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Call Of Duty Mobile: The Cinderella Story Of Smart Omega
By Lewis Larcombe|June 15, 2022|0 Comment
Smart Omega takes back their crown as the Kings of Southeast Asia in Call of Duty Mobile’s esports circuit, officially dethroning Blacklist Ultimate who were inches away from being a dynasty.
With the second season of Call of Duty: Mobile’s Garena Masters having concluded, I felt like giving you all a rundown of what went down, the storylines that took place, & why this could have been the start of a dynasty.
So there are a couple of things we need to talk about, firstly the event itself. Unlike North America and Europe, we here in Southeast Asia haven’t had many cash prize leagues or tournaments in recent years.
The community is unsure exactly as to why this is but it’s speculated that Activision isn’t so kind to 3rd party tournament organisers in Southeast Asia. Personally, I believe it’s due to a lack of support from Garena & them failing to see how beneficial a tournament-style league, like the Call of Duty League would benefit not just the game, but the mobile gaming industry as a whole.
But that’s not to say we Southeast Asians have been completely neglected. No, quite the opposite, in fact, in 2022 alone we’ve already had 3 top-tier tournaments in Southeast Asia, all with pretty big prize pools.
Which brings me to my next point, this tournament could have been the start of a truly dominating dynasty by none other than Filipino multi-title esports powerhouse Blacklist International, otherwise known as Blacklist Ultimate. For those who aren’t as familiar or haven’t been in touch with the competitive Call of Duty: Mobile scene for a minute, before this tournament Blacklist were considered to be the uncontested best Call of Duty: Mobile team in the Eastern hemisphere–emphasis on the past tense.
Blacklist have been the absolute favourites going into all 3 tournaments this year. And it’s understandable as to why.
Originally known as Ultimate E-Pro, the roster secured the No 1. Filipino seed going into the 2021 Garena Finals which was the first major step to the World Championship
A month before the Garena Finals the roster was signed by Filipino esports organisation Blacklist International who are most famous for their World Championship-winning Mobile Legends team.
They ended up placing 3rd which still meant that they qualified for the Eastern Finals where they compete against the best teams from China, Japan & India for the grand prize of $300k–which when you convert it, is a lot of pesos. And the road was not easy, they managed to secure the 2nd seed after dropping a series to fellow Southeast Asians, ALMGHTY who were the fan favourites to win.
They would get their revenge on ALMGHTY though, sending them down to the loser’s bracket in the winner’s finals in a nail-biting Bo5 series, winning Game 5, Round 11 on Standoff. But ALMGHTY weren’t having it & managed to claw their way back to the Grand Finals to face off against Blacklist for the 3rd time this tournament. Which ended with the exact same scoreline, still in favour of Blacklist International.
And that’s how they become the Kings of Asia.
With all that said & done, Blacklist continued that dominance going into this tournament, finishing top of their group, only dropping 1 out of 18 maps.
And on their way to the grand final, winning 9 out of 11 maps. So it seemed like Blacklist had this in the bag. Or so we all thought…
Now I’ve purposely left out this part until now because, well, it makes for a better narrative but let me tell you about the cinderella story that is Smart Omega.
Previously known as NRX Jeremiah 29:11, not only are they the former kings of the Philippines but at some point, were in contention for the title of the best team in the world.
And to not beat around the bush, they were the only team who looked like they could take Blacklist all the way.
Now the last time we saw them, they weren’t doing too hot, placing 6-13th the literal worse possible placing at the Garena Invitational. But even before that, they haven’t looked too great for the past 6 months. Resulting in the departure of long-time rusher CRUSH and the acquisition of Rage.
The team’s roster now consisted of Woopiiee, iDra, KenDy, Kevs & Rage with former IGL, Jayzee becoming their sub. But since there weren’t any tournaments between then and now, no one had a clue as to what to expect.
With the commencement of Garena Masters, Omega came out of the gates swinging, topping their group with a 16-2 record and securing themselves the top seed going into the bracket stage. After taking down Huntsmen, from Malaysia in the Upper Bracket Quarterfinals in a convincing 3-0, Omega would go on to face their hardest opponent yet.
ALMGHTY, home to none other than household names in CODM, Heaven & Sh4d4p. But let’s not forget, Omega has Woopiiee, arguably the smartest and most mechanically gifted snipers the game has ever seen. And well, ALMGHTY got absolutely dismantled 3-1. Credit where credit’s due, ALMGHTY did put up a good fight. Managing to take a map off a bloodthirsty Omega.
But many fail to see how impactful this match would be for Omega. If they were able to take down ALMGHTY here then that would mean that they had the ability to take on Blacklist as they are just the perfected form of ALMGHTY. And we wouldn’t have to wait too long to see that as Blacklist would be their next opponent in the Upper Bracket Final.
Although the match took place the day after the ALMGHTY game, Omega were able to maintain their momentum going into the first map, winning Raid Hardpoint with a nail-biting score of 150-132.
