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Stage 1 of the 2021 Call of Duty League has come to an end, with Atlanta Faze showing the world that if you want to win something, you’re more than likely going to have to go through them. Our first three weeks provided us with plenty of entertainment, new names to watch, trash talk, and memes from players and orgs. We will look back on some of the best parts of the opening stage and also hand out a few awards too.
Team of the Stage
This one is quite obvious and goes to Atlanta Faze. They didn’t drop a single match during stage play and then absolutely dominated in the first major of the season. They were able to avenge their final loss from last year against Dallas Empire, not once, but twice in the same bracket run. It’s a long season and Atlanta won’t win every single match, but we could see something out of them in regards to dominance that we have never seen at the professional Call of Duty level.
For me, this pick has to go to Clayster of the New York Subliners. After getting dropped from Dallas due to rosters shrinking, fans knew the old man of the league would have a fire lit under him. The start was a little rocky, but with the rise of Asim, the legend Clayster was able to get it going during super week and keep that momentum going throughout the major. When Clayster is firing on all cylinders, the world of COD is better than ever. He was able to provide us with the gem right after defeating Optic 3-0 during major.
Teams that disappointed
Both LA Thieves and Chicago Optic finished top 2 in their pools before the major. It’s hard to really fathom that fans would see that as disappointing, but when people expect a lot those regular season stats aren’t enough if you crap the bed during a major. LA started off losing their first match 0-3 to the LA Guerillas. Not only did they just look bad, but losing to the other team in your region just is never a good look for the brand. After some smack talk between LA Thieves members and Dallas Empire GM Hastro coming out like this was not a great look at all. The Thieves will be fine in the long run, but the looks aren’t great at the moment. Optic Chicago was able to make it to Saturday, but after starting off their run with a 3-0 sweep over New York, but then losing 0-3 to end their run was not positive. A worry for this team was possible ego challenges and it looks like it’s something they might need to get under wraps before the next stage starts or you could see a lot of similar results throughout the season.
Stage 2 teams to keep watch on
My three teams I want to focus on and see how they improve are Minnesota ROKKR, Paris Legion, and Florida Mutineers. First, we have Minnesota who is a solid Search and Destroy team. Having that skill early on helps down the road. They showed multiple glimpses of good talent during Stage 1 and I think with a reset, they’ll be able to position themselves nicely depending on who they get in their Stage 2 pool.
I’ve dogged on Paris Legion a lot, but they’ve shown the talent is there for their squad. Aqua was a top 5 player in both respawn modes and they were one map away against Atlanta Faze from being 3-2 in the first stage. They need to clean up their SND obviously, but that takes practice and a lot of teams struggle with it early.
Finally, there’s the Florida Mutineers, who made an impressive run in the opening major. They struggled a lot with the big teams, but after making a run through the losers’ bracket, they showed a lot of promise. oWakening is a force to be reckoned with now and if he can only keep getting better, I could see the Mutineers playing themselves into the winners’ side of the next major bracket.
Stage 1 was a great showing from the CDL and should have fans excited. With the hope in-person events are coming soon, fans are only going to get a better experience as the year moves forward. Young stars are making a name for themselves, the old guys are showing they still have it, and most importantly, the shit talk has returned to the league. Look for our next power rankings once the league pools for Stage 2 are announced here soon.
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