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The Huntsmen Fall Short in Biggest Test of the Season

The smoke has cleared and CDL Minneapolis is over. The Huntsmen, Empire and FaZe were all home series champions in their last outing. All top five teams in the standings competed at this tournament and it was a chance to solidify their status as a top team. Fans were slated to see the highly anticipated FaZe versus Huntsmen matchup but were sorely disappointed. Chicago faced their biggest challenge of the season and fell short after playing a very shaky event. The Huntsmen lost in the knockout round to the Cinderella story team Los Angeles Guerrillas.

Opening Round: Florida Mutineers

Courtesy of the Florida Mutineers

The Huntsmen opened up CDL Minnesota against their kryptonite – the Mutineers. The Huntsmen just cannot seem to get past Florida’s unique playstyle. The speed, sheer slaying and different strategies continue to trip up the Huntsmen. The usual culprits, Search and Destroy and Domination, continued to plague the Huntsmen as they dropped this series 2-3.

Gun Runner Hardpoint (250-239)

Chicago played an incredibly sloppy first map. The Florida Mutineers out-rotated Chicago to nearly all of the hills. Despite getting out-rotated, Chicago’s sheer gun skill was enough to break in and split a majority of hill time. Additionally, Prestinni started slow and did not heat up until late in the map. Heading into the second rotation to P5 Prestinni had 15 kills and 32 deaths. Florida concurrently held a 38 point lead at 205-167 and as they closed in on the map victory. Chicago rotated early and Prestinni popped off earning nine kills before falling. The next two hills were absolute dog fights. Teams could not hold for more than a matter of seconds. When the dust settled, Chicago emerged victors 250-239.

Arklov Peak Search and Destroy (2-6)

While the Search and Destroy started close at 2-2, things got ugly quickly. Chicago only managed to earn three of the first bloods. Florida’s unique positioning on the map caused tons of problems for Chicago. The Huntsmen found themselves getting killed from behind, in corners or running into multiple Mutineers. Chicago did not do a great job of traveling together to get trades and it hurt them down the stretch in map two.

Hackney Yard Domination (146-154)

Chicago shot themselves in the foot in map three. On Hackney Yard the Huntsmen’s struggles to hold the favorable spawns continue. Halfway through the first half, Chicago let Florida slip behind them and capture the A flag. At the half, Chicago trailed 67-86. The Huntsmen did a great job of causing mayhem in the second half, keeping the Mutineers lead steady. With a minute left the Mutineers lead by just a point. Tragically for Chicago, they simultaneously lost control of the A&B flags while C was neutralized. Small execution errors down the stretch cost Chicago on map three.

Ramazza Hardpoint (250-204)

Map four was arguably Chicago’s best map of the series. On P5 the Huntsmen out-rotated Florida and denied them access to the hill. Chicago further inflated their lead on the second rotation to Electronics Shop holding a 207-106 lead. The Huntsmen were out-rotated on P3 and simply outgunned on P4 as the lead evaporated to just 40. Despite losing the rotation to P5, Chicago’s gun skill was enough to break the hill and hold until they hit 250.

Ramazza Search and Destroy (3-6)

On map five, Chicago were outclassed in every respect. The Huntsmen, mostly Envoy, earned first bloods and simply threw the man advantage away. Florida’s evasiveness prevailed again on map five. The Mutineers caught Chicago out of position quite often. When they were not winning gunfights head-on, Florida snuck behind the Huntsmen. Chicago looked overwhelmed and could not piece together a cohesive strategy to disrupt Florida’s flow on the map. Unfortunately, Search and Destroy continues to be the thorn in Chicago’s side.

Elimination Round: Toronto Ultra

Courtesy of the Toronto Ultra

The Huntsmen entered into unfamiliar territory against the Toronto Ultra. Both teams faced elimination and both had a lot to prove. While Toronto struggles to gain momentum this year, they play many top teams very closely. Earlier this season, Toronto took Chicago to map five and gave them a run for their money. Some of Chicago’s sloppy play from the opening round carried forward into this series despite the 3-0 victory.

Ramazza Hardpoint (250-245)

The opening map of the series came down to the wire. The Huntsmen played a fundamentally flawed map despite eking out a narrow victory. Toronto out-rotated Chicago to a majority of the hills. The Ultra’s early rotations paid dividends down the stretch as they held a 229-214 heading into the second rotation to P5. Although they lost the spawns on P5, Chicago managed to force a lead change at 249-232. Who was in P1? The Toronto Ultra. Fortunately for Huntsmen fans, as the Ultra’s score crept closer to 250, Chicago won a majority of the gunfights and stacked enough bodies in the hill to secure a shaky victory.

