Upon Formal’s retirement, we take a look back on his illustrious career

On August 28th, 2021, Call of Duty World Champion Formal, unexpectedly announced his retirement from professional Call of Duty. The 26-year-old announced on Twitter, that he would be stepping away from competing to stream, and enjoy video games without the competitive aspect. He is widely considered the greatest AR player of all time.

Formal announces retirement, which leaves the COD community shocked

For the better part of eight years, Matthew “Formal” Piper has dominated the Call of Duty scene. His consistent and electrifying play with an assault rifle separated him from the rest of the pro scene year after year. The 23-time tournament champion announced his retirement on August 28th, following COD Champs. 

The announcement certainly left everyone in the COD community speechless. Formal explained in the Twitlonger that the stress of competing is just too much for him at this point in his career. He seemed to still be at the top of his game, but the overall performance of the team during the season may have been the final nail in the coffin. 

The rapid rise to the top

Before joining Primal for the beginning of the Call of Duty: Ghosts season in 2013, Formal was a hot commodity as he made his transition from professional Halo. On the contrary to Dallas Empire’s Shotzzy, Formal needed a “prove it” stint in the pro COD scene. He quickly made the jump to the decorated Team FeaR, and again to Team Kaliber. By March of 2014, he was already considered a top player in the game.

Formal Playing for FaZe Black

After a brief stint with FaZe Black, he then joined the steady-rising Team EnVy. He instantly shot that team into the top 3, with wins at both GFinity and Season 3 playoffs. Just when things were getting really good for his EnVy squad, the new Call of Duty arrived in November 2014. With the new game, came new changes, and Formal had nowhere to go but up.

The beginning of the greatest dynasty in COD history

In November 2014, Formal and Crimsix joined OpTic Gaming alongside Scump and Nadeshot. The team instantly clicked, with a second-place finish in the inaugural event for Advanced Warfare. OG then went on to win an absurd nine of the next thirteen events, finishing outside of the top two, once. 

Formal getting hyped up by Scump

Despite the poor team performance at the World Championships, the team was still practically unbeatable with Formal leading the way. The Black Ops 3 season was no different. Formal and his squad won five more events, with $156,000 in their pockets from those wins. Once more, Formal was considered the best player in the game and realistically had been for the last three years. He became an absolute superstar and was a huge part of the beginning of the OpTic dynasty. 

Finally winning the big one, followed by the ultimate demise

With everything that Formal had accomplished in the three years since joining Call of Duty, he had never won a World Championship. With such high expectations heading into the event, he just could never get the job done. However, with the Infinite Warfare season on the horizon, things would change for the world’s best player. 

Entering the 2017 Call of Duty World Championship, OpTic was once again the favorite to win it all. But after back-to-back years of 7th place finishes, there were a ton of concerns. But this time was different. OpTic lost just one series all tournament and won two best of five series to win the ultimate prize. Formal would be named the MVP of the tournament as well.

OpTic Gaming wins COD Champs 2017

So the legacy was cemented. Formal was finally a World Champion. The resume was complete, but Formal had to find a way to stay on top. Expectations were once again sky-high entering World War II. After multiple abysmal tournament placings to start the year, the OpTic dynasty would ultimately crumble. CWL Seattle would be the teams’ last one together after placing 13th-16th. Formal would then join Luminosity, winning one event in what was an overall average year for his team. 

He would go on to win two more events during the Modern Warfare season, which would be the last of his career.

What makes him the greatest AR player of all-time?

With his terrific resume over the last eight years, there is no doubt Formal has cemented himself as a top 5 player to ever play the game. His transition from Halo to COD was remarkable and proved just how good he really was in FPS games. He made an immediate impact early in his career and never slowed down to the day he retired.

He basically had one main role throughout his entire career. That being the main assault rifle player. He took that role and flourished every single year he competed. Not only was he ridiculously consistent, but he was always capable of pulling off impossible plays to help his team win in the biggest moments.

While it is tough for fans to see such a terrific player walk away from the game, and will be known as the greatest AR player of all time. He will always be remembered for his calm demeanor and half of the T2P duo.

Zarin Bartholomew -

Zarin Bartholomew

| Twitter: @ZaarinCOD | Twitch: ZaarinTV

Born in Toronto, Canada, I started writing in Esports when I was 16, covering multiple Call of Duty teams and events in the CWL. That kickstarted my true passion for both journalism and esports as a whole. I have also expanded my horizons, getting into commentating over the last year