Now for those of you who aren’t as familiar with competitive Call of Duty, having momentum in Game 1 means very little going into Game 2. That’s because Game 2 is Search and Destroy (S&D). Hardpoint is indeed an extremely fast-paced game mode, but in S&D you’re forced to slow down even if you try to play fast. And this is where Omega began to falter as they went back and forth with Blacklist bringing the game close, but no cigar, as they lost 4-6 on Summit.
Game 3 was Domination on Standoff. Now Domination is a bit of a coin toss if both teams are extremely good and it really depends on the map & which side you start on. In the case of Omega, they got the short end of the stick, losing 72-150.
They went on to lose the next Hardpoint on Takeoff, in a close 125-150, sending Omega down into Loser’s Final where they would face ALMGHTY once again.
Now usually these kinds of situations go one of two ways. The team is sent down into the Loser’s Bracket either “tilts” or loses their footing, resulting in a slow start. In other cases, teams may be the exact opposite and are hungry for revenge as they come out of the gates guns blazing. And in this case, Omega came out guns blazing swiftly taking Game 1, Firing Range, 150-43.
But in typical ALMGHTY style, the Singaporean-Indonesian roster dominated Game 2’s Summit S&D fantastically, winning 6-3 to ALMGHTY.
Game 3 would take place on Raid, and knowing Domination alongside the momentum reset in this back and forth series, whoever won this game would regain the series advantage. There really isn’t much to say about this game other than Omega dominating the offensive attacks and preventing ALMGHTY from attaining an advantage. The map ended with a final score of 150-108.
Now in the Grand Final, Omega had put on an amazing run so far, but the journey was far from over as now they would have to once again face Blacklist Ultimate. For both the teams, the stakes were higher than ever. Blacklist were trying to retain their crown, whereas Omega were trying to reclaim it. But Blacklist had the advantage, since they hadn’t lost a series yet, Omega would need to beat them in a Best of 5 twice, once in order to reset the bracket, another to take it all.
So we expected this entire series to be a nail-biter. And a nail-biter it was with Game 1 on Takeoff being only a 6-point game in favour of Blacklist. With the scoreline being only 150-144, you can imagine that Omega were still in high hopes, but to spectators, those hopes dwindled in Game 2, Standoff.
Blacklist would go on to take Game 2, 6-3, and for most, this could have been the end for Smart Omega’s cinderella story, and the start of the Blacklist dynasty. But in a game like Call of Duty, these kinds of situations are like omens for reverse sweeps. And if you can’t tell already, yes indeed Omega do go on to reverse sweep Blacklist. By no means was the reverse sweep easy, but Omega managed to prevail winning Game 3, Domination on Firing Range, 150-110, Game 4, Summit Hardpoint, 150-114 and Game 5, winning the in Round 10, on Raid S&D, 6-4.
Now the real challenge starts. With the map rotations remaining the same from the previous series, Omega use the momentum from the first Best of 5 to continue their consistent play going into both Game 1 and Game 2, winning both 150-76 and 6-3 respectively.
Blacklist manage to bite back in Game 3 as Omega lose 132-150, but as I’ve mentioned before, Game 3 is always a coin toss and the best teams in the world know this. So a team like Omega wouldn’t let something like this get to them going into Game 4. If Blacklist won this, then the series would be tied up 2-2, but if they lost then it would be all over and Omega will be considered, once again, the Kings of Southeast Asia.
Game 4 started pretty even, with both teams neck and neck. Blacklist managed a 30-point lead at the end of the first set of rotations, but going into the second, Omega managed to bounce back gaining a 50-point lead. With the score like 120-80, in favour of Omega, Blacklist fought as hard as they could, managing to reach triple digits, but Omega was on top of their game. Having managed to rotate and set up for each hill before Blacklist and winning important 1v1s, Omega eventually claimed victory over Blacklist with a final score of 150-101 and now were crowned the Kings of Southeast Asia and for some, are considered the best team in Asia.
So what exactly does this mean going forward? Are Blacklist in need of a roster change if they want to take back the crown? Not necessarily, I give credit to Omega, they were overall the better team, having lost to Blacklist earlier in the tournament, they managed to adapt and overcome. That in itself is a vital trait to have as a team, and that’s exactly what Blacklist has been missing. Blacklist needed this, a taste of defeat, a wake-up call, to show themselves that they aren’t invincible and to bring them back down to Earth. Now they know this, they can reset, and work on a different approach to reclaim their former title.
As for Omega, this is big, especially for Woopiiee, iDra and Jayzee. As former Kings of Garena, having fallen from grace and now climbed all the way back, this stamps a significant chapter in what will be their legacy. With the possibility of offline tournaments this year, I look forward to seeing the return of Smar Omega’s possible dominance like back in the NRX Jeremiah 29:11 days.
Omega still have a lot to work on. But with the veterans in the aforementioned three, and the new bloods in Kevs and Rage, the future does indeed look bright for Smart Omega.
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