From the UK to Toronto, Bance is the King of the North.
When the underdog came chomping in the Call of Duty League Stage 2, the four bloodhounds were purring in motion, lead by one canine, out to be crowned as champion for the second time in his career.
Ben "Bance" Bance drove the lance through the heart of Atlanta FaZe in the heat of the battle, posting up an overall kill to death ratio of 1.44. By piercing through the lines of the tiny terrors with swift and brutal incisions, Bance and the Toronto Ultra unified the strength in the North to take home the Stage 2 crown, and with it, the title of King of the North.
With a knight-like performance, Bance shone out from the crowd, but it hasn't always been plain sailing. Doubters previously called for his head, yet admirers placed their trust in the Briton - and what a call.
So, with another chip to his collection, is Bance, the King of the North, first of his name, and Ultra as f***, the best player to ever come out of EU?
European Call of Duty has always been eclipsed by its North American counterparts, with only the cream of the crop rising to the top and finding themselves with a big breakthrough onto the world stage.
For Bance, Advanced Warfare was the catalyst for success. After bouncing around teams such as Team Antics, Team XENEX, Team Orbit, and Barrage Esports, Bance first propelled himself onto the radar with a shock win over eventual champions OpTic Gaming at ESWC 2015 before valiantly falling to current World Champions Denial Esports.
Heading into the Black Ops 3 era, the full-British roster was picked up by Splyce, and following some minor championship wins such as Gfinity Summer Masters 2016, Bance was making waves across the globe. A successful year at Splyce saw the Brits on an upward trajectory as the best roster in Europe.
Going toe-to-toe with the North American giants, Splyce worked themselves through an insane lower bracket run towards the 2016 World Championship final, beating teams like Team Kaliber, FaZe Clan, Rise Nation, FAB Games, and Elevate. The fairytale story was thwarted by a Team Envy side with the most dominant SMG duo of the time in Bryan "Apathy" Zhelyazkov and Johnathon "John" Perez, but the European underdogs went home with a grin from ear to ear, showing that they had what it takes to hang out in the elite echelon.
Alongside Jordan "Jurd" Crowley, Dylan "MadCat" Daly, and Trei "Zer0" Morris, the Splyce roster went into the Infinite Warfare era with a bang, picking up another silver medal on home turf at CWL Birmingham. Shortly after, the fearsome four made Call of Duty history, becoming the first roster from Europe to win a chip, by taking home gold at The 2017 CWL Global Pro League Stage 1 Playoffs, a $200,000 cheque, and the respect of the community.
With the transition to the franchised leagues, Toronto Ultra became Bance's next destination, swapping the English comforts for Canada.
The Coronation of the King of the North
The Modern Warfare season proved a good stepping stone for the Ultra, who toyed with many variations of their roster. Bance found himself on the sidelines for Launch Weekend, before being pulled into the side come Week 2 in London. Back on his stomping ground, Bance continued to perform and, despite some rocky results, found himself as a definite starter for Ultra.
It took 13 weeks of competing for Toronto to really assert any dominance, despite some semi-final appearances since the online restart. Taking to their own Home Series, Bance and co. stunned the world by beating an "unstoppable" Atlanta FaZe in the final, grabbing Bance his second chip.
Toronto continued to impress, especially on respawns, coming into Black Ops Cold War, with a revamped 4v4 roster. After a mid-table finish in Stage 1, the Ultra switched to an all-European roster consisting of Bance, Cameron "Cammy" McKilligan, Tobias "CleanX" Juul Jønsson, and newcomer Jamie "Insight" Craven, a feat that couldn't be achieved by the two EU orgs: London Royal Ravens and Paris Legion.
With Toronto flying the flag for the EU, the world was stunned once again.
Ultra made a remarkable lower bracket run to drop just two maps versus LA Thieves, Minnesota Rokkr, and Dallas Empire, after previously dumping OpTic Gaming down the pecking order too. Setting up yet another final versus Atlanta, Toronto had their foot to the pedal, and didn't appear to be running out of gas any time soon.
With a colossal 1.44 K/D, including a flawless Search and Destroy performance, it was Bance with the broadsword who was slashing his way to victory, with a raging CleanX as a right-hand man. The two hit 270 kills together in the eight maps, taking the victory 5-3.
The victory came as the only time a full EU roster has won a major Call of Duty title, and Bance was on both teams.
With three major championships to his name, Ben "Bance" Bance can safely go down in the history books as the best European Call of Duty player to date.
Wear the crown with pride, as you're King of the North.
Image via Toronto Ultra