Team Spotlight: OpTic Gaming
OpTic Gaming is one of the most iconic gaming organizations in the world with a long history of success in various games. The organization itself started off as a content focused YouTube channel but quickly expanded into the competitive Call of Duty scene. OpTic is where dozens of professional players got their start with their starting lineup a dominant force for several years and always a fan favorite with the ever prideful, GREEN WALL. However, the history of OpTic Gaming is not all positive.
OpTic began in 2006 as a sniping team, uploading clips to YouTube. Most of these videos were uploaded on the channel of founding member Kr3w. Kr3w eventually handed leadership to Ryan “OpTic J” Musselman, another longtime member of OpTic Gaming, who continued to manage the montages of the various members.
OpTic J would not manage the team for long, however, as he would eventually hand leadership over to Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez. H3CZ took over the organization in 2007 and help the channel reach new heights with consistent high quality uploads fans had come to expect. This continued for years until H3CZ uploaded the first video to the OpTic Gaming YouTube channel in 2009.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 provided a new exciting title, but it also spawned the beginnings of the Call of Duty competitive scene. OpTic decided to continue to produce high quality content but to also explore competitive gaming throughout Modern Warfare 2’s lifecycle from 2009-2010.
During the Modern Warfare 2 season,Nerve, Eaton, Mike “Di3seL” Carr, and Gundeezy represented OpTic Gaming as the first competitive lineup. This team did not last long, however, and they were eventually replaced with Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, Joe “Merk” Deluca, Richard “FlawLesS” Ferreiera, and Blake “Vengeance” Campbell. These young players were making waves in the online competitive scene, and a couple of members would go on to be major names in competitive Call of Duty. This new lineup secured a fourth place finish at the MLG National Championship in 2010 and set the groundwork for the organization’s future.
OpTic changed their roster before the Black Ops season which now featured Merk, Will “BigTymer” Johnson, Raymond “Rambo” Lussier, and Jordan “Proofy” Cannon. The new lineup consisted of solid players who had proven themselves in various online tournaments, but the lineup would change constantly throughout the Black Ops season in 2010-2011.
OpTic experienced mixed results throughout the Black Ops season and finished in the top five of a few events. The organization did win their first ever event at MLG Columbus and finally established themselves as a force to be reckoned with, going on to win MLG Orlando as well.
Internal drama plagued the roster, as the competitive team didn’t mesh well with Nadeshot and asked that he be removed from the team. H3CZ told Nadeshot that he would no longer be a part of the Call of Duty team but kept him on as a content creator. Nadeshot did make brief appearances during the Black Ops season in certain events, but it was never a permanent change. He continued to find success during this time, but would eventually return to the team in 2011. He filled in for Rambo at MLG Dallas 2011 and helped the team secure a fourth place finish alongside Merk, BigTymer, and Jordan “Jkap” Kaplan. His performance proved that he was a valuable player, so the OpTic Nation team was created.
This secondary team was run by Nade who picked up a few rising stars in the Call of Duty community: Proofy, Jake “Felonies” Sabo, and Chris “Option” Bricker. The team managed to come in 6th place at MLG Columbus 2011 where the main OpTic Gaming team placed first. Nadeshot briefly left OpTic for two events before returning for the biggest tournament in Call of Duty history: CoD XP 2011.
The Call of Duty XP tournament featured a $1,000,000 prize pool with a $400,000 grand prize. Merk was unable to compete in this tournament due to visa issues, so OpTic picked Nadeshot again for their main roster. The team went on to win the tournament and establish themselves as one of the best Call of Duty teams in the world.
OpTic Gaming dominated Modern Warfare 3 with the addition of one of the best Call of Duty players in history: Seth “Scump” Abner. Scump already made a name for himself with Quantic leveraGe where he competed alongside Tyler “TeePee” Polchow and Patrick “Aches” Price who later joined the compLexity roster. He became a core component of the OpTic Gaming organization and a valuable player that helped the team soar to new heights. Rambo was also replaced by Nadeshot before the Black Ops II season which made everyone believe they would be a dominant team going forward.
The fist tournament of the Black Ops II season saw OpTic Gaming and compLexity face off in the finals. CompLexity featured one of the best CoD lineups in history, and even had a few players who would later become core members of the OpTic team. OpTic managed to beat them in a very close match which resulted in a fan favorite Call of Duty moment.
Nadeshot and his teammates taunted the compLexity players after winning which got under their skin. Aches pushed Nadeshot when he approached him to shake his hand which was intense at the time but is now an entertaining clip.
OpTic managed to beat compLexity again at the 2013 Call of Duty Championship but had to settle for a third place finish. Despite their lackluster competitive performance over the next few months, OpTic still grew in popularity. They eventually established their own team house in Chicago where their competitive team also created daily content, in an outside of the world of Call of Duty. The team would often stream Minecraft with one another when they were not competing and had some of the most popular streams at the time. They also started creating real life content such as daily vlogs or challenge videos which added a personal touch to the organization and brand.
