The end of the OpTic Gaming project - or perhaps family in this case - has been a long and fairly painful affair that has largely played out in public, and it’s not over yet. With the sale of the company to the Immortals Gaming Group, we will see the last dregs of the team’s Overwatch and CS:GO options most likely sold to the highest bidder, and also the end of one of the greatest relationships in esports history.
You might not be a fan of Call of Duty and, to be honest, after the mess that was WW2 and the problems Black Ops 4 has faced since release it’s been a tough time for the scene. However, there are a few men who have remained pillars of the CoD scene for years now, and possibly the most storied and legendary of them is Seth ‘Scump’ Abner, the leader of OpTic Call of Duty, and the man they call "King of CoD".
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While it isn’t confirmed, all signs suggest that the end of OpTic as we know it will see the team that currently represents them depart, leaving arguably the best player in the world - Brandon ‘Dashy’ Otell - as a free agent, and Scump without a green and black jersey to wear for the first time in more than five years. In fact, aside from a brief spell with EnVy, Scump has been on OpTic since 2012, making this possibly the end of one of the greatest dynasties esports has ever seen.
OpTic Gaming - THE esports brand
For many people, OpTic are THE esports brand, and the arrival in recent times of companies such as 100 Thieves only really provided competition for a firm that pretty much ruled the content world. There have been many times they also won on the server, but HECZ has never been shy about admitting it was content that his house was built on, and the CoD guys were the rare combination of top performers that could also produce content.
If you think of CS:GO, and the way that s1mple, dev1ce, coldzera or any of the other stars of the game live, it is vastly different from the fun and games we see from the CoD guys. They vlog and roll, and like rockstars they have built up vast audiences on social media in comparison to the attention the esports scene gets when MLG run an event, showing the power of CoD goes far beyond just the regular esports appeal.
OpTic won’t just lose the Call of Duty s1mple and the King of CoD esports, but also most likely Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter, Damon ‘karma’ Barlow and Thomas ‘TJHaLy’ Haly, the other three members of the team. If this move had happened a few years ago, the battle might have been on to sign Karma and Crims alongside Scump and Dashy, but recent times have seen them fall off, leaving a gap at the top of CoD that other teams have been able to fill.
Where would Scump go?
Where Scump, 24, ends up is difficult to predict, as he’s in a strange spot in his career where his worth as a brand and as a player have started to diverge. In terms of talent he’s still got what it takes, but it may be that the drive that made him a legend has diminished after years of competition, and the grind of CoD, where every new game means a new challenge, and maybe a new problem if you are a god of CoD who doesn’t immediately vibe with the new title.
His relationship with former OpTic CEO HECZ may end up being pivotal, and if the OpTic architect does return with a new brand he’ll be hoping the rebuilt green wall will have Scump as a cornerstone, but there is a lot of money in the scene, and Scump will have a lot of options. At 24, he’s hardly an old man, but as a player who has been playing at the top level since he’s seventeen it is also possible he looks at what Nadeshot is doing over at 100T and decides to transition from a player to an owner.
The future is uncertain, and there is always a chance OpTic manage to keep their Call of Duty stars, but if Scump leaves that line ends, and it’s one of the longest esports has known. Since 2012 he has been the face of the org, not just in CoD but beyond that too, and his departure is like the death of ODB in the Wu Tang. Sure, the clan still exists, but the soul of the group is gone, and the magic with it.
Picture: OpTic Scump / YouTube