100 Thieves’ absence from Call of Duty esports has officially ended after the organization announced that it’s joining the CDL as the LA Thieves, taking over OpTic Gaming’s spot in the league.
As had been first reported by Dexerto, 100 Thieves are once again active in Call of Duty esports, and their new LA Thieves CDL franchise is ready to go for the 2021 campaign and beyond.
The news was announced with 100T founder and CEO Matt ‘Nadeshot’ Haag front and center: “We won two Call of Duty championships in 2019 so our year away reminded us how amazing Call of Duty fans are, and how much we missed them. Our fans deserve the best Call of Duty team in the world – and we’re gonna do everything in our power to give it to them.”
— LA Thieves (@LAThieves) November 6, 2020
The slot had initially belonged to Immortals Gaming Club and their OpTic Gaming LA before the OG brand was sold back to Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez, who’s already the CEO of Chicago Huntsmen and, therefore, could not be in control of two franchises.
As a result, reports surfaced that H3CZ was actively shopping the league spot and considered 100 Thieves his first-choice buyer, considering his past history with Nadeshot.
However, at the time, Nadeshot told fans the same thing he’d said back when 100T first pulled out of CoD esports – that the organization just didn’t have the financial resources to enter the league. Needless to say, that situation has drastically changed.
“We were impressed by the Call of Duty League’s performance in its first year,” said John Robinson, President & COO of 100 Thieves. “The YouTube partnership, record ratings, and the addition of Warzone events showed us that Activision Blizzard Esports has the ambition and ability to make the Call of Duty League a world class esport.”
“Call of Duty League seeks to ignite a shift in competitive entertainment on a global scale, and 100 Thieves shares that same vision,” said Johanna Faries, Commissioner of Call of Duty Esports. “Our inaugural season introduced fans to amazing new teams, rivalries, and storylines – and raised the bar for what the competitive Call of Duty scene can achieve. The addition of LA Thieves to our roster of team franchises only ups the ante for what is certain to be an exciting future for all of us.”
As for their roster, LA Thieves will feature two stars who have played for the org before: SlasheR and Kuavo. TJHaLy brings championship experience while Drazah, who was picked up by OpTic midway through last season as a rookie, will remain as a substitute. This means that the team will be in the market to add a fourth starter.
100 THIEVES CDL ROSTER:
- Austin ‘SlasheR’ Liddicoat
- Kenny ‘Kuavo’ Williams
- Thomas ‘TJHaLy’ Haly
- Zack ‘Drazah’ Jordan (substitute)
Eric ‘Muddawg’ Sanders, who was the General Manager of 100 Thieves’ previous CoD team before leaving for OGLA, has returned to the organization and will hold the same position. Muddawg engineered two championships for 100T during the 2018-19 Black Ops 4 season, as well as a second-place finish at the final CWL World Championship.
Besides the fourth starter, the team also has to fill in their head coaching vacancy. There was strong speculation that veteran pro Ian ‘Enable’ Wyatt, who played for 100T in Black Ops 4, would be recruited as their coach, but he since shut down those rumors: “I one thousand percent will tell you that I am not coaching 100 Thieves. Zero percent chance – not a coach.”
It’s also worth noting that this was the exact lineup OGLA had announced before turning into LA Thieves. SlasheR, one of the more vocal veterans in the esport, has said that he was unable to build his ideal team due to the uncertainty surrounding the future of the league spot.
What does this mean for Chicago Huntsmen?
After H3CZ reacquired the OpTic brand, it was reported that his plan was to transform the Huntsmen into the Chicago OpTic while selling the Los Angeles slot to an appropriate buyer.
However, reports surfaced that the CDL wanted franchises to stick with the cities they were originally attached to, which would obviously make Chicago’s rebranding impossible. At the time, there was talk that NRG, the owners of the Chicago CDL slot, would ultimately sell the Huntsmen, hang onto OpTic, and move their Call of Duty operations to Los Angeles.
That’s ended up not being the case, and, although it’s still yet to be confirmed, the fact that H3CZ sold the Los Angeles spot could mean that the league have allowed NRG to move forward with the rebrand. Could Chicago OpTic be in the near future? Only time will tell.