To say that OpTic Texas had an overall disappointing season would likely be an understatement. However, a lot of that wasn’t even under their control, which is arguably the most frustrating aspect of it all. After coming out of the gate hot, winning Major I in front of their home crowd, OpTic suffered a setback. Star flex player Indervir “iLLeY” Dhaliwal was sidelined with a thumb injury during the Pro-Am Classic, resulting in Texas having to use two substitute players for the next two months or so. Jordan “General” General and Byron “Prolute” Vera were the subs, with Prolute getting the majority of playing time.
In iLLeY’s absence, OpTic didn’t make much noise at Major III or during the first part of Major IV. Once iLLeY returned, the team’s chemistry simply looked off, as Texas was losing maps and matches they wouldn’t earlier on in the year. It was clear that iLLeY’s injury affected the roster in more ways than one, which ultimately led to OpTic finishing fourth at CDL Champs this past month.
As the team looks to the future, fans are wondering if the CDL’s most popular roster will make any changes. While it’s not likely at this point, we’ll still be exploring some options available to OpTic Texas.
OpTic Texas and its current players
As of right now, before rostermania officially begins, OpTic have two starters on team options for 2023 along with two starters who are free agents. Seth “Scump” Abner and Brandon “Dashy” Otell are under team options for 2023, meaning the team can choose to exercise those options to keep those players around for next season. This is all but certain to happen. Then, iLLeY and his Dallas Empire teammate Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro are both free agents, as they were likely still on their Empire contracts in 2022.
While iLLeY and Shotzzy could entertain offers from other organizations, they’re expected to re-sign with OpTic Texas. It doesn’t make much sense for either to leave, just as it doesn’t make much sense for OpTic to not offer them a contract. iLLeY and Shotzzy both won CDL Champs in Modern Warfare during the 2020 season, and the upcoming Modern Warfare 2 will play very similarly to that game.
That said, some fans have envisioned a scenario where Texas does not bring back iLLeY into the fold. Statistically, iLLeY performed the worst on the roster throughout the season. While more analytical fans know that iLLeY’s effect on the game goes far beyond stats, perhaps OpTic looks to bring in another flex player. Or, maybe Scump could move to the flex, where he partially played this past season, and the team looks for a new SMG.
Looking at possible moves for OpTic
While it’s wildly unlikely that this scenario plays out for OpTic, let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment. For argument’s sake, let’s say OpTic wants to move on from iLLeY. In this scenario, Shotzzy might also think about leaving, as the two are very close friends and have been teammates for three straight years. However, for this scenario, we’ll assume that Shotzzy is staying with the team regardless of what happens.
In this situation, we could envision Texas going after a flex player. While it would be intriguing to see Scump play the flex, there’s a wider pool of free agent AR/Flex players than there are SMG players. The likes of Clayster, Owakening, Skyz, Attach, and Priestahh are all set to be free agents. On the SMG side, Standy, HyDra, and Afro are the only notable free agent SMGs as of right now. Of course, the available free agent pool will change once teams choose what to do about their team option players.
We don’t see players like Clayster and Attach coming to OpTic if the team was looking to add a flex. Clayster is more of a main AR and while Attach does desire to be a flex, he will likely fetch a large sum of money on the open market. However, Attach does represent the best option over iLLeY as it currently stands. Attach had an MVP-like season in 2022, being selected to the Second Team All-Pro. If Texas wanted to make a splash, Attach should be their first call if they want to show iLLeY the door.
One other option is the Toronto Ultra’s Cameron “Cammy” McKilligan. While he’s not a free agent right now, the Ultra are hinting at making roster moves, and Cammy could be a causality of that. If he is released by Toronto, OpTic could be a perfect fit if, once again, they’re willing to part from iLLeY.
Of course, Texas could also look at the trade market for a possible flex player or even an SMG. If there’s a talented SMG player available for trade via a buyout, then that’s certainly a route the organization could look at. As to who they could target is up in the air. Rostermania needs to get fully underway before we could talk about who OpTic could target in a trade.
In all likelihood, the 2022 offseason for OpTic Texas should be smooth sailing. They will need to sign two players to new contracts, and it’s likely that those players are Shotzzy and iLLeY. However, if the team does go in another direction, they certainly have some intriguing options in front of them.
Joey Carr is a full-time writer for multiple esports and gaming websites. He has 6+ years of experience covering esports and traditional sporting events, including DreamHack Atlanta, Call of Duty Championships 2017, and Super Bowl 53.