2021 Call of Duty League Preview

The 2021 Call of Duty League season is here. That means it’s time to look at the teams and players expected to make this season incredible. In this Call of Duty League preview, we’ll run through the league’s format, the participating teams, and more.

2021 Call of Duty League: The Event

The regular Call of Duty season will include five stages, and each stage will end in a “Major.” According to the official Call of Duty League website, all the tournament’s matches will be double-elimination. Three weeks of group-play matches will determine the seeding for the tournament. And each team will compete in five of those group play matches.

Just like last year, each match win throughout the season will get teams a certain amount of “CDL points,” with more points distributed based on Majors performances. These points determine where a team stands on the season rankings. And the Top 8 teams will qualify for the 2021 CDL Playoffs.

The first week of Stage 1 starts on Thursday, February 11, with the first match scheduled at 12 noon PST. The Stage 1 Major will take place sometime in March (organizers have yet to announce the match schedules). And of course, the CDL YouTube channel will stream all the matches.

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Call of Duty League: The Teams

Participating teams in the 2021 Call of Duty League season include:

  • Atlanta FaZe
  • Dallas Empire
  • Florida Mutineers
  • London Royal Ravens
  • Los Angeles Guerrillas
  • Los Angeles Thieves
  • Minnesota Rokkr
  • New York Subliners
  • OpTic Chicago
  • Paris Legion
  • Seattle Surge
  • Toronto Ultra

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2021 Call of Duty Teams to Watch

So, which teams are expected to do best in the 2021 COD season? That’s always a tricky question, because it’s very much opinion-based. That said, let’s look at some key teams that might make themselves known this season.

The Seattle Surge has made some big changes, mainly rebuilding its roster around Sam “Octane” Larew. Daniel “Loony” Loza is another new face on the roster. Loony last played for the Toronto Ultra, who only placed seventh in the Call of Duty League 2020 Regular Season. Maybe he’ll have better luck under the Seattle banner.

Here’s the new, and hopefully improved, Surge roster:

  • Sam “Octane” Larew
  • Peirce “Gunless” Hillman
  • Preston “Prestinni” Sanderson
  • Daniel “Loony” Loza
  • Joey “Nubzy” DiGiacomo (Coach)

On the topic of rosters, the LA Guerillas signed Adam “Assault” Garcia, Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov, and Justin “SiLLY” Fargo-Palmer, three of the four champions of the 2018 CWL Championship. Despite holding that title, the trio hasn’t seen much success since holding the trophy, but crazier things have happened.

Other eyes might be on the Dallas Empire, who are the reigning champions after winning the Call of Duty League 2020 Playoffs against Atlanta FaZe. The Empire could very well continue its reign, especially considering its 3-0 win against the New York Subliners at the CDL 2021 Kickoff Classic.

Speaking of the Subliners, their star player Thomas “ZooMaa” Paparatto retired due to an injury last year. To make up for it, the team brought Conor “Diamondcon” Johst up from the academy team and signed Obey “Asim” Asim. Big moves, but were they the right ones?

Lastly, the OpTic brand is back as OpTic Chicago. One of Call of Duty esports’ staple players, the legendary Seth “Scump” Abner, is back, and the team is fresh off a victory at the 2021 Kickoff Classic. Last season, when the team was known as the Chicago Huntsmen, they were tough to beat, and secured a cozy third place at the 2020 Playoffs. 

CoD Players to Watch

As for key Call of Duty League players, let’s see who some of the headlining stars might be:

  • Preston “Priestahh” Greiner was one of FaZe’s best players in the 2020 season, but due to the change from 5v5 to 4v4, FaZe dropped him from the roster in September. Now, he gets to prove his worth alongside the Minnesota RØKKR squad, who counted themselves among the winners at the 2021 Kickoff Classic.
  • With ZooMaa Paparatto’s retirement and academy player “Diamondcon” Johst joining the main roster, team veteran Makenzie “Mack” Kelley will have to step up to the plate for his team, big time. Back in 2020, Mack was a candidate for the season’s MVP, and now he’s back as SMG, which will hopefully help his performance with the cobbled-together roster.
  • Gunless Hillman didn’t see much action in 2020, and now he’s on last year’s worst team, the Seattle Surge. In 2019, Gunless saw a first place win at the 2019 CWL Fort Worth under Luminosity Gaming, so he isn’t inexperienced by any stretch of the imagination. But if the Surge wants to improve its roster, the team will have to hope that signing Gunless was the right move.
  • Donovan “Temp” Laroda once called himself the “top ‘gunnie’ in the CDL”, something he’ll have to prove now that he’s back with two of his former teammates as the Los Angeles Thieves. Despite his belief in his skill, Temp’s 2019 season with the New York Subliners wasn’t the best. Hopefully, that bad luck won’t follow him with his new roster.

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