Call of Duty League (CDL) started out strong in Minnesota with some big rivalry matches and huge upsets. Clutch covered the opening weekend and we are very excited to see the way CDL evolves over its inception season.
Some pre-season predictions held strong, while others fell flat. It’s hard to make accurate predictions based off of online play, but one could fairly guess which teams would come out hot based on their high profile players. Local Area Network (LAN) tournaments are a very different beast, as you can see from the outcome of the tournament.
With the tournament concluded, we have a much more accurate picture on which teams could breakout ahead of the pack. Here’s Clutch staff’s initial Call of Duty League Power Rankings:
1. Atlanta Faze | 2 – 0
Before the season started, Atlanta Faze was regarded as a top 3 team (alongside Chicago and Dallas). Rightfully so boasting a roster that includes Chris “Simp” Lehr, Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris, and Preston “Priestahh” Greiner. Those 3 alone were on the top two Call of Duty teams in 2019 before it was dissolved and became Call of Duty League (CDL).
After this weekend, they have catapulted themselves into the #1 spot. Their first match was against another team considered to be the best team in Call of Duty esports, Dallas Empire. They came out a little slow and shaky on the first game of hardpoint but managed to scrap their way back to a win.
Afterwards, the flood gates just seemed to burst open. Simp and aBeZy (widely referred to as the “Tiny Terrors”) were flying around the map so quickly it felt like they were playing with a 6th man. Atlanta ended up sweeping the Empire 3 matches to 0, surprising everyone watching.
Faze seemed unstoppable at Search and Destroy (SnD), a game type that a lot of teams struggled with over the weekend. They did not drop a single game of SnD all weekend, finishing 12 – 0 in the game type. The one momentary weakness was when they lost game 3 against the New York Subliners. The Subliners were able to confuse and split Faze by putting constant pressure on their home flag in Domination.
At the end of the weekend, Faze was one of four teams to finish 2 – 0. They are far and away the top team in the League and one that every team will be gunning for. Every one of their players pulled their weight, and then some.
Simp finished the weekend 2nd in overall kill to death ratio (K/D) with 1.58. Even more impressive was Michael “MajorManiak” Szymaniak finishing top of the SnD leaderboards with an insane K/D of 14.0. This is the team to watch moving forward.
2. Chicago Huntsmen | 2 – 0
Chicago seems to be the fan favorites, bringing in the most concurrent views during their matches. They boast a roster including Seth “Scump” Abner and Matthew “Formal” Piper, two prior OpTic Gaming teammates. Scump and Formal are two of the best to ever play the game.
They were the first match of opening weekend against former teammates on Dallas Empire, Ian “C6” Porter and James “Clayster” Eubanks. Chicago immediately made their presence felt by taking the opening match 3 – 1 against Empire, silencing some fans who thought Scump and Formal had left their best years behind them. This was a huge win for them, as Dallas was expected to be the top contender for the #1 slot against Atlanta Faze.
Another player on the roster to keep an eye on is Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson. He leads the League in K/D on hardpoint, carrying his team through some victories. The Huntsmen even put him the role of sniper occasionally over Formal, who is regarded as one of the best snipers to ever play the game.
Chicago had a very strong start over the opening weekend, but we’ll see if they can keep up the momentum. They are an exciting team led by Scump and have a lot to prove.
3. Paris Legion | 2 – 0
Parris Legion is far and away the biggest surprise so far. They were widely cast off as one of the bottom tier teams coming into the opening weekend. Stunning fans and pros alike by besting a much higher ranked OpTic Gaming LA, they went on to sweep the London Royal Ravens 3 – 0 to end their weekend with a perfect record.
Paris Legion have a lot of experience in Denholm “Denz” Taylor, Matthew “Kismet” Tinsley, and Paul “Breszy” Breszynski. Denz is their standout player, sitting 9th overall in total K/D with 1.17, and second in hill time. Look for them to dominate their opening match in London against the Subliners.
4. Dallas Empire | 0 – 2
The biggest upset of the weekend was Dallas Empire losing both of their matches. They went into the weekend ranked as an even contender for the #1 spot with Atlanta Faze. You can say it was because they played against the two best teams in the League, but that would be doing them an injustice.
They are a star-studded team behind World Champions Ian “C6” Porter and James “Clayster” Eubanks.They need to come out strong in their next outing and remind everyone why they are considered one of the best teams in Call of Duty esports.
Look for bigger showings from new Call of Duty stars Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas (formerly a Halo professional player and World Champion) and Indervir “Illey” Dhaliwal.
5. Minnesota RØKKR | 2 – 0
A lot of people think Minnesota RØKKR were handed a win after the Los Angeles Guerillas had to forfeit game two of their match for using a banned perk. Whether or not that helped propel the RØKKR to victory, they dominated the rest of the match.
They came out strong in their home showing to an incredible display of support by their fans. They have two World Champions on the roster in Adam “Assault” Garcia and Justin “Silly” Palmer. However, it was the younger players who helped propel the team to 2 – 0.
It was expected of Assault and Silly to have a good outing, but Alex “Alexx” Carpenter and Obaid “Asim” Asim proved to be very capable SMG players, harassing the opposing teams continuously. Adam “GodRX” Brown had an incredible weekend as well, proving to be a force to be reckoned with.
