We’ve reached the Call of Duty League’s Stage 2 Major and the 2021 season has already shifted dramatically. From returning stars to questioned big names, here are five players you need to watch at CDL Major II.
Last week, for the LA Guerrillas Home Series, we honed in on five x-factors on the precipice of changing trajectories. On the positive end, Brandon ‘Dashy’ Otell, Reece ‘Vivid’ Drost and Luis ‘Fire’ Rivera all proved doubters wrong, going undefeated and notching positive K/Ds (kill-death ratios) on the week.
Maintaining momentum, Preston ‘Prestinni’ Sanderson held a 0.99 K/D despite two losses — poor games compared to his Week 2 demolition, but proof of an elevated, new baseline. On the opposite end, Cuyler ‘Huke’ Garland improved incrementally, securing a 0.95 while going 1-1.
Now come the games with higher stakes ($500,000 worth, to be specific). On the biggest stage of the season, three players can cement their recent form: Seth ‘Scump’ Abner, Eli ‘Standy’ Bentz and Justin ‘SiLLY’ Fargo-Palmer. Meanwhile, two big names need to shift increasingly unpleasant narratives: Indervir ‘iLLeY’ Dhaliwal and Kenny ‘Kenny’ Williams.
Indervir ‘iLLeY’ Dhaliwal (Dallas Empire)
At this point, every single member of the Empire is going to be put on our must-watch list. After coming in as the 2021 Champs favorites, Dallas have sputtered toward wild inconsistency — and, this past week, iLLeY became an obvious focal point.
As discussed by Jonathan ‘Pacman’ Tucker in our Reverse Sweep review show, many hoped iLLeY — a renowned S&D prodigy and grinder — could fix the Empire’s problems. Instead, the so-called “Guru” was one of the team’s shakiest performers in a disappointing 1-1 week. After a strong showing in a 3-0 of the Florida Mutineers, iLLeY dropped a team-low 0.74 K/D in the Empire’s 2-3 loss to a resurging OpTic Chicago.
If Dallas is going to get back to CDL Champs form, they need the third, wildcard prong of XEO to sharpen up. Winners Round 1, against the New York Subliners, will be a good time to start.
Justin ‘SiLLY’ Fargo-Palmer (Los Angeles Guerrillas)
In an absolutely demonic week, SiLLY introduced CoD’s big brands to big beams. A top-ranked Atlanta FaZe and a beloved Los Angeles Thieves? SiLLY’s Guerrillas treated each to a loss, with major thanks to the AR’s absurd 1.45 K/D on the week.
It wasn’t enough to get LAG into the Stage 2 Major’s Winners Bracket, but it was enough to build expectations. To make that Losers Bracket run, LAG will need more of SiLLY’s best — starting in Round 1 against the Mutineers.
Kenny ‘Kenny’ Williams (Los Angeles Thieves)
What an absolute mess. The Thieves started the season off on a win streak and then dropped into the nether, moving their roster around like the “Cha Cha Slide.” First, they dropped Donovan ‘Temp’ Laroda for Carlos ‘Venom’ Hernandez. Now, they’ve dropped Austin ‘Slasher’ Liddicoat for Zack ‘Drazah’ Jordan.
But it’s not Drazah who needs to be watched this week, it’s Kenny. Ignoring statistics this season, his own performance has been streaky and has come with various role changes. Now, he becomes the “main AR,” but coach Jordan “JKap” Kaplan has argued that the role discussion means nothing as CoD becomes “positionless.”
Whatever his role actually is, Kenny is now one of the Thieves’ last two remaining veteran stars on the roster. Having asked for a trade or benching weeks ago, Kenny’s new situation should be closely watched as LA meets Paris in Losers Round 1.
Eli ‘Standy’ Bentz (Minnesota ROKKR)
While the aforementioned rookie, Venom, couldn’t turn his team’s trajectory around, Standy most certainly has. The ROKKR wanted to speed up and their rookie SMG has done that, and more.
Since joining in Stage 2, the ROKKR are 3-0 (securing the second seed overall) and Standy has posted the ninth-highest K/D of the stage, with a gnarly 1.11. The Rookie of the Year favorite now meets the bright lights of tournament play and one question remains: Will the rookie crack under $500,000 worth of pressure?
Seth ‘Scump’ Abner (OpTic Chicago)
Oh boy, after a week crumbling, the King may have just rebuilt the Green Wall. In Stage 2, Week 2, OpTic went 0-2, failing to win a single map against the ROKKR and Mutineers. Then, in the Guerrillas Home Series, OpTic went 2-0, including an impressive 3-2 over the Empire.
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That turnaround can, in major part, be attributed to Scump — who posted a 1.17 K/D (his first positive rate in two weeks) and some pure clutch behavior. It appears that, if OpTic want to dethrone the league’s best, they need Scump to live up to his royal namesake. He’ll get the chance to keep slaying in a Winners Round 1 matchup against Toronto.