Amidst all the roster change “fugaze” that goes around within competitive Call of Duty, it is often hard to keep track of the newer generation of talent and players within the scene; unless of course, they make a grandiose LAN or Pro-League debut such as Phantomz. Timothy “Phantomz” Landis, 20 year old from Pennsylvania, belongs to the set of up and coming professional players in the current season of the Call of Duty World League. With the latest installment to the Call of Duty franchise with Black Ops 4, Treyarch and Activision overhauled the competitive Call of Duty system with the introduction of qualifiers for amateur teams to compete for a highly coveted spot in the Pro League. Due to this system, organizations such as eUnited and FaZe Clan introduced academy teams. Well-known players in the Gamebattles and Search and Destroy community were picked up for these academy teams and in the process, Phantomz was signed to FaZe Clan Black, FaZe Clan’s academy team, at the start of the Black Ops 4 season. He has now been loaned out to Evil Geniuses from FaZe Clan Black. Playing alongside veterans and World League Champions such as Dillon “Attach” Price, John “Xotic” Bruno, Jordan “JKap” Kaplan and Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov, Phantomz has turned a lot of heads with his CWL Pro League debut. On the back of Phantomz’ performance, Evil Geniuses has drastically improved its Pro League record. An impressive stat line against top tier teams, Phantomz has proven the success of the academy teams in grooming new talent for the Pro League.
After somewhat of a hiatus during the Infinite Warfare season, Phantomz competed on team Morituri eSports for a majority of the World War 2 season. Securing a win and multiple top 10 finishes in online 2K tournaments during the World War 2 season, Phantomz was able to secure a top 25 finish at the biggest tournament of the year: COD Champs. Despite having a mediocre season in World War 2, Phantomz continued to compete in online 2K and other Gamebattles ladders in Black Ops 4. This persistency led to Phantomz being picked up by FaZe Clan Black alongside Asim, Mosh, Tisch and GRVTY. With this team, Phantomz secured multiple first place finishes in various online Major League Gaming 2K tournaments. Soon, Mosh and Tisch were replaced by rising stars Cellium (currently on FaZe Clan) and Simp (currently on eUnited) after the team failed to qualify for the Pro League during the Pro League Qualifier. The new rookie roster was stacked with talent; as evidenced by the rosters’ first place finish at the CWL Fort Worth Open Bracket and second place finish (with Zoomaa) at the WorldGaming Network Championship hosted in Canada. Phantomz and FaZe Clan Black’s showing at these events are a testament to what MLG was hoping to achieve with the introduction of a separate bracket for amateur teams. The system gave top amateurs an opportunity to display their talent in a LAN/CWL event setting, shaping them for their eventual pro-league debuts.
Due to the extremely poor showing of Evil Geniuses during the first six weeks of the Pro League, Evil Geniuses needed to make a roster change. Phantomz, Apathy and Jkap were picked up ahead of CWL London and Phantomz became the main Assault Rifle, running Vision Pulse as his specialist. In an unfortunate series of events, with the new roster, Evil Geniuses’ run was cut short as the team finished third in its pool. The pool consisted of top tier teams from both Divisions of the league (eUnited, Team EnVy and FaZe Clan) and was considered to be the pool of death. EG finished 1-2 in their pool and ended up dropping to Loser’s Bracket Round 1 where the team then lost to Team Reciprocity, exiting the tournament with a top 16 finish. The underwhelming performance of the roster can be attributed to the fact that it was a new one with little time to develop chemistry between the players. Any critics and fans that argued against picking up a rookie on an organization filled with veterans were proven wrong as Phantomz finished the event with an impressive 1.08 Hardpoint K/D and a 1.09 SnD K/D. The shortcomings of Evil Geniuses did not stop Phantomz from displaying his individual talent in a high pressure environment.
Heading into the Pro League after their CWL London performance, Evil Geniuses needed to step up their team chemistry and strategic play to have a shot at CWL playoffs. A completely different Evil Geniuses was seen in Week 7 of the Pro League as they finished Week 7 with a 3-0 record; Phantomz finished Week 7 (playing against Luminosity Gaming, Gen.G eSports and UYU) with an astounding 1.73 Hardpoint K/D. Although highly impressed by Phantomz’ performance in Week 7, analysts were still skeptical of how his stats would carry forward into Week 8. It was also argued that even though Evil Geniuses finished the first week with a 3-0 record, they faced easier teams compared to the teams they would face in Week 8. Despite EG finishing Week 8 with a 2-2 record, Phantomz and team put up a fight against the two best teams in their division: OpTic Gaming and FaZe Clan. Phantomz’ performance was stellar to say the least. In the match that Evil Geniuses lost to Optic Gaming, Phantomz was able to put up insane numbers. He finished the match against OpTic with an impressive 1.58 K/D ratio. Phantomz closed out Evil Geniuses’ two weeks in the Pro League with a remarkable 1.18 overall K/D ratio.
Moreover, he held the #1 spot for overall K/D amongst all other main ARs and posted a well above average Adjusted-KD (Adjusted-KD is a stat used to determine True-K/Ds of players as Black Ops 4 uses an EKIA system instead of the conventional Direct-Action kill system in previous titles) compared to other ARs in the division. In addition to this, Phantomz also held the spot for #2 K/D among all players in Division A for the two weeks; an impressive feat to achieve while being a utility AR player, running a rather passive specialist (Vision Pulse).
Not only this, but Phantomz was also able to maintain an overall player rating of 1.23 amongst all players currently playing in the Pro League and is ranked among the top 5 highest rated players in the Pro League as of now. With the introduction of a ratings stat (scaled 0-2), it is much easier to compare players with different roles and number of maps played within the league. Ratings are affected by a number of factors such as Score Per Minute, X-Factor (the probability of a player clutching up in certain situations). A high rating, thus, that Phantomz brought a lot more to the new Evil Geniuses roster than just raw slaying power. This can also be seen in the fact that EG’s Search and Destroy record for the two weeks in the Pro League improved with respect to the one that the previous roster held.
Interesting Tidbit: Given that all the players from the FaZe Clan Black roster made it onto teams within the Pro League, Phantomz is the only player to be rated in the top 5 players of the league from FCB roster.
Evil Geniuses picking up Phantomz should set a precedent for organizations to pick up rookies for their Pro League teams without much hesitation. His dominant performance in the Pro League discredits the general belief that rookies higher up in GameBattles ladders are usually not able to replicate their online performance in a LAN setting. The young phenom in the making has solidified the place for all rookies and paved the way for the induction of a new wave of talented players within the Pro League.
Phantomz is a top prospect within the league and I am nothing but excited to see how he performs at Playoffs and CWL Anaheim. Wishing you nothing but the best from here at DraftBuff, Phantomz!