CDL Quick-Fix #2: OpTic's 'Run It Back' Philosophy Tarnished Scump's Last Dance
Would Seth "Scump" Abner's retirement line the coffin for the Call of Duty League? Who would put the nail in the said coffin by eliminating the King from his final champs, eternally earning the Jamie Lannister "King Slayer" title? Or would Scump knock off his crown when he hoists the championship trophy for a second time and leaves the Call of Duty esports scene with the greatest legacy in the industry?
These were the hypotheticals for Scump's last dance, but OpTic, the loyal Kingsguard, have failed. After all these years, it's the Green Wall that has crumbled around Scump's feet, based on a stupid heat-of-the-moment "run it back" decision.
OpTic's run-it-back philosophy has tarnished Scump's last dance, and hasty changes have left a monarch without an honourable swansong.
Run What Back?
OpTic's pre-season antics stunned everyone. Many people thought a change was imminent, especially with the unknown entity that was Indervir "iLLeY" Dhaliwal's injury, but few people expected a double-whammy. Even with Brandon "Dashy" Otell's reputation, it seemed inconceivable that his head would roll too.
But to bring them back hastily, because of a bit of fan overreaction, was a recipe for disaster. Patrick "Aches" Price was slammed for this call, but the writing was always on the wall. The trust had been broken, chemistry shattered, and even though they were world beaters on their day, it left scar tissue, and these wounds would not be hard to tear open again. They should have laid in the bed they made.
It would only take one slither of a disagreement, especially within the first few weeks of the season, for the blood to begin seeping out, and with the inevitable beckoning, an early elimination at Major 1 was enough for there to be a Dashy-shaped cut in OpTic that needed bandaging quickly.
With a ceiling as high as OpTic's, and the clear duos of friendship, its clear to see why they wanted to rebuild the so-called green wall, but once their choice, they should have brought in an Australian heartthrob or a French fancy, rather than go back to their ex.
A Chronological Nightmare
According to the OpTic management team, Dashy's double benching was "not a skill" problem, inferring that old habits slipped back in, despite final warnings being issued pre-season; who would have known?
But the problem with removing arguably the most talented Assault Rifle player in the world (at least the top two alongside McCarthur "Cellium" Jovel), is that you either need someone that can come in that airs more cohesion than before or someone who can beat Dashy's consistent 1.4 K/Ds, the latter of which is pretty impossible unless they could reawaken the ghost of Matthew "FormaL" Piper.
Maybe Dashy is undroppable, maybe not, but moving Scump to a temporary AR to pave the path for his redemption arc certainly wasn't the move.
While it was right to bring back Dashy to the starting line-up, again, the onus was on him to step up and be OpTic's face, the frontman, and carry the crushing weight of the green wall on his back, something that Scump spend a decade mastering. "I'm falling so you can climb back up".
Admittedly, the acquisition of Cuyler "Huke" Garland, which amazingly fell in their lap, to reunite XEO of the championship-winning Dallas Empire team was a nice play, cutting out any of the chemistry woes alongside iLLeY and Anthony "Shotzzy" Cuevas-Castro.
Having missed the chance to jump on the lucrative offerings of the pre-season transfer window (more on that soon), and failing to buy out the CDL's hottest prospect, despite a record-breaking offer, OpTic have now decided to perform another u-turn on one of their run-it-back bench players, dumping iLLeY again and ripping XEO apart.
Not only did we see Scump give up his last dance, partly unselfishly to let XEO thrive and partly because he was so goddamn done with roster turmoil, but now the final chapter of his legacy has been passed over in favour of a rookie.
Seeing him play an AR for his final match was like Cinderella going to the ball still dressed in her rags and the glass slippers smashed, despite piecing Zinni up to sprinkle a bit of flair on his overall reputation.
The sad fact is that after over a decade of seeing Scump post four pieces on the objectives with a sub in hand, these days are over, and the team that he fell on his sword for has been slashed up in a three-week period, leaving a rookie wielding Excalibur and King Arthur sitting around his round table doing watch parties.
One grey and bearded magical headmaster once told me that "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live," but the missed opportunities for Scump to have a solid team from the get-go might always haunt him.
Arcity's removal from Atlanta FaZe is the most obvious port-of-call when thinking of "what could have been", reuniting ScumperJumper with his beloved Chicago Huntsman teammate, a move which would have seen a settled roster with solid cohesion be formed.
Other names like Paco "HyDra" Rusiewiez and Amer "Pred" Zulbeari might also have been better options than Huke, with a whole pre-season of preparation and an entire split of competitive play. Both targets could have been snapped up in the off-season too. In fact, HyDra was even a free agent, making this a painful blunder.
This move should have happened three months ago. There's no denying it, and its impacts could be astronomical.
The Denied Dance
Alas, here we are. OpTic restarts the season again ahead of their own Major.
Huke and Dan "Ghosty" Rothe are firmly under the wings of Dashy and Shotzzy, and Scump is enjoying a life of luxury, smashing Twitch records and overtaking the CDL's own channel in viewership.
It feels weird that OpTic are about to host their own event without the King, which might have been a better way to lay down his crown, similarly to how Methodz did, where regardless of the result, tears would have poured and tributes to his monarchy would have drowned out any critics.
Unfortunately, the swan-song of the best player of all time was with an unnatural assault rifle in an online qualifier, and OpTic themselves are the only people to blame. Their run-it-back philosophy tarnished the last dance, letting Scump down one last time.
A new dawn has arisen for OpTic now though, and out of the depths of their failure to honour a king, a new ruler could emerge, and with Dashy in the form of his life, Scump's wings can carry the dark knight to his full ring-winning potential.