"I'm falling so you can go up."
There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. This quote may provoke some eye-rolling from dedicated Game of Thrones fans, but the truth of it can’t be denied, and the circumstances surrounding Brandon “Dashy” Otell’s return to OpTic have laid the foundation for an unbelievable story.
The King of Call of Duty is gone: Seth “Scump” Abner has retired from competitive play after dedicating over a decade of his life to the game. He may not have gone out on his shield at the end of a long campaign, but he went out with his level of skill unblemished and uncontested, putting on a masterclass performance against the Boston Breach in his last match.
In his place, he’s calling on a longtime teammate to step up, in more ways than one, after what seemed like every bridge had been burned between Dashy and OpTic.
Months ago, it looked like Dashy wouldn’t even be a part of the OpTic Texas roster after the team posted “goodbye” graphics for him and Indervir “iLLeY” Dhaliwal during the offseason, only to confirm their return to the starting roster just a day later.
But all was not right in the OpTic camp, with the still-existent issues between Dashy and coach Raymond Rambo Lussier bubbling up again. Coach Rambo said that OpTic wanted to make a move in the offseason but didn’t and that the reasons they wanted to change then are the same as why they made the change last week. Dashy, who has long had a reputation of being hard to work with, fired back on stream, criticizing the coach and his methods, and even accusing him of chalking practices to go bowling.
Were this any other “problem” player on any other team, the story would end there. The player would be moved to the bench and eventually get transferred, traded, or released, and the team would bring in someone else. But while OpTic did bring in Cuyler “Huke” Garland, the sudden departure of Scump is a twist in what would usually be a standard tale of two sides not getting along and then moving on.
Instead, Scump is “falling down so [Dashy] can go up,” in the retired great’s own words. “Life is too short to hold grudges and be mad at each other so I hope he uses this opportunity to be a good teammate,” Scump said. “And Brandon, I am going to be on your ass.”
The task is great but so is the personnel on OpTic Texas. A legendary, title-winning trio with one of the game’s best main AR players, all looking to win one for a teammate and icon that inspired them. There’s also risk: now more than ever, OpTic will be under intense scrutiny, and losing will not only draw the ire of fans but could see already unstable chemistry completely break down.
But what if it works? For Dashy, it’s an opportunity to silence the doubters, brush aside complaints about unprofessionalism and attitude, replace those with glowing trophies, and perhaps establish himself as the new focal point of competitive CoD. For OpTic, it’s a golden path to commanding all the attention in a title the organization is synonymous with while healing all wounds with a championship. And for the Call of Duty League as a whole, it’s a plotline that can inject even more excitement into a league that’s seen a resurgence in viewership, but one that just lost its biggest star.
There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. And now more than ever, Call of Duty and the CDL need the greatest story ever told.