It was an entertaining start to the 2021 CDL season, but who came out on top of the opening night matches, and how did they get the better of their opponents?

19:30, 12 Feb 2021

The opening night of the 2021 Call of Duty League (CDL) is in the books, and we got our first look at some of the teams going for glory this season. The first matchup of the season was an interesting one with the LA Thieves taking on the Minnesota ROKKR.

It was an interesting duel between the first two teams with both sets of players having stronger and weaker games in the four-game series. The LA Thieves eventually got the upper hand on the new look ROKKR roster; taking a 3-1 victory to close out the opening match of the season; so let’s take a look at where both teams succeeded and where they need to improve.

LA Thieves

The Thieves took the first round with a Hardpoint win on Garrison, but it wasn’t plain sailing all the way. They quickly opened up a 70-point lead over the ROKKR with Thomas "TJHaLy" Haly and Austin "SlasheR" Liddicoat holding down the capture point to open up that large lead while Kenny "Kenny" Williams provided the backup to keep the ROKKR off the point.

Minnesota were able to claw back some of the points that they lost early in the game with the Thieves struggling to remove the ROKKR from the capture point once it was in their possession. The Thieves opened with a Hardpoint win, and they closed the series out with a Hardpoint win.

Turning on the style on Moscow and cruising to a 190-point victory over the ROKRR behind another excellent performance from TJHaly who finished the game with 25 kills and 16 deaths. 

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The Thieves are looking great on Hardpoint this season and picked up two comfortable wins over a well-composed ROKKR line-up. Their dominant performance on Moscow also hammered home that this Thieves side are no joke and will cause problems for the top tier teams shooting for the number one spot this season.

While LA fared well on Hardpoint, they did not look amazing in round two of the matchup when the game mode switched to search and destroy. The Thieves were unable to breakdown the ROKKR defence with Lamar “Accuracy” Abedi and Preston “Priestahh” Greiner holding LA away from any potential bomb plants. Despite being able to claw the round back from the brink LA eventually lost the game 6-4. From what we have seen so far from the Thieves, it’s their Search and Destroy game that could let them down.

Minnesota ROKKR

There wasn’t much to cheer about if you were a fan of the ROKKR last night as they were swept aside by the LA Thieves, but their line-up for this season still has potential if they can all gel together. The only real saving grace for Minnesota was their search and destroy game on Miami where they pulled out a comfortable lead over LA.

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Accuracy and Priestahh were the standout performers in that game; however, the ROKKR won’t get very far if they can’t put together some wins on other maps and game modes.

After the Thieves saw off Minnesota, it was time for the defending champions to take to the stage. Dallas Empire were matched up against the Seattle Surge and right from the get-go this was looking like it was heading in one direction only. The Empire comfortably swept the match 3-0 and didn’t really give Seattle a chance but let’s have a look at where they really turned on the charm.

Dallas Empire

A game of Hardpoint for round one of the matchup was a tasty prospect with Crossroads being an excellent map to lockdown and build up a solid lead. That’s exactly what the Empire managed to do after cruising to a round one victory over the Surge. Dallas eventually won by over 150 points behind a 35-kill game from Cuyler “Huke” Garland. The 21-year-old had a great first game which would set the tone for the rest of the matchup.

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After a game of Hardpoint the teams were thrust into a game of Search and Destroy on Miami and again the Empire looked extremely comfortable eventually winning the round 6-2 overall. 

The standout star in this game was definitely Anthony "Shotzzy" Cuevas-Castro. With Dallas up 3-1 and looking to take the fourth round the Surge had what looked like an easy kill on Shotzzy as he was defusing the bomb. Despite getting the first shot off Daniel "Loony" Loza could not get the final shot off on the reigning MVP and they somehow ended up 4-1 down. Shotzzy’s movement really came to the fore on this map with the tight corners and narrow stairs allowing him to seemingly glide round the interiors of the buildings.

Dallas rounded off the series with a comfortable control win on Garrison to ease past one of this season’s weaker teams. The true test for the Empire will come when they face off against one of their league rivals, and then the stakes are really turned up.

Seattle Surge

There really wasn’t much to enjoy about last night if you are Seattle Surge fan. The team came nowhere near Dallas throughout the matchup and really looked like they could be one of the weaker if not the weakest team in the competition this season. Improvement is needed across the board if they want to climb up the standings soon.

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Over the rest of the weekend, we have some more enticing games to look forward to before rounding off the opening weekend with a mouth-watering matchup between OpTic Chicago and Atlanta FaZe on Sunday night.
 

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