Although CDL Atlanta did not go the way of the Chicago Huntsmen, the team is off to a great start. The last event might not have ended how the Huntsmen fans would have liked, but it is imperative to take a deep breath and look at the bigger picture when evaluating Chicago’s CDL performance thus far.
Where They Stand Today
The Chicago Huntsmen are currently sitting in first place in the CDL. While it is worth noting the Huntsmen have played in the most events possible this far in the season, they still dominated the competition in two of the first three events. After CDL Dallas this upcoming weekend, some of the smoke will settle and fans can better gauge where Chicago stacks up on a level playing field. Even with a weaker showing at CDL Atlanta, the Chicago Huntsmen are still winning over 72% of their maps played and have only dropped one series this season. While this is less than FaZe’s ~82% map winning percentage, winning three of four maps in a series will always get the job done.
Chicago has proved they are one of the stronger respawn teams in the CDL. Often winning the opening Hardpoint, the Huntsmen tend to find themselves up 1-0 early in series. The ability to start hot for Chicago is something that intensifies the pressure on their opponents while paving an easier path to victory in most series. This has often been driven by the balance the Huntsmen have found among the superstars on the roster. Chicago has not simply been carried to the top by one all-star, but rather the combined success of the entire roster. When Envoy drops 40 kills in a Hardpoint, it accompanied by Arcitys putting up 10 kills in the Search and Destroy. Conversely, when one player has a bad map, the team rallies around them and ensures the next map is played more disciplined.
Compelling Team Chemistry
Anyone who followed Hecz’s former organization OpTiC Gaming understood he helped bring them to the forefront of esports through transparency on social media. Hecz helped fans get to know players outside of the game to help fans feel more connected to the team they support. Similarly, Hector has been posting Vlogs, stories and other social media posts when the team is together. Although it is fair to acknowledge Hecz would only post positive content, the trust between teammates has been talked about in interviews and is visible from the players on social media. Scump and other Huntsmen can be seen on Twitter pumping each other up and showering one another with high praise.
When asked what was going wrong at CDL Atlanta, Arcitys mentioned that the team was not trusting one another enough. Although this sounds negative, this insinuates a high level of trust that the Huntsmen have with one another which they are capable of obtaining again. Taking a couple steps back, it is apparent that the members of the Chicago Huntsmen get along with one another in and out of the game and this will be a driving factor going forward into the Spring events.
Ice in Their Veins
Simply put, the Chicago Huntsmen are a clutch team. When matches come down to the wire, they have the MJ/Kobe gene. Time and time again with their backs against the wall, the Huntsmen find a way to win maps. A 193-186 Domination win against OGLA, 6-5 SnD win against the Ultra, or a 250-241 Hardpoint win against Florida, the list goes on and on. Albeit hero plays or coordinated team pushes there have been many standout moments that have gone the way of the Huntsmen early. While getting a lucky spawn or great timing is not something you can teach/practice, more often than not good fortune has gone the way of the Huntsmen early.
There is something to be said about handling these types of situations and the discipline Chicago appears to approach them with. At a certain point, luck is only part of it and certain late game plays come down to players clutching up.
Many sports and esports fans suffer from recency bias when evaluating their teams’ performance. While it is still early in the season, the Huntsmen have had a positive start. Fueled by a first place standing with tailwinds from strong team chemistry and composure when under pressure. Huntsmen fans need not worry when it comes to their team as Chicago has cemented themselves as a top three team early on in the game.
Featured image courtesy of the Dexerto