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What is Next for the Chicago Huntsmen?

It has been an extremely hectic few weeks for fans around the world. With COVID-19 capturing headlines everywhere people look, it is hard to escape discussing it. COVID-19 is increasingly affecting more and more parts of fans’ daily life, the CDL included. Given the unfortunate spread and limited information regarding the Coronavirus the CDL has elected to move events online for the foreseeable future. With online matches being held for the next few events, what does this mean for the Chicago Huntsmen?

Online Matches

Courtesy of MLG

With online matches for the next few events, depending on the host, players who are in close proximity to each other can have an inherent advantage. Given four of the five Huntsmen players are located in Texas and have easy access to one another. However, the unfortunate part of this situation is that FormaL currently lives in California, which is relatively far from Texas. FormaL has been one of the best AR players in Call of Duty over the past few years and playing on a shifty connection could prove difficult for the world champion to perform at the best of his abilities. The Huntsmen count on the likes of FormaL and Arcitys to look over the sub players and provide cover for Envoy and Scump to push up and overwhelm opponents with pressure.

Adding onto the close proximity of Scump, Arcitys, Gunless and Envoy, they have been provided with a unique opportunity by Hecz with the Heczquarters. For those who do not know, the Heczquarters is part of an office building that Hecz rents out and it has the fastest internet available and computers/PS4s as far as the eye can see. If the players on the Huntsmen want to best recreate the playing environment they are accustomed to on LAN, they could potentially all play the CDL matches at the Heczquarters. This could create a high amount of energy while continuing to build chemistry.

Although the team does not have to all play at the Heczquarters, it could be a great way to continue to build on the Huntsmen’s early success. Given the importance of effective communication when playing Call of Duty being in such close proximity could help the players on the Huntsmen to execute their game plan and make effective adjustments.

Absence of the Crowd

From the days of OpTic Gaming, Hecz understood how to cultivate a fanbase to turn OpTic into the most popular esports brand. The Greenwall is the following of OpTic/Hecz fans who travel to and from events. The fanbase that Hecz has culminated is a following that has the potential to turn every match and tournament into a home match. The energy the crowd brings is an asset that has followed the likes of Scump and FormaL over the past few years.

With the CDL moving all matches online it makes the crowd aspect negligible going forward. It takes one of the biggest assets out of the Huntsmen’s arsenal. Although team chemistry and gun skill are two of the most important factors, the crowd is the sixth man that cannot be underestimated. It might take a bit of adjusting, but the Chicago team is used to scrimming nearly every day and can make playing without the crowd work.

Uncharted Territory

The CDL’s decision to move all matches online puts Call of Duty in uncharted territory. Even from the early days when hotel’s and venue sites were skeptical of the crowds that would show up, major events were held on LAN. The move to online creates an interesting dynamic that will take time to see how things unfold and if there are shifts in the standings after a few weeks. It could be difficult for players to truly feel engaged and understand the importance of the moment given they might still be at home in their pajamas.

Although it is sad to admit, the move to online deflates the balloon that is the CDL. The CDL was starting to work through production tweaks and optimize crowd involvement, so this takes a few steps back as the live crowds will not be involved in the foreseeable future. The Huntsmen have the experience, championships and poise to weather the storm to remain a top three team in the CDL.

Featured photo courtesy of Call of Duty League

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