The French are on top for the first time in the CDL era.
French organisation Aw0babobs have won the last Challengers Open of the 2023 Call of Duty League season. They took down Decimate Gaming in the Grand Final with both teams booking their spots at Champs.
Aw0babobs faced a crazy run through their Toronto tournament. On Championship Sunday, they lost to their eventual Grand Final opponents Decimate before making the run through the lower bracket to come back and complete the win with a clean sweep in the Grand Final.
In winning, Aw0babobs have proved many wrong. People have suggested that they are better players when they play in online competitions but now they have finally taken down all of the best teams in the world in a LAN setting.
Some of the best talents in the world were on the opposite side for Aw0babobs in Toronto. Noysii, GODRX, Classic, GRVTY and Censor are among the names that ended up getting put down by the eventual winners.
Proving people wrong
One of the biggest things for the Aw0babobs side in Toronto was proving everyone who doubted them wrong. Both Paul "Breszy" Breszynski and Jordan "abuzah" Francois, along with the rest of the Aw0babobs team, have aspirations to be in the Call of Duty League next season.
"It’s a good feeling," abuzah told esports.gg "It’s a really good feeling. We work so hard every day so we deserve it and we just keep playing together every time. We know what we can do and we have to keep playing and keep working hard.
"People talk too much on Twitter and now we can speak that we are not onliners. Especially because we are French and most of them people are all English, sometimes it can feel like we’re a bit alone."
Breszy agreed that being able to show up in spite of what people are saying about you before a tournament made the win feel even better.
"It’s the best feeling because we have some pressure when people talk about us," he told us. "I’m really proud of how we played in this tournament because even when we were down and losing we were still focusing on our game.
"It’s amazing. I have no words I am just speechless. We played how we practiced and we proved people wrong."
Balancing competing on Aw0babobs with life
In Call of Duty Challengers, there are no wages. No player gets paid by teams to the extent at which they would be considered full-time employees. Breszy has to balance studying alongside competing at the top level of amateur competition.
"It’s really hard because sometimes I need to study," he said. "We scrim from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and then we have to play our SnD after. Sometimes I only get like three or four hours of sleep just because I have to go to school but when you have the passion for it, you can do it."
But even when he is running on absolute empty, he's still got the passion and drive to get the best practice in heading into an event.
"We had the feeling [that we were going to win] since the beginning and obviously every team wants to win the event. At home we practiced really hard and we watched a lot of vods. We were ready for it, we knew we have a lot of practice to do."
Aw0babobs moving onto Champs
Before the Texas event in March, it had been three years since a European team won a Challengers event in Call of Duty. Now, the region has two back-to-back winners. Aw0babobs have backed up Team Notorious' win in Texas by taking the crown in Toronto.
Despite playing against teams that they don't play on a weekly basis, abuzah says that it's less of a challenge to play teams from the NA region.
"I feel like it is easier to play against NA teams," he said. "It depends on the team because everyone has their own playstyle. I think it’s probably because we play against European teams every day that it makes it a bit easier to play without overthinking when we play teams from America."
This confidence against NA teams will have to translate into Champs in Vegas in two weeks time. Aw0babobs will head into the CDL Championship Weekend as the number one seeded Challengers team worldwide.
"We don’t take that win for granted," abuzah added. "Hopefully we will still put the same effort into our practice and we don’t get too overconfident. We had an amazing day but we need to keep working."
CDL Challengers Championship Weekend takes place from June 16-18 and will feature the 16 top teams from all four regions in the circuit. Aw0babobs will be the number one seed and based on their LAN win in Toronto, they should be highly regarded as favorites for the event.
That's all for now. Be sure to stay tuned to esports.gg for all the latest Call of Duty Challengers news and reports.