OpTic Ghosty: “I have no interest in looking cool, I’m interested in winning”
Ghosty is one of a kind in terms of OpTic pickups. We spoke with the player on the transition to the big leagues.
Dan "Ghosty" Rothe is the first full-time amateur pick-up that OpTic have made since the start of the Call of Duty League. His rise to stardom has been unrivalled in the last 12 months.
Ghosty has gone from playing alongside Doug "Censor" Martin, missing out narrowly on being at Challengers Champs in the Vanguard season, to running the show on the OpTic Texas roster.
Dan has come into the team to replace former World Champion Indervir "iLLeY" Dhaliwal.
"It’s crazy but to me it’s just another day," Ghosty told Esports.gg. "I just happen to now play with literal gods. My subs are world champions.
"In terms of notoriety and going down as one of the greats, I have to get at least one right and win a lot. At the end of the day, people only remember the winners in esports and sports, not just CoD.
"I just want to win at the end of the day, I want to go down as one of the best Call of Duty players and I do not want to lose sight of the goal."
"I have no interest in looking cool, I'm interested in winning"
Replacing a world champ is not an easy thing to do. The expectation of the OpTic fan base is as big as ever but Ghosty isn't on the team to post ridiculous numbers every series.
"Everyone hyped the pickup to be the traditional four-superstar OpTic roster," he said.
"I have no interest in looking cool, I'm interested in winning. Instead of being the superstar, I have to be the facilitator in the comms and I have to enable them the best that I can."
Dan is aware that playing alongside players as good as his teammates is a true blessing. OpTic have a long history of top-level players and the current roster is no different.
"I know in the back of my head that if my teammates are at 100%, I can be at 10% and we will win every series," he added. "As long as I do good every series and continue to do what I do best and facilitate, I will win. That’s how I see it, it’s that simple."
Changing OpTic's fortunes
OpTic have had an up-and-down few years in the Call of Duty League. The team couldn't get an event win over the line in the Cold War season and then won the first of Vanguard. It looked as if OpTic were set for a period of dominance but that was to be their only event win of the year.
Now, two Majors into the MW2 season, OpTic are still without a win. Ghosty is hopeful of being able to turn that around.
"I have 100% have confidence in the capabilities of this team," he said. "If we keep meshing and building, then we will for sure be contenders for the ring at the end of the year. When it comes down to it there isn’t really a team that you are 100% sure will be winning at the end of the year.
"The percentages are low because everybody wants it and everybody will fight hard for it. I am playing with a multi-FPS champ, two world Champs and Dashy, who has one of, if not, the best shot in the game. The talent is there to make it happen."
A small bump in the road came in Ghosty's second week in the OpTic team, with a swift 3-0 loss to Toronto Ultra. He insisted that it was just a blip in the progress that the team is making.
"We don’t really care because we’ve been frying," he said. "Everything is good over here. It’s always good vibes, we’re always giggling. They believe in me and trust me. Over the last week, I don’t really feel pressure anymore.
"It looked like we were uncomfortable against Toronto because they weren’t dying but it is what it is and we move on. People have been saying that Cuyler is super frying, but the thing is that I am allowing Cuyler and Ant to do whatever they want on the map. Brandon also helps make my life easy so that we can continue to make our subs look like superstars."
It's also important to realise that teams will benefit from all kinds of reps that they get, a Championship-winning team is familiar with loss and what it takes to avoid different kinds of losses.
The pressure of being on the biggest brand in Call of Duty
OpTic Texas and the OpTic Gaming brand in general brings a different level of pressure. It's a level of accountability that isn't present with other teams, with so many passionate fans ready to scrutinise the smallest bits of your gameplay.
This pressure could get to most, but Ghosty says that he is able to keep a clear mind and simply focus on winning with the team.
"There’s always lingering pressure because you have a level of respect that you show everyone and everything in the scene that you have to upkeep," he said. "Everyone wants you to do good and look good whilst doing good but at the end of the day, all we care about is winning.
"Winning for the fans and winning for the brand, winning for yourself, there’s nothing better. All four of us have that same mindset, if we grind and be undeniable, we’ll end up going far."
"I knew it was going to be crazy"
Before the announcement of Ghosty signing for OpTic, he has just over 3,000 followers on Twitter. Two and a half weeks later and that number increased 10-fold.
Replacing a world champion, it would be forgiven if people didn't take the news of Ghosty's pick-up as kindly as they did. The outpouring of love towards Dan when he signed was something quite special.
"I knew it was going to be crazy," he said. I was told that I should probably mute my notifications, but I wanted to see first and let me tell you, I muted my notifications within five minutes of it being tweeted.
" The love was absurd. It was felt seriously. I was an amateur getting picked up for Inder, who was a world champ. I understand why people would be upset about that because I’m just a rookie.
"The response at the beginning was completely different to what I expected it to be. It was overwhelmingly positive, and I am very grateful for that."
Old teammates in the league
Two of Ghosty's old Challengers teammates were also picked up onto CDL rosters after the Boston event. Brendan "2ReaL" Stockdale and Tyler "FeLo" Johnson are now on Las Vegas Legion and Florida Mutineers respectively.
Ghosty thinks that the team that he finished his Challengers career on would have won a lot more if they had more time to together.
"Brendan plays very good winning CoD," he said. "That’s why I loved playing with him too. He’s a beast and I am so happy that I finally got to team with him. We ended up winning, meaning my prophecy came true that if we played together that we would win right away.
"He was my glue, if we were together in Challengers more, we would have won a lot. If we kept the same team right now, we would be running amok."
Still watching Challengers
Even if he has been put into the limelight of the Call of Duty League on OpTic, Ghosty is still watching Challengers action. He's been supporting his boys throughout Elite Stage 2, including Adam "Peatie" Peate's team that ran him close in Boston.
"I’ve watched most matches," he added. "I watch EU when my boys are playing. If EriKBooM’s team is playing, any Spaniards or if FDot or Furiious are playing. I also watch Abuzah and Breszy.
"I don’t really watch the lower teams, I do like Peatie’s team though. They fought hard at the event that we won, they were gross, so I tip them, they were up 2-0 in a control in a best of three and lost. They trolled but damn they are disgusting."
Peatie and his team, including Rezzy, Aroma and Kidz, were just two seconds away from winning that Fortress control against Ghosty's Decimate roster. If they won that, the entire story could be completely different.
First event for OpTic in Texas
Ghosty is in a unique position and one that nobody has ever really found themselves in before. His first time on main stage in a CDL event will be for OpTic. Not only that, it will also be in front of the OpTic Texas crowd at the OpTic Major in Arlington, TX.
OpTic fans are some of the most passionate and vocal fans in all of esports and they will no doubt be making themselves heard when the CDL circus comes to town from March 9-12.
"It's surreal and my teammates have been telling me," Ghosty said. "Brandon was saying how crazy it is, especially for me seeing as my first event for OpTic will be at the OpTic event. I don’t know how to explain it. This will hit so much different when it happens.
"Brandon said that there is no way to describe the feeling of your first event for OpTic. I feel like I’m going to have so much more passion. I feel like I could do anything, and I would have so much support."
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