When it came down to selecting the most impactful player in their very first year of professional gaming, there was no challenge. Despite being 5’3’’, Chris ‘Simp’ Lehr’s performance stood head and shoulders above the rest.
Even though he has been an online superstar and SND specialist since BlackOps 3, Simp couldn’t join a team for the start of the CWL season due to his age. When he finally did turn 18 in February, he couldn’t join a pro team due to roster restrictions in place. Instead, he joined Faze Clan Black, an amateur team to play in the CWL Fort Worth Open tournament. He, along with fellow SND star Cellium won the Amateur tournament, giving Simp his first taste of glory.
After Fort Worth, he got his shot in the big leagues where he joined eUnited. They were a team in turmoil and were desperate for some fresh blood. Esports analyst LandO hailed this move on a YouTube video discussing the issue, saying “A team with a lot of young talent, a veteran, and an in-game leader did not need a veteran or an in-game leader. That’s not only Clayster, that’s also outlining Arcitys and his role. eUnited needed another slayer. (…) Given all their matches in events and the pro league, their average K/D was 1.0.” He believed Simp could fill that void in the eUnited roster.
And that is exactly what he did. Simp replaced the two-time world champion Jordan ‘Jkap’ Kaplan after a disappointing Fort Worth finish by the team. He instantly turned heads with an MVP like performance at CWL London. eUnited got knocked into the loser’s bracket early on Saturday. With their backs against the wall, Simp and eUnited pulled off an incredible losers bracket run, defeating heavyweights like Optic Gaming and EnVyUs. Their dream run fell short when they were beaten by 100 Thieves in the Grand Finals. Even though eUnited placed 2nd, Simp’s performance was the highlight as the newcomer dropped a 1.82 SND K/D.
On the map, it is hard to keep up with Simp’s blistering pace, raw gun skill, and sheer in-game IQ. He pulled through several impossible situations and nerve-racking rounds to carry them forward and his sniping skills in London were untouchable that weekend. With very little practice against him, teams were paralysed by his sniper presence on the map.
After an insane performance at London, eUnited were one of the favourites coming into the CWL Anaheim. Unfortunately, they only placed T6 at the event. While Simp had another good event, his sniper was less effective: teams had learned his strategies and managed to counter him.
This placing did not discourage him or the team. They kept composure and prepared for the Playoffs in Miami. This time they plowed through the opposition, taking down every team that stood in their path. They faced a red hot Faze Clan in the winner’s final. But after winning a nail-biting Map 1, Simp stole the show. The first round of Search goes wary for the team. Faze kills two members right away before it was finally brought down to a one versus three for Simp. With his team falling around him, he rose to the challenge and gunned two members of Faze with a Strife. He then circled around statue hill on Arsenal to juke Faze Zer0 and complete the 1v3. This gave them the confidence to steamroll through Faze by map 4.
Their only issue came up when Gen.G swept them in the first grand final to reset the bracket. Now shocked back into gear, eUnited bounced back and beat Gen.G in a hot 3-0 fashion. After three years of anticipation, Simp finally got his first chip as a professional Call of Duty player.
His journey didn’t stop there as eUnited entered the CWL championships hot off their first win. The momentum from Miami drove them forward as they drive right through the winner’s bracket with relative ease. Simp had an insane event as he dropped a 1.76 in SND throughout the tournament. In what seemed almost poetic, the two teams eUnited had to beat to win were the two teams that brought their journeys to a halt in two separate Grand Finals: Optic and 100 Thieves.
Their first match against Optic started off tough. eUnited lost the first map by over 100 points and were down 5-3 by round 8. The next round ended up being the most crucial one for Simp and his squad. Optic was at match point and Dashy had a Tempest to secure the win. Simp and eUnited came out with the fire and won three rounds straight, with Simp dropping 10 kills on the map. This gave eUnited the confidence going forward as they win the next two maps with ease. Though he wasn’t on the team then, Simp avenged eUnited for their defeat at CWL Vegas.
eUnited advanced to the Grand Finals, where they played 100 Thieves. This seemed like a repeat of London, Simp’s first event as a pro player. 100 Thieves were on their own fairy tale run, as they got knocked into Loser’s bracket early on and had to beat every team that stood in their way to the Grand Finals. This match was a rollercoaster of emotions for fans of both teams. eUnited won the first map with relative ease. The second map started well, with Simp going 7-0 within the first four rounds. The tables turned when Priestahh of 100T got a 1v3 to win the round. They then proceeded to beat eUnited off the map.
For eUnited fans, this felt parallel to their previous match against Optic. Both teams won the first map, started well in map 2 and then let the other team make a comeback. The only difference here was that eUnited wasn’t going down easily. They lost the Control, but took the Hardpoint in a nail-biting finish. Map 5 was inbound. Fortunately, this was on Arsenal. eUnited were phenomenal on this map. According to Simp’s teammate Alec ‘Arcitys’ Sanderson in eUnited’s Triumph YouTube video, “Game 5 SND Arsenal, that’s Simp’s playground. I think every team we played on that map was definitely shook a little bit because they don’t know where Chris is going, they don’t know what he’s sniping. Anywhere they go he could be there any moment.” That’s exactly what happened as eUnited gained momentum and beat 100 Thieves 6-4, with several impressive snipes by Simp.
They did it again. They won the tournament. Simp went from an up and coming amateur to a back to back champion and now with his first ring. All in his debut year. To make it sweeter, they got to beat 100 Thieves, getting vengeance for their defeat in London. It was his first year of professional gaming and Simp already cemented his name in CoD history, winning MVP of both tournaments that he won. There was never any real debate about who was to be the rookie of the year. 2019 was The Year of Simp.