On August 7, the LA Thieves secured the first world championship for the 100 Thieves organization, a dominant display at the Call of Duty League Championship that saw the team earn $1.2 million and bring even more hardware to the Cash App Compound. For the team, organization and owner Matthew ‘Nadeshot’ Haag, this win was long overdue.
Nadeshot is a name synonymous with Call of Duty, despite how long it’s been since he’s competed and created CoD content.
His last appearance as a professional Call of Duty player was in March 2015 at the Advanced Warfare Call of Duty World Championship, where his OpTic Gaming team, heavily tipped to be the dominant winners, came in 7-8, one of the bigger. upheavals in CoD history up to that point.
While Nadeshot had become the face of Call of Duty and one of the biggest names in esports with his Twitch stream and YouTube channel, he made the surprising decision to step down, giving OpTic the opportunity of picking up Damon ‘Karma’ Barlow and building his dynasty team, as well as helping his content career take off even further.
When Call of Duty fans talk about players who deserve to win a ring of champions, Nade may not be the first name on the list, but he’s almost always somewhere on the list.
He won two X-Games gold medals and nine total championships as a Call of Duty pro, though the big man managed to evade it despite putting together what became one of the greatest rosters in CoD history alongside Seth ‘Scump. ‘ Abner, Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter, and Matthew ‘Formal’ Piper.
Nadeshot was the shining star of Call of Duty and OpTic Gaming esports back in his competitive days.
However, this victory goes far beyond Nadeshot. The innate understanding that victory in the Call of Duty World Championship was not a luxury, but an obligation, was something that resonated at the core of 100 Thieves throughout its entire existence, from the opportunity to enter Call of Duty.
Those who were there before the CDL will be familiar with the 100 Thieves team that was so clinical in Black Ops 4, that they made it to London and Anaheim regularly and became one of the best Call of Duty teams.
They will also remember how they were beaten in the grand finals by a team of young talent, including Chris ‘Simp’ Lehr, Tyler ‘aBeZy’ Pharris, and Alec ‘Arcitys’ Sanderson, who have come to be recognized as all-time greats, despite of his age. They were formidable and hungry to prove themselves, and the loss of the World Championship will have been a deep wound for both the 100 Thieves players and the organization.
The following year, the franchise was produced and 100 Thieves was no longer in the CoD League. The cost of the ticket, reported to total around $25 million, was something that Nadeshot was unable to justify to his team and the 100 Thieves board of directors, so they dropped out.
Before long, however, the itch was too great not to scratch, and after a season out of action, the LA Thieves entered the Call of Duty League, taking the place of Immortals’ OpTic Gaming in Los Angeles.
The team fought in the Cold War and felt bad. A Nadeshot-owned team, so automatically rich in CoD heritage, was one that should be competing for championships in each and every outing. Everyone from fans to gamers knew it, but they spent over a year (seeping well at Vanguard) struggling to find their footing.
There is undoubtedly more pressure to perform under the Thieves banner, something that players were definitely aware of. This is not a Seattle Surge, or an OpTic Gaming LA, or even a Chicago Huntsmen, teams where LA Thieves players struggled to reach their potential. An organization owned by Nadeshot should always be at the forefront of Call of Duty, and that was achieved at Champs.
Of course, the organization itself is no stranger to winning: they were LCS Spring champions in their inaugural division in League of Legends; they won Valorant’s first First Strike tournament when Riot released their FPS game; they have hosted winning players and rosters in Fortnite and Warzone, with millions of dollars earned.
But a Call of Duty world championship, while perhaps not the most celebrated title in esports, will be seen as a true crowning moment for Nadeshot and company.
It’s a trophy that Nadeshot has dreamed of lifting since the first Champions in 2013, and they may feel like it was snatched from their fingers in 2019.
Now, in 2022, they will feel like the trophy is finally right where it belongs.