Could a new rivalry spark between LA Thieves and Seattle Surge?

18:30, 18 Feb 2021

The second season of the Call of Duty League has officially got underway following Stage 1 Week 1 last weekend. For those that may not know, the league is split into five stages this year, with each stage including three home series events. For each stage, the twelve franchises get split into two groups of six. 

Each group has the possibility for some great storylines and elite battles throughout stage one. This week two of most anticipated rosters of this year will go head to head; LA Thieves and Seattle Surge. 

The Seattle Surge had a miserable inaugural season and made drastic changes to now feature a stacked roster. Meanwhile, LA Thieves were the new entrant to the Call of Duty League (CDL) this year, and are hoping to continue the 100 Thieves success story in the esport. 

Quick Week 1 Recap

To provide some context on where things stand right now, here’s a breakdown of the results from Stage 1 Week 1 in the Call of Duty League.

  • LA Thieves 3 - 1 Minnesota ROKKR
  • Dallas Empire 3 - 0 Seattle Surge
  • OpTic Chicago 3 - 0 Paris Legion
  • Atlanta FaZe 3 - 0 Los Angeles Guerrillas 
  • Los Angeles Guerrillas 3 - 2 Paris Legion
  • Florida Mutineers 1 - 3 Toronto Ultra
  • LA Thieves 3 - 0 New York Subliners
  • London Royal Ravens 2 - 3 Seattle Surge
  • Dallas Empire 2 - 3 Minnesota ROKKR
  • Atlanta FaZe 3 - 2 OpTic Chicago 

It was a great opening week of action for the league. It already seems that compared to last season, the overall average quality of teams is much higher. What this means is, we should get closer games and more upsets along the course of the season.

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As previously mentioned, the teams get split into two groups for each stage, and these groups are relevant when it comes to seeding for the Majors throughout the year. However, for standings, we’ll always look at the overall standings for the league, as at the end of the day, that’s what will be most important.

Considering we are only approaching the second week of action, the standings do not tell us much. However, it’s always worth paying attention to how the results and standings change each week. 

A Possible Rivalry Emerging

There are some obvious rivals carrying over from Season 1 of the league to Season 2, as the teams were battling it out against each other all year long. However, following roster changes, and the return of 100 Thieves to Call of Duty, with the LA Thieves franchise, it has created even more possibilities for storylines throughout the year. 

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The more obvious rivalries for 100 Thieves will be the likes of OpTic Chicago, as there are so many friendships and relationships between the two franchises that have built up over time. Additionally, Atlanta FaZe and Dallas Empire stem from two of the longest-standing organisations within Call of Duty esports, FaZe Clan and Team Envy. 

However, Seattle Surge should be identified as a possible rivalry, because of the calibre of their roster. They’ve gone from having a misfit team in Season 1, to having a possible powerhouse roster now in Season 2. With this overhauled roster, and the introduction of the LA Thieves franchise, both will be fighting to cement themselves as one of the best franchises this season, so we should see regular high-quality matches between the two.

LA Thieves Stellar Start

When we take a look at the LA Thieves, it’s a roster that overall struggled last year when playing under OpTic Gaming Los Angeles. However, the ownership switch and move favourable franchise has seemed to elevate the players to their best once again. 

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There was a shaky start at the Call of Duty League 2021 Kickoff event after a 3-0 loss to OpTic Chicago, but they rectified any concerns in the opening week. It was a fairly comfortable start to the season for the Los Angeles Thieves, as they had the opening game of the season against Minnesota ROKKR, winning 3-1. Later they breezed through New York Subliners in a 3-0 victory, letting fans know what should be expected of them this season. 

The LA Thieves roster is as follows:

  • Kenny ‘Kenny’ Williams (Player)
  • Austin ‘SlasheR’ Liddicoat (Player)
  • Thomas ‘TJHaLy’ Haly (Player)
  • Donovan ‘Temp’ Laroda (Player)
  • Zack ‘Drazah’ Jordan (Substitute)

The core of the roster is filled with well-known names that have all tasted success on the biggest stages. They will be hoping to guide the LA Thieves franchise to a Call of Duty Championship victory this year.

LA Thieves Roster

Seattle Surge Find Their Feet

After finishing in 11th place in the regular season last year, and finishing 11th-12th at the Call of Duty Championship last season, it was clear that drastic changes were needed for the Seattle franchise. Following the switch to four versus four, it meant at least one player needed to be dropped from the active roster. Seattle took this as an opportunity to overhaul the team, keeping just one player and bringing in world-class players to bolster the roster. 

The new and improved roster can be seen below:

  • Sam ‘Octane’ Larew
  • Peirce ‘Gunless’ Hillman
  • Daniel ‘Loony’ Loza
  • Preston ‘Prestinni’ Sanderson
Seattle Surge Roster

Octane was the only player to survive the roster mania over Seattle, and on paper, this team is extremely stacked and should continually be battling for the top spot in the league. It will take a couple of weeks of league action to truly see how much this team will be able to achieve, but after a stumbling start, it appears they may have found their feet. 

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A disappointing 3-2 defeat to Los Angeles Guerrillas at the kickoff event had doubts creeping in for some. Things weren’t helped when their opening game of the 2021 season was against the current world champions, Dallas Empire. Seattle were dismantled in a 3-0 defeat, but they managed to turn things around in a 3-2 victory over the London Royal Ravens.

What You Should Expect

Both these teams are continually working to get back to their best form, and both had slight blips to start the season. It seems that the LA Thieves found them footing and confidence a bit faster, so they will come into the series as favourites. 

When it comes to Seattle Surge, you can expect them to bounce backwards and forwards during the first couple of weeks, but after that, they should be clicking and winning regularly. The outcome of this series will unlikely set the tone for the rest of the season, but as Seattle should continually improve and start to challenge for the top, pulling over a victory against the LA Thieves would be the perfect way to start.

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Images via LA Thieves | Seattle Surge | Call of Duty League

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