While content continued to be a major focus of the OpTic brand, competition was still as equally important as more roster changes ensued. The Call of Duty: Ghosts 2014 season added James “Clayster” Eubanks and Proofy to the team alongside Nadeshot and Scump, yet again. BigTymer, one of the most accomplished Call of Duty players at the time, decided to retire to focus on content creation and other passions and was replaced by Clayster. Damon “Karma” Barlow and TeePee were also signed to OpTic Nation, but Karma would not be on the OpTic B team forever.
The starting OpTic team consisted of very strong players, but the two shining stars had trouble getting along. Scump and Nadeshot got into a heated argument early in the season that caused Scump to leave OpTic for Team EnVyUs. Scump believed Nadeshot was the reason for their team struggling to perform. Scump eventually returned to OpTic after a short period and the team went on to place third at the 2013 Call of Duty Championship. The team was disappointed with another third place finish, but they had a shot at redemption at the 2014 MLG X Games Invitational. The tournament featured eight of the top Call of Duty teams and provided another chance for the team to perform.
OpTic went 2-0 in bracket play, dominated Evil Geniuses in the semifinals then went on to defeat Team Kaliber in the Gold Medal Game. Although it was an invitational event without a prize pool, it was still a solid victory for OpTic Gaming and the highlight of the Ghosts season.
The Gold Medal winning roster would not last forever, however. Proofy and Clayster were eventually replaced with Matthew “FormaL” Piper and Ian “Crimsix” Porter. Both had already established themselves as some of the best players in the world, and Crimsix had even beaten OpTic several times in the past on various teams. FormaL was originally a Halo professional who proved he was a top tier player in almost any first person shooter.
The new lineup started off hot in the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare season and secured first place at UMG Orlando and first place in the MLG Pro League season one. The UMG Orlando win marked OpTic’s first victory at an event with a prize pool since 2012. They continued to dominate in the playoffs and the CoD Championship regional finals. OpTic could not maintain their success at the 2015 Call of Duty Championships, however, and finished in 7th place.
This would be a major turning point for OpTic as it was Nadeshot’s last event as a professional player. A lot of fans considered Nadeshot to be the weakest link on the OpTic roster and blamed him for the team’s shortcomings. The onslaught of negativity and the desire to pursue other opportunities eventually led him to stepping away from competitive Call of Duty. He retired in early 2015 to focus on his own content and endeavors which included founding his own organization – 100 Thieves. While this was the end of an era, OpTic Gaming would still be a dominant force for years to come.
OpTic needed to find a replacement as the next event was just two months after Nadeshot’s departure. They immediately turned their attention to Karma who was still on OpTic Nation, but he was unable to play with them due to visa issues. OpTic instead turned to Ian “Enable” Wyatt, another veteran who started off in Halo and was already familiar with FormaL and Crimsix.
This short lived lineup managed to win the ESWC event and the Gfinity Spring Masters in London before Enable returned to FaZe, but this success helped keep the Green Wall happy and prevented OpTic from losing their support.
The iconic team is born
Karma was now the official fourth player on the main OpTic roster and was a solid addition to the team. He had already won two CoD championships in 2013 with Fariko Impact and in 2014 with compLexity and was ready for more. He lead the team through the remainder of the Advanced Warfare season and won the 2015 MLG finals. All eyes were on OpTic as they entered the Black Ops III season.
The competitive format changed going into Black Ops III when Activision purchased Major League Gaming in 2016. This allowed the organizer to host an official Pro League and create a regulated season schedule. A Pro Division and Challenger Division were created to give established players a place to compete and aspiring amateurs a shot at proving themselves. OpTic, of course, found themselves in the Pro Division and were ready to go against the best players in the world.
OpTic fans feared their hot streak was over as they finished in 5th place at UMG South Carolina, but they quickly returned to their dominant form. They went on to win the next four events and earned over $125,000 in prize winnings as a team. They destroyed almost every team they played and won five out of seven of the Black Ops III events and were expected to take home first place at the 2016 CoD World League Championship.
At World Champs, they fell in group play to compLexity, and then forced into the lower bracket by EnVyUs. They fell to a familiar Cloud9 roster featuring Aches, sending them home. There was no Nadeshot this time to absorb the blame and retire, so the team was forced to regroup to try and return strong in the next season.
OpTic started slowly in the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare season but secured their first win at the CWL Paris Open. They won their second event at the Dallas Open but were unable to secure any significant wins in the next few events. They entered the 2017 Global Pro League with hopes of winning and to prove they were still a top tier team.
They made it through group play with a 6-0 record but were defeated by EUnited in the winners semifinals which sent them to the losers bracket. They met EUnited again in a rematch in the losers finals, redeeming themselves to then face EnVy in the Grand Finals.
