Then and Now: NRX Jeremiah and the CODM Pro Scene in the Philippines
Ever since NRX Jeremiah 29:11 captured the first-ever Call of Duty Mobile Philippines Championship way back in March of 2020, the game’s pro scene has seen a lot of changes. From rosters to meta guns to numerous major tournaments held in the country, it goes without saying that the team had adjusted to all these changes; even more so, they have adapted to it.
The squad hailed by renowned Malaysian shout caster AJ “The Mustachio” Singam as the kings of Garena is composed of JC “Jayzee” Rivera, Kennedy “iDra” Mondoy, Benj “CRUSH” Trinidad, Jerrold “Woopiiee” Regay, and John Kenneth “KenDy” Pimentel, recent additions coach Bruce “Device” Cruz and Eulo “6ix9ine” de Chavez, and former members Khenji “Khenji” Saito, Patrick Warren “Warren” Jadear and the late Michael “Kyaaah” Belaya. They all have competed, won, and brought glory to the country in major tournaments both nationally and internationally. They themselves admitted the aforementioned changes in the game.
“Ever since the PH pro scene in CODM started, the number of teams competing in amateur and semi-pro tournaments increased drastically. The skill ceiling in CODM is getting higher every day as more people are getting in the game. The ever-changing meta in the game helped a lot in attracting new players as well as spicing up the competitive scene in CODM,” coach Device said.
“It is also worth noting that since the CODM community is growing larger, organized and well-prepared teams are now starting to rise with boot camps provided for virtually any top tier team in PH right now. Most players today have the opportunity to pursue their dreams of becoming a pro player whereas when we take a look at the scene over the past year that has not been the case. Teams are getting more and more competitive now and that has been a testament as to how the game has changed,” the team added in unison.
As we move through the 2021 season of the CODM pro scene, we reminisce and review its history. We look back at some of the teams that have given NRX a run for their money (and even beat them in some tournaments).
NRX might not have been the NRX that we know today if not for BREN. The now-defunct team led by captain Christopher “Mac” Macaranas and teammates Kenshin “Ken” Yago, Fitzaimon “Moi” Yago, Ronron “Ron” Nebre, Marjorie “Marj” Yago, and Edsel “Eds” Corpus faced NRX in the grand finals of the 1st PH championship and Rise and Conquer National CODM tournament, while Justin “Susanoo” Cecilio came into the team to replace Eds in the ESL PH Championship.
Although NRX won all three of those tournaments, this in turn established a rivalry between the best teams in PH CODM at that time as they battled neck to neck and delivered spectacular gameplay to the delight of the fans. “We considered them our rivals since we faced them in the finals of every major tournament that we joined,” Mac said. BREN, albeit behind undisclosed reasons, decided to disband their CODM team last September 2020, and now the rest is history.
Tyrant Gaming Astra
If only this team had not disbanded and called it quits. If only.
One can only imagine what things could have been if Tyrant Astra is still competing up to this day. The PPGL 2020 Season 1 champs in CODM paraded flexi and in-game leader Bruce “Device” Cruz, sniper Wacky Andrei “Wacky” Endaya, support Ken “Maze” Barraquio, entry fragger Adrian “BoyB” Pelostratos and the flamboyant all-around John Kenneth “KenDy” Pimentel. Yes, you heard it right. Before Kendy went to war with the boys in NRX for the Garena Qualifiers and several other tournaments, he was on the other side battling them. And boy, he did beat them in a convincing fashion.
Together with his teammates, KenDy showcased a masterclass, dominating the PH champions in a way nobody ever did. They were the first team at the time to ever do that to NRX, forcing the latter to make some much needed change to their lineup. However, the team disbanded due to unknown reasons after its stint in the ESL MSP Championship last September 2020. KenDy was then recruited to NRX, filling a piece that the team needed at that point of time. Together they went on to win the Garena Qualifiers for the Worlds 2020 and were hailed the kings of Garena.
With the recent acquisition by NRX of Device as their new coach, this allowed KenDy to reunite with his former teammate, although on a different team. Considering what happened, it would be a huge understatement to say that their team is still one of the biggest what-ifs in the CODM PH competitive scene and would have been interesting to see how they would have matched up against each other today.
Emporia Esports or better known to fans as EMP, entered the CODM Philippine pro scene by acquiring a subordinate of Jeremiah which is also a team from NRX’s in-game clan itself, Luke 1:37. EMP was also one of the few teams that actually beat NRX Jeremiah in a major tournament, it being in the semi-finals of the PPGL 2020 CODM Tournament. The lineup consisting of John Emmanuelle “Icarus” Brual, Klyde Jerson “Whypie” Arroyo, Bench “Bench” San Pedro, Jerico “Ipao” Gurtiza and Kingson “Colour” Lasco said it was a huge confidence booster for the team at the time because only a few number of teams can proudly say they’ve beaten NRX, and what more in a major tournament causing their elimination.
