OpTic Texas win first two matches without Scump on the roster
Could they perform without one of the best players in CDL history?
OpTic Texas has won their first two matches without Seth "Scump" Abner on the roster. They took down both the Toronto Ultra and the Seattle Surge to have a perfect start to life post-Scump.
Disregarding OpTic Gaming Los Angeles in the Modern Warfare (2019) season, it was the first time in over 3000 days that an OpTic roster had not featured the legendary Scump.
Scump has been replaced on the roster by Cuyler "Huke" Garland. Photo via CDL.
Scump had been on the team throughout all of the early years of competitive Call of Duty, culminating in a World Championship win in 2017.
OpTic Texas reunited the XEO trio during the week of Scump's retirement. They then added in benched AR player Brandon "Dashy" Otell back to the team. Together, they have had a strong start without Scump.
OpTic Scump steps down from OpTic Texas, retires mid-season
OpTic Scump has retired from competing in Call of Duty. He will leave the OpTic Texas team mid-season and move into content.
The first match without Scump
Their first match without Scump was against the Seattle Surge. A match that had deep-rooted storylines running right through it. OpTic had previously attempted to acquire Surge player Amer "Pred" Zulbeari after originally benching Dashy.
Inside sources say that OpTic offered Seattle more than $1 million in order to buy Pred out of his contract but Seattle, led by Luminosity Gaming, turned it down.
Pred showed exactly why he is worth so much in their matchup against OpTic on Friday, January 20. He had the second-highest K/D in the entire match, only beaten by his teammate Duante "Sib" Gray.
OpTic are clearly still building their chemistry as a new team, evidenced by the fact that they lost both of the Hardpoints in the series against Seattle.
Texas struggled for momentum in both map one and map four of the series with no player on the OpTic roster registering a K/D above neutral in either map.
It was in these maps that they truly missed the slaying power of one of the best to ever touch competitive Call of Duty. Texas managed to come together in the less frantic and more methodical game modes, completing a "Neslo" series win against Seattle by winning maps two, three and five.
A look back on the sensational playing career of Scump
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Anthony "Shotzzy" Cuevas-Castro dropped a total of 19 kills across the 18 rounds of Search and Destroy in the series. A match high.
Improvements against Toronto
OpTic are always held to such a high standard by one of the most passionate and dedicated fanbases in esports. It's a kind of pressure that doesn't really come with any other team, especially in the Call of Duty League.
That being said, not many expected much out OpTic against Toronto Ultra. Ultra have looked like one of the best teams in the league recently and expectations were curtailed by OpTic's infancy as a team.
iLLeY had to play against Toronto whilst in the same building as them. Photo via CDL.
There were also complications with this match, with Indervir "iLLeY" Dhaliwal not being able to get access to the United States due to a visa issue. He had to play from his home country of Canada and from the Toronto Ultra HQ in the 6ix. That meant that it was almost akin to a LAN match for one-quarter of the OpTic Texas roster.
Regardless, OpTic seemed to fit together seamlessly. Texas managed to pull off a crazy win against Ultra, taking both Hardpoints in a clear improvement of teamwork. In a Call of Duty game where everyone can kill anyone in just a couple of shots, it is the teamwork that really pays off in the respawn modes.
That was on show for OpTic as they managed to take map one and four against Ultra to tie up a 3-1 win against one of the best teams in the game.
How has OpTic Texas adjusted?
Strangely, the team have taken to post-Scump life incredibly well. They look to be giving their all in their matches, which is something that had been questioned about them previously.
It appears that coach Raymond "Rambo" Lussier has taken a slight step back from the team. He was thrown under the bus somewhat during the time that Dashy was dropped. Otell had claimed that Ray left practice one day to go bowling.
Scump's watch parties are on Twitch. Photo via Twitch.tv/Scump.
Scump has immediately transitioned in watch parties of the CDL. He pulled more viewers than the league itself during OpTic matches in his first weekend of streaming alongside the action.
He's been able to provide a unique insight into the game, whilst also not having to be stressed about competing. OpTic Texas' Scump has also been able to have some fun alongside his streams.
OpTic will now move onto their last week of Major 2 qualifiers before heading to Boston for the Major 2 tournament at the start of February. They will play Las Vegas Legion and Atlanta FaZe in their last week of qualifiers.
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Contributor | Twitter @itsjustantnow
Doubling as a football (soccer) journalist following EFL League Two club Tranmere Rovers, Ant has a long-standing passion for gaming. That, combined with the drive to create content in the esports space led to the creation of The Rotation, a Call of Duty news platform.