an impact and despite regular occurrences of the team showing signs that they could compete with the very best, the Legion quickly became the laughing stock of the league, failing to place any higher than the top eight in any of the five stages of the competition.
An Underrated Legend
AquA had all the makings of the next superstar AR player to dominate the competitive Call of Duty scene for several years to come, but recent form left him out in the cold despite having plenty of talent and a lot to prove after two suboptimal seasons of CDL action. It’s sad to see him call time on a hugely promising career that still had a lot to give.