“We just hyped each other up and talked some trash to our own teammates to keep up the pace and thankfully, we achieved our desired result,” captain Icarus added. After months of speculation and unclear directions, EMP also disbanded due to undisclosed reasons. The team returned to NRX shortly after the fallout.
Lineup: Maiko Lorenzo “Nickflip” Sato, Louis Paolo “Jeon” Bacolod, Christopher “Mac” Macaranas, Kenneth Michael “Tamayo” Tamayo, Russel Dave “HxS” Gonzales, Ronilo “Ron” Nebre, Benedict “Krimz” Fruto, Jericho “Coach Jericho” Ambulo
A lot of teams have come and gone the VVV camp but this iteration might be the best of the bunch as we saw a collective group of talent coming from the other three teams of the 1st PH Championship aside from NRX join forces. Mac and Ron (BREN), Jeon, Krimz and Nickflip (XD Gaming) and HxS and Tamayo (VVV) , whether coincidence or not, shook up the scene at the time. With the team’s freshly formed ‘super-team’ roster, they went on to dominate the tournaments they joined in, the most notable being the PPGL 2020 Season 2 CODM Tournament.
The squad then stood to their clan’s mantra as they came, saw, and conquered NRX Jeremiah in the grand finals of the ESGS 2020 CODM championship to win the title. They also grabbed some bragging rights in the process by being one of the few teams to take down NRX. After a good five to six month run though, the team mutually decided to transfer to Tyrant Gaming last March.
For the CODM pro teams in the Philippines, facing NRX in a major tournament more or less becomes that team’s “idol-turned-rival” moment. So when PDR Reborn had that moment right in front of them, they grabbed the opportunity and never looked back, defeating the much-heralded NRX in the PH Invitational CODM Tournament last December 2020.
The roster, bannered by captain Neil Isaac “F1ex” Perez together with teammates John Benedict “JaBen” Julio, Railey “Yobabs” Abrenica, Ken “Kensh1” Ortiz, Jhay “Yakou” Rubio, AJ “Eiji” Agbing, said that focus and teamwork were the main factors behind the team’s win.
“We didn’t expect to beat them because they were the official representatives of Garena for the CODM World Championship at that time. Those circumstances don’t usually happen so we just focused and helped each other out to secure that win over them,” F1ex said.
Yobabs and Eiji then left the team for some personal reasons which led the management to disband the team, thinking they could not sustain the success they’ve had without those two on board. F1ex and remaining teammates Kensh1, JaBen and Yakou would not end up clanless and teamless for long as RTL picked them up shortly after, becoming RTL Reborn in the process.
NRX Timothy 4:7 and Ecclesiastes 3:11
Known as the other half of what was considered to be NRX’s ‘monster four’ team lineup (the other two being 29:11 and 1:37), both Timothy 4:7 and Ecclesiastes 3:11 took on their big bros in NRX Jeremiah head to head and even took them down in some tournaments. During the early stages of the CODM pro scene in the Philippines, NRX teams at the peak of their powers dominated mini and major tournaments and secured at least 1-2 slots in the semis of virtually every tournament at the time. It even got to a point where people would be shocked when a tournament has no NRX team mentioned above in its final four or the semi-finals, and hence the term “monster four’ as no other clan in-game replicated the early success of NRX in the pro scene during that time.
NRX Timothy 4:7 – Gerome “VanLoo” Alinas, Khristian “Wadu” Galve, Joseph Brian “Jeybe” Natividad, Jello “Bumbaby” Herrera, Railey “Yobabs” Abrenica, Gio “Demorza” Laderas
NRX Ecclesiastes 3:11 – Jehroen John “Seav” Morales, Charles Philip “CP” Rosales, Hale “Greed” Villanueva, Alexander “22Pixels” Placencia, Elaisa “IceClet” Guevarra
These teams paved the way and made the PH pro scene in CODM as it is today. Now, teams are gearing up for the biggest tournament in CODM history, the CODM 2021 World Championship.
In the light of the CODM WORLDS 2021, we now look into the teams that are poised to take the next step and challenge NRX for the PH title and earn the right to represent the country in the Southeast Asian qualifier.
The current kings of the Philippines (who won the 2nd PH championship and qualified for the Garena Invitational along with the invited NRX Jeremiah 29:11 squad) are back once more to prove they can win it all. They’re out to show that they can still be the kings of Philippine CODM even with NRX now back on the PH Championship scene once again.
