OpTic, FaZe rivalry takes center stage at Call of Duty League's OpTic Major

by Brian Bencomo

When OpTic Texas reverse swept the Atlanta FaZe in the upper bracket semifinals of this weekend's major, it very much felt like a rematch was what Call of Duty fans wanted in the grand final unless they were rooting for another team. Since the merger earlier this year between Envy and OpTic Gaming eliminated the best rivalry in Call of Duty League esports, FaZe vs. OpTic is now the premier rivalry in COD. They are the two orgs currently in the CDL with the deepest roots in the scene, and we got a double dose of that rivalry this weekend at Major I, the first COD major of the year.

OpTic Gaming beat the Atlanta FaZe 5-2 on Sunday to claim the first major championship of the year. OpTic looked sharp throughout the final, and FaZe could not win any maps besides two on Search & Destroy. Only McArthur “Cellium” Jovel finished with a positive K/D for FaZe, while all but Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro finished positive for OpTic.

Photo credit: David Doran / ESPAT

Given OpTic’s large fan base, they usually get the biggest cheers at any offline event, and considering this major was in front of a home crowd for OpTic Texas, the cheers were even louder. It made for an incredibly fun and raucous atmosphere at Esports Stadium Arlington, especially whenever they faced FaZe, the main target of the crowd’s boos. The magnitude of the rivalry was evident beyond Arlington as the OpTic-FaZe matchup in the upper semis was the only match before Sunday that even approached 100,000 viewers on YouTube. The grand final peaked at over 150,000 viewers, the most of any match this weekend.

Envy CEO Mike “Hastr0” Rufail commented on the crowd ahead of Sunday’s final saying it was one of the loudest he has experienced in esports.

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Earlier Sunday, OpTic Texas beat the London Royal Ravens to reach the grand final. In the lower bracket, FaZe made quick work of the Toronto Ultra, winning 3-0 to face the Ravens. When FaZe were one S&D round away from going up 2-0 on the Ravens, it basically seemed like a rematch was inevitable. The Ravens ended up coming back to take the S&D and made things interesting on the third map, but FaZe ultimately won 3-1 to seal the finale everybody wanted.

The two organizations have now met 93 times, according to schedule history data on COD’s fandom site. That includes all matchups involving OpTic Gaming, OpTic Nation, OpTic Gaming Los Angeles, OpTic Chicago and OpTic Texas on one side, and FaZe Clan, FaZe Red, FaZe Black and Atlanta FaZe on the other side. OpTic increased their slight edge with 49 victories, versus 44 for FaZe. This was the 10th time the two orgs have met in a grand final with FaZe coming out victorious six times compared to four for OpTic.

Considering the merger between OpTic and Envy, it’s also worth looking back at the history between FaZe and Envy. Including the Dallas Empire, who were Envy’s Call of Duty franchise from 2020 to 2021, Envy faced FaZe 79 times, with FaZe winning 46 times to Envy’s 33.

Photo credit: David Doran / ESPAT

OpTic and FaZe have been duking it out for nearly a decade with many of the best and most well-known COD players taking part in the rivalry. Seth “Scump” Abner, Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, Matthew “FormaL” Piper, Ian “Crimsix” Porter and Damon "Karma" Barlow have all represented the Green Wall. James "Clayster" Eubanks, Thomas "ZooMaa" Paparatto, Ian "Enable" Wyatt and now Chris “Simp” Lehr and Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris have all played for FaZe.

There is one player who stands out though, having been there for almost all of the OpTic-FaZe matchups: Scump. With the exception of his time with the Chicago Huntsmen (whom many fans considered to be the real OpTic not OpTic LA), Scump has been representing OpTic since 2011. He had a 1.12 K/D in the final and finished the major with a 1.08 K/D, fourth-best according to COD stats site BreakingPoint. OpTic’s major win also was Scump’s 30th major win overall and gives him titles in 10 different COD games.

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While OpTic and Scump were more successful throughout the Call of Duty World League era, FaZe have been dominant since the dawn of the Call of Duty League in 2020. Now in 2022, it appears as though OpTic have risen to the occasion and we might be seeing these two orgs battle it out all year. What a treat that would be for COD fans.

Lead photo credit: David Doran / ESPAT

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