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Call of Duty

Los Angeles Guerrillas Win $100,000 Rebirth Island Tournament

Nikhil Kalro

How do you captivate the attention of fans and viewers to the extent that many believe you’re on the verge of being the sport’s breakout team? That you’re no longer the pushovers many expected. That you’ve turned over a new leaf, and that your rise through the ranks in recent times is no accident. 

cod rebirth island winners los angeles guerrillas

Image Credit: Los Angeles Guerrillas Twitter

Ask Los Angeles Guerrillas, who have been there and done what not many expected them to so far this summer. Success at the CDL Major 2 has now been backed up by a sensational title triumph at the mid-season Call of Duty Resurgence Rebirth Island tournament that finished last weekend.

What has gone into the making of this sensational turnaround? Well, a lot.

If CDL Major 2 proved to be a stepping stone, in many ways, the Rebirth Island tournament was mere affirmation that they were on the right path. It caps off a sensational last couple of months that began for LA Guerrillas with a loss in their opening match, sending them down to the loser’s round.

It may have been enough to elicit fears of the worst even among their diehard fans, but to turn around a flagging campaign from there to win seven in a row, including beating title favourites Atlanta FaZe 5-2 in the grand finale, speaks volumes of their resolve and ability. 

That they did so despite the circumstances around them is commendable. As if a bottom-placed Major 1 finish wasn’t enough, they received shattering news that Pierce “Gunless” Hillman would be unavailable for the tournaments to follow due to a possible surgery. Enter Kris “Spart” Cervantez and it was as if they didn’t even feel Gunless’ void. As a substitute, Spart redefined play in the meta with his choice of weapon to spearhead Guerrillas to possibly their best lower-bracket run ever.

By coming out trumps in the face of adversity, they have left an imprint and a template for the other sides to try and emulate. The reward for their triumph was $30,000 USD in prize money, but it’s the intangibles – recognition, aura, visibility – that could perhaps count for much more than any financial reward.

The win at the CDL Major was particularly significant because it marked their first win as an organisation after two years of being wooden spooners. That this came under the most unlikely of circumstances – they became the first team to win an event with a sub since the CDL era began in 2015 – makes it even more of an achievement. 

Only OpTic Gaming had won the championship with a sub previously, when they won both the ESWC and Gfinity 2015, with Ian “Enable” Wyatt. Along the way, Los Angeles Guerrillas also broke the longest streak for Search and Destroy victories in CDL history, as their undefeated ten games bested the previous record of nine set by Atlanta FaZe.

With Guerrilla, the only bone of contention or doubt, so to speak, is whether they would opt to continue with Spart. Will Gunless look to retain his spot? Either way, the future is bright and the pall of gloom that loomed large is a thing of the past.

The beauty of the tournament lay in its format – it gave all competing teams an even chance of making it through to the finals, regardless of experience or exposure. If you signed up and were able to come through a number of qualifying rounds separately, you had as much chance of competing and winning as a top team would. Barring the final that featured a six-map series, all qualification stages were four-map series.

The race to the semi-finals from Group A was largely predictable, with New York Subliners and Paris Legion opening up big leads. In comparison, Group B was a tad more competitive, with Atlanta FaZe sailing all the way in the second half of the semi-finals before withering away.

This was largely because of Diaz “Biffle”, who led the way with 43 kills, and Ean “Booya” Chase, who scored the second-highest eliminations at 23. Atlanta were followed by Team Tiberiouskhan who rounded off the top two, and a trip to the grand finale, with Seattle Surge falling close behind. The final spot in Group B was decided by only half a point, with Team GOATS sneaking through by a hair’s breadth. It needed the placement multipliers to be applied to see them make it through.

The finale was a cat-and-mouse game between Guerrillas and Team TiberiousKhan, with Seth “ScummN” Abner leaving his mark on the game and leading the way for his side with 45 kills as they locked up the $30,000 first-place prize. ScummN had other big names like Jordan “HusKerrs”, Gavin “UnRationaL” Ackley and Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov as close contenders. Six hard-fought matches later, Los Angeles Guerrillas took the crown with 187.5 points in hand. 

ScummN had earlier won the Warzone solos tournament, to pocket a prize  of $100,0000 USD. With the winner taking it all, he won the tournament by beating HusKerrs in the final round. Along the way, he had to contend with massive pressure of expectation from fans, media, and everyone in the gaming community. 

And he lived up to his reputation. With 45 kills on the leaderboard, he was the best player in the final rounds, even as Biffle, with three kills less, finished second. Atlanta FaZe somewhat fell away in the final stages despite their stirring display in the semi-finals. Eventually though, New York Subliners and Atlanta FaZe rounded out the top four and also took home an additional $15,000 and $10,000 for their respective efforts.

If engaging a wider community and fostering competitive spirit were the major goals of organising the event, it was a massive success. With Call of Duty being among the largest gaming franchises in the world, the outreach through streaming partner YouTube further helped consolidate viewership and income through partnerships. The next edition is certain to bring even more CoD fans together.

Next up to get the Call of Duty caravan rolling is the Pro-AM event set to run from May 5 to 8.