After 5 long years, Call of Duty XP is finally back and it’s bigger than ever. Hosted in Inglewood, CA, XP 2016 will determine the Season 3 Call of Duty World Champions and give out $2,000,000 to this year’s 32 teams.

Pool Play kicks off on Friday, September 2nd, so over the next few days I’ll break down each pool individually and then give you my pick to win the $800,000 first place prize.

POOL A:
 Millenium: Jurd, Madcat, Tommey, Swanny
 Splyce: Joshh, Bance, Rated, Joee
CallOfDutyXP2016 Livin the Dream: Pacman, Whea7s, Ivy, Accuracy
 Black Forest Games: Ryan, KraQz, LouiCM, Revolt

Pool A is headlined by two European powerhouses. Millenium is, to many, the best team in all of European Call of Duty. This team has been together since the beginning of Black Ops 3 and the members of the team have played together, on and off, for many years. Obviously a huge thing in Call of Duty, or any competition in general, is communication and chemistry, and this team lacks neither. Coming off a win at the Stage 2 EU Playoffs, Millenium is looking to surprise the NA dominated CoD scene.

Splyce is another team that you shouldn’t quickly shake your head at. With Bance and Joshh leading the way as the only two members left since the team’s inception at the beginning of Black Ops 3, they’ve had plenty of success over the last few months. Despite placing 3rd in the Stage 2 EU Playoffs, Splyce took home 1st place at the Gfinity Summer Masters and also had a very notable 2nd place finish to OpTic Gaming back in May at ESWC Zenith.

Our first of a handful of pickup teams to make the biggest tournament in Call of Duty history, Livin the Dream, consists of two of the oldest Call of Duty veterans. Pacman and Whea7s have been teaming together since the beginning of time it seems, and as their careers may potentially be coming to a close, they’re giving it one last shot at the big prize. With a great young player in Ivy and a last minute pickup, and very underrated talent in Accuracy, Livin the Dream could certainly surprise some viewers.

Lastly, we have Black Forest Games. Admittedly, I don’t know everything about these guys. Qualifying under the team name Revoltables, the four were sponsored by BFG for XP 2016. The third European team in this pool alone, they’ll have a very tough road ahead of them. We’ll see if BFG can be the surprise story of CoD XP.

Pool A Predictions:
With only two teams advancing out of every pool, and the other two heading home, it’s going to be do or die for many of the teams. After evaluating these four, I’ll have to give the edge to Millenium and Splyce. I think LtD has a chance to take a map off one of the top two, but they’ll really have to play well.

 

Pool B:
 Rise Nation: Loony, Slacked, Classic, Octane
 HyperGames: Braaain, Nolson, QwiKeR, Zed
 Apotheon Esports: Matt, Arcitys, Prestinni, Mayhem
 Supremacy: Malls, Vortex, mAxxie, Zayrox

The top seed in this pool is Rise Nation. The North American squad won the first two events of Black Ops 3 (Totinos Invitational and UMG South Carolina) but haven’t won since. That doesn’t mean they have not been playing well though, as they’ve placed at least 3rd or better in the last four events, and placed 5th at MLG Orlando earlier this month. In my opinion, the 3rd best team in NA Call of Duty doesn’t have much to prove, but they certainly want to show why they’re one of the top teams in the world today. Los Angeles Rams Guard Rodger Saffold, co-founder of the team, certainly has put together a nearly unstoppable foursome in Black Ops 3.

After placing 1st in the Stage 2 regular season, Hypergames has remained a hot team out of the European side. Finishing 2nd at Gfinity Summer Masters to Splyce and taking home 3rd-4th at Stage 2 EU Playoffs, this team has only improved since they joined together in May. Finishing no worse than 4th in any tournament since their initial 9th-12th place finish at ESWC 2016, Rise certainly has their hands full when these two teams match up in Pool Play. As good as Rise is, I could easily see Hypergames steal a victory over the Pool B favorites.

Apotheon Esports is back in the NA Call of Duty scene once again in Black Ops 3. They’ve came and went from the Call of Duty World League but they’ve fielded a rather unknown team for XP 2016. After dropping Destiny and picking up Mayhem, the newly formed squad managed to qualify for the big one. Based on how they’ve played so far online, the team seems like they could make some noise. I just don’t think it’s enough to take down either Rise or Hypergames.

The final team in Pool B is Supremacy. Like the current Hypergames roster, the guys on Supremacy formed in May at ESWC Zenith, where they also came home with a 9th-12th finish. The main difference between the two European teams in this pool, is that Hypergames improved greatly compared to their counterparts. Supremacy has placed no better than 5th in the last five of six tournaments they’ve competed in. Like Apotheon, this team could make some noise if they were in another pool, but I don’t think they have what it takes to beat Rise or Hypergames.

Pool B Predictions:
As I hinted at in the analysis above, I think both Rise Nation and Hypergames will take home the top two spots in Pool B. In what order? I don’t know. It will all come down to whomever can beat the other in their lone matchup in Pool Play.

Make sure to check back tomorrow night for analysis on Pool’s C and D.