Whether it’s in a futuristic biological laboratory or the historic Ardennes Forest, Call of Duty esports has seen its fair share of unique and diverse battlefields that have been used in competition. At CWL London, there will be a total of six maps that 16 of the worlds best teams will compete at the Copper Box Arena from May 3rd-5th. Before we get there, here is a look at the top ten maps that have played host to some of the most memorable moments in Call of Duty esports history!
10: Retreat (Advanced Warfare)
Set in a picturesque Chinese resort, Retreat comprises a typical three-lane structure with numerous chokepoints around the map. Retreat provided the opportunity for close range skirmishes for Sub-Machine Gun (SMG) players while the more passive Assault Rifle (AR) were able to provide long range covering fire from several vantage points which were accessible thanks to the innovative exo-mechanics that were implemented by Sledgehammer Games.
From a competitive perspective, Retreat is remembered as an extremely competitive Hardpoint and Capture the Flag map. The most memorable game on Retreat would be OpTic against Enigma6 at UMG California in 2015. Tied at four flags each, the Green Wall capitalised and captured first in overtime to force E6 on the back foot. What entailed was an insane chain of offensive and defensive plays from both sides but it was OpTic who eventually prevailed to take the win.
9) Fringe (Black Ops 3)
Used in all four game modes during the 2015/16 CWL season, Fringe created a near perfect balance of long sight lines ideal for covering AR fire, plenty of opportunity for close quarters engagement and large open areas at the back of the map in order to manipulate spawns.
At CWL Anaheim, FaZe and Luminosity faced off in group play. Luminosity needed just ten points to take the opening map but the Red Militia, led by James “Clayster” Eubanks, rallied back to secure an incredible comeback to kick off the series.
8) Scorch (Infinite Warfare)
Still maintaining the three-lane map structure synonymous with Call of Duty, the added element of wall-running gave players a new way to navigate the map on Infinite Warfare. Scorch stuck with the three-lane design but featured multiple chokepoints and long lines of sight to favour both SMG and AR players respectively.
CWL Anaheim saw Splyce and Luminosity face off in what was the heat of their 2017 rivalry. Needing just a single point to take the opening map, Splyce somehow pulled off a miraculous comeback to snatch the victory at the very end.
7) Sovereign (Ghosts)
Staying true to the traditional three-lane layout, the tank factory favoured SMG players thanks to the compact control room, the corridor beneath and the server room on the opposing side. The Bulldog shotgun was often seen on Sovereign thanks to its fire rate and high damage in close quarters engagements. An aggressve SMG was key but the catwalks provided a great vantage point for AR players and the occassional sniper rifle in Search and Destroy.
Throughout the 2014 season, Sovereign played host to some hectic Domination matches but is widely remembered for its Search and Destroy games. Ian “Crimsix” Porter set a LAN record of 20 kills in a single game but the best moment from this map would be Jordan “Proofy” Cannon scoring a sublime ace at the 2014 X Games against Evil Geniuses.
6) Freight (Ghosts)
Another map that featured in all of the esports modes for that title was Freight on Ghosts. With several multi-storey buildings watching each lane, Freight was nearly symmetrical on both sides.
At the 2014 world championship, OpTic and Complexity were tied as Freight S&D headed to a round eleven. An unorthodox rush into red from the Green Wall caught the eventual tournament winners off guard as OpTic walked away with the map win thanks to an expertly timed play call.
5) Retaliation (Infinite Warfare)
Retaliation comprised of three very distinct areas of the map – a bridge scattered with cars and a wall-run down the left side, a hotel with plenty of close quarters chokepoints ideal for cutting off any rotations and another small building with plenty of avenues to collapse onto the enemy. Long sightlines for the NV4 Assault Rifle, lots of mid-range engagement for the flex players and lots of crafty corners for the ERAD to ambush any unsuspecting players.
At CWL Anaheim, Stage One champions Splyce would battle Luminosity once again in the Grand Finals. After rallying back from an early deficit, the European side looked destined to force a game five, but Luminosity had other ideas and managed to hold off the charge long enough to take home the trophy.
4) Meltdown (Black Ops 2)
Compared to Detroit, the layout of Meltdown sticks to the principles of a classic Call of Duty map, three lanes which offer wide opportunities for AR, SMG and the occasional sniper rifle. From a competitive perspective, Meltdown offered a great setting for Search and Destroy, with one bombsite located in the reactor tower immersed in concrete obstacles and the other next to a pipeline which can be overlooked from two small viewing platforms.
The most memorable Meltdown moment saw Adam “Killa” Sloss successfully defend the B site against Proofy to be crowned the inaugural Call of Duty world champions.
3) Detroit (Advanced Warfare)
The shape of Detroit is what sets it apart from the other maps on the list. A zig-zag layout, full of tight chokepoints made it perfect for aggressive SMG players, while AR players resorted to holding the more open middle street. Used in Hardpoint, Search & Destroy and Uplink, Detroit frequently provided close contests between the best teams in the world.
Back at the 2015 North American championship, Jared “Nagafen” Harrell found himself in a 1v2 situation. Pinned down in the middle of the map, the opposition looked all but certain to win the round before Nagafen’s sublime movement saw him snap onto his enemy to turn the round on its head.
2) Standoff (Black Ops 2)
Entering the list in the second spot is Standoff. Based on a small border town to China, Standoff contains multiple spots for long-range engagements from ARs and snipers, lots of potential for close quarters engagements in the central house and the two other buildings which look over the central lane. With lots of cover and crafty flanking routes, Standoff remains a favourite for both casual and competitive players.
So many unforgettable plays happened on Standoff but the best one has to be the OpTic Van, the forgotten OpTic member. At the MLG Fall Invitational, the Green Wall battled Unite on Standoff CTF. With the game finely poised at 2-2, Killa was on his way to secure the winning capture before the van covering the home flag is blown up by Will “BigTymer” Johnson to give OpTic a dramatic win in the dying seconds.
1) Raid (Black Ops 2)
Raid is the epitome of classic Call of Duty map design, offering a mix of long sightlines and plenty of chokepoints in the middle of the map often leading to frantic and intense close quarters gameplay.
From a competitive point of view, Raid had it all. The bombsites were positioned well, the spawn mechanics in Hardpoint allowed a new layer of strategy to emerge and the layout saw some crazy flag runs. Amongst so many moments from Black Ops 2, Clayster’s 1v3 clutch consisting of a filthy no scope in the square room overlooking the stone circle.
Looking ahead to the future, will any maps from Black Ops 4 make it amongst some of the classics that have stood the test of time? We will have to wait and see.
What’s your favourite competitive map of all time? Let us know!
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Written ByJon Nicholson@MrJonno_95