The top seeds at the CDL Playoffs are dangerous, but one favourite team should be on upset alert.

18:00, 04 Aug 2020

The calendar has turned to August, and for Call of Duty esports fans, that can only mean one thing: the postseason is here. While the format will work a little differently this year, the same intensity and drama should be present at both the Call of Duty League Playoffs and Champs. Twelve teams are battling it out for the inaugural CDL Championship and the lion’s share of the $4.6 million prize pool. Of course, some teams have a better shot than others. Although, every year, there’s a favourite squad who gets upset early on in the bracket. In the past, that team has been OpTic Gaming, but 2020 might have another roster that’s in jeopardy of heading home early: the Chicago Huntsmen. 

Is Chicago likely to be upset?

When we say OpTic Gaming, it’s not the current CDL roster that resides in ninth place of the standings. When we say OpTic, we mean the OG of old that dominated Call of Duty esports for nearly a decade. The team that Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez built. The same squad that has its fans now rooting for the Huntsmen, and for good reason. 

There are numerous ties to OpTic within the Chicago Huntsmen organization. Whether it’s H3CZ leading the helm or Seth “Scump” Abner and Matt “FormaL” Piper making plays, OpTic has roots in the Huntsmen. However, this isn’t the reason we picked them as the likeliest team to be upset in the CDL Playoffs. History does have a way of repeating itself, though. 

Instead, we chose the Huntsmen because of their inconsistent play all season long. The team started out hot at the beginning of the year, winning the first real Home Series event. However, shortly after, the roster began to experience some turbulence. They started losing to squads who were considered far worse than them. Even some of their wins against these types of squads, like Toronto or Paris, were nailbiters throughout the series. 

This eventually culminated in Chicago being eliminated early from a few different Home Series events. While they did make it to their fair share of grand finals, winning two of them, Chicago has the most experience losing to less-talented teams. If we take a look at the other three favourites, this becomes clearer. 

Both Atlanta and Dallas have admittedly lost some matches they should have won. However, their consistency late in the season has been far better than Chicago’s. Even the Florida Mutineers, who have three Home Series wins, have stayed a steady course in the latter half of the season. Although, Florida has had a few rough series since their last Home Series win.

CDL Playoffs

Taking a look at the CDL Playoffs bracket, we can predict who is likeliest to upset the Huntsmen, if it came to that. Chicago’s first game comes against either the Minnesota Rokkr or New York Subliners. Judging by recent events, it seems likely that the Subliners take that round. If that happens, then we have a rematch of the CDL New York grand finals, in which the Subliners defeated the Huntsmen handily. Of course, things have changed since then, but that’s certainly a series to keep an eye on heading into the second day of the Playoffs. 

After that, Chicago either moves to face FaZe, which wouldn’t be considered an upset either way or drop to the loser’s bracket. This is where things could get interesting, as a team like OpTic Gaming L.A. could be riding a wave of momentum in this bracket and then match up with the Huntsmen at the peak of this wave. OpTic did just defeat Chicago at CDL Toronto, so it’s possible the same result could occur. 

In the end, however, the Huntsmen are a fantastic team and shouldn’t be considered less of a favourite than the other top seeds. Although, if the past few events say anything, it’s that Chicago should be on upset-alert more so than Atlanta, Dallas, or Florida. 


Images via CDL

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