CDL 2021 Week #1 Recap

Posted on February 15, 2021 - Last Updated on February 17, 2021

This weekend saw the opening event for the Call of Duty League 2021 season, and what an opener it was. There were countless upsets, with some teams that had been otherwise written off claiming big wins, and favourites for the top spots being shamed by the tough competition. With the exception of just one or two teams, it seems like every competitor in the Call of Duty League has truly brought their polished skills to bear this year.

There were results that caught everyone off guard, but the majority of the weekend went exactly as we predicted, and the stage is now well and truly set for the remainder of the first stage, hosted by Atlanta FaZe.

We were also treated to more than a few technical issues, as the CDL back-end adjusted to operating on a completely digital landscape. It certainly isn’t the first time the League has been played totally online, but as ever, the internet proved to be a fickle beast where connection stability is concerned. However, it made for a very meme-able moment when veteran caster, Clint ‘Maven’ Evans was blamed for the downfall of the entire CDL 2021 season.

Fans were all too happy to welcome Maven back to the Call of Duty League, and his knowledge of the industry paid off with some remarkable commentary as the matches unravelled. He’d taken to Twitter to voice his own enjoyment at being back under the umbrella of the CDL some hours before he was live on screen.

In the biggest and most disruptive upset of the weekend, during the Battle of the Biggest Brands, Atlanta FaZe flexed their Call of Duty League prowess and dominated an eager and hungry OpTic Chicago. Ultimately, OpTic fell short of winning the series by just five points at the end of a hard-fought Hardpoint on Moscow, but FaZe were just too good and they overcame OpTic almost with ease. It secured them the number two spot in the rankings for the weekend, a fact that they couldn’t help but brag about:

As the weekend closed out, it was LA Thieves who sat proudly at the top of the table, having won both their matches and finishing the first week with a high-flying record of 6 – 1. They’d dominated their opening match with ease, fighting down a recently rebuilt Minnesota Rokkr and ending the face-off with a promising score of 3 – 1.

By the end of a three-map spree against the New York Subliners, Thieves sat proudly with a flawless victory, and Subliners were left nursing their wounds. Although they’d fought like beasts, they’d ultimately fallen to the might of the Los Angeles Thieves.

In response to the first win, SlasheR of the Los Angeles Thieves explained:

“It’s about starting this year off high, and so far, we have.”

However, you’re all eager to find out what happened across the entire opening weekend of the Call of Duty League 2021 season, so without further ado, here are all the results.


Match 1: Minnesota Rokkr vs. Los Angeles Thieves

Result: LA Thieves win 3 – 1

Our Prediction: LA Thieves win

What a first match to kick things off! Both teams had a lot to prove this season, particularly the likes of Thieves’ SlasheR, a decorated veteran who transitioned from OpTic Gaming LA for this season.

The first match was Hardpoint on Garrison, an uneventful but fairly exciting matchup that saw Thieves pick up an early victory. As the match-up pushed on, the teams found themselves playing Search and Destroy on Miami, with Rokkr snatching a win from Thieves through some seriously tactical play. The fans were especially elated following a stunning 1v3 play from Rokkr’s Priestahh.

In the third round, Rokkr fell prey to Thieves in a game of Control on Garrison, despite Rokkr pushing constantly for spawn traps. It all came down to the final match, a Hardpoint on Moscow, but Thieves were resilient, scoring long holds and huge kill feeds.

Match 2: Seattle Surge vs. Dallas Empire

Result: Dallas Empire win 3 – 0

Our Prediction: Dallas Empire win

This was a long-awaited match-up – the first for the reigning champions, Dallas Empire. With Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter at the helm, fans felt they could do no wrong, and that’s exactly how things panned out in this face-off.

Although there was a slow start in the first match-up, a Hardpoint on Crossroads, Empire was able to secure dominance as events unfolded. Huke was arguably the MVP of this particular match, slamming some huge kill counts for the Empire and grabbing the win. Next up was Search and Destroy on Miami, already a League favourite, and both teams were fairly balanced for a while.

Prestinni scored two incredible game-changing 1v2s, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Dallas – particularly Shotzzy, who landed the nastiest turn-on the League has seen so far. The final match was Control on Garrison, and, as we predicted, Dallas slammed another win in the bag.


Match 1: Paris Legion vs. OpTic Chicago

Result: OpTic Chicago win 3 – 0

Our Prediction: OpTic Chicago win

It was another whitewash for the Call of Duty League 2021 season, with OpTic Chicago flexing an intense dominance over Paris Legion. It was three games in and three games out, with the newly-formed OpTic Chicago proving why they’re the biggest name in Call of Duty’s competitive history.

