For the first time since March 2020, the Call of Duty League will return to a local area network at the Esports Stadium in Arlington, Texas to compete for $500,000 at the CDL Stage Four Major.
Offline gaming has been notoriously more important to players and less biased, due to the lack of ping-based discrepancies online. While fans will not be allowed to attend the event and teams will not have the support of their fans behind them, this is the closest that the CDL has been to normalcy in over a year.
CDL Stage Four Major Set for LAN Action
The Stage Three champion Atlanta Faze is the favorite to take home their third title in four tries this season after going 5-0 in group play. Their main competition will be the Toronto Ultra, which has won 12 straight maps after falling to the Florida Mutineers in the first match of Stage Three.
Ultra has been a terrifying team ever since they replaced the veteran Methodz with 21-year-old Englishman Insight, and currently find themselves in fourth in the season standings and 25 points out of second place.
The New York Subliners sit in second in the season rankings but will likely be without submachine gun player Asim, who has failed to obtain a visa to travel from his native Canada to the United States for the event.
Asim was begging teams to sign him onto their bench for a low salary in the offseason and has become one of the shining stars in this game, posting a .99 kill/death ratio despite his incredibly aggressive and fast-paced playstyle.
The pressure that he applies allows his teammates to look over open lanes behind him and freely move throughout that map due to the information that he obtains during his rampages.
Asim’s replacement for the major is suspected to be Decemate, an amateur player who played in one stage with the Seattle Surge before removing himself from the lineup. Decemate maintained a .91 K/D during his time in the CDL, ranking him 51st of 61 players to appear on a lineup this season.
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New York on the Rise
New York has thrived because of their teamwork and understanding of the game and are set up to fail with a fill-in regardless of that person’s talent. Their first match will be in Winner’s Round One against the Minnesota Rokkr, who they have not played since defeating them 3-0 at the end of February.
OpTic Chicago made the news for two very different reasons last week, falling in Game Five fashion to last-place Seattle Surge and then annihilating the Los Angeles Thieves in three respawn modes right after they had brought Slasher and Huke back into their lineup.
OpTic Envoy said during an interview Sunday that his team thinks that they have the worst internet in the league and are excited to return to LAN to test their abilities in a fair environment.
With Scump and FormaL leading the charge, it is hard to say that OpTic does not perform on LAN: their two veterans won a world championship together in 2017 during Infinite Warfare, young star Envoy broke onto the scene after dominating pros on LAN during Black Ops 4, and Dashy won MVP in his first appearance in a championship bracket.
These players will be chomping at the bit to prove that their current fifth-place standing is not representative of their abilities, and they are the best team in the game offline.
It is unlikely that any of the bottom-four teams will manage to gather enough points at this tournament to leap into the top eight and put themselves in a position to qualify for the World Championships, although if there is one team that has a chance, it is the Seattle Surge.
Not only did they beat OpTic last week, but they have one of the most talented assault rifle players in the world in Octane and a former world champ, Prestinni. The Surge will start their march through the bracket against the London Royal Ravens and will take on the Paris Legion after that if they can win their first bout.
At the end of the day, this major is Atlanta Faze’s for the taking. All four of their players are top-10 in the league in overall K/D, they are 27-4 in matches this season, and they have no weaknesses in their game.
Any team that takes them down will have to match the slaying talent of their front-line subs (Simp and aBeZy) and the discipline of their ARs (Cellium and Arcitys) for an entire series and potentially still have to face them in the grand finals, should Faze complete a run through the loser’s bracket.
The first match at the Stage Four Major is slated to take place on Thursday, June 17 at 3:00 p.m. ET between the Surge and the Royal Ravens. Call of Duty fans around the world, get ready to celebrate— the players are back in a competitive environment, where they belong.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.