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CDL Minnesota Challengers Open

POSTED BY Grauling February 3, 2020

With Black Ops 4 being a distant memory of an event we will never forget, we could not let that dictate our future! For the players that were arguably very unfortunate not to receive an offer, it was time to prove to every CDL team that they had let a star in the making slip.

With CleanX leaving to represent Toronto Ultras and Keza leaving to join a strong TrainHard team, the main structure of our team stayed. Detain being one of the best SMG players in Europe, Bidz being a very talented Flex and Insight, a huge stand out player at Champs playing the AR role. We knew we could create a championship winning team in the Challenger League for Call of Duty Modern Warfare.

Prior to the season starting, the team knew the ambition and hunger was destined for them in the near future and by quickly picking up two of the best individuals with a lot of history in so many different titles in Call of Duty, Chain and Maple were the perfect additions to the team.

The team grinded out 2000 series to rise the pro points ladder to secure the best possible seeding for CDL Minnesota. Going into the event the team managed to achieve 3rd seed in Europe and 7th seed out of the competition.

Arriving to bootcamp a week before the event allowed the team to get maximum preparation by competing against teams from North America, along with eliminating the possibility of fatigue from travelling around the world, the team were very confident in their ability.

Starting the event convincingly by not dropping a map, we thoroughly moved into Round 5. This was as expected and any other result would have been a disappointment. Playing against one of the best teams in Europe, we knew we had the beating of them. Team BDS being former Pro League players originating from France, this was not going to be a walk in the park. However, we took this series comfortably winning 2-0. With that result, we moved onto best of 5’s, which is a players preference. Allowing a small margin for error, you would not be one map away from elimination to the lower bracket.

Leading into the start of our series with Renegades, Chain was having an issue with his controller, which played a major effect in our series with them. Renegades being the number 1 seed in Australia, before we could be focused and prepared, we saw ourselves fall into the losers bracket. Requiring to regain quickly after this defeat, we matched Mindfreak. Facing against another talented team from Australia, we did not hesitate in proving why we deserved to make it to the final rounds of the tournament. We bounced back unbelievably well and took the series 3-0 that saw us progress.

14 hours deep into Saturday, we were not done there. With fatigue settling in for many players, our mentality was better than ever. Ready to go at any moment and play to the best of our ability. We stood up against OpTic Gaming’s Academy in Losers Round 10. Getting straight down to business, we picked apart the opposition and took the series 3-0. 

Being a frightening team that are stacked with talented players, we were set to lock horns with UYU. With the game starting at 1AM CST, it was questionable if this match could have waited until Sunday. However, with strict deadlines, we opened the series slowly by dropping the hardpoint on Gun Runner. Gun Runner being a stressful map, we quickly shook that off and recuperated by taking the next 3 matches. This was an amazing yet strange series with both teams having opportunities to take the win. Finishing this series at 2AM, we were rushed into doing Media. 

Being restrained to getting much sleep, we were set to start the Losers Final against top seed globally, Team WaR. With both teams being from Europe, this was a battle of who is the best in Europe as HybridGG Black was awaiting the winner. 

Unfortunately, a Team WaR player was unwell, and as it was a tight schedule, they had to forfeit map 1. This was out of our control as we were willing to wait. This was all on the admins/staff at this event as the Grand Finals were due to be on Main Stage. Taking the Search and Destroy, we were touching distance away from the chance to compete in front of the world. Domination, Hackney Yard awaited us. With this map being one side spawn heavy (the favourite side to spawn) it was important to get off to a good start and either limit the scoring progress from Team WaR or to capitalise and create a margin that will be hard to chase in the second half. Seeing us roughly 50 points down at half time, we knew Team WaR were not going to go down without a fight. Winning gunfight after gunfight, we clawed back the result however, it was narrowly out of our reach as we fell by 6 points. Hardpoint St Petrograd, I personally have never had mixed emotions like this before. I was more nervous on this map than I was watching us at Champs. Feeling sick yet excited, I would have hated to feel like any player in this game. With minimal margin for error, both teams battled back and forth. It fell down to who wanted it more. Gritting our teeth, we took the result 250-243. We were two steps away from being crowned the champions of the Challengers CDL Launch.

After the success of Champs, we were no strangers to playing on the stage. In fact, we strive under pressure. Having to beat HybridGG Black in back to back best of 5’s we took no hesitation in taking the first best of 5, 3-0. Looking so strong and eager to start the second best of 5, we were told to leave the stage and go back downstairs to where all challengers games were played. Having to wait for up to an hour, our second series finally started. Whoever wins the first 3 games, would be crowned your CDL Minnesota Champions. 

Taking the first game comfortably, we looked in very good shape to take the series. Starting the Search and Destroy very strong, a few key mistakes let HybridGG Black back in with a chance. Them growing in confidence with us making mistakes saw them comeback from a 5-2 deficit to them winning 5-6. Having won the first Domination comfortably on St Petrograd, there was no reason not to play this map again. Straight from the get go, we took control and never really looked in danger. Dominating with map pressure, we were allowed to get away with making mistakes due to the opponents having their backs against the wall. Proving we were the better respawn team, we were looking to close this series out 3-1. However, out of nowhere the real HybridGG Black came to play. Starting evenly matched, a few of the rotations going in favor of the enemy, they extended a lead that was uncatchable with the pace they were setting. 

This meant one thing and one thing only. It would be Search and Destroy to determine who would be taking home the $80,000 prize pool. Gun Runner, which personally is a horrible map to play Search and Destroy on due to the main bomb site arguably being in the favorable position for the attackers to plant, and the defense having the opportunity to retake, it would be the first team to withstand the pressure. With the first 2 rounds going in favor of HybridGG Black, only for us to level the score. The first 8 rounds consisted of us keeping up the pressure to keep drawing the scores. 

With the scores at 4-4 and SNG having to plant the bomb, we quickly took the advantage. This looked to break the run of the defending team winning the round. Match point Singularity. The biggest 3 minutes of concentration was required from all 5 players. Chain with the early pick in the round before getting traded, The bomb was then planted. With both teams losing 1 member and before we knew it we were having to retake in a 3v4 situation. With Bidz cancelling out a trade on Maple to then falling, we were yet again at a disadvantage with players. Detain taking out  their main eyes on the bomb, we had a great chance to apply pressure with the remaining two players of HybridGG not knowing what angle we were coming from whilst they had to recover and move position to see if the bomb was unattended. Detain again with a quick flank took out another member of HybridGG which left 1 player left to defend the bombsite with 2 SNG players hunting him down. Knowing where the last player was, we quickly pinched onto them. Coming from both ways, everyone knew he had minimal chance of surviving this situation. Insight quickly taking him down and 15 seconds left on the bomb, we knew we had done the task at set. Most teams would believe they have done the impossible, whereas each player knew this was our tournament for the taking. 

With over 3,000 people in the stream, we brought the victory and the $80,000 prize home. Never have I witnessed anything like this. This is something that as a manager will stay with me for the rest of my life and sets us up in a great position with number 1 seed out of all the Challenger teams. 

SNGARMY, we did it. Now onto CDL London which is in less than 14 days! We hope to see you there or in the stream!

Report by Curtis Bottomley