After dominating challengers once again, should WestR be in the league?

19:00, 21 Jan 2021

Since forming at the beginning of the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War season, there has been one clear #1 team in the North American amateur scene - WestR. Comprised of young players that have yet to ever fully establish themselves in the pro scene, Thomas “GRVTY” Malin, Paul “PaulEhx” Avila, Carlos “Venom” Hernandez, and Alex “Zaptius” Bonilla have proven themselves to be a cut above their competition this season.

However, given the newly franchised league, it is unlikely that a complete amateur team will make it into the league due to the apparent barriers that surround the competitive scene with players being able to convince teams of staying with experienced players instead of risking it with rookies. One of the biggest knocks on the league changing to a franchised format was the lack of chances for new amateur players to compete in open qualifier events to be able to eventually challenge the big names in bracket play and possibly cause an upset.

Although, now with the CDL teams being solidified and the same teams playing each other every week, amateur teams no longer have the ability to prove they are better than underperforming pro teams. Whilst this is good for the league as it can give the illusion that there are only the best players in the league, for hardcore fans that watch the challengers scene and keep up to date with amateurs, it is very much believed that WestR along with a couple of other teams could definitely contend with and possibly beat some CDL teams.


Why won’t they get a chance as a team?

One big reason why teams refuse to pick up complete teams from amateur is the added costs to picking up an extra four players on a full-time salary after all starting rosters have already been announced. After losing out on revenue last season due to not many teams being able to sell tickets and merchandising at events, it seemed as though a lot of franchises took a budget approach this season with the hopes of saving money until they can get fans back into the arenas, which could still be years away, the future is still very uncertain. Therefore, for teams that are already locked into the salaries of at least four players with an additional substitute player needed, adding another minimum $200,000 salary for a full extra roster that is unproven on the biggest stage apart from some scrims and other online tournaments against pro teams.

Another contributing factor that may stop them from being picked up fully as a team of four is their marketability and ability to garner fan support, as unknown players to the wider audience that maybe don’t pay as much attention to the competitive scene. It is no secret that teams such as Atlanta FaZe and OpTic Chicago are able to garner more lucrative sponsorships and sell more merchandise to fans given the huge popularity of the brands and immense popularity of players such as Matthew “Formal” Piper and Seth “Scump” Abner. So for a team to not only have to spend so much on salaries but then also not be able to recoup it through merchandise, if the team doesn’t perform as expected, it is definitely a very risky move.


How would they perform in the league?

Whilst the league hasn’t officially started yet, it has definitely become clear from the scrims that have taken place so far alongside the challengers events, some pro teams will without a doubt be struggling at the start of the season and will have to change something to catch up with the rest of the pack. In scrims recently the NYSL Academy roster beat the official NYSL and given the recent news that Thomas “ZooMaa” Paparatto was taking an indefinite leave of absence from competitive Call Of Duty due to health issues, the Subliners will now need to find another player to fill the gap left by the veteran SMG player. Given the Fact that WestR are ahead of NYSL academy and the academy roster is easily beating the first team, it would come as no shock to fans for people to assume WestR would currently beat NYSL. 

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Another team that is currently underperforming massively is the Los Angeles Guerrillas. Whilst on paper they are a vastly experienced team with multiple former world champions on the roster, it would appear that they are dealing with numerous issues on the server, which many in the community believe to be a lack of overall skill and ability to slay against the upper echelon of teams in the league. However, given the explosive nature of WestR’s players and evident ability against former pros in the challenger series, it would appear that in a head to head matchup, WestR would currently also go into the match as favourites.


Whether or not WestR keep up their immense from throughout the year and eventually get picked up is yet to be known, however, teams taking risks on amateur players is definitely a topic of discussion that will keep coming up and until a team is given a chance fans will never know what the teams are capable of.



Images via Activision

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