With the conclusion of the Call of Duty League’s (CDL) first-ever Super Week, the opening stage of the 2021 season has come to an end.
The first stage of regular-season matches were used to determine the seeding for the first Major of the Black Ops Cold War season. The matches also gave the 12 franchises their first opportunity to earn some CDL Points on the board.
The Stage One Major is the first of five Majors that will take place throughout the season. All 12 franchises will battle it out for those all-important CDL Points and the chance to take home the lion’s share of $500,000 in prize money.
With the bracket set and after getting the chance to see the teams face off against each other during the regular season, we’re going to preview the Stage One Major and attempt to predict the results.
CDL Stage 1 Major Preview
Based on their performances during the regular-season matches, six teams successfully booked their places in the winner’s bracket while the other six were drawn into the loser’s bracket where just a single loss will eliminate them from the tournament.
The Atlanta FaZe was the only team to achieve a flawless record in the build-up to the Major, defeating the Toronto Ultra, OpTic Chicago, Paris Legion, Los Angeles Guerrillas and the Florida Mutineers on their way to securing the top seed. Starting in the second round of the winner’s bracket, the FaZe need to win just three matches to be crowned champions of the Stage One Major, and with the likes of Chris “Simp” Lehr and Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris on the roster, there’s a real chance that they could begin the season with a win.
Can C6 lead Dallas to the first championship of 2021?
Hot on their heels are the defending champions of the Dallas Empire. While they did lose to the Minnesota RØKKR, the Empire shows no signs of falling apart with North American veteran Ian “C6” Porter at the helm. Cuyler “Huke” Garland has shone since his return to CoD last season, and if he’s able to continue his fine run of form from regular-season competition, the Empire could well be sitting pretty at the top of the competitive Call of Duty mountain.
As always, it’s impossible to rule out the fan-favourites of OpTic Chicago, the Los Angeles Thieves, and the New York Subliners. The Green Wall was only bested by Atlanta during the opening weeks of competition and should never be ruled out thanks to the supreme slaying of Dylan “Envoy” Hannon and the iconic T2P partnership of Seth “Scump” Abner and Matt “FormaL” Piper.
Is it time for the LA Thieves to run it up?
The Thieves had a relatively impressive showing in Stage One, beating Minnesota, New York, Seattle, and the Royal Ravens on their way to the winner’s bracket but a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Dallas implies the team may fall short against some of the stronger opposition in the league.
Heading into 2021, New York has a chip on their shoulder having acquired James “Clayster” Eubanks after he was evicted from the Dallas Empire. Armed with an exciting trio of young talent alongside the veteran leadership of Clayster, the Subliners have looked solid against the likes of the Empire, and with Clay wanting to get the upper hand over his former team, can New York go all the way and take home the title?
Can London Reverse Their Fortunes?
With Trei “Zer0” Morris unable to compete due to travel restrictions, the Royal Ravens recruited 2013 world champion Chris “Parasite” Duarte to round out the roster. The team has shown small glimpses of what they’re capable of but they enter the Major without a win to their name.
Starting from the first round of the loser’s bracket and facing a strong Toronto side, can London make an unprecedented run through the loser’s bracket or will the team fall at the first hurdle?
CDL Stage 1 Major Predictions
The 2021 season is the most competitive season of Call of Duty there has ever been, making the task of predicting which franchise will be crowned the champion of Stage One even harder.
1st: Atlanta FaZe2nd: New York Subliners3rd: Dallas Empire4th: OpTic Chicago
Atlanta is the team to beat and as the only team to maintain a flawless record, I expect them to continue their winning ways and walk away with the trophy at the end of the tournament.
The battle for the remaining places in the top four is an extremely close contest. Knowing that Clayster fell short against the Empire during the regular season, he will be intent on avenging the loss which is why I think the Subliners will make it into second place.
Deciding between OpTic and the Empire is an almost impossible task. Based on the performances of C6 and Huke, I think that Dallas has what it takes to get the upper hand over the Green Wall.