As we edge ever-closer to the launch of the Second Stage of the Call of Duty League 2021 season, more changes have been pulled into the fray. In the last week, we’ve seen numerous amendments to the increasingly restrictive list of Gentleman’s Agreements, players have been benched or switched out, and now, the map pool has received a huge update.
It was a twist that many people saw coming, with the CDL 2021 competitors voting to switch out Crossroads for the new and dynamic Apocalypse, and drop Garrison SnD in favour of Express SnD. Both of these maps have been part of Cold War’s rotation for just a few weeks, but Express is a legendary map that has seen a valiant and popular resurgence from its origins in Black Ops II.
Apocalypse, on the other hand, is a brand-new map that offers a fresh perspective to the CDL 2021 rotation – and likely the Call of Duty League Play rotation, too. Crossroads (Hardpoint exclusive) was the bane of many players’ experiences, boasting awkward hills and unpredictable respawns, but Apocalypse is much better and offers way more stability.
As I’ve already mentioned, many people predicted this map rotation update, owing mainly to the fact that the CDL 2021 competitors have been scrimming these maps and modes for around a week now. One of the first major teams to broadcast the potential for this map was OpTic, namely Scump, and the overall opinion from the team was that Apocalypse beats Crossroads in almost every respect.
However, there has been much less discussion around the replacement of Garrison Search and Destroy. This diverse map has been switched out with Express, which will now serve as an SnD-exclusive map for the CDL 2021 pool. While Garrison isn’t the worst map in the world, the fact that it accommodated Search and Destroy, Hardpoint, and Control meant that it was becoming a very overplayed environment.
Thankfully, Express has existed since 2012, and long-time fans of the franchise will already recognise the spots, sightlines, and angles with ease. It’s an extremely rapid map, with close-quarters rushing up to meet players within a few seconds of kick-off, but there are plenty of long spots for ARs to dominate.
Reportedly, the professional competitors of the Call of Duty League almost dismissed Express as a viable contender for an SnD replacement, owing to the large amount of mantling that takes place on the map. There are many vertical climbs and obstacles to vault on this map, particularly along the side of the tracks, and Cold War is infamous for its loud and vocal mantling audio – which cannot be removed or nullified by a perk like Ninja.
Regardless of that fact, Express SnD has officially made it into the rotation, and we’ll likely see it played as early as this Thursday, the 18th, when the Call of Duty League enters the Second Stage of the competition.