MentaL: The Next Console GOAT To Join The CDL
Since announcing he would be stepping down from the UYU competitive Gears of War team in pursuit of playing in the CDL, Billy “MentaL” Putnam, speculation was high about where the young prodigy would end up. That question was answered when it was announced that the Los Angeles Guerrillas were picking up MentaL for their academy team.
Who is Mental?
MentaL began his career towards the end of Gears of War 3 competing in small events where straight away he showed his potential amongst the best in the game. However, he really made his impact on the competitive Gears scene starting in Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, where he joined Denial Esports and partnered who would become his long term duo Gilbert “Xplosive” Rojo.
Throughout the 2016 season, MentaL and his team established themselves as the best team in the game heading into the long-awaited release of Gears of War 4. This is where MentaL made his name for himself throughout the NA console esports scene, when his team were picked up by prestigious organisation OpTic Gaming.
During the time period of 2016-2019 whilst on the OpTic Gaming roster, the team amassed an astounding 46 titles combining both online and offline events. This most notably included a run of four events at the end of their time during OpTic where the team won $380,000 and MentaL firmly established himself as the best player in the game after earning multiple MVP awards. Although, as his success continued, the relevance of Gears esports was beginning to fade.
After OpTic backed out of the scene at the start of Gears of War 5 along with many other notable tier one organisations, it became clear to MentaL that his time in the scene was coming to an end and after teasing a switch in previous years, this time it is official. He leaves the scene after accruing $269,946.67 and the title of the Gears of War GOAT.
Following in the footsteps of legends
At the start of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare season, the community found themselves in a similar situation when it was announced that former Halo world champion Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro would be starting for the Dallas Empire team, with some people sceptical of how he would transition to professional CoD.
However, given his status as an FPS champion in a game notorious for producing high-level Call of Duty players, his transition seemed a lot more realistic. This risk paid off for the Dallas Empire though as Shotzzy was awarded the MVP of the CDL for the 2020 season and helped the team achieve four titles in the season, with the CDL Championship being the cream of the crop.
However, the major difference between Shotzzy and MentaL is that there was a precedent set for Halo players reaching the pinnacle of Call of Duty. Players such as Ian “Enable” Wyatt and more famously Matthew “Formal” Piper have become legends in the community, winning multiple tournaments apiece and Formal being a part of the OpTic gaming dynasty, which is arguably the greatest in the game’s history. Whereas when it comes to Gears of War, there are no notable players who have made the switch and made it to the highest level, however, if there was to be anyone who could do it, MentaL is definitely that man.
His new team
The biggest factor as to whether or not MentaL will succeed in the CDL will likely be the roster that he is surrounded by, after all, no one player has ever won an event by themselves. Joining him on the academy roster are upcoming talents Dylan “Neropoiison” Koch, Kaden “Exceed” Stockdale and experienced AR player Martin “Chino” Chino.
After spending most of last year on the bench, many people thought Chino was hard done for by the rival LA team, LA OpTic Gaming after impressing on his debut with the roster he was swiftly dropped back onto the bench to the shock of the community as they thought Chino was used as a scapegoat for other internal issues in the team. He will get his chance to prove his worth this season alongside up and coming talent, on 4v4 where he saw his most success. Chino could be crucial in the development of MentaL in Call of Duty, as his game knowledge and championship-winning experience will be invaluable in teaching MentaL to use his unquestionable talents to the best of their abilities.
What to expect from MentaL in the CDL
Whilst originally MentaL will be plying his trade in the challenger series for the LAG academy team, if he performs anyway near to what people believe his potential is and the LA Guerrillas perform anywhere near as poorly as they did last season, which is a possibility if the community’s expectations for the starting roster is to be believed, then the young prodigy could soon find himself competing against the world’s best. However, for now, MentaL and his LA Guerrillas academy team should be expected to be amongst the best teams in the challenger series and pushing the starting roster for their positions.
Although, as with any player transitioning to a new game, it is no guarantee as to how they will perform, but if his previous accomplishments are anything to go by the CDL could very well have another future MVP joining the league.
Images via CDL