OpTic Gaming have announced, via a reddit AMA, that they have no immediate plans to sign a Dota 2 line-up in the wake of The International 2018, effectively ending their involvement in the scene. A disappointing TI8 performance saw them fall to two of the pre-tournament favourites, Virtus.pro and Team Liquid, with the former in the lower bracket, and comes at a time when the org itself is under pressure to improve.
The team that played for the Green Wall in Canada was Per “Pajkatt “ Anders Olsson Lille, Quinn “CC&C” Callahan, Neta “33” Shapira, Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg and Peter “PPD” Dager. Since TI8, zai has been confirmed as part of the new Team Secret roster, while PPD and 33 have formed a new team named ‘Shangri-La’ to compete in Europe. So far CC&C and Pajkatt are yet to be announced on new teams, with rumours the former might be part of the new paiN Gaming roster as yet unconfirmed.
This is disappointing news for fans of the organisation, but the trend for OpTic has been steadily downward in the last twelve months or so. From being a premier name in Call of Duty and a big team in Dota 2, they have gone to being an also ran in the former, nothing in Dota, and something of a joke in CSGO, where they have invested much already.
The team has attempted to sign new players, according to an AMA on reddit by Jacob “Maelk” Toft-Andersen, Infinite’s VP of Esports, but their targets were not attainable for one reason or another. In isolation that seems perfectly reasonable, but when you consider the failure of their CSGO project, and the obvious mismanagement of the same, it is equally plausible that they just messed it up, again.
Fan reactions online were not as extreme as you might have expected, but since the org was purchased by Infinite Esports they have become used to mediocrity. The brand that Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez built was purchased by Texas Rangers co-owner Neil Leibman and his former pharma friend Chris Chaney last year, and as already mentioned, it’s not been a time of feast since then, but several different famines.
The start of the malaise was in their Call of Duty team, where a level of complacency and arrogance tore apart the unit that had dominated the game for so long. Well, to be fair, the four-man unit of Scump, Karma, Crimsix and Formal were also utterly embarrassed in CoD:WW2, but when the team finally broke apart the fallout made it obvious their issues went way further than failure in game. Many of the problems seemed to be about egos rather than SMGs or ARs, and smacked of a lack of guidance from the people above.
This news will not kill the brand, or even make a dent in the Green Wall, but the slide needs to be halted and soon. The release of Black Ops 4 should put them back at the sharp end of CoD, and it’s obvious something needs to change in their CS operation as well. Time is running out for one of the most famous brands in esports to turn it around though, and not being in Dota 2 is not going to help arrest that decline one bit.
Image credit: TI8