CDL quick-fix: Can anyone pick up Crimsix's torch?
A legacy doesn't just end with its owner, the great Tywin Lannister taught us as much, and although Ian "Crimsix" Porter has rolled out his thumbsticks for the last time, his achievements will live on for generations.
But, the retirement of a legend has only scorched a goat-shaped hole in the professional Call of Duty community that is begging for new fuel.
In a scene where the era-defining archetype has continued the trend of Mount Rushmore-level retirements, Crimsix's departure burns the most. So, will there ever be anyone capable of reigniting the flame and carry the torch forward for the new generation of Call of Duty esports?
Defining Crimsix's legacy
A master of winning. A Shakespearean-like poet of cross-table insults. A castellan leader. All whittled away into legend through a slow masquerade of singed bridges.
Crimsix's exit from the competitive scene has been one that stunned fans, but was expected by the pros, who finally betrayed his winner-takes-all attitude. No amount of PR-type answers will convince me that if a team spot was on the table for Modern Warfare 2 that he'd have ensued in one last dance, but his self-confessed burnt bridges pushed the player base to shun the three-time World Champ despite a double-peat of Infinity Ward playgrounds beckoning.
Nonetheless, here we are, left with a legacy.
Crimsix was never everyone's cup of tea. It's a fact, and at one stage of his career, every fan would have both despised him and loved him. It was this devil's advocate personality that made Crimsix indispensable to the league. Ever since he repeatedly took down the beloved OpTic Gaming Black Ops 2 (Gfinity London and MLG Fall Invitation, as examples) back in 2013, the notorious in-game slayer was splitting the scene, simply by winning championships.
The Green Wall would soon rally around him, falling for his smack-talk and natural on-camera essence that oozed an arrogance so slick that it worked. Especially when he could walk the walk. Since, Crim has partaken in a fair share of fallouts, especially with OpTic, but always won, no matter where he ended up.
It was cock-sure confidence backed with the biggest array of silverware esports has ever seen. The impact of Crimsix was felt on and off the game, and as he transitions to a content role within the community, the ghost of a pantomime villain and the best winner of all time now haunts the CDL.
Can Scrappy relight the flame?
There are great players in the CDL already, but few come with the same mouth as Thomas "Scrappy" Ernst. The pre-existing talent might well currently out-weigh the 20-year-old flex, but all superstars need to start somewhere, and it could be quite a befitting circle of life that on the year Crimsix bows out, a new legend is born.
From an early look, Ernst has that same egotism about himself to which we have become accustomed too in Crim. A mouthy maniac that appears to have the gunny to be funny. Having been promoted through the Toronto Ultra academy, Scrappy left a whole catalogue of aspiring pros in his quake, with many of them still hearing the yells of "sh*t on" in their nightmares.
The CDL is yearning for players like Scrappy to come to light. An injection of personality. As the first to be doing so in the new generation, the young man could quickly rally fans behind him as a person, rather than supporting teams, much like Crim did. With growing popularity, the only thing for Scrappy to do is prove that he has what it takes to be a winner. A serial winner at that.
Scrappy has all the makings of a great, and with his skill evident through the solo game in the 2021/22 season topping CDL K/D charts and already getting his hands on MW2 silverware in pre-season, the next legacy maker might just be warming up.
Does Simp have the terror to play in pantomimes?
On the flip side of Scrappy, we already have a proven winner amongst us, Chris "Simp" Lehr. Four consecutive World Championships Grand Finals appearances, winning two, followed by a further eight Majors, and an MVP trophy, already has Simp discussed among the true greats of Call of Duty. Although his four-year career is considerably shorter than those whose thrones he is usurping, Simp is the one player in the league already that possesses the minerals to have an equally, if not more fruitful, winning career than Crimsix.
However, can he have the same impact as Crim did on the scene overall and don that dropped torch? Some would argue that Simp is writing his own story which doesn't necessarily place him among the more popular players, rather he just shows up and does the business.
Now, Simp's content game is growing, having been backed by Atlanta FaZe, and he's begun to get his foot under the door of a pantomime villain role. The tiny terror has come under criticism for assuming its position, but who cares? Make headlines, we need them. Contrary to Nadeshot's claims that being abrasive damages legacies and reputations, Simp's first glimpse of controversy and personality has only made more fans get behind him, and the more the merrier for a scene that is losing Crim's devotees.
Whether Simp wants to follow suit or write a story of his own is a choice he now faces, having already become a CoD great. Either path is the right choice, and he will likely move on to be regarded as one of the top three players of all time, but one leads to the Crim arc and the other would sit more like Scump, and there needs to be a balance of both in the CDL.
Or is there already a hazard?
In the middle of the aforementioned pros is Zack "Drazah" Jordan, and while this story might appear to be more of a stretch, he has more depth accreditation than most to become the next Crimsix.
Drazah is already a world champion, already a winner for one of the biggest organisations in the scene, and is already "hated". Crimsix was hated too, but a legend evermore.
This name is a token of recent success though, and now the hardest part about 'legacy' comes into question: consistency. Can Drazah win more titles? He only has two to his name, albeit one was the biggest prize on offer, but it's still only two trophies, there's a long way to go before matching 38.
There's a goldilocks vibe coming from Drazah. With the personality and prowess both already on locks, he could be an outside shout to turn around fans in his favour and with more trophies in the cabinet, be considered as a future legend.
Sadly, or honourably, depending on your stance, we might never see the legacy of Crimsix be eclipsed. The new CDL format doesn't allow for monopolisation of the scene such as Crim did with the CoL/EG and OpTic dynasties, with fewer major tournaments per annum and a much more 'stacked' level of competition thanks to the squeezed 12-team league.
Should Call of Duty esports begin to be taken seriously again (a story for another day), the league is poised for storylines and titans to clash, rather than have a king reign for a decade.
Maybe, this does open avenues for an even better legacy, if a player can come along and conquer the CDL year after year. But more probably, now have to re-examine what makes a Call of Duty great and face the fact that we will never see a Crimsix again.
As we do enter a new pathway for CoD esports, the torch remains poised on the wall, hoping that a new charismatic champion can use it as a beacon to become a relentless winner and pioneer the industry.