The Call of Duty World League is an esports competition which was founded in its current form in 2016. Before that, though, there had been the CoD World Championship which ran every year from 2013 onwards. The new World League consolidated qualification tournaments for the World Championship under one banner, and has given CoD players across the world a more unified structure in which to compete. Call of Duty World League events now take place across the globe, spanning Europe, North America and Asia, and have attracted more interest from betting sites as the competition’s profile has grown over the last two years or so.
Operated by Activision and Major League Gaming, the Call of Duty World League is looking forward to a brighter future, with these giants of the gaming industry steering its ship. The current season of professional competitions are being played in the Infinite Warfare setting of the game, although this may change in the future with new releases every year.
Call of Duty has been through several stages of development since its original launch, with a host of new settings and scenarios being formulated. A first person shooter game, CoD, has been a feature of many people’s gaming library for most of the last decade. The original focus of the game was very much on World War Two, with all of the early versions being set during this conflict. Published and owned by gaming giants Activision, who are also behind the Call of Duty esports league events which now proliferate, the game has been through several mutations during its lifespan.
Scenarios and settings for the game now usually focus on modern warfare, although the first edition of Black Ops, released in November 2010, used the 20th century’s Cold War between Western and Soviet powers as its background. Some versions of the game are also set in the near future, such as Black Ops II, which takes place in the year 2025. The settings changed again as a new version of the game was released in November 2017, entitled Call of Duty: World War III.
Tournament play takes place in a number of different formats and has covered most of the different game scenarios and versions. In 2016, for example, the season was run using the Black Ops III version of CoD. Major league play utilised Black Ops II in 2013, before moving onto Ghosts and Advanced Warfare in the following two years. The 2017 league was contested using the Infinite Warfare version of CoD.
The Call of Duty World Championship has been in existence since 2013, with the World League being officially founded in 2016. The existence of the World League has consolidated qualifying competitions for the World Championship, and given players and teams a structure in which regular and relevant competitions take place. CWL Championship events are held across Europe, North America and further afield, with recent competitions being held in Sydney, Australia, Dallas, Texas, and Birmingham, England. The CWL concept is also set to stage events in Sheffield, England, Anaheim, California, and Columbus, Ohio, as qualification places for the main tournament are still up for grabs. Every Call of Duty esports league event is therefore taken very seriously.
But the main focus is always on the World Championship tournament itself, which has produced some great thrills and entertainment since its inception in 2013. The first such tournament, which was staged in Los Angeles in April, 2013, was won by Fariko Impact, a team no longer in operation. They beat Team EnVyUs into second place, and took home the $400,000 first prize. Optic Gaming and compLexity Gaming were in third and fourth place respectively. In 2014, CoD league gaming reached another level of intensity, when compLexity Gaming won the competition. Team EnVyUs were once again runners up, while Optic Gaming and Strictly Business made up the rest of the top four. CompLexity Gaming topped Group B in some style, with 3-0 win/loss record, and a staggering 9-0 total for games won. They swept EnVyUs aside 3-0 in the final too, winning the tournament in imperious fashion.
The World Championship was held in Los Angeles again in 2015, and was won this time by Denial Esports, who triumphed over Revenge in the final. FaZe Red and Prophecy NA completed the line-up in the tournament’s top four. Denial had come second in their group in the first stage of the tournament, finishing as runners up in Group B to Prophecy NA, who had looked strong in those early stages. But Denial started to show great form in the knockout rounds, defeating Optic Gaming, and then sweeping Team Kaliber aside 3-0, before beating Automatic Reload. They would beat Revenge 3-2 in their first semi-final, before playing the same team again in the final, with the same result.
In 2016, the fourth edition of the World League Championship was held in Inglewood, California, in the United States. Team EnVyUs emerged as winners, claiming the first prize, which now stood at a staggering $800,000, a mark of how interest in world league CoD was rising. Splyce took home the $250,000 second prize, with Elevate in third place, and FAB Games Esports in fourth. EnVyUs had shown good form in the group stages, topping their group with a 3-0 win/loss record. They would conquer Splyce 3-1 in the final.
The runners up in 2016 were another American team, in the shape of Splyce. The team still has an impressive roster, though the line-up has changed significantly over the last year or so as a result of internal conflicts. One constant on the team during its recent CoD history has been Ben ‘Bance’ Bance, a British player who has become one of the most respected names on the CoD scene. He is joined by two of his fellow countrymen in the team’s current line-up, with Dylan ‘Madcat’ Daly and Trei ‘Zer0’ Morris joining him on the roster. The current team is completed at the time of writing by an Irishman, Jordan ‘Jurd’ Crowley, who is known for his highly aggressive style of play.
Epsilon Esports are a Belgian team who have an all-British line-up when it comes to competing in the CoD World League. David 'Dqvee' Davies is a Welshman who plays as the team’s slayer, while Stephen ‘Vortex’ Allen functions in the role of support for Epsilon. Billy ‘Hawqeh’ Harris also plays as a slayer for the team, and holds the world record for the fastest time to beat "FNG" in Modern Warfare Remastered, which stands at 9.3 seconds. The roster is completed by Joshua-Lee ‘Joshh’ Shephard, a former Splyce team member, who helped the team to claim first place at the CWL Birmingham Open in April 2017.
FaZe Clan are a big name in esports generally, and have established a reputation in the world of competitive CoD now too. Their current roster is all American, with James ‘Clayster’ Eubanks filling the role of AR slayer. He was crowned MVP of the CoD Championships in 2015, leading Bracket Play with a 1.31 K/D. Accompanying Clayster on the roster are flex players Ian ‘Enable’ Wyatt and Thomas ‘ZooMaa’ Paparatto. Wyatt is a former Halo professional who has developed a solid reputation during his four years playing CoD competitively. Completing the line-up is Dillon ‘Attach’ Price, another player who fills the role of flex on the team. He has also played for Rise Nation and Denial Esports.
Another team who have established a reputation for quality play on the CoD circuit are Evil Geniuses, another American outfit. Other teams who currently compete in the Call of Duty World League include Optic Gaming, Fnatic, Luminosity Gaming and Splyce, amongst others.
Obviously, by far the most common bets placed on CoD are straight bets on match outcomes. A punter will choose which team they think will win match, and place a bet on them. Odds for this type of bet can be low, sometimes, especially when favourites are playing against unfancied teams in the early rounds of tournaments. Betting on outsiders in the early rounds of esports events is not generally recommended, as upsets are rare.
A good way of maximising possible winnings from match bets is to use accumulators. The skills gap between teams in CoD is less severe than it is in other esports games, though, so, occasionally, as long as the bet is backed by proper knowledge, it might be possible to win big on a bet on an outsider. This is only really recommended for more experienced gamblers, though.
Accumulators are where a number of bets are combined on one betting slip. The winnings from each bet then roll over to be used a stake in the next bet. Each bet needs to win for the slip to be successful, though, and one losing selection means that the whole slip loses. When betting on Call of Duty, it is often a good idea to combine several bets on favourites in the early rounds of tournaments on an accumulator.