New blood joins the top eight in the ANZ Pro Division Stage 1 finals!

On Saturday the 19th and Sunday the 20th of March, the Stage 1 finals of the Call of Duty World League ANZ Pro Division played out at the ESL studios in Sydney, Australia in front of an eager online audience.

The way it all works

From the 12th of January, eight of the best teams in the ANZ region were pitted against each other over the eight-week-long league. After the final matches wrapped up on March the 2nd, the top four teams were decided and their entry into Stage 2 of the Pro Division guaranteed. The bottom four teams were sentenced to relegation, where they would be challenged by the four best amateur teams in the region who qualified through a series of Challenge Division events.

Each relegated team within the single-elimination bracket competed in a best-of-seven map series to determine the victor, while the winning four teams fought to secure their place in Stage 2 of the Call of Duty World League. Of the top four seeded Pro Division teams, the respective victors of the first two best-of-seven series advanced to a breathtaking grand finale, where they battled for the lion's share of the staggering US$150,000 regional prize pool.

Day one: four teams qualified, four teams went home

First of the relegated teams to compete were Exile5, the bottom-seeded team in the Pro Division, and Incept, the stars and top-seeded team of the amateur Challenge League. After an unexpected and decisive victory by Exile5 in the first game, Incept bit back to take the next four games in a row, securing themselves a spot in Stage 2 and updating their rank from amateur to pro. The second series was between Nv and TeamBlank. Nv took map one after a back-and-forth match, going on to win every other respawn gametype in the series. Though TeamBlank performed well and won all their Search and Destroy gametypes, it was Nv who won the series 4-2.

Next up was the series between Apotheon and TBD Official. Despite putting up a good fight, TBD Official were not able to take a map from Apotheon and were defeated 0-4. Much the same can be said of the final matchup between Chiefs ESC and Rival E-Sports: Chiefs took the series cleanly without dropping a map, winning 4-0 over their opponent.

Day two: where US$150,000 was decided

On Sunday, the day of the grand final, tensions were running high. The day's first match saw top-seeded team and indomitable force Mindfreak play off against Team Immunity, currently in fourth seed. True to form, Mindfreak dominated the main stage, and although Immunity were able to take a map from Mindfreak, Immunity were ultimately eliminated. The next series was between Orbit.ANZ and Tainted Minds, the winner of which would advance to the grand final to face off against Mindfreak. Despite Orbit's strong performance, they went down 1-4 to the veteran Tainted Minds squad.

Tainted Minds went on to face Mindfreak in the grand final, where they were ultimately defeated as Mindfreak won the series in a 4-0 sweep. Still, Tainted Minds walked away with US$33,000 between them and their spot secured for Stage 2 of the league - not a bad consolation prize. Mindfreak, of course, picked up a cool US$44,000 for their victory as well as the Stage 1 championship trophy.

The final placements - and prize distribution - were as follows:

  • First place: Mindfreak - US$44,000
  • Second place: Tainted Minds - US$33,000
  • Third/fourth place: Orbit - US$20,000
  • Third/ fourth place: Team Immunity - US$20,000
  • Fifth to eighth place: Chiefs - US$8,000
  • Fifth to eighth place: Apotheon - US$8,000
  • Fifth to eighth place: Nv - US$8,000
  • Fifth to eighth place: Exile5 - US$8,000

Looking forward to Stage 2 of the Pro Division!

Congratulations to Stage 1 champions Mindfreak! To those hungry for the announcement of Stage 2 of the Call of Duty World League ANZ Pro Division, fear not - you don’t have long to wait as Stage 2 commences on April the 19th!

Make sure to follow @ESLAustralia on Twitter to keep up with the latest #CODWorldLeague news!

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