We opened with Hardpoint on Raid, and within minutes, Paris Legion was floundering under the might of OpTic. It was an open-and-shut match which gave way to a Search and Destroy on Crossroads, wherein Legion started to show a little more skill. It was neck-and-neck at the midpoint, and the match finished 6-4, with Legion showing a little more tenacity.

The final match was the most exciting of the three, with Control being pushed to five rounds as both teams kept it mostly balanced in terms of gameplay. However, the resilience wasn’t enough for the Legion, and they fell to OpTic.

After the match, OpTic Scump spoke to the panel and expressed his adoration for Dashy, back with OpTic for the 2021 season:

“He’s super, super talented.”

Match 2: Los Angeles Guerrillas vs. Atlanta FaZe

Result: Atlanta FaZe win 3 – 0

Our Prediction: Atlanta FaZe win

It was yet another 3-0 victory for the opening weekend of the Call of Duty League 2021 season! The show kicked off with a Hardpoint on Crossroads and fans were treated to a remarkably balanced game. However, FaZe was flying ahead before long, with AR legend Arcitys taking the lead and dominating, ensuring the entire Guerrillas team ended up with a negative KD.

The second round was a little tougher for FaZe, who had some strong competition from the Guerrillas. It was mostly neck and neck, with big gunfights being won by both sides, but FaZe ultimately picked up the win after ten rounds of SnD. Finally, the two teams faced off in a Control on Garrison, with FaZe being a total force on both attack and defence.

FaZe picked up the 3-0 victory, and CEO of Atlanta Esports Ventures, Paul Hamilton, had nothing but good things to say about the League after the win.

“I feel like we gained a lot of momentum, seeing how viewership did at the end of the year.”


Match 1: Paris Legion vs. Los Angeles Guerrillas

Result: Los Angeles Guerrillas win 3 – 2

Our Prediction: Los Angeles Guerrillas win

This match was always set to be a special one, as it was the first match-up of the opening weekend to feature two teams that had already played a match! Not only that, but both teams had already lost a match and had so much to prove.

Also, it was the first five-map feature of the opening weekend, one of the most dramatic scenarios that can occur in the CDL. Firstly, the two teams landed on a Hardpoint on Crossroads, showing off some extremely balanced gameplay that ultimately led the Guerrillas – with Poppa Apathy – to pick up the win.

Then, we saw a Miami SnD, with Guerrillas flying off the hook and, once again, scoring a big win over Paris Legion. However, it all changed at that moment, and a Control on Checkmate gave way to a Paris Legion win, with Skrapz absolutely slaying. This victory persisted, and Legion won the next game too, a Hardpoint on Garrison.

It came down to match point on map five, a Search and Destroy on Raid, which ultimately went right down to the line. Finally, Guerrillas secured the win after a dramatic ten-round match-up.

Match 2: Toronto Ultra vs. Florida Mutineers

Result: Toronto Ultra win 3 – 1

Our Prediction: Florida Mutineers win

Nobody was prepared for one of the biggest upsets possible this early on in the season! Toronto Ultra showed impeccable tactics to overpower one of the most prolific contenders for the top spot, the Florida Mutineers. In the last season, the Mutineers finished in third place, but Ultra was a mid-table team.

The action kicked off with a Hardpoint on Garrison – one we’d seen a lot in previous match-ups – with Ultra immediately showing that they meant business with some high KDs. Both Cammy and Cleanx were cleaning up the map, leading Ultra to an early win. Following that, we jumped over to an SnD on Miami, and despite a big push back from the Mutineers, Ultra found a win again after ten rounds.

We approached the end of the face-off with a round of Control on Garrison, with Owakening of the Mutineers and Cammy of Ultra both winning huge gunfights. There were four offensive wins back to back, longing this match out, and Florida was able to scrape one win against Ultra.

And, in true online fashion, severe technical issues led to a collapse of the match on the fourth map. There was a ten-minute or so delay while the production team brought it back online, and we eventually went back into a Hardpoint on Crossroads. Ultra returned to dominating form and wiped the Mutineers off the map.

Match 3: New York Subliners vs. Los Angeles Thieves

Result: Los Angeles Thieves win 3 – 0

Our Prediction: LA Thieves win

This was the closest-fought match in the entire opening weekend, with every round going right down to the line. It was a dramatic battle, with the New York Subliners shocking every single fan of the League. They were almost written off at the start of the season, but they proved that they’re still a force to be reckoned with.

