The Call of Duty League is essentially halfway through its inaugural season. Seven events (including opening weekend) have been played with each team competing in five of them so far. Throughout these events, teams have failed to live up to expectations, become dark-horse candidates, slipped down the standings and climbed up against all odds. With half of the season completed, a clearer picture of where the teams stack up continues to emerge.
The Minnesota RØKKR embraced the underdog narrative to quietly become one of the best teams in the league while the Chicago Huntsmen have stood their ground towards the top off the backs of some of the most iconic figures in professional Call of Duty history. Still, two teams have truly emerged as the clear-cut favorites as the league heads into its second half of the season, the Atlanta FaZe and Dallas Empire.
The Atlanta FaZe are the youngest team in the league but have consistently shown they are one of the teams to beat this season. They play aggressive and with an outstanding amount of confidence. That combination has translated into two event wins and the most points in the standings so far. Atlanta came into the season touted as one of the best and has proven it time and time again.
The FaZe boasts some of the best players in the league, led by the dynamic Chris “Simp” Lehr. Simp is the reigning Call of Duty World League champion where he took MVP honors. He hasn’t skipped a beat since the Call of Duty League began and has solidified himself as the best player in the world. He isn’t alone, though. Alongside Simp sits McArthur “Cellium” Jovel who has consistently played at a top-tier level all season and has shown up big for Atlanta numerous times. When the two of them are at the top of their game, the FaZe are incredibly hard to beat. They’ve shown that so far this season and don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.
Much like Atlanta, the Dallas Empire came into the season with high expectations. Unfortunately, the Empire took some time to get going. They came out flat during the opening weekend and lost to both Atlanta and Chicago. Slowly, the Empire began to live up to their potential and secured their first event win in Los Angeles right before the league shut down to switch to online play going forward. The Empire became the first team to win two events and claimed their place as one of, if not the best, teams in the league.
The Dallas Empire took a chance on two unproven talents this season with rookies Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro and Indervir “iLLeY” Dhaliwal. They struggled early but have steadily gotten better and reached their strides during Los Angeles weekend. Since then, Shotzzy has looked like one of the best players in the entire league and helped lead Dallas to a second-place position right behind Atlanta. Pair the two youngsters with the legends James “Clayster” Eubanks and Ian “C6” Porter (Crimsix) and the Empire have possibly the highest ceiling of any team in the CDL.
There is still a lot of season left to play and where teams will eventually end up is still unseen. There have been four teams so far that have reigned victorious in the various events, but it has been the Dallas Empire and Atlanta FaZe that have stood above the rest. As of now, they are the teams to beat and all roads to the championship look to go through them.
This article was written by NGame Esports Writer, Brandon Howard.
Image Credit: Activision Press Center