This weekend in Los Angeles, the league’s top teams and players will compete for the season title.
The postseason of the 2021 Call of Duty League is finally here, after five stages of action in the regular season, with the CDL going to Los Angeles this week to award a season champ. After the Atlanta FaZe dominated the previous four stages and won three major titles, Stage Five proved to be the most compelling part of the season to date.
After being upset by the last-place Seattle Surge, Atlanta was knocked out of the tournament with a top-eight finish, leaving the bracket wide open for the first time all season. This was the first time in the 2021 CDL season that FaZe did not advance to the grand finals of a Major, resulting in a Minnesota RKKR vs. Toronto Ultra showdown that produced the biggest comeback in competitive CoD ever.
The CDL’s final event of the year will be held in the Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California on Thursday, August 19. The best eight CDL teams will compete for a $1.2 million first-place award, with a runner-up prize of $650,000 and a third-place prize of $300,000 available.
Here are the Eight Teams Heading into COD Champs 2021
Atlanta is the clear favorite to win CoD Champs 2021, despite a 0-2 showing at the Stage Five Major a few weeks before. Atlanta has the most skilled roster in the league, led by three of the five MVP candidates this season. According to Breaking Point, Simp, aBeZy, and Cellium are all in the top seven in total K/D this season, while Arcitys has the 13th greatest K/D.
After being knocked out of the Stage Five Major with a 0-2 series record, his leadership will be crucial for FaZe to bounce back in the season’s largest competition. Atlanta hasn’t encountered any serious difficulty yet in 2021, so this event will put their mettle and resolve to the test. They seemed to struggle with the crowd during their loss to Seattle, and they’ll need to be able to drown out the noise if they want to beat OpTic Chicago.
After replacing Methodz with rookie of the year contender Insight, who has been outstanding this season, Toronto has been a consistent top-three squad. Insight, along with Minnesota’s Standy, has been one of the most impressive rookies this season, with a 1.14 K/D. However, the elephant in the room remains. Toronto lost five consecutive maps after taking a 4-0 lead in Stage Five Major grand finals, completing a historic collapse.
The Ultra have always appeared to be a seasoned team that is unfazed by adversity. They were, however, deer in the headlights in that series. Rebounding in their first Champs game will go a long way toward righting the ship, but if RKKR defeats the Dallas Empire, they may meet Minnesota again. Returning to form with a win over the other team involved in the historic collapse might catapult Toronto to a title.
Chicago put in one of their strongest performances in 2021, coming off a top-three finish at the Stage Five Major. OpTic disproved the assumption that they couldn’t beat strong teams by defeating both FaZe and Dallas in Stage Five. Toronto, unfortunately, appears to be Chicago’s Achilles’ heel at this juncture in the season. OpTic, who had taken a 2-1 lead over Toronto in their first match of the Major, were unable to close out the series on either map four or five and were once again relegated to the losers bracket.
OpTic, like Atlanta and Dallas, might win the tournament if they can go over the hump against the Ultra. Envoy complements Scump’s SMG pair with smart plays and flanks all over the map, while Scump has been playing fantastic Call of Duty. OpTic has the talent, and when they’re on the same page, they’re a force to be reckoned with.
Since benching Huke in April, the defending CDL champions have been playing their finest Call of Duty. After being traded away from the Los Angeles Guerrillas, Vivid finds himself on a contender, and he hasn’t squandered the opportunity. Dallas needed a playmaker to combine with Shotzzy, and Vivid’s acquisition has helped them turn their season around.
At this stage in the season, ILLeY also appears to be a completely different player, putting Dallas in a position to win their second straight CDL Championship. Crimsix provides the leadership and decision-making that teams require at this stage of the season, and he also looks nice holding the Krig-6. Dallas may not be the most talented team, but they play solid defense, which is exactly what championship teams do.
After an incredible reverse-sweep in the grand finals of the Stage Five Major earlier this month, Minnesota enters CoD Champs as the hottest team in the league. After a shaky start to the season, things began to improve as Standy was named to the starting lineup. He has a top-five K/D among SMGs in the league and has been a major factor in their success in earning a Major title.
Minnesota’s victory in the Stage Five Major was no fluke, either, as the team defeated Atlanta, Dallas, and Toronto twice in the process. Many doubted Standy’s ability to transfer from online to LAN play as a rookie, but he proved to the CoD community that it doesn’t matter where the games are played. Minnesota will be a tough out, with Standy playing at an MVP level and veteran leadership and experience from Attach, Priestahh, and MajorManiak.
Los Angeles Thieves
Although the L.A. Thieves have one of the most seasoned rosters in the league, their current lineup hasn’t spent as much time together as other teams. Los Angeles has had the most roster changes in the CDL Playoffs than any other team. As a result, they are the event’s largest wildcard. The team boasts true championship experience in players like SlasheR, John, and Kenny, who have played and won on the largest stage. Drazah is a rising star that has the ability to outshine anyone in the league at any given time.
Due to the short period of time, this squad has spent playing together, their ceiling variance is the greatest in the league. They may be a one-and-done team or they could make it all the way to Championship Sunday in the losers bracket. This team has a lot of unknowns, which makes them highly dangerous for any team in the bottom bracket.
Going into the CDL Playoffs, Florida is in a vulnerable position. Early in the season, the Mutineers appeared to be a top contender, but they have never been able to put it all together to realize their full potential. Technically, Florida has a lot of talent, but they don’t always get along. Skyz, Owakening, and Neptune are all in the top 25 in overall K/D this season, although they all finished eighth and last in the regular season.
If Florida can get on the same page on the map—and that’s a big if—they’ll be a tough team. Unfortunately for Mutineers supporters, switching to a coherent style of play this late in the season is a tall order, especially for a squad that has struggled due to the same mistakes over and over.
New York Subliners
New York, along with the L.A. Thieves, are two of the most important wildcard teams entering this weekend. Clayster is back in New York’s lineup moving into the CDL Playoffs after taking a break earlier in Stage Five to “recharge.” For the majority of the 2021 season, the Subliners were a top team, but Stage Four threw them off. Due to Asim’s inability to attend the season’s first LAN tournament, New York was forced to bring in Decemate to round out the lineup.
After Asim returned for Stage Five, they looked like a different team, losing to the Thieves, OpTic, and London. Clayster revealed that he would be stepping down after a 0-3 start, with Diamondcon filling in. New York has reverted to the lineup with which they have spent the bulk of the season, but the key issue remains: how will the rest of his teammates respond to the veteran’s return ahead of the season’s most important tournament? If the rest of the team is on board, they’ll be a dangerous team with a chance to play spoiler. Things might become ugly if they aren’t, and a 0-2 finish isn’t out of the question.
CoD Champs 2021 kicks off tomorrow, August 19, at 2 p.m. CT, with a matchup between Minnesota and Dallas.