The Chicago Home series for the Call of Duty League saw some of the best teams duke it out for supremacy. The top three rated teams were all at the same tournament and a victor was crowned. The Dallas Empire took their second tournament win in the CDL as they defeated the Chicago Huntsmen in the semi-finals and the Atlanta FaZe in the finals. The Huntsmen had a shaky start to the tournament but regained their composure as they made it to the semi-finals. Ultimately though the score was settled by the Dallas Empire as they defeated them 3-0.
An Empire Rises
The Dallas Empire can now arguably be considered the best team in the Call of Duty League. In the preseason power rankings many were considering the Empire to be the best but they had quite a rocky start in the first weeks of the season. After winning the Los Angeles home series the team regained their footing and began to look like a truly formidable squad. The league then went to an online-only format where the stage was set for them to become a truly dominant force.
Now that the CDL is on an online-only format the issue of latency becomes a massive factor in the outcome of these games. Server location, player location, internet quality all add milliseconds to response time. In an ideal LAN setting this would not be an issue but currently that isn’t possible. When asked about how he feels about the online-only format Seth “Scump” Abner of the Chicago Huntsmen went on to say “I shouldn’t have talked all that shit to Crimsix.” knowing that his team would not be in the most ideal setting to compete. The Chicago Huntsmen thrived on LAN but don’t seem to be the dominant force they were in this new setting.
The New York Dubliners
One of the most remarkable developments from the Chicago home series was the emergence of the Subliners. The New York Subliners were a bottom ranked team that just could not seem to assert themselves in the league. The team recently added Makenzie “Mack” Kelley to their roster and he seemed to be the X factor in getting this team to finally gel. The Subliners were absolute units and defeated the Chicago Huntsmen on the first day of the tournament. This was a massive undertaking and no small feat. The team also played one of the most dominant games of Hardpoint on St. Petrograd against the Atlanta FaZe, another top tier team.
The Subliners were able to shake titans in this home series and proved that they were not to be counted out of the Call of Duty League. The story of Mack is also an endorsement for Call of Duty Challengers the Tier 2 scene of the CDL. Mack was recruited directly from Challengers and instantly placed in a starting position.
Simp vs. Simp
Another notable moment in the Chicago Home series was Chris “Simp” Lehr of the Atlanta Faze setting a kill record on Azhir Cave with 49 kills. What is notable about this though is that the next day he broke his own record by gaining 50 kills. Simp has proven himself to be one of the best Modern Warfare players ever.
The Missing Man
The Chicago home series was on course to be one of the biggest CDL events of the season. General admission tickets were sold out and VIP tickets nearly sold out. This was all before the COVID-19 pandemic grinded all public events to a halt. Though the games are still played online-only there is a massive hole where the audience should be. The sixth man plays such an important role in these types of events. The roar of the crowd in hype moments adds so much excitement and depth to the tournaments and that just isn’t being felt anymore. Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez commented on this during the series.
IMAGINE this Scenario at Wintrust Arena, SOLD OUT.
— Hector Rodriguez (@H3CZ) April 26, 2020
This would have had the whole arena erupting. It was one of those electric moments that make competitive Call of Duty the force that it is. The lack of audience coupled with audio issues are starting to have an effect on the CDL viewing experience.
Player reactions during wins and losses are watered down compared to the live experience. When the Huntsmen defeated the Empire for the first time it was a sight to behold. Matthew “FormaL” Piper and Scump exploded out of their seats to let their dominance be known. It has become one of the most iconic moments in the Call of Duty League so far. Ian “Crimsix” Porter of the Empire finally got his revenge and had a very level headed response. He talked no trash and let his performance do the talking. He was actually quite funny in his interview with Rich Campbell. This moment felt so hollow though with the lack of an audience. Crimsix has developed himself as a sort of villain in the Call of Duty League. With this victory over Chicago on their own turf one could only imagine the response from the crowd.
Though the current setting of the Call of Duty League is not ideal it is still better than nothing. While traditional sports and live entertainment have stopped entirely the esports world is still trucking along. It is showing the vast amount of potential it has. Though the Chicago home series will not go down in history it was still a great tournament with some epic moments. The Call of Duty League is still persevering in the face of an epidemic and is showing its staying power among entertainment and esports.