Colt “Havok” McLendon watched the 2018 Call of Duty World League Championship from home. This year, his team could go all the way to the finals.
“Before this year started, I told myself, ‘I’m going to do competitive all or nothing, or I’m going to be a streamer,” McLendon, a member of the team Gen.G Esports, told Dot Esports in an interview earlier this week. “I’m not going to try to do both again.’ Now, my only goal is to win an event. And I guess it’s the secret formula because it’s been a lot better.”
The release of Call of Duty: WWII turned out to be the kiss of death for the pro player, whose 2017-2018 season ended in disaster, including not even qualifying for the championship. His fortunes have rebounded in the era of Black Ops 4, starting with a respectable 7th-place finish at the Las Vegas Open last December before managing to qualify for the 2019 Pro League with his ragtag team of unknowns, Team Space, in January.
The team, which was immediately signed by Gen.G, has only continued to build up steam, finishing 7th at CWL Fort Worth in March, 5th at CWL London in May, and 2nd at CWL Anaheim in June. Earlier this month, Gen.G finished the Pro League 2019 season in 3rd.
Now they have a chance to become world champions, and potentially rake in millions between the Pro League Championship’s $1,250,000 prize pool this weekend and the World Championship’s $2,000,000 prize pool in August. It’s the kind of money that could make it all worth it for the team of six whose future remains uncertain, especially as the esport heads into 2020 with not only a new game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but also an Overwatch-like franchise system.
Play-ins for the remaining two spots in this weekend’s Pro League playoffs take place throughout Friday afternoon, with the bracket stage beginning on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. ET. Play continues on Sunday at the same time, with the grand finals slated to get underway sometime later that day. You can watch the entire tournament streaming on the Call of Duty Twitch Channel.
Outside of esports, the European Speedrunner Assembly will be kicking off its 2019 marathon on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. ET with an Any% run of Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64. Though not as well known as Summer Games Done Quick, at least on this continent, the weeklong event features plenty of talented speedrunners showcasing playthroughs in a wide range of games.
Some other runs to watch out for include Wario Land: Shake It! at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Catherine Classic at 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday, and Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age on Thursday at 3:51. The entire event will wrap up next Saturday at 6:00 a.m. with a playthrough of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories on the Game Boy Advance.
And of course it’s all for a good cause, with donations from viewers going toward the Swedish Alzheimer’s Foundation. You can watch all of the speedruns on the ESA Marathon Twitch channel.