Who Flew And Who Flopped At Stage 3 Of The 2021 Call Of Duty League
The third stage of the 2021 Call of Duty League (CDL) season has concluded after three Home Series events and the third Major tournament of the Black Ops Cold War season. The results led to some small movements in the league table while the battle for the top eight gets even closer.
While some teams consolidated their positions towards the top of the table, Stage 3 was a rollercoaster full of ups and downs for many of the teams attempting to break into or hold onto their CDL Championship qualification places. With such an array of fortunes for the 12 teams competing at the highest level of competition, some saw Stage 3 as a positive, while others saw the most recent stage as a negative, much to the disappointment of the players on the receiving end of sub-optimal performances.
Here are the teams that we think had a resoundingly positive third stage and the teams that may be considering some form of change as the return to offline competition moves ever closer.
The Winners Of Stage 3
After losing to the Toronto Ultra in the final of the Stage 2 Major, the FaZe bounced back convincingly over the course of Stage 3, completing their revenge tour with a convincing 5-2 victory over the New York Subliners to win their second Major tournament of the 2021 season. The deadly submachine slaying partnership of Chris “Simp” Lehr and Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris is once again proving problematic for many teams that come against Atlanta. With such an aggressive pairing constantly posting high numbers in the kill column, it’s almost impossible for a team to overcome the tiny terrors when they are firing on all cylinders.
It’s not just the tiny terrors that are the key to the success of this Atlanta roster. The addition of Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson as the main assault rifle player has been a stroke of genius, giving the team unrivalled levels of map control, enabling the rest of the team to go about their business. Widely considered one of the very best AR players during Black Ops 4, Arcitys is rekindling some of that form that will play an instrumental role in the continued success of the Atlanta FaZe.
Although the Stage 2 Major winners were unable to replicate their victory, Stage 3 was still a huge success for the all-European roster of the Toronto Ultra. A convincing 5-0 record during the Stage 3 Home Series events consolidated the Ultra’s position as one of the very best teams in the league, thanks to levels of teamwork and coordination that very few teams were able to contend with.
Toronto took part in three five-game series throughout the course of the Stage 3 Major, with each one decided by the narrowest of margins. If one of those series against Atlanta went in their favour, the team could well have won back-to-back Majors. Although the Ultra missed out on another Grand Final appearance by the skin of their teeth, a flawless record and a third-place finish is still an incredibly successful Stage for a team that came under intense fire for dropping Anthony “Methodz” Zinni for Jamie “Insight” Craven earlier in the year.
NEW YORK SUBLINERS
Having been hovering around the top of the table for the vast majority of the Black Ops Cold War season, the New York Subliners appear to have found the missing piece of their puzzle, by bringing Paco “HyDra” Rusiewiez into the starting lineup. The French phenom has provided a huge injection of aggression into the team, which has ultimately resulted in the team making it to their first Grand Final of the season.
Despite the Subliners losing in convincing fashion to the Atlanta FaZe in the Stage 3 Major final, the second-place finish is a strong foundation to build on as the season moves closer to the season-ending championship. Although reigning CDL champ James “Clayster” Eubanks is the oldest player in the league, there were many occasions where his sublime accuracy often bested the younger talents in the league, proving that age is simply just another number as the veteran attempts to win an unprecedented third world title in a row.
Although the addition of Jacob “Decemate” Cato did bring some slight improvements to the struggling Seattle Surge, Stage 3 was one to forget for a franchise that has failed to get anywhere near the top half of the league table in over a year of competition. A 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Guerrillas was the nail in the coffin for the Surge at the Stage 3 Major, and after another event where no CDL Points were earned, the Surge sits at the bottom of the league table with time running out if they’re to make a last-ditch run towards the top eight.
Soon after the conclusion of Stage 3, Decemate and the Surge parted ways, leaving Seattle looking for another player before Stage 4 begins. Will an up-and-coming prospect guide Seattle towards the top, or will Daniel “Loony” Loza make his return to the starting lineup?
Ever since the ROKKR were contending with the likes of the Dallas Empire and OpTic Chicago on a regular basis, the team has struggled to find any kind of form after what was an impressive start to the season. Stage 3 will be viewed as a huge disappointment for Minnesota, having featured towards the top half of the table in the opening two stages of the Black Ops Cold War season.
The highlight of the stage were victories against the Paris Legion and LA Guerrillas, but nothing to write home about after their run at the Major ended with a 3-0 sweep at the hands of the London Royal Ravens. With Lamar “Accuracy” Abedi demoted to the substitute bench and Michael “MajorManiak” Szymaniak back into the starting roster, will the change result in a change of fortune for a team that certainly has all the talent to be fighting against the better teams in the CDL? Perhaps the return to offline competition will help them stay above the bottom four teams? We will have to wait and see how they fare in Stage 4.
LOS ANGELES GUERRILLAS
The first two Stages of the season saw glimmers of brilliance from the Los Angeles Guerrillas, but since then, the team has slowly slipped down the league table. With just one victory scored during the Stage 3 Home Series events followed by a top-ten placement at the Major, something has to give if the Guerrillas are to make it into the top eight in time for Champs.
The team is full of experience, and with Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov playing some of the best Call of Duty in recent years, there is a real opportunity for the team to regain some of that early-season form that proved that the team had finally turned a corner after a disappointing 2020.
Looking ahead to the Stage 4 and the next Major, a solid performance during the Home Series events combined with a return to LAN could benefit the Guerrillas, but if a repeat of Stage 3 happens again, changes to the roster are almost a certainty.
Images via Call of Duty League | Activision