Ghosty: “It felt good to ice up” in Challengers Open Grand Final cover image

Ghosty: “It felt good to ice up” in Challengers Open Grand Final

Decimate beat ROKKR Academy 4-3, going all the way to the wire.

Dan "Ghosty" Rothe and the rest of his Decimate Gaming roster beat ROKKR Academy in the second Open final of the Modern Warfare 2 season. Ghosty, alongside Brendan "2ReaL" Stockdale, Tyler "FeLo" Johnson and Ulisses "Ulisses" Rios took down their opponents in map seven of a Best of 7.

<em>Left to right: Ghosty, FeLo, coach Nagafen, 2ReaL and Ulisses. Photo via Ant Stonelake.</em>
Left to right: Ghosty, FeLo, coach Nagafen, 2ReaL and Ulisses. Photo via Ant Stonelake.

Ghosty hadn't won a single Challengers event until two weeks ago, now he has two titles to his name. This roster also won the Challengers Cup the weekend before the Boston Open event.

"This is good," Ghosty told Esports.gg. "It’s really surreal. I have lost to Casey "Pandur" Romano and Kevin "Fame" Bonnano four or five times in the last six months."

Fame (middle) and ReeaL (right) are both official substitute players for the Minnesota ROKKR. Photo via Ant Stonelake.
Fame (middle) and ReeaL (right) are both official substitute players for the Minnesota ROKKR. Photo via Ant Stonelake.

"It feels really good to beat them, especially because when we have played against them online, they have kind of bodyslammed us. It felt good to ice up and I can’t even describe it."

Ghosty has consistently been one of the most impressive players in Challengers this season. He finds the delicate balance between being able to dominate scoreboards whilst also helping guide his team to win.

Winning Grand Finals in seven

Grand Finals against ROKKR went all the way to a deciding Search and Destroy map. After losing both of the SnDs in the series up to that point, Decimate had to turn things around and clutch up right at the death.

In the first one, on Embassy, FeLo dropped a donut, which lucky for him, can now be laughed about.

"On the Embassy they just straight up flanked me every round," he told us. "It was the first 0/7 that I just took on the chin. They were playing for me and singling me out so fair enough."

The concept of going all the way to the last map of the series would be nerve-wracking to the average person. 2ReaL says that there were no jitters.

Brendan "2ReaL" Stockdale is one of the most underrated players in Call of Duty Challengers. Photo via Ant Stonelake.
Brendan "2ReaL" Stockdale is one of the most underrated players in Call of Duty Challengers. Photo via Ant Stonelake.

"There was never any nerves," he said. "I was confident of us going all the way through, I wasn’t exactly happy, especially on Fortress SnD. "I don’t know how we lost that or the control, I had a really good read on what they were doing the whole time. We just knew that we were the better team."

Uli has been around for a while but with these teammates, he truly clicked into action as one of the top amateur players in NA. "I have been on a lot of teams and all these guys are the right pieces," he said. "With them we are just better."

"They got us once and they would not be able to get us again"

The format for Challengers events has changed this season. It used to be the case that two series would be played for Grand Finals. Teams coming from the lower bracket would then have to win back-to-back Best of 5 series to win the title.

That's not the case anymore, with the Challengers circuit now reflecting the professional game. Teams now play out a Best of 7 series, with the winner being the first to win four maps.

Decimate had experience playing against ROKKR Academy in the format heading into Boston. They lost 4-2 in the Elite Stage 1 Grand Final to the team just before heading out to Massachusetts.

"The big difference is that we have never come into a Best of 7 from losers before," FeLo said. "This year the format is a bit different. When we first played them in the Elite, our map pool wasn’t as big."

The Decimate Gaming roster holding up their Breach Mask trophies at the end of the event in Boston. Photo via Ant Stonelake.
The Decimate Gaming roster holding up their Breach Mask trophies at the end of the event in Boston. Photo via Ant Stonelake.

Decimate managed to fix their El Asilo, winning both the Control and SnD on the map during the series against ROKKR.

"They got to bully us with the mapset in the Elite and we really weren’t ready for it," FeLo continued. "If you go back to that series, we lost two on El Asilo, and it was a map we didn’t even scrim going into that event.

"Before the Boston Open, I told people that they got us once and they would not be able to get us again. We were ready for them. That was the game changer."

What's next for Ghosty?

These players will be some of the most sought after players following their win. Ghosty and co. will be prime for the picking from Challengers.

The most recent example of players getting picked up en masse from Challengers was Los Angeles Guerrillas effectively nuking their team and bringing in Kaden "Exceed" Stockdale, Adam "Assault" Garcia and Joe "JoeDeceives" Romero into their starting team for Major 2.

Ghosty looks league-ready and should be one of the first players considered during the break before Major 3. Photo via Ant Stonelake.
Ghosty looks league-ready and should be one of the first players considered during the break before Major 3. Photo via Ant Stonelake.

At least one of these players should be picked up in time for Major 3 but all of them deserve chances in the league after proving they can hang with the best.

Stay tuned to Esports.gg for all of the latest competitive Call of Duty news.