Source: Ben Spicer - Daily TimesThings got a little intense at times during the competition. Here’s “What Salsa” after a big win.
It took nearly 14 hours to decide a first-place winner in the Call of Duty: World War II 4v4 tournament at Complex eSports in West Portsmouth on Saturday.
Teams from various states in the area traveled to compete in the all-day competition, and “What Salsa” outlasted “Duel eSports” in a 3-2 series victory to earn a 1500-dollar cash prize.
The team from What Salsa featured: Jacob “Rump” Rumple, Layne “Hugs” Holmes, Robert “CatMan” Nagy, and Carson “Brack” Newberry.
What Salsa was virtually unchallenged over the course of the day, but finally met their match in the final round. Trailing 2-0, the team of What Salsa rallied with their backs against the wall to mount a furious 3-2 comeback, winning the last match in a straight sweep.
Along the way, they used a little communication and a lot of trash talk to fuel their win.
The team was unable to talk to one another in the first two matches due to an equipment issue with their headset, but got things figured out in round three.
“We couldn’t talk at all because we were missing a cord,” Nagy said. “Then we won the three matches straight and in that last game five just smoked them. They didn’t want it.”
Though it might have looked like the match was in jeopardy to the spectators that filled the gaming room of Tyler’s CCGs at The Complex, the confidence of the four never wagered when trailing.
“Those kids just don’t know how to close it out,” Holmes said. “That’s what it comes down to is just keeping composure.”
“COD is like 60 percent mentality. Video games are all mentality.”
You can gather from their postgame comments that trash talk is a big element of their game.
“Trash talk, I always like doing it,” Rumple said. “It’s just something to do, it adds a little bit of passion to it almost.”
“We kind of got in their heads too, and I’m sure you guys saw that. They kind of crumbled under pressure.”
Newberry thinks as soon as his team started the talking, things were wrapped up for his team.
“It’s a really big adrenaline rush,” Newberry said. “I knew all of them, they know me, so once we started that trash talk they knew it was over.”
“That first map we won, map three, they knew it was all falling down from there.”
What Salsa beat out Duel eSports, who put together a solid showing at a November tournament in Detroit that featured over 100 amateur teams.
Duel eSports placed third in that event. They brought a roster of gamers known as: Brandon “Koots” Wendorf, Romario “Anthrax” Williams, Jason “Riptide” Raimonde, and “Jitley” to play in the tournament.
Both Wendorf and Williams were members of “ZFighters” which placed first overall at the Detroit competition, so the finals at Complex eSports were between two teams of seasoned gamers.
Herbert Lehmann or “Kliixter” came to the event from near Florence, Kentucky to be a broadcaster for the event online. Lehmann thought What Salsa was very composed through the entirety of the competition.
“I think it was a pretty laid-back approach from Salsa the whole day, they’re pretty carefree,” Lehmann said. “They’re all very experienced, very talented players.”
“I don’t really feel like they were giving 100 percent effort until the end. But they really locked down, and they showed their talent.”
Lehmann met Complex eSports co-founder Jordan Hyland at an event last year, and has since come back to help Hyland run and broadcast several events online. The event on Saturday was the biggest he had been a part of thus far.
“I’ve done really small things for my friends on an online streaming kind of thing, but not any sort of events or anything,” Lehmann said. “This is the only place I really have.”
Originally, Lehmann planned to broadcast the event with two friends. But when they were unable to make it, he was left tasked with the challenge of broadcasting the competition for the entire duration by himself.
While it might sound tedious, Lehmann found a way to make it work.
“It almost just comes natural,” Lehmann said. “You just sort of start talking to yourself and it just sort of starts to flow. You’ve just got to plow through it and try to give the best presentation possible because you’re doing it for the audience.”
Lehmann was happy to help Hyland, as he says the views for a broadcast goes well beyond that of what Twitter can bring in terms of the audience.
“The exposure from that livestream gets us out so much better than Twitter is ever going to,” Lehmann said. “I really wanted to help Jordan out getting that exposure because having a casted stream is completely different if you don’t have someone there providing live commentary. It would be like watching a football game without any commentary.”
The duo of Lehmann and Hyland weren’t the only help that Complex eSports had on hand. Riley Bess came to stream the event, and Tyler McGraw helped shared duties with Hyland. Even a small security team was there to make sure nothing got out of hand.
“I don’t think a lot of people understand how much is involved in eSports, you literally have two events going on at once,” Hyland said. “You have the online event which is the stream, and you have the physical event which is the actual matches going on.”
Numbers wise, the tournament on Saturday wound up as the largest event thus far at Complex eSports.
“Our last 4v4 we had six teams, so we had 24 people total, and we had a fun little 2v2 tournament a couple weeks ago with 14 teams, so we had 28 total,” Hyland said. “We had 10 teams of four today, so we had 40 people.”
While it might not have 100 teams like the tournament in Detroit, Hyland hasn’t ruled that out as far as happening down the road.
“We’re getting attention now, so I think we might get to that level” Hyland said. “I definitely expect our next event to have even more teams.”
“The fact that we’re getting these guys from Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee, etc. to West Portsmouth, Ohio is pretty cool. I think it’s promising that we’ll get more in the future, because we have a lot of people who said they want to be here.”
Hyland hopes that more people from around the Portsmouth community will get involved and participate in the future.
“I’d love for the local community to get involved and play,” Hyland said. “The people around here that play Call of Duty just for fun, I’d love to see them get on the competitive scene.”
“A lot of high school athletes after they graduate still have that competitive drive there. This is a good substitute, this is a good way to fill it.”
Reach Benjamin Spicer at (502)264-7318 on Twitter @BSpicerPDT or at Facebook.com/ReporterBenSpicer