OpTic Texas just completely one of their more stressful weeks of the Call of Duty League season, but there was a moment in OpTic’s 3-1 loss to the Minnesota ROKKR Saturday that gave head coach Ray “Rambo” Lussier something to be optimistic about.
Texas was never going to make dramatic improvement overnight. OpTic entered the weekend with little practice over the last month, another last-minute entrance for Byron “Prolute” Vera in place of Indervir “iLLeY” Dhaliwal and was reverse swept by the Boston Breach Friday.
A win against Minnesota was always an uphill battle. Texas did show more resolve than the night before.
“The biggest thing I saw today that really takes my stress away is how much we improved on Tuscan control from our rep yesterday,” Lussier said. “The improvements we made from yesterday to today on the maps we got reps on takes my stress away, because I just know we are going to be able to do that all week.”
OpTic clutched up and won the Tuscan control, which it was smashed in Friday, and played close in the Bocage hardpoint against the ROKKR. That was also a blowout map against the Breach.
That said a lot to Lussier considering OpTic had a sick player and entered the weekend on little practice. Vera was the only player with a webcam on all weekend. He and Brandon “Dashy” Otell were the only OpTic players at the Heczquarters Saturday, Lussier said, though they were spread in different rooms.
Of course losing matches doesn’t align with OpTic Texas’ goals. But Lussier compared this moment to the start of the season.
Oddly enough, OpTic Texas lost two matches in a row, including to the Minnesota ROKKR.
Then things got really good really fast. OpTic won 12 straight matches, including a Major I title. The most dominant team in the game.
That might not be exactly what happens this time, but Lussier was confident OpTic could make similar, significant strides.
“I think it’s just getting our feet under ourselves again, and being in positions of understanding what we need to accomplish,” Lussier said. There’s so much going on in this game at all times, and it’s easy to forget some of the basic stuff when you haven’t played in a minute.”
We lost 2 CDL matches this week. The games were close today. GGs to Boston and Minnesota. They played great. The games were close. I know this stings for the boys, but I also know they can end the season with a ring. Even with @iLLeYYY injured, this team is a unit. I believe.— Mike Rufail (@hastr0) June 25, 2022
OpTic will still have roadblocks. It is missing Dhaliwal, and that still stings. The hardest part is there is no clear timetable for his return, and OpTic Texas spent the weeks leading into Major IV banking on an iLLeY comeback.
That stream to success is murky. Texas may have to go through Vera.
Vera played his 11th match with Texas Saturday, and showed leadership in the comms, Lussier said.
“I think he understands the shoes he’s trying to fill, and obviously they are really big shoes,” Lussier said. “He’s very similar to Inder, his playstyle and how he thinks about things. He’s already somewhat of a leader himself.”
OpTic needs that in-game leader again. Whether it’s Dhaliwal returning, Vera stepping up of OpTic players coming together as a conglomerate.
But what Texas really needs is this upcoming week of practice. Lussier said Texas usually gets two scrimmage a day, but they hope to get a third set some day during the week as well.
OpTic has matches against the Paris Legion and New York Subliners next weekend. Paris has a league-worst two wins on the season. That’s a match OpTic can use to get back on its feet.
But there are no teams with more reason to fight than the Subliners. New York needs a basically perfect run throughout Stage IV and Major IV to have a shot at the Call of Duty League playoffs.
OpTic doesn’t have long before it is tested again.