In the first match, a Hardpoint on Moscow, it came down to the wire, with the Thieves securing a narrow 250 – 241 win over the Subliners. As we moved on, we witnessed a neck and neck Search and Destroy on Miami, which went to eleven rounds. It was an intense fight, but Thieves pulled the win at the last second, making it 6-5.

Finally, a round of Control on Raid took place, and again, it was insanely close. By the close of the match, the scoreboard read 3-2 – it literally couldn’t get any closer if you tried. This suggests two things: Subliners are much better than people think, and the Thieves need to work much harder.


Match 1: Seattle Surge vs. London Royal Ravens

Result: Seattle Surge win 3 – 2

Our Prediction: Seattle Surge win

What a fantastic five-map face-off to start the final day of the opening weekend! Although both teams went into this with low expectations behind them, they both put up a hell of a fight, dragging this match-up as far as it could have possibly gone.

We opened up with a Hardpoint on Crossroads, and both teams were giving as good as they got. Seattle Surge was fighting like demons, with Gunless pulling off an insane triple-feed and pushing for a consistently high KD. Ultimately, Surge won by a considerable and very deserving Gulf. After that, we were treated to an SnD on Checkmate, with the newly-recruited Parasite showing some real skill for the Ravens.

Although the Ravens were down by a mile, they pulled it back with three back-to-back wins, but it wasn’t enough to trump Surge who eventually won 6-5. In the next map, Control on Garrison, we saw a strong defence from the Royal Ravens which, combined with solid comms, ensured an easy win. Ravens won again on the next map, a Hardpoint on Checkmate, to push it to the fifth round.

It all came down to a Search and Destroy on Raid, with both Parasite and Prestinni pulling some awesome tricks out from up their sleeves. However, the crashing waves of Surge proved too much for the Ravens, and they fell with the scoreboard reading 6-2.

Match 2: Minnesota Rokkr vs. Dallas Empire

Result: Minnesota Rokkr win 3 – 2

Our Prediction: Dallas Empire win

Another huge upset for the CDL, this time in the form of Minnesota Rokkr picking up a big win over Dallas Empire. They’d bounced back from a loss to the Los Angeles Thieves earlier in the weekend and positively stormed to victory.

It was another five-rounder, opening with a Hardpoint on Checkmate that suffered from technical issues – again. After a restart, gameplay was back underway and Dallas Empire cruised to smooth victory. The play switched to a Search and Destroy on Moscow, with Rokkr taking an incredibly aggressive approach. Attach, Accuracy, and Priestahh all performed impeccably, scoring a 6-3 win over the Empire.

On map three, viewers were treated to a Rokkr domination as the two teams explored a round of Control on Garrison. Empire couldn’t answer in kind and they fell to a 3-2 loss, pushing the game onto the fourth map. Here, we went back to Garrison, this time for a Hardpoint, with the Empire picking up a victory with the exact same points as the first round.

Finally, it came down to an SnD on Garrison, the map coming up for a third time, but Rokkr had no issues subduing the mighty Dallas Empire, scoring a 6-2 win.

Match 3: OpTic Chicago vs. Atlanta FaZe

Result: Atlanta FaZe win 3 – 2

Our Prediction: OpTic Chicago win

You wouldn’t believe it if you hadn’t seen it with your own eyes; OpTic Chicago fell short of victory by just five points in a single round of Hardpoint. It was by no means a closely fought battle, with FaZe absolutely dominating OpTic in some places, but the latter team dropped the ball in Moscow and faced the loss.

The showdown opened with a Hardpoint on Garrison, with OpTic scoring an arrow victory of just 250 – 225, following a close and balanced round of combat. Then, the battle of the brands transitioned into a Search and Destroy on Miami, and – to everyone’s absolute shock and dismay – FaZe whitewashed OpTic, scoring a flawless 6-0 victory!

In retaliation, OpTic landed a hard-fought win on Checkmate, scoring 3-2 in a round of Control that was pushed to the wire by the end of the match. However, FaZe weren’t done yet, and they picked up yet another win by the skin of their teeth, scoring 250 – 245 in a tense round of Hardpoint on Moscow. That’s right, OpTic came within five points of seizing victory.

And then, finally, in arguably the biggest upset of the weekend, FaZe pulled another huge SnD win on Moscow, securing a 6-1 win and devastating OpTic.

Grant Taylor-Hill Avatar
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Grant Taylor-Hill

Grant is a jack-of-all esports journalist, covering everything from Call of Duty to League of Legends, and from esports betting to streamer controversies. If he's not writing about games, he's probably playing them or creating content focused on them.

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