Clayster Browses The Market For A New CDL 2021 Team - But Who Should He Choose?
On the day after the Call of Duty League had concluded its inaugural season, the CDL announced on Twitter that the second season of the league would feature a return to the 4v4 in-game format that had been the standard for previous iterations of Call of Duty titles and Call of Duty esports. It was with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 that the game expanded to 5v5, but now with a return to form in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, many fans, players, and personalities are excited to go back to the original setup, a step in the right direction to returning Call of Duty to its glory days.
The only issue is, now you have twelve newly staked franchises, who all suddenly have five starters that need to be whittled down to four. At the very least, a scary number of players in the league just lost a good amount of job security. The off-season is always stressful for the inevitable roster restructuring, but this fundamental change to the way the game is played is fuel to the eventual bonfire. Now, the question is, who's the first to go? Who will be the first player to get sent packing? Well, no one in the world could have expected the team who had just won it all, to be the one's making the first move.
A mere two days after their historic win as the first champions of the Call of Duty League, the Dallas Empire bafflingly released James "Clayster" Eubanks from their roster. Clayster, a three-time world champion in Call of Duty, was on virtually no one's list to be released first as CoD transitioned into a new era, as he's been an important staple of the scene for a decade, an absolute shock to see him go first. For Clayster, he's a player that aims for stability and was an emotional core for Dallas, so to have his situation become so volatile so soon, after standing atop the world, winning the biggest tournament in his profession, it must hurt more than tweets can express. Dallas, they call that BEGE, Big Evil Geniuses Energy.
At the very least for Clayster, he instantly became one of the hottest free agents, practically in all of the esports industry. A three-time world champion, ten years of experience, over fifty tournament wins across multiple Call of Duty titles, master of the pop off, and a banging Twitter to boot, what’s not to love about Clayster? Who wouldn’t want this charming, go-hung veteran star on their squad? Barring the Atlanta Faze who need to take the time just to reevaluate themselves after that loss, and who are the least likely to pick up the man who just shattered their hopes and dreams, Clayster would be an enormous pick up for any of the other franchises.
In fact, he’s probably already played for that team’s parent organisation and won a tournament with them, just pick one off the vast list on his resume and take your pick. The Thanos of the Call of Duty, who else will be lucky enough to be placed into Clayster’s Infinity Gauntlet of championship teams. Well, when you look at the playing field, the options, there’s one team that could use Clay’s unique personality, leadership, brand, and star quality. There’s one city who’s calling for him, from one Empire to another, and that’s the New York Subliners.
Let's break down the criteria as to why the Subliners are the best home for Clayster. To do this, we need to understand the four fundamental things that would make the Subliners work.
1. Former teammates and familiarity
2. Desire and hunger to win / essential leadership
3. Being taken care of
4. Expanding the brand
Firstly, the most obvious thing about Clayster moving to NY is that he has two former teammates already waiting for him. Thomas "ZooMaa" Paparatto and Dillon "Attach" Price, were there with him with subsequent wins on FaZe Clan and Denial Esports, respectively. Based on their interactions on Twitter, they still share some appreciation for each other, and it seems like being on a team with these two could be a very viable option for him.
Secondly, Clay is going to need more than just some friendly faces. He'll need a roster that wants to win, that has the hunger and desire to take it all. He needs to be able to fit into that system and culture and make it better. The problem with New York this season is that, when the going got tough, they crumbled. Constantly losing in Map 5 situations, no one could bring New York back from the brink, to keep things stable. Clayster has that history of leading teams, of being that bedrock player.
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If there are any takeaways from New York's season, they need someone who's going to light a fire on the team's Raynor Gaming gamer chairs to keep the Subliners in a series. If Clayster himself says he took four different rookies to two different world championships in back to back years, you better believe him. Imagine what an asset he could be, to a rising star like Makenzie "Mack" Kelley.
Thirdly, if Clayster wants a home, a place for stability, the Subliners are the place for it. Their parent company, ANDBOX, takes care of their players. Their Overwatch sister team, the New York Excelsior has primarily been the same core since the inaugural season. They understand their players' importance and connection to the team. When their star player, Do-hyeon "Pine" Kim or "Big Boss Pine" retired from Overwatch, they kept him as a part of the family as a streamer and continued to keep him involved as a core member of the team. They understand the legacy, and they'll make sure Clay has the place he can achieve the goals he wants to, with the players he needs.
Lastly, it's all about improving the brand. This is more on the Subliners side of things, but primarily, they certainly aren't as popular as some of the other teams like the Chicago Huntsmen or Atlanta FaZe. They're not owned by an endemic Call of Duty brand, and they're lacking in the multi-championship winning. Yes, ZooMaa and Attach have history, they're big names, but those recent wins and titles just aren't there, certainly not comparable to someone like Chris "Simp" Lehr, Seth "Scump" Abner, or even Clayster himself. Think about what adding the back-to-back champion to the roster might be to their public image, what that subsequent fans they could get. Sure, other teams could use this boost too, but the Subliners are the team with that talent and with that potential to be at the top. They could be that stable, potential championship-winning team, that could host Clay for the rest of his career.
All images courtesy of ASTRO Gaming