The squad composed of Cliff Owen “Owen” Crisostomo, Vince Angelo “Demorz” Salaya, Jerzen Limuel “Aeschy” Espiritu, Saymun Rosh “Baymun” Mateo, Joshua Ruel “Smoke” Videña and Averson “Skerd” Salaya, together with coach Laurence Aaron “LA” Carlos and manager Arkisha Aragon almost defeated NRX during the Garena Invitational last March if it weren’t for the incredible comeback by the kings of Garena.
Aragon said the team learned from that loss and are ecstatic to get back into action once again. “We have experience now on the biggest stage and so now we can overcome the pressure when it comes to clutch moments. This is the team’s time to prove why we are the best.”
Perhaps the biggest threat to NRX Jeremiah 29:11 in-game position-wise, Tyrant Gaming is coming into the scene ready and well prepared. With the acquisition of the boys from VVV, this match-up has the potential to go head-to-head with each other as Jeon-Jayzee (captain), Nickflip-iDra (main fragger), Mac-CRUSH (roam), HxS-Woopiiee (sniper), and Tamayo-Kendy (all-around) all perfectly matched up. Furthermore, by adding season five top 1 leaderboards player Shan Rouise “FDx” Mateo into the mix the team got even more dangerous, having another big-time weapon to work with.
This seems to be a blockbuster match in the making, and would absolutely be exciting to watch if these teams would face each other. Coach Jericho said the team is raring to show its final form in the scene in order to come out on top against all the other PH teams. “As a team we want to represent the country, while showing that we can hang with anyone against the best teams in PH and in the end to win it all,” he added.
Lineup: Justine “Milyones” Aguidan, Jello Steffan “Jello” Herrera, Jerico “YungJ” Vibora, Raphael “Locs” Pascual, Ronan Arkie “Rage” Eleria, Joseph Brian “JeyBe” Natividad, coach Mark Alexis “Olea” Olea, manager Arkisha Aragon
PDR Esports is another top-tier PH team that has its sights set on the grand prize. Relying on its chemistry and experience as one of the longer-tenured teams in the scene, the squad is ready to challenge the other top teams in the PH scene.
“As a team we want to prove that Garena and PH players can adjust to a more fixed rule set. We want to prove we can compete with the best and adjust when needed. We’re here to show the world that Garena and PH is a power house to watch out for,” Aragon bared in an interview.
While other teams prepared and assembled their lineups, RTL took a huge step by combining two of its top concurrent teams RTL Legacy and RTL Reborn for the sole purpose of competing and conquering the world. As a result, RTL Esports was established.
Composed of Gerome “VanLoo” Alinas, Wacky Andrei “Wacky” Endaya, Justin “Susanoo” Cecilio from Legacy and Neil Isaac “F1ex” Perez, John Benedict “JaBen” Julio, Ken “Kensh1” Ortiz from Reborn, the team said they definitely want the world championship and that they see great potential in themselves.
“I trust my new teammates from Legacy and for the management for us all to be gathered here. As the in-game leader of the squad our goal is to be mentally prepared for the challenges ahead, and I think we’re capable of doing it because the whole RTL community is behind us,” team captain F1ex added.
The gang from EMP is back for another ride but this time they’re more prepared and better equipped with new knowledge and strategies. They’ve also added shotgun main John Mark “Juanito” Oyao to increase the team’s options in different situations.
Carrying a new branding and team name, Fantasma (better known as FTSM) is backed by streaming icons Ghost Wrecker and Ghost Garlic. The duo decided to form a CODM team after learning of the CODM WORLDS 2021. They then acquired the former EMP and current NRX Unknown because of the team’s image and background. They also vowed to give it their all despite being the new boys on the block.
“For now, we’re just taking it step by step because the team is relatively new. We can’t wait to show the people what we can do and how hungry we are to win,” Ghost Garlic said.
If the team gets its mojo back and rediscovers their old magic during their Emporia Esports days, expect them to be one of the dark horses in the scene.
Lineup: John Emmanuelle “Icarus” Brual, Klyde Jerson “Whypie” Arroyo, Bench “Bench” San Pedro, Jerico “Ipao” Gurtiza, Kingson “Colour” Lasco, John Mark “Juanito” Oyao
In arguably the most competitive region in all of CODM, the Philippine CODM pro scene is shaping up to be the best as all teams have a legitimate shot at seizing the title. Fans and players alike can expect an all-out war with teams facing a series of challenges for them to come out on top. With the stakes being at its all-time high, nothing will come easy at this point. All of the preparations that each team has done or will still do points to them delivering the best version of themselves come playoff time.
NRX is unfazed though, as the team promised to give it their all to be hailed as the kings of Philippine CODM once more. “We’re hungrier to win and we’re preparing harder than ever before. We’ll be ready for all of you,” Benj “CRUSH” Trinidad said.
CODM Worlds 2021 has a prize pool of over two million USD and it starts in July.
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