Toronto Ultra wins the third Major of the 2023 CDL Season

Toronto Ultra crowned CDL Major III champions.
Toronto Ultra crowned CDL Major III champions.(Call of Duty League via Twitter)
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 4:43 PM EDT
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(Gray News) - This past weekend, the Call of Duty League’s (CDL) Major III garnered record-breaking viewership numbers for the league, which came as no surprise after the throughlines of the event fully unfolded. OpTic Texas, who hosted the event, made an incredible run through the Elimination bracket; Las Vegas Legion shockingly stopped the Los Angeles Thieves in their tracks, and various rookies shook up expectations. And that’s all before mentioning Toronto Ultra winning their first major since the April 2021 Cold War Stage 2 Major.

Toronto Ultra moved through the Winners Bracket quite effectively, only running into resistance in their round two series against Boston Breach, who they ended up beating 3-2. OpTic Texas, however, wasn’t as lucky. In their round one series against the Breach, they ran into the overwhelming force of rookie Ben ‘Beans’ McMellon, whose talent was on full display for his first appearance on the main stage. He proved to be a wall that OpTic couldn’t overcome in the map two Search and Destroy (SnD), and even though OpTic kept the score line close on each map throughout the series, the Breach sent them to the Elimination bracket with a 3-0 victory.

OpTic fans started to anticipate the worst at their home Major as apprehension arose around their rookie Daniel ‘Ghosty’ Rothe and his apparent penchant for eliminating teammates. Opportunely, no one could foresee what would come next.

Ghosty celebrating after winning Elimination Finals on CDL Major III mainstage.
Ghosty celebrating after winning Elimination Finals on CDL Major III mainstage.(OpTic Gaming)

OpTic’s first series in the Elimination bracket was a white-knuckled ride against London Royal Ravens. The series went to a map five, and OpTic pulled out the 3-2 win thanks to two solid SnD performances and a critical map four Hardpoint in which OpTic came back from a 93-point deficit to win. Ghosty was vital to the momentum shift, accumulating just over two minutes of hill time and a 1.33 kill-death (k/d) ratio, a key metric used in first-person shooters to showcase a player’s efficiency and ability. The thunderous cheers from the elated Greenwall, the moniker given to OpTic Gaming fans, foreshadowed what would come.

OpTic Texas had found their flow, and they wouldn’t back down in front of the rambunctious home crowd. In Elimination round two, they met the Florida Mutineers head-on and hastily took a 3-1 series win. Elimination round three was no different as OpTic breezed past Seattle Surge with a notable 6-1 thrashing on map two SnD and a map four Hardpoint that ended 250-120.

Boston Breach entered the fray on the other side of the Elimination bracket due to a tight loss against Toronto Ultra in round two of Winners. To get a rematch with OpTic in Elimination round four, they would have to get past Las Vegas Legion, who had been waiting since their unexpected shakedown of Los Angeles Thieves the previous evening. Unfortunately for the Legion, their tournament hopes crashed out with a 3-0 loss to Boston, who would move on to face OpTic again.

OpTic opened the Elimination round four series against Breach with a dominant map one Hardpoint, which saw a 250-91 final score, putting Boston in the 100-point club. The Breach retaliated with another strong SnD performance on map two, but OpTic closed out maps three and four to send Boston Breach home.

OpTic’s final hurdle to get to Grand Finals was Atlanta FaZe, who were sent to Elimination Finals via a 3-1 loss to Ultra in the Winners Finals. OpTic’s momentum and unrivaled support from the Greenwall at Esports Stadium Arlington proved too much for FaZe. OpTic were punishing in the map one Hardpoint, also putting FaZe in the 100-point club with a finishing score line of 250-96. FaZe then demonstrated why they are the best SnD team with a 6-2 on map two, but it wasn’t enough to stop the rare run OpTic was on, and FaZe lost 3-1 in the final map count.

Toronto Ultra were waiting for OpTic Texas in Grand Finals and were hoping to shut down OpTic and silence the Greenwall. OpTic had been great on respawn maps all tournament, but Ultra used the map one Hardpoint to flip that narrative and won 250-152. OpTic won the map two SnD 6-3 and a close map three Control 3-2, but the tables would quickly turn. It was time for Ultra’s rookies Thomas ‘Scrappy’ Ernst and Charlie ‘Hicksy’ Hicks to show everyone they could hang with the best. In the map five SnD, Hicksy put up a 2.0 k/d ratio, and Scrappy followed suit with an impressive 1.43 k/d. While the map ended in a close 6-5 for Ultra, OpTic still had a chance to hold on and push map seven if they could win map six Control.

Heartrendingly for OpTic, Scrappy, who is now synonymous with banter in the league, warranted his smack talk by putting up a 1.59 k/d ratio on map six and a 1.33 k/d overall for the series. This unstoppable performance put any hopes for an Optic Texas Major win to bed.

Hicksy and Scrappy earned their first CDL Major win and got Toronto its first Major victory in two years. Scrappy was also named the MVP of Major III.

The CDL points Ultra earned from winning put them second in the season standings and only 10 points back from Atlanta FaZe, who remain in first. OpTic Texas gained enough points with their second-place finish to take the third-place spot in the standings.

CDL Major IV qualifiers will start March 31st, with the tournament weekend from April 20-23. To watch the upcoming qualifiers or re-watch the Major III broadcast, you can go to the Call of Duty Twitch channel.

Gray Television is an investor in OpTic Gaming.