The RØKKR went on to be crowned the “Kings of the North” after their victory over Toronto. We’ll see if they can keep it up moving forward when they are forced to play against the top tier teams.
6. London Royal Ravens | 1 – 1
The Royal Ravens were another team to surprise everyone right out of the gate. Ranked similarly low like the Paris Legion coming into the weekend, they immediately made a name for themselves by sweeping the favored New York Subliners 3 – 0. Bradley “wuskin” Marshall currently sits on top of the leaderboard for overall K/D with 1.6.
They ended up losing to a dominant Legion in their second match but expect them to come out swinging against Toronto in their next outing. Royal Ravens are easily one of the teams that can find themselves atop the rankings should their play continue to improve.
7. Toronto Ultra | 1 – 1
Toronto is the definition of a middle of the pack team. They play very well, winning a hard-fought first matchup against Seattle Surge. Unfortunately playing “well” is not enough to climb the rankings in the CDL. The Ultra went on to lose to RØKKR 3 – 1, but two of those losses were very close games.
We will get more of an idea of whether Toronto will fall closer to the front or back of the pack as the season progresses. One thing is certain however, the Ultra aren’t going to go down without a fight.
8. Los Angeles Guerrillas | 1 – 1
The Los Angeles Guerillas started out extremely strong, quieting the crowd in their first match against the RØKKR. However, in the second round the Guerillas, although winning the match, were forced to forfeit the win due to one of their players using a restricted perk.
RØKKR dominated the next two matches to take the series 3 – 1. Whether or not the ruling deflated their sails is up to debate.Their most prolific player, Patrick “ACHES” Price was quick to call out the CDL for lack of clarity on some of the rules.
He proceeded to walk out to Guerillas’ next match against the Florida Mutineers with a sign that read “RØKKR got a free W.” The fans let him have it and he has quickly become the villain for this year’s season.
They went on to win their second match against the Mutineers, where ACHES continued to rile up the crowd during his post-game interview talking about how Minnesota is “weak” amidst a tirade of boos. It will be exciting to see a rematch between the two teams later in the season.
9. Seattle Surge | 0 – 2
Seattle Surge is stacked with some Call of Duty esports veterans. However, two of their biggest players, Ian “Enable” Wyatt and Damon “Karma” Barlow were basically absent.
Sam “Octane” Larew had a decent outing, but if his teammates don’t come out strong in the next CDL event the Surge will stay near the bottom of the pack. This team underperformed, but do not count them out just yet.
10. Florida Mutineers | 1 – 1
The Mutineers came out strong and bested the Seattle Surge, which wasn’t a huge feat this weekend. However, they had their next match in the bag going up 4 rounds to 1 in game 5 against the Guerillas, only to give up the comfortable lead and lose the match.
Preston “Prestinni” Sanderson, twin to Chicago Hunstmen’s Arcitys, is a former player of eUnited, the reigning champs. There are a lot of fans who doubt whether he can succeed on his own, but he has stated that he is out to prove that he will win without his brother.
11. OpTic Gaming LA | 0 – 2
There was a lot of buzz around OpTic Gaming in the off-season. Fans were wondering what was going to happen when the new season started. They had already seen one long time dominant player leave a few years earlier with Formal, but during the CDL shakeup, they found out that Scump, C6, and Karma would all be moving to different teams.
Fans were quick to doubt the direction the team was headed in. On paper, OpTic should still be a dominant force with Brandon “Dashy” Otell and Thomas “TJHaLy” Haly sticking with the team. They then acquired Austin “Slasher” Liddicoat and Jordan “JKap” Kaplan, two decorated veterans.
They were not expected to be as good as the old guard, but they are still some of the best Call of Duty players in esports. Unfortunately, their gameplay said otherwise. They lost their first series to an underrated Paris Legion 2 – 3, but it was their series against the Huntsmen that confirmed everyone’s fears.
Chicago swept them 3 – 0 and OpTic just looked lost and confused for most of the series. The players on this team are all very good players, but their teamwork needs to improve if they want to stand any kind of chance in the future.
12. New York Subliners | 0 – 2
In all honesty, there’s not much to say about the New York Subliners. They have some good players, but their gameplay this weekend was very forgettable.
The one positive note was that they found success against Atlanta in their Domination match, but other than that they looked very unorganized. Hopefully going forward they can improve their gameplay and silence the naysayers that have emerged after this opening weekend.
The Future Will Tell
It is still very early in the season, and teams have plenty of time to turn around their misfortunes. What we can tell so far is that Atlanta and Chicago have proven they are top teams. Which of the ten other teams will climb their way up to join them at the top?
The next Call of Duty League event is being held in London on February 8th – 9th. This event will be a more tournament like setting with a double elimination bracket. The higher teams place, the more points they earn for the season. Each tournament will feature 8 of the 12 teams.
London will host Chicago Huntsmen, Dallas Empire, Los Angeles Guerillas, New York Subliners, Paris Legion, Seattle Surge, and Toronto Ultra. For a full list of events visit the official CDL website.