CDL Challengers Cup #2 – Karma’s Return To The League?
Following the first challengers' cup last weekend in which Damon “Karma” Barlow, three-time Call of Duty world champion, impressed many fans rolling back the years to provide highlight moments, everyone was looking forward to seeing if he would once again compete this weekend.
Just as fans expected, Karma showed up to play, performing exceptionally well, particularly in Search and Destroy, providing constant picks using his coveted sniper rifle. However, unfortunately due to his lack of practice playing respawn game modes and the fact he was playing with a pick up team of mainly Search and Destroy specialists, the team fell in round five of the cup to a team made mainly from ex-professional players such as Zach “Zed” Denyer and Denholm “Denz” Taylor who both competed in the Paris Legion of the CDL last year.
Even though his team fell short, many people in the professional community still believe that Karma has the skill, and without a doubt the experience, to be able to compete in the CDL against the highest level of competition in the world. Veteran European AR player Dylan “MadCat” suggested if he was running a CDL team he wouldn’t even make Karma practice - just have him ready to play in Search and Destroy.
Even the two-time blockbuster champion himself, Herschel “Dr Disrespect” Beahm IV, chimed in on Karma being in the CDL. With his usual eccentricity, Dr Disrespect suggested he would “give him a Lambo with a Canadian flag on the hood” if he was signing him to a CDL team.
Whether Karma will decide he wants to commit to playing professional Call Of Duty again is unknown. However, if he does decide he is ready to put his all into it, or even just play Search and Destroys for the team as Madcat suggested, it seems almost inevitable that many teams would be clamouring to gain his signature. What he can bring to the table exceeds far beyond just his skill in game, the intangibles he brings as a result of years of experience winning tournaments, and being notorious for being one of the calmest players in the scene when it comes to crunch time. Being able to help teams with their mentality can be as important as having a player with insane skill that doesn’t know how to lead a team to championships.
Upsets across the board
Although many teams impressed during the challengers cup, there was definitely a handful of teams that underperformed compared to their expectations. In particular, the LA Guerrillas academy team built up from ex-professionals such as Martin “Chino” Chino, formerly of the LA OpTic franchise, and Gears Of War esports' GOAT Billy “MentaL” Putnam would’ve definitely expected better than a top 32 performance.
The team led by Christopher “Parasite” Duarte also finished with a shock top 32 exit. Usually Parasite finds himself towards the tail end of the challenger cups with the occasional tournament win, however this weekend wasn’t to be for the veteran, as his team fell short early on. Another team that many people expected could possibly even win the event was led by Rasim “Blazt” Ogresevic, formerly of the LA Guerrillas. Since dropping Parasite for Zach “Drazah" Jordan, the community expected the internal issues in the team would be fixed and the obvious skill on the team would shine through. However, this wasn’t the case as the team lost in the quarter-finals 3-0 and finished top eight.
Results from around the world
It was business as usual in the APAC region, with the Renegades' roster once again proving to be without question the best team in the region. Even without star player Amer “Pred” Zulbeari, the core of Lincoln “Fighta” Ferguson, Luke “Louqa” Rigas, and Conrad “Shockz” Rymarek was more than enough for the team to be able to once reign supreme over the region.
In the EU region there was a new winner. The orgless roster of Byron “Nastiee” Plumridge, Joshua-Lee “Joshh” Sheppard, David “Dqvee” Davies, and Stephen “Vortex” Allen defeated the Spanish roster RamsLUX in the finals, in two best of five series, to win the title. Former London Royal Ravens player Nastiee was the star of the show for the UK team, achieving a 1.35 K/D throughout the tournament. If it wasn’t for visa issues last season stopping Nastiee from competing in the CDL last season, it seems likely that he would still find himself competing in the league given his skills being clearly a cut above the rest of the amateur competition in Europe.
As for the North American side of the tournament, there were repeat winners for the team going under the WestR banner, once again showing why they’re currently the team to beat in NA for future challengers cups.
Images via Activision | Renegades