The first major LAN of Call of Duty: WW2 might be the biggest CWL tournament yet.

The Call of Duty World League kicks off its LAN season this weekend with CWL Dallas, the first tournament to feature CoD: WW2. With the Call of Duty series returning to its boots on the ground origins after three years of advanced movement, CWL Dallas is shaping up to be one of the most exciting, unpredictable tournaments in recent memory. Here are the stories you need to keep an eye on this weekend in Dallas.

Can anyone stop OpTic?

This OpTic squad was formed to be the best CoD team in history and they have certainly entered that conversation after an impressive string of LAN victories, capped off with their first CWL Championship last season. Heading into WW2, OpTic has shown no signs of slowing down, winning three of the four online tournaments leading into Dallas. With the roster feeling confident they are even better at boots on the ground gameplay, it could be a very long year for teams trying to compete with OpTic.

Team EnVyUs Breakup

Despite winning the Black Ops 3 World Championship and making the Grand Final in Infinite Warfare, EnVy decided to blow up their roster. A new team was built around Slasher, bringing on talented newcomers Huke and Temp, along with a veteran in Classic. Although Huke and Temp have potential to be among the best, and maybe they already were before CWL put in the age limit that forced them away, they are still considered unproven in competitive CoD. Slasher finally has the team he wants, so the pressure will be on him to get a positive result this weekend. We won’t have to wait very long to see this reworked EnVy roster tested, as OpTic and EnVy will square off in Pool A at 9:30 CST on Friday.

As far as the jettisoned members of EnVy are concerned, John and Jkap joined a powerhouse Luminosity squad, while Apathy signed on with Evil Geniuses. Luminosity looks like one of the stronger rosters this season, and you can bet John and Jkap would love to see their old friend Slasher this weekend. If EnVy and Luminosity meet up in the bracket, do not miss that match.

Apathy has always been a quiet competitor, but that doesn’t mean a potential match up with EnVy won’t be circled on his calendar. His teammate ACHES already got into a shouting match with Temp during a recent stream, adding even more fireworks to a potential EnVy EG match already loaded with storylines.

Pool of Death

Splyce, eUnited, Ghost, and Evil Geniuses were all drawn into Pool D in Dallas, quickly becoming the dreaded pool of death. Splyce and eUnited should be contenders all season long, while Ghost is out to prove the belong with the top NA teams. Although EG has yet to perform the way everyone thinks they can, this is a talented team with proven LAN players and former champs. Every match in Pool D is a can’t miss affair, and only two of these great teams will move on to the winners bracket. The first match of CWL Dallas is eUnited and EG at 2:00 CST on Friday, a match that could very well decide who comes out of this insane pool.

Can EU and ANZ compete?

Throughout its history, competitive Call of Duty has been dominated by teams from North America. Recent years have seen Europe get in on the action however, with Splyce becoming the first European team to win a major on North American soil at Stage 1 last season. While Splyce is deservedly in the conversation of teams who might dethrone OpTic, the rest of Europe is a question mark. Red Reserve certainly has the talent to compete, but they have yet to prove they belong with the LAN heavy hitters. No one is quite sure what to expect out of UNILAD, Epsilon and Vitality, who all could struggle in pool play. Keep an eye on how many Euro teams make it out of pools, it could signal what kind of season it will be for EU teams not named Splyce.

Not much has changed down under, with Mindfreak once again earning Australia’s lone pool play spot by sleepwalking through ANZ online events unchallenged. It has been a tough go for the region, with local teams not providing any real competition for Mindfreak, and Mindfreak not providing any real competition for NA and EU teams at majors. We would like to see things change with WW2, and anything can happen in the first tournament of a new game, especially one with major gameplay changes. But as things stand, Mindfreak might struggle to win a single match, let alone make it out of pools.

Onliners and Jetpackers

One of the greatest insults you can throw at a competitive CoD team is calling them “onliners,” a term for teams who win small, online events and choke at major LANs. This year, the unfortunate designation is being thrown at Team Kaliber, a roster who came from nowhere to grab top 4 finishes in the online events leading up to CWL Dallas. Although TK is an esports franchise with history, they disappeared at the end of Black Ops 3 and were nowhere to be found during Infinite Warfare. TK is back with Chino and Kenny joining the team, and things have worked out so far. Team Kaliber will be eager to prove they can get it done on the Main Stage this weekend, and a deep run in Dallas will get rid of the online label for good.

eUnited was the team to shed the “onliners” label last season, defeating OpTic, EnVy, FaZe and Splyce on their way to a CWL Atlanta Championship. No one doubted eUnited again for the rest of the season, but another unfortunate label has found its way to eUnited for the start of WW2 – Jetpackers. With Prestinni and Arcitys rising to fame during the advanced movement era, skeptics are once again out in full force to question their potential in a slower, boots on the ground Call of Duty game. We’re not going to bet against them again.

Bring on Dallas

With the amount of roster shakeups that happened over the summer, fans and players from just about every team are going into CoD: WW2 optimistic. The first major LAN of a new game brings unpredictability and hope, with teams eager to set the tone for the upcoming season. Anything can happen in Dallas this weekend, keep an eye on these stories and don’t miss any of the action when CWL Dallas pool play kicks off at 2:00 CST on Friday.

About The Author

Vince G
Esports Staff Writer

Vincent is a washed up former college volleyball player who prefers video games now, since they don't hurt his surprisingly old knees. His all time favorite games are Bioshock, Mirror's Edge and Catherine. Vincent is currently playing and covering all things competitive Call of Duty. He is a Diamond in WW2 ranked play, and doesn't care that it was probably a glitch that placed him there.