3 Spicy Storylines Heading Into The CDL Stage 4 Major
After another wave of online qualification matches, the remote portion of the 2022 Call of Duty League (CDL) season has come to an end. Many will be pleased to see the back of online competition for another year as attention turns toward the fourth and final Major tournament of the Vanguard season. With just two of the 12 franchises locked in for the season-ending Championship Weekend, there’s plenty riding on the Major taking place hosted by the New York Subliners.
The tight midfield battle is set to go down to the wire with several teams in contention to secure a place in one of the eight available Champs slots while those further up the table look to consolidate their places in the largest tournament of the CDL season.
Before the focus moves to Champs, the Stage 4 Major will see the conclusion of regular-season competition and with so much riding on the outcome of the event, there are plenty of spicy storylines to keep an eye on throughout the weekend. Here are three storylines you should keep an eye on heading into the Stage 4 Major.
Can New York Achieve The Impossible?
If you thought the New York Subliners would be in a position to qualify for Champs heading into the Stage 4 Major, I salute you. Following a disastrous first half of the year, the Subliners are in the middle of what could be a miraculous reversal of fortune. After another roster shuffle, Ian 'Crimsix' Porter and the rest of the team have a great chance of ending Vanguard on a high.
Throughout 2022, the North American veteran hasn’t always topped the scoreboard but the likes of Paco 'HyDra' Rusiewiez and Paul 'PaulEhx' Avila have cemented their position as one of the CDL’s formidable slaying partnerships. Although the results paint a very different picture, a Major 4 qualifying run of four wins and a single loss signal a turning of the tide is on the horizon.
Needing a solid haul of points to secure a place in the top eight, there’s a real chance of the Subliners achieving a run many would’ve thought impossible a few weeks ago.
London And Atlanta: Leading The Charge
Although Atlanta FaZe received two losses during the final online matches, the team is still leading the charge at the very top of the CDL league table. Very few teams can compete at the incredibly high pace the 2021 champions can achieve and as one of two teams that already know they’re competing at Champs, the Red Militia is looking to assert their dominance on LAN once more.
For a second consecutive season, McArthur 'Cellium' Jovel is proving themselves as the glue holding the deadly duo of Chris 'Simp' Lehr and Tyler 'aBeZy' Pharris together when the going gets tough. Lastly and by no means least, Alec 'Artictys' Sanderson continues to act as Atlanta’s formidable flex player capable of filling any role at any given time. This versatility often sets the FaZe apart from the rest of the pack, with one or two teams capable of taking the fight to them.
One of the two teams is the London Royal Ravens. After the highs of 2020 followed by a mediocre 2021, a roster revamp has injected a breath of fresh air into Europe’s best CDL franchise. The return of Joey 'Gismo' Owen to the starting roster in June acted as the catalyst for the Royal Ravens to secure the second seed for the Stage 4 Major.
In addition to an in-form Gismo, Marcus 'Afro' Reid has shone under the guidance of Trei 'Zer0' Morris, often featuring in highlight reels thanks to their ability to win gunfights against the odds.
For the first time in over five years, the UK Call of Duty scene has a team capable of contending for championships. The gamble on exciting amateur talent has paid off while Zer0 is still capable of playing at a level that won him an MVP trophy during the Infinite Warfare season. Is Call of Duty coming home with a win in the Big Apple?
OpTic's Lower Bracket Challenge: The Return Of iLLeY
Although the Green Wall has already booked its place at Champs, the Stage 4 Major marks the return of Indervir 'iLLeY' Dhaliwal onto the starting lineup following a stint on the sidelines due to injury. Having only scored one win out of the last five matches during online qualifiers, OpTic Texas begin the event in the lower bracket leaving no room for error.
Alongside the mechanical mastermind of Anthony 'Shotzzy' Cuevas-Castro, iLLeY adds another layer of ruthless aggression needed to content at the highest level of Vanguard. While their return is a positive piece of news heading into the final Major of the season, is there any chance of the Green Wall standing tall at the end of the weekend?
If there’s any team to run the lower bracket gauntlet it’s OpTic Texas. Amid retirement calls, Seth 'Scump' Abner continues to defy expectations with a secondary layer of offensive play that often swings the course of a match into the team’s favour. With over a decade of experience at the top level, Scump is the prime candidate to steer the OpTic ship through the stormy seas and into another grand final.