Behind the success of Blacklist International Ultimate and Tribe Gaming in the Call of Duty Mobile: World Championships East and West Finals was the key contribution of Filipino coach Carl “Image” Butalid.
Interestingly, Image wasn’t even part of the original Blacklist Ultimate and only joined the crew a few days before the tournament. After winning the title in the West Finals with the Kent “Banned” Nerves-led Tribe Gaming, Image decided to reach out Blacklist and lend them a hand for the upcoming East Finals.
“I posted on Facebook that I wanted to help the Philippines win a championship. My whole intention was just to have fun and apply the NA playstyle to Blacklist Ultimate,” said Image in a short chat with Manila Bulletin.
Fortunately, the partnership went smooth. For Image, coaching the squad became much easier due to the team’s talent and solid chemistry.
“It was perfect that these guys has talent, chemistry and the willingness to learn. They welcomed me with open arms and trusted my calls,” Image recalled.
“The amount of trust within each other helped me connect with individuals I’ve never worked with. I came in prepared before every game because I did not want to let them down,” Image added.
Their work paid dividends as Blacklist Ultimate took down ALMGHTY – the same team that beat them in the Garena Qualifiers – in the East Grand Finals via a thrilling come-from-behind win.
Having the chance to coach Tribe Gaming and Blacklist Ultimate, Image can pin-point the difference in the gameplays of the two regions.
“In the West what you see more is a tactical approach to the game. In the East it’s more of a head-on approach to the game,” he said.
“I would say that if the East had better understanding of the game and had more focus on team play instead of individuals making hero plays, it would have been much tougher. This is why despite the disadvantages that Blacklist Ultimate had, we came into each match prepared mentally and physically,” he added.
Image may have been part of the NA region for quite some time now but representing PH well will always be one of his motivations, whether with Blacklist in the East or Tribe in the West.
“It meant a lot to us representing PH which is why we have the flag on our Tribe jerseys. We wanted to pave the way for other Filipinos in the CODM community, to show them that we are capable of succeeding in this esport.”