Clayster may have forever changed the direction of CoD last night by pulling out an M1 Garand at MLG Atlanta. If it seems strange that a Call of Duty: World War 2 pro is under fire for playing with a weapon in Call of Duty: World War 2, allow us to introduce you to the dreaded Gentlemen’s Agreement.

A Gentlemen’s Agreement (GA) is what happens in competitive Call of Duty when the players determine a weapon is too over powered and a nerf is not coming from the developers. GAs are a part of competitive CoD’s history. Years ago when CoD developers were unaware of esports, players had to balance a comp game on their own. When a weapon or perk is deemed too powerful by the players, the players secretly agree not to use it in the spirit of alleged competitive balance. The agreements were forced through “blacklisting,” essentially anyone who breaks the handshake deal would have a hard time finding teammates or practicing for the rest of their career. As competitive CoD gains better dev support and moves from hotel lobbies into arenas with ever growing prize pools, the Gentlemen’s Agreement is becoming a frustrating relic from a simpler time. GAs are not official and that point cannot be stressed enough. The M1 Garand is perfectly legal in the eyes of MLG, Activison, Sledgehammer and whoever else wants to host a CWL tournament, but it is secretly banned by the players.

Now, the circumstances around Clay when he broke the agreement should not be ignored.  eUnited is struggling like we’ve never seen before, going from a lock t4 finisher last season to a team who doesn’t look good enough to make it out of pools. After dropping their first two matches, Clayster and eUnited faced off against Era with the loser all but guaranteed to be going home early. According to Clay, he warned Era what might potentially happen before the match began.

Clayster only used the M1 when it became clear that eU was a loss away from yet another disappointing tournament, he probably did not go into Atlanta expecting to break the GA. You could argue that Clay practiced with the M1 all week for this master plan of stomping Era with a Garand, so his notice was meaningless if it didn’t happen a week before Atlanta to give opponents time to prepare. Let’s be honest here, that is not what happened. Clay got pissed after a 0-2 start and used the gun in frustration, does any kind of warning make it better or worse? Should we hold a meeting with all the players sitting in a circle to vote on their pretend rules before every match starts?

eUnited would go on to win the match with a strong performance from Clayster and his M1, and the outrage ensued. To be clear, the M1 Garand is better than most weapons in a professional’s hands. Sledgehammer will have a hard time balancing it for pros without ruining it for pubs, but that is their job and they should have to do it. Until there is a rule update from MLG, the Garand is perfectly legal for every single pro player to use. Clayster and Parasite (and probably Slasher and Octane who can shoot with anything) were clearly better with the Garand than the rest of the pros and were punished by the GA. Is it fair that their best weapon was banned in favor of someone else’s best weapon? The combat shotgun could take care of a Garand up close, solving some play style balance issues – but, oh yeah shotguns have a Gentlemen’s Agreement too.

Regardless of circumstances, Clayster showed the competitive community that GAs are a joke and have no place in big money tournaments. Is anyone really going to try to blacklist Clayster? Are we supposed to believe no organization will want to add a world champion with three quarters of a million followers on Twitter? Clayster is the hero we need to bring competitive CoD to legitimacy by getting rid of antiquated customs.

If any of this upset you, go ahead and pick up your own Garand, M1A1, FG or combat shotgun next match and see if you can beat eUnited with Clayster’s M1. They are all perfectly legal and thanks to Clay, you can use them now.

Featured image source: Red Bull

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.