Call it home event buff or whatever you would like. There is no way that people can continue to write off the Boston Academy team as a legitimate threat in the NA Challengers scene.

There seems to be an overwhelming sense of determination surrounding the team. They continue to bounce back from any setback they encounter and do so as a unit.

In the Challengers system, teams often chop and change their rosters based on one or two bad placements. That’s not been the case for Boston as they’ve stuck with the same core foursome despite several issues.

Sean “Seany” O’Connor was stuck in Scotland for five weeks in the lead-up to the Toronto Challengers event earlier in the season. He told us that he was stuck there without a PC.

He then came into the event had to play on a spare controller that he had never used before.

Things like that can be a huge deal for a player, especially at the top level. That level of trust is something that is so hard to come by in the Challengers system.

That didn’t stop the squad from going on to put in a ridiculous performance, finishing T6 north of the border.

Now, in Boston, at their home event, they’ve gone one step further. They’ve made it all the way to Championship Sunday. They are just two series wins away from playing for the title against the Toronto Ultra Academy NA [1] team.

Confidence pays off

When we spoke to Dan “Ghosty” Rothe before the Toronto event, he noted about how difficult the mental toll of the Challengers cycle is.

He said: “The whole Challengers cycle definitely takes a toll on your mental. Down here, it’s pretty gruelling, you can be on three teams in a single day.

“I have lots of confidence in my gameplay and no matter what team I play on, I think I can make them better. I know people also see me in a high regard so I’m never really worried about forming a team.”

This confidence is reflected, not only in Dan’s game but in the entire team. Throughout the Boston event, they’ve played as if they were veteran pros going through the motions of their 15th event win.

They have remained unflustered in the face of adversity. Even at 2-1 down against Team Xposed [12] (Clayster, FeLo, Venom and Davpadie) they still stood resolute.

The team flipped the narrative on Clayster and eliminated his team from the event after a fantastic comeback to take the series 3-2.

Doug “Censor” Martin and co. will now play against Electrify Steel [15] in order to try and book a place in the T3 of the tournament.

Challengers Champs issues

Despite the incredible effort from the team in Toronto and now in Boston, they are still without an automatic place at Challengers Champs.

Instead, they will have to win an eight-team bracket ‘Last Chance Qualifier’ in order to book their spot in Los Angeles.

The consensus of fans and players alike all agree that the format of Challengers Champs is horrendous.

Auto-qualification is majorly based on the online finishes that teams have had this year. The exception being the Ultra Academy teams who have been largely consistent online and offline.

The four teams auto-qualified for Champs are: Toronto Ultra Academy NA, Team WaR, Toronto Ultra Academy EU and Rokkr Academy.

Rokkr’s place in that four is one that has been subject to huge debate. The Spanish team has placed no higher than T16 at Challengers LAN events this season, including this weekend in Boston.

Even if Boston Academy go on to win the event this weekend, they’ll still be nearly 40,000 PPs behind Rokkr Academy, even with their far better LAN placements.

The Challengers Champs issues are just another bump in the road for this team, that has proven time and time again that it can overcome any kind of adversity that presents itself.

The new community darling

As they stick together as a team, and continue to show their genuine passion and willingness to win, they’ve become the fairytale story of the Vanguard season, leaving it hard for fans and fellow players to root against them.

Even Thomas “Scrappy” Ernst, of the Ultra NA team, wants to see Doug and co. later on today in Grand Finals of the Boston Open.

The Competitive Call of Duty scene has notoriously been very hard on Doug in the past. Coming away with the win in this event could go a long, long way to him being regarded in the correct way by the wider community.

He wouldn’t be in the position he is now, placing at the very least, T4 at an Open event, if he didn’t have the drive and commitment to succeed. If the team goes all the way today, the least you can do as a fan reading this, is put some respect on his name.

Championship Sunday of the Boston Open gets started at 10:00 EST (15:00 BST). The first match on stream will be Boston Academy [16] vs Electrify Steel [15].

The winners of the event will take home $24,000.

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