By Derrick Maechler

With 2011 marking the return of the Call of Duty franchise to the Major League Gaming Pro Circuit, we’ve seen some amazing action and incredible play by some of the most talented pro-shooters in the world. And now it’s time for a final live-or-die tournament of epic proportions, at MLG Providence November 18-20.

What will make this tournament such a scary place to compete isn’t just the amount of money on the line; it’s the gauntlet that awaits any teams skilled enough to survive the Open Bracket. We’re talking 16 battle-tested teams who are capable of taking down just about anyone and have proven that ability time and time again this year, including teams like eon OpTic Gaming, Quantic FeaR, Quantic Leverage, and eon EnVy. Any team who makes it past the Open Bracket will surely have their work cut out for them this time.

Over the next few days, we’ll be examining the host of talent sitting in the Championship Bracket, starting with seeds 12 through 16: teams that may generally be overlooked, but still have the ability to walk all over anyone who’d make the mistake of underestimating them. Sure, they haven’t put up the huge finishes we’ve seen out of the likes of Optic, Fear, or Leverage—but, that may just lead them to be hungrier than our previous MLG Champions.

16th seed – Redemption

Redemption first made their way into the MLG Pro Circuit at MLG Raleigh, breezing through the Open Bracket while putting Agony, Xzyate, and No Way Out in the Losers Bracket. Unfortunately for them, the Pools haven’t been as nice to them as the Open Bracket was; they went 1-3 at both Raleigh and Orlando. It should be noted, however, that they defeated Icons Elite (13th seed), and that they managed to bring Quantic Fear (2nd seed) down to a close 3-2 finish at MLG Raleigh during Fear’s Championship run.

The Losers Bracket hasn’t been much nicer to them; they only managed to sneak past Type-Z at Raleigh before being dropped by Juked (12th seed), and being eliminated by YunGunz (15th seed) in Orlando.

Perhaps MLG Providence will be the Event where this team shows us what it’s truly capable of?

15th seed – YunGunz

The team known as YunGunz first made their MLG appearance at Columbus, where they flew effortlessly through the Open Bracket without losing a single match. Despite being the 15th seed, this team has shown they’re capable of doing some major damage if given the opportunity, with a 3-1 performance in Pools at both Columbus and Anaheim. Unfortunately they seem to have lost some steam the past few stops of the Pro Circuit, going 1-3 at both Raleigh and Orlando.

Still, it’s hard to count out the team that eliminated eon Envy (5th seed) and Icons at Anaheim, as well as Seven Men and Redemption (16th seed) at Orlando. They’ve proven they have the ability to take teams out; it’ll just be a matter of regaining the spark they had earlier this Season.

14th seed – Obey

Obey are one of the teams that proved themselves in what was arguably the toughest bracket of the season…MLG Dallas. Before we had the Pools established, it was every team for themselves, fighting their way through from beginning to end to prove themselves as the top competitors, and Obey managed a 5th Place finish. Not too shabby by any standards.

A shining example of what Obey is capable of can be seen here in their series vs Icons Black at MLG Raleigh:

Obey have generally done well for themselves, with 3-1 results during Pools at each stop in the Pro Circuit outside of MLG Anaheim, where they went 1-3. Oddly enough, since the establishing of the Pools, Anaheim was also the only time they actually advanced beyond Round 6 of the Losers Bracket.  Nonetheless, Obey can do damage to anyone, it’s just going to be a matter of tightening up the holes in their game to get the job done. After all, they are a team who’ve proven themselves capable of this.

13th seed – Icons Elite

One of the two Icons squads seeded in the Championship Bracket, Icons Elite had their share of problems at MLG Orlando. Even with their roster of players, they went 0-4 in Pools, although they did pull an impressive upset against Surreal Legacy (8th seed) in the Losers Bracket before losing against Juked (12th seed). Also note that they took two-time Champions Quantic Leverage (3rd seed) to a 5th and final game before being defeated, showing that even though their overall results haven’t been grand, they can still pose a threat to any team.

Here’s hoping that with a bit more experience as a unit, Icons Elite can make a run for the Championship at MLG Providence. After all, they have a lot to prove after their previous performance.

12th seed – Juked

Juked got off to a rock start on their trek through the MLG Pro Circuit, getting swept in their first Open Bracket match at MLG Columbus against Fate. From there on, though, they were on a mission, taking down team after team until they were finally stopped by Influence. Although they’ve never put up better numbers than 2-2 in Pool play, they have managed big wins against teams like Obey (14th seed), Icons Elite (13th seed), Surreal Legacy (8th seed), Force (9th seed), Icons Black, and Redemption (16th seed).

Keeping this in mind, even though their seeding may make them appear to be underdogs, it’s clear that underestimating their abilities on the battlefield may have dire consequences.

Stay with us as we continue our coverage of Black Ops leading up to MLG Providence!

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