The talented team beat EnVy and fans were relieved to see a glimpse of the former dominant team they loved. The OpTic Gaming team was ready for the 2017 Call of Duty World League Championship and to show the world they were the best in the game.
OpTic ran through the competition with ease and faced team EnVy in the Grand Finals again. They managed to win the Championship and cemented themselves as one of the best teams in Call of Duty history. The next Call of Duty season marked another major change for OpTic Gaming and is where many consider the downfall of the OpTic Dynasty started.
The end of an era
OpTic finished in third place at CWL Dallas which was the first major event of the Call of Duty: WWII event. They did not secure another top three finish until stage one of the CWL Pro League months later and were showing signs of slowing down. The team looked fatigued and were clearly not in a healthy position.
FormaL explained in a podcast with H3CZ that the team had started to fall apart months before the WWII season began. They did not scrim consistently and blamed their shortcomings on not hanging out enough as a team to build chemistry. FormaL agreed this was important but also believed their lack of practice let other teams catch up to them in the standings.
The team started to lose matches and chalked it up to a bad day or off game, but the reality was the latest title required more teamwork than they expected. This allowed other teams who were in a healthier state to perform better against the struggling OpTic lineup.
Karma was eventually dropped from the roster and FormaL went on to play for Luminosity Gaming which marked a major change for OpTic. Sam “Octane” Larew and Anthony “MethodZ” Zinni replaced the two iconic players and did their best to salvage the season and were a welcomed change. OpTic did show small signs of life at the next few events, but it was obvious the team was still in a rough state.
The 2018 Call of Duty Championship resulted in one of OpTic’s worst performances of all time. They finished with a top 24 placement and didn’t stand a chance to defend their world title. This was a major blow to OpTic Gaming and the players who were used to winning, but changes to the league and fresh Call of Duty title gave them hope to bounce back.
Teams were increased to five players during the Black Ops 4 season which provided room for Karma to rejoin. Scump and Crimsix also stayed on the roster, but Methodz and Octane were replaced by Thomas “TjHaLy” Haly and Brandon “Dashy” Otell. The new team started the season off strong with a first place finish at CWL Vegas and achieved a third place finish at the CWL Anaheim. The team could not secure another championship unfortunately, but did finish with a third at the 2019 CWL Championship.
The Black Ops 4 season marked the end of the Call of Duty World League and the beginning of the Call of Duty franchise league. The OpTic roster went their separate ways and joined different teams in the new league for the most part, and the OpTic Gaming fans grew up with, was officially gone.
The collapse of the Green Wall
OpTic started to face problems with ownership and other aspects behind the scenes in 2017 when new investors shook up the traditional OpTic Gaming format. Infinite Esports and Entertainment became the new parent company and brought a lot of support to the organization, but also started to make huge changes.
OpTic spread into other games and titles and even eliminated their iconic Halo team in 2018 – a major blow to fans. The outside influence took away from the personal feel OpTic Gaming was known for and made it seem more like a business. These major changes caused internal rifts between longtime OpTic members and almost resulted in the removal of the OpTic Call of Duty team as a whole.
OpTic H3CZ was forced to issue an ultimatum to other members of management and said that he would leave if the team was cut, as would most other members.
Fans noticed the changes and were not quiet about their disappointment. Angry fans would often post on social media with various hashtags targeting members such as OpTic J who they believed were on the wrong side of the situation. The Green Wall realized it was not their favorite content creators or players at fault, but the new corporate changes that were taking OpTic in a new, less personal direction.
Infinite Esports was eventually bought out by Immortals Gaming Club in 2019 and added OpTic as another one of its brands to support. Immortals Gaming Club eventually purchased the Los Angeles franchise spot for the Call of Duty League which meant OpTic Gaming would have a home, even if it featured a new set of faces.
A new Call of Duty League
H3CZ moved onto NRG where he is now a co-CEO and spearheads the organizations Call of Duty franchise team, the Chicago Huntsmen. Scump and FormaL reunited under the Hunstmen banner which is currently one of the best teams in the league.
OpTic Gaming Los Angeles features Martin “Chino” Chino, Kenny “Kuavo” Williams, Brandon “Dashy” Otell, Austin “SlasheR” Liddicoat, and TjHaly on the starting roster. Call of Duty veteran Jkap was on the original starting roster but was benched early in the season.
Other former OpTic Gaming members such as Crimsix and Karma transitioned to other teams in the CDL and continue to be some of the best players in the world. Fans enjoy seeing the iconic players go head to head in the new league and have provided very entertaining gameplay this season.
The latest iteration of OpTic Gaming may no longer feature the same lineup or leadership, but the organization is still alive and well. The Call of Duty team will hopefully continue to bounce back and prove they are worthy of representing the iconic organization.