With the Australian Qualifiers wrapped up, preparation for the upcoming APAC regional final is underway. The competition to be hosted on the 14th of February, will see 8 of Oceania’s best Call of Duty teams vying for a spot at this year’s Call of Duty Championship in Los Angeles. Contrasting to previous Call of Duty qualifiers, only 2 teams were given the opportunity to represent Australia. With the on-going support from Activision, the team cap has now been raised to 3 teams for Oceania making the stakes for these qualifiers a do or die juncture. Last year our Australian representatives did us proud, T1.Dotters placing at a staggering 5th position, whilst Team Immunity, now Mindfreak, in places 13th-16th.
Let’s take a look at the Australian teams that have qualified for this years regionals:
After a successful run in 2014, being one of the two qualified teams to go through to LA; Mindfreak are looking to step it up a notch leading into this year’s qualifiers with the newest addition of Denz. For those of you that are unaware of Denz’ prior history, he previously played for the 5th placed T1.Dotters squad at last year’s CoD Championships. This change was made as long time standing member Albert ‘Naked’ Nassif stepping down to take on more of a managerial role for the team, giving Denz the opportunity to play in his position.
Mindfreak have showed epitomic dominance throughout the Australian Call of Duty scene for numerous years, being one of the very few teams to lose on LAN. With members of the team being unable to attend previous Call of Duty Championships due to the age limitation, Mindfreak will have the potential to compete internationally with their core 4 roster for the very first time.
The qualifiers for Mindfreak were somewhat of a smooth run. A bye in the first round saw the team facing off against the winner of Agro Gaming and Total Exile. Mindfreak met with Agro Gaming in the second round with a convincing 3-0 win. Blitzing through Round 3 and 4 saw the squad face off against Trident in the Grand Final. Mindfreak’s composure and experience as seen in previous games throughout the day definitely showed, taking out the Grand Final and being one of the first teams to qualify for regionals.
A nail-biting 3-2 series against Citadel Gaming almost put Trident’s hopes of qualifying on Day 1 in jeopardy. This would be closely replicated in the next round facing off against T1.Dotters in the semi-final match. Both teams in their previous games dropped their Hardpoint variant making it a do or die situation to put their foot ahead in the series.
After a back and forth match with the teams going to a fro, T1.Dotters emerged victorious in game 1 taking the map 199-176. A formidable mention goes out to Azzi dropping 45 kills to his name. Macka, also putting in work with an astounding 14 captures.
A convincing win by T1 in the first game was questioned by Trident’s response in the second. After a detrimental start being 4-2 down, T1’s ‘bread and butter’ gametype was hanging in the balance. T1’s experience shone through and their ability to handle pressure was definitely second to none, bringing the series back to 5-4, Trident only needing 1 round to win compared to the Dotters 2. However, multiple members went down in the dying stages of the next round putting Damage in a 1v4 situation, unfortunately losing the round. Trident taking the map 6-4.
Having displayed an amazing first two games, connection issues saw members of T1.Dotters dropping in and out of the final maps. However, after numerous re-connections the maps were successfully played and Trident took the series in a very impressive 3-2 win, guaranteeing a top 2 finish and solidifying the second spot for the day at APAC regionals.
Controversy surrounded when Macka was released from the T1 Dotters squad 5 days prior to the tournament. After taking wins on both SnD variants to a world class team, Trident are a definite force to be reckoned with.
Comprising of 3 out of the 4 original standing members, T1 are looking to defend their Australian title by booking their ticket to LA. With the departure of Denz, now playing for Mindfreak, T1 have brought on Fate who has been tearing it up over the past year or so in the AusCoD community.
Fresh off his recent win at ACL Sydney last year with former team ‘Team Storm’, Fate cemented his spot on the team for the APAC qualifiers. Originally coming from a Halo background, his slaying abilities have been on par with some of the best that Australia has to offer, top scoring for T1 in games against some prolific powerhouses.
Day 1 proved to be a tough one for the Dotters after a surprising loss against Trident in the Semi-Finals. Hindrance from connection issues and DDoS attacks proved a problem for them as they tried to make the best of the qualifiers. Meeting with EndZone for their 3rd place match put them in a place to which we don’t usually see. Nevertheless, the Dotters emerged victors with a 3-0 whitewash, being the 3rd and final team to consolidate their spot on the first day of the Australian qualifiers. Astonishingly, with all odds against T1, they managed to win the first map essentially 3v4.
After a shaky season in 2014, AVANT are looking to be forerunners at this year’s regional final. Last year put a large question mark on whether some members were going to continue to play on, narrowly missing out on the final qualification spot to T1.Dotters. AVANT are definitely considered as top contenders for taking that all important top 3 spot. After finally breaking the 3rd place curse at ACL Sydney last year, we’ve seen that they’re completely capable of being up there with the best on the world stage.
Looking to lead the way are Hopey and Benno the former Halo stars of the Australian competitive scene. Benno definitely knows what it takes to run with the best after placing a remarkable 17th at MLG Columbus with his team Frenetic Array, also making it through to the pro bracket with Team Immunuty at MLG Anaheim. Hopey, being one of the fierce and outstanding slayers of the game definitely transitioned well over to CoD after catching the eye of AusCoD veteran Vilesyder, giving Hopey the opportunity to play with his team Cruelty Incarnate, one of the top tiered teams at the time.
During qualification stages for APAC finals it seemed that this dream was somewhat precarious. A 3-2 loss to EndZone in Round 3 ruled them out of the tournament, waiting anxiously for the second day to qualify. ‘Remarkable’ would be the only way to describe how they handled this frontal assault through the bracket on day 2. Clean sweeps in Round 2, 3, and 4 locked the boys into the final two Australian qualifying spots alongside Integral Nation.
Billy’s going to APAC. The twittersphere exploded once they found out that Billy ‘Bundo’ Wall and his team Integral Nation took the final Australian representative spot for APAC finals. With an abundance of raw talent on this team, Billy received the most attention from the weekend.
Members of the CoD community spammed #BillWall, a take on OpTic gaming’s ‘#GreenWall after Bundo dropped some exceptional scores throughout the weekend. Most members of this team, newly ‘formed for these qualifiers, attended the regional qualifiers last year with the exception of Quinz, but were unsuccessful in their endeavours.
The recent acquisition of long standing AusCoD veteran Vilesyder is looking to be very promising. With experience beyond most players years, Vilesyder’s admirable leadership qualities are bound to translate into stronger mentoring and leadership for this group of upcoming players.
A special mention goes out to ACLPro for putting on an amazing qualifying series. Without their patience throughout the duration of the weekend, things wouldn’t have run smoothly as it did. Another shoutout goes to the casters. Thank you for delivering such an entertaining and action-packed weekend for all eSports enthusiasts alike. We look forward for what’s in store this weekend.