Without an official tournament being played yet, how are the CDL team currently stacking up?
As the CDL 2021 season approaches, we take a look at the teams in our "too early to tell" tier list. Will the powerhouses perform again, or will newly shaken-up rosters take their place?
Coming into the year as reigning world champions and the undisputed best team in the game, the Empire were forced into making the tough decision to drop veteran AR player James “Clayster” Eubanks with the switch to 4v4. However, in the early months of the game so far it appears that the team still hasn’t lost a step against their competition. Consistently winning scrims against a majority of the other top teams and with the pre-existing chemistry of the team already having played a full season together, it is hard to argue that once again Dallas Empire will be the team to beat during the Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War season.
Sticking with the trio of veteran SMG Seth “Scump” Abner, Dylan “Envoy” Hannon, and Matthew “Formal” Piper, OpTic decided to bring back former hero Brandon “Dashy” Otell to the brand heading into the new season. So far, the team seems to be performing well, and with the roster all moving to the centralised location of Texas to be able to get LAN practice together and better connection given the likelihood that the season will at least be partially online, OpTic seem to be putting themselves in the best position to succeed this season.
Keeping the superstar SMG duo of Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris and Chris “Simp” Lehr, FaZe will always be in contention for every tournament they play in due to the pressure that the duo put on the map. Alongside Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson who will now get to play his preferred role of the main AR, the sky seems to be the limit for the roster and the teams early performances seem to reflect that, winning an early online tournament already.
Whilst last season was without a doubt a disappointment for the trio of Austin “Slasher” Liddicoat, Kenny “Kenny” Williams, and Thomas “TJHaly” Haly under the LA OpTic banner, failing to get close to winning a home series event, it seems in the early months of the new game it seems that the obvious talent on the team is finally shining through with the team taking multiple maps off other A tier teams so far in scrims.
After winning three home series events last season, Florida came into this season with the confidence that they would be able to replicate the performances and hopefully contend for championships. With the acquisition of Josiah “Slacked” Berry in the off-season due to the tragic loss of Maurice “Fero” Henriquez, it appears that the Mutineers will once again be a dark horse contender for titles with rookie sensation Joseph “Owakening” Conley still leading the team going into his second season in the CDL.
London Royal Ravens
Many people questioned the roster decisions of the Royal Ravens in the off-season, dropping twins Matthew “Skrapz” Marshall and Bradley “wuskin” Marshall after finishing fourth at the previous world championships. However, early on it seems that they may have made a well-informed decision, with the team seeming to be able to compete well against some top teams, in particular, taking many maps from OpTic Chicago in scrims.
New York Subliners
Since picking up veteran AR player and three-time world champion Clayster from Dallas Empire, instantly people would expect the team to be able to compete for titles. However, unfortunately, due to visa issues caused by Covid, rookie SMG talent Paco “HyDra” Rusiewiez has not been able to travel to the US, meaning the roster has been unable to play together on a stable connection, and the full potential of the team is unknown so far.
Another middle of the pack team heading into the season is the Minnesota ROKKR. Whilst picking up Preston “Priestahh” Greiner and Michael "MajorManiak" Szymaniak from title-winning Atlanta FaZe al raised many people’s eyebrows although early on they seem to just be a team that maybe can compete for the semi-finals of tournaments although with the amount of firepower they have, maybe the ROKKR could be a dark horse to compete for titles.
After getting rid of the complete roster apart from star AR player Samuel “Octane” Larew, hopes were high that the Surge may finally field a roster that would be competitive against the top teams in the game. Since the announcement of the roster including Peirce “Gunless” Hillman, often considered one of the best players in the game, the hopes of fans seemed to be matched. However, if early results are anything to go by, it appears that once again Surge fans will be left disappointed with the team seemingly not able to click in the early stages of the game.
Los Angeles Guerrillas
Going into the season, the biggest problem in the team looked to be a lack of firepower, with a team comprised of players that many in the community would call either past their prime or simply just support players, with young SMG player Reece “Vivid” Drost being the exception. These fears seem to be proven correct early in the game, with the Guerrillas unable to compete against the best teams consistently.
Staying with a majority EU roster for the upcoming season, including breakout star Cameron “Cammy” McKilligan from last season, fans had high expectations that the team could take another leap from being a one time home series-winning team last season to being a consistent title-contending team. So far though, the team has been very underwhelming, to say the least, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the team made a roster change early on in the season.
To round off the list is the newly announced roster of the Paris Legion. Whilst on paper this team may actually prove to be a step above the other teams in the D Tier given the high potential of rookie talent Luis “Fire” Rivera and superstar talent of Skrapz, given the fact that they’re a new team and haven’t been able to show their ability so far.
Images via Activision