It was round 11 in a tight series when Ben “Bance” Bance made the call for the Toronto Ultra. He and the team were going to plant the bomb at site A on Moscow and they were going to do it aggressively. It was the first step toward winning the Call of Duty League Stage 2 Major.
Bance rushed down the left side of the map, hugging the corners while looking for any clue as to where OpTic Chicago players might be hiding. He caught Dylan “Envoy” Hannon on the edge of the map and took him out quickly. It was down to a 4v3.
“We just called it to A,” Bance said. Then, he and two of his squad mates quickly ran to the B site instead, to confuse the enemy. “Then it was like nah, nah, nah let’s quickly wrap.”
Pulling off a Double Reversal Bomb Plant
Bance led Cameron “Cammy” McKilligan and Tobias “CleanX” Juul Jønsso to B site, cutting through the middle of the map. Jamie “Insight” Craven stayed at A, and immediately felt that Matthew “FormaL” Piper was on his team’s heels and signaled for Bance and company to come back to A.
“He saw FormaL start wrap as well,” Bance said while laughing. “He said that FormaL’s already wrapped, he predicted it! Let’s wrap again then to see if they predict that!”
Bance and his bodyguards turned around once again as Seth “Scump” Abner found them mid-map and killed CleanX before falling to Cammy. The Ultra made it back to A, where they planted the bomb and waited for Chicago to try and defuse. FormaL and Brandon “Dashy” Otell both popped up in front of Insight’s crosshairs, ending the round with a Toronto Ultra win. The European squad went on to beat Chicago 3-1.
The bold and somewhat kooky approach to Search & Destroy worked out for the Ultra. However, it was hardly something they planned in practice; it was done on the fly.
“If I was to come up at practice and say we’re going to double wrap the bomb, they’d laugh,” said head coach Mark Bryceland. “We did not plan that.”
A rookie’s impact on The Ultra
The off-the-cuff playcall is a prime example of Insight’s impact on the team. Bryceland brought him up from Challengers after benching veteran Anthony “Methodz” Zinni. It’s a move that was widely criticized in the Call of Duty community, but it has paid off for the Ultra.
“[Insight] takes control a little bit more,” Bance said. “It takes some of the pressure off me. The call telling us that FormaL was moving shows that he’s a bit more confident in Search & Destroy.”
Bance had been the main shot-caller on the Toronto Ultra before Insight joined in. He still leads the team but the rookie has added some fresh perspective during matches. “Me and him will bounce off each other,” Bance said. “It helps me focus on myself rather than worrying about what all four of us are doing.”
That win against OpTic Chicago was a “confidence boost.” Chicago, with longtime veterans and superstars like FormaL and Scump, have a huge presence on social media. Beating them gets “some hype around your team,” according to Bance.
The Ultra played against OpTic first, before falling to the Atlanta FaZe at the Stage 2 Major. After that, they went on to win four straight matches along with the championship crown for the Call of Duty League’s second big event of 2021.
“We rode the momentum; on a normal day we would have been drained,” Bryceland said. “I did fear that but we were prepared.”
Toronto Ultra’s Bance was leaning towards retirement
This win is special to Bance. He had been performing poorly on the way to the Major, missing crucial plays when his team needed them the most. He quickly turned around the narrative that he was “washed,” however, securing the MVP honor after beating Atlanta.
Bance even tweeted a text that he sent to his fiancée, saying that he should retire with how he’s been playing.
“I would honestly say I was 80% serious, more towards the serious than joking side,” he said of retirement. “Everywhere I went, it was negative on my name.”
Bance had the bad habit of jumping on Twitter after a loss to see what members of the scene were saying about him. He said that he saw more than 500 tweets of people telling him to bench himself. He states that he doesn’t deal well with this negativity, but he tried to use these tweets as fuel for the Major. It worked.
This Major win cements Bance as one of the best European Call of Duty players of all time. This is the second all-EU roster to win a Major event. The first was Splyce in 2017 and he was on that roster too.
Now, the Ultra have to find a way to keep this hot streak going into Stage 3. However, a little celebration was in order after a big victory. The Ultra tried to order a pizza but, ironically, their order was cancelled twice. They ended up eating McDonald’s instead.
Bance found that he was drained from his MVP caliber play through three straight games on Sunday.
“I was just absolutely drained from playing and I laid down for two hours after,” the 23-year-old said. He explained that he had a migraine and the light was hurting his eyes. “I think I’m getting old.”