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Which Team Will Win The 2021 CDL Championship?

Images via Juan Valero | Minnesota Røkkr | Call of Duty League

Written by 

Jonno Nicholson

Posted 

18th Aug 2021 19:03

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After eight months and five stages of regular-season competition, the Call of Duty League’s (CDL) second season is coming to an end. Eight of the 12 teams have secured their place in a double-elimination bracket and a chance to win the lion’s share of $2.5 million in prize money.

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Over the course of the Black Ops Cold War season, there have been a number of teams that have achieved victory at Majors as well as springing some shock surprises against the more established front-runners, ensuring that the 2021 Championship Weekend will be the most competitive tournament of the entire season.

With every single team competing at the Galen Center capable of defeating each other, there are several contenders that could be walking away with the trophy on Sunday evening, much to the excitement of fans in attendance and the viewers watching from home. With that said, we take a look at which teams we think will be in the running at the final Black Ops Cold War tournament of the season.

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Minnesota RØKKR

A few weeks ago, many wouldn’t have even considered Røkkr as a championship contender but after completing the greatest comeback ever seen in a competitive Call of Duty match, it’s hard not to mention the team in the conversation. Armed with a formidable SMG duo in the form of Dillon “Attach” Price and Eli “Standy” Bentz, Røkkr has already proven that it can contend with the teams that finished the regular season at the top of the table and if the team is firing on all cylinders, then a repeat performance of what occurred at the Stage 5 Major could well happen on the main stage once again.

The first hurdle standing in the way of Røkkr is reigning CDL champions the Dallas Empire, another team that has managed to find a recent upturn in form after a fourth-place finish at the last Major. It won’t be an easy task to topple the Empire, but Røkkr has managed to defeat them. The match has all the makings of a five-game thriller and thanks to their incredible composure, Røkkr is more than capable of advancing to the next round.

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Dallas Empire

It’s fair to say that the 2021 season hasn’t been the smoothest of sailing for the defending CDL champions. A number of roster changes combined with a surprisingly uncharacteristic downturn in form during the regular season led many to wonder whether the Dallas Empire had what it took to become back-to-back champions. Under the tutelage of coach Ray “Rambo” Lussier and three-time world champ Ian “Crimsix” Porter, the Empire has managed to reverse its fortunes heading into Black Ops Cold War’s grand finale.

After several questioned the addition of Reece “Vivid” Drost to the roster, the submachine gunner has managed to find his feet alongside some of the most mechanically gifted players Call of Duty esports has ever seen and with Minnesota Røkkr standing in the way of the next round, will the Empire crumble under the pressure of the Stage 5 Major winners or dispatch them in a timely fashion?

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Atlanta FaZe

As the top seed heading into Champs, it’s impossible to avoid mentioning the juggernaut of the Atlanta FaZe. The 2020 Champs runners-up have dominated the majority of Black Ops Cold War, picking up three Major victories during the regular season. With an AK-74u in hand, the tiny terrors of Chris “Simp” Lehr and Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris have cemented themselves as one of the greatest SMG partnerships in the history of the esport, with very few able to match their unrelenting levels of aggression and movement on the map.

Often overshadowed is McArthur “Cellium” Jovel, FaZe’s flex player. When he’s playing well, it’s very difficult to stop Atlanta from achieving anything less than a place on the top step of the podium.

In their opening match, Atlanta faces off against either the New York Subliners or OpTic Chicago, both extremely difficult matches with both teams looking to end the season on a high. If they can defeat their opponents, there’s the potential of a showdown against the Toronto Ultra in round three, which could be one of the most competitive matches of the entire season.

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Toronto Ultra

During the Black Ops Cold War season, the Toronto Ultra has been the only team successful in breaking away from the hectic mid-table scrap and into the upper echelon of teams alongside the likes of Atlanta. Fans were quick to dismiss the Ultra as a serious title contender after fielding an all-European roster, especially with the addition of Jamie “Insight” Craven. However, since his arrival, the flex player has had an incredible rookie season, showcasing that there’s plenty of talent within the European scene.

Despite taking the win at the Stage 2 Major and rarely placing outside of the top four, confidence within the Toronto camp may have taken a hit prior to Champs after falling victim to Minnesota Røkkr’s incredible reverse-sweep in the grand final of the Stage 5 Major. Awaiting Toronto in the second round will either be a Røkkr rematch or a battle against Dallas. Considering the Ultra’s incredible execution of in-game strategies, there is every chance that the team makes a deep run in the tournament, but it certainly won’t be easy.

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OpTic Chicago

Last and by no means least is OpTic Chicago, a team that has been on the verge of securing a victory. It’s been a hugely turbulent season for the Green Wall, with dips in form causing many fans that a roster change needs to take place. Despite this, the team has withstood the storm and has placed no lower than fourth since the end of Stage 3.

Seth “Scump” Abner has proved that he still has what it takes to compete with the new generation of players breaking into the CDL with sublime displays of submachine slaying often turning the tide of a match in the favour of his team. To kick off Champs, OpTic plays a New York Subliners team featuring a returning James “Clayster” Eubanks, a player that has competed at every single world championship since 2011. Can the Green Wall stand strong against one of the potential dark horses of the tournament? If they can, OpTic will move on to face Atlanta in another chapter of the storied rivalry between the biggest names in Call of Duty. The potential to go far is certainly there, but whether the Green Wall can defeat the top seed is another matter.

 

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Can The Los Angeles Guerrillas Contend For Titles In 2022?

Call of Duty League

Written by 

Jonno Nicholson

Posted 

10th Sep 2021 19:22

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