Ramazza Search and Destroy (6-2)

This was one of Chicago’s best maps of the tournament. Chicago dominated most rounds despite Ramazza being one of Toronto’s best maps in any game mode. Early on both teams played well and the score was an even 2-2. Then, muscle memory kicked in and Envoy took over map two as he has all season. Envoy was 2-2 after four rounds and ended the map at 8-4. Chicago lost the first gunfight a fair bit but were incredibly effective at getting picks and escaping with their lives. Overall, this was a clean map two that Huntsmen fans are not accustomed to.

Gun Runner Domination (167-130)

Map three was a rollercoaster for Huntsmen fans. Chicago dominated early on by keeping Toronto contained to their spawn. The Huntsmen held the A&B flags for roughly half of round one and B&C for the other half. Chicago’s first-half dominance earned them a 90-56 lead. Through three minutes in the second half Chicago still held onto a 30 point lead. Toronto then held a two cap for a minute and also managed to capture Chicago’s spawn flag with 1:20 left. The Huntsmen lead evaporated to just 15 points. Chicago were fortunate to get all five down for Toronto to regain map position and regain their lead to win the series 3-0.

Knockout Round: Los Angeles Guerrillas

Courtesy of Activision

Chicago simply did not have what it took to top LAG. Execution errors crept into play and Chicago’s Search and Destroy woes continued in this series. The Los Angeles Guerrillas deserve credit for bringing Saints into the roster. Saints’ impact was immediately displayed in this tournament and they have the potential to be real contenders going forward.

Gun Runner Hardpoint (250-190)

Once again, Chicago struggled to rotate early in the first map. The Guerrillas consistently out-rotated Chicago to P2, P3 and P5 – setting the Huntsmen up for disaster. Yet again, the Huntsmen’s sheer gun skill enabled them to break hills and earn a majority of the time. Despite losing the second rotation to P2, Chicago broke through a coordinated push and blew their lead open to 179-124. Los Angeles played a much stronger map one fundamentally. Unfortunately for them, the pure skill of Chicago was too much to handle.

Arklov Peak Search and Destroy (2-6)

This was ugly for Chicago. The Huntsmen lost a majority of the first gunfights yet again. In the blink of an eye, Chicago were down 0-4. The Huntsmen constantly got caught out of position. The Los Angeles Guerrillas did an exquisite job of getting a kill and escaping with their life. LAG were quite nimble on the map and snaked from spot to spot ultimately making the Huntsmen pay in a crushing defeat.

Hackney Yard Domination (169-149)

The first half of Domination was relatively scrappy. Early on, Chicago started with the favorable spawns and held two flags for a majority of the round. LAG made things interesting to end the half by capturing two flags and decreasing Chicago’s lead to 93-72. The Guerrillas applied pressure early in the second half. They held two flags and with two minutes left the score was 128-126. What made the difference, in the end, was Arcitys and Scump’s suffocating pressure at B. This move enabled Chicago to push up and capture A and give themselves just enough room to squeak out a win.

Hackney Yard Hardpoint (243-250)

The Huntsmen let this map slip through their grasp. Early on, Chicago used the favorable Tire Shop spawns to their advantage to gain the lead. The second time around, Chicago gave up Tire Shop spawns and the LAG took the lead. Chicago started to lose gunfight after gunfight on P4 and found themselves down 234-191. After a shutout hold on P5, Chicago led 243-236. Unfortunately, the Huntsmen’s strong setup lead to LAG winning the early rotations and shutting them out from touching P1 and winning the map.

Gun Runner Search and Destroy (4-6)

Chicago simply did not have an answer for Vivid in map five. The Huntsmen played a competitive map five. Chicago did a good job of getting most of the trades and executing their gameplan heading into rounds. Despite all of this, Vivid’s elusive positioning on the map enabled the Guerrillas to get more trades than the Huntsmen. Vivid ended the map with 13 kills and seven deaths, with four of these kills coming in the last three rounds. Even when he did not get a kill, the Huntsmen were constantly checking behind them and played the map slow to try and counter Vivid. In the end, the Huntsmen simply did not have enough in the tank.

Featured image courtesy of Dexerto

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