5 players to watch during CDL 2021’s Stage 4 LA Thieves Home Series - Dexerto
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5 players to watch during CDL 2021’s Stage 4 LA Thieves Home Series

Published: 9/Jun/2021 20:33

by Theo Salaun

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One week until LAN and the CDL Stage 4 Major. And then one stage left until CDL Champs. It’s crunch time and big players need to make big plays as we move into the LA Thieves Home Series.

Pride and reputation are at stake as the CDL approaches the 2021 season’s end. More tangibly, there’s $3.5 million ripe for the taking. Only eight teams will fight over the final $1.5 million at Champs, but the first mill gets split over two league-wide majors.

For context, 230 CDL points separate No. 1 from No. 8 right now — and 100 separate No. 8 from No. 12. That may seem like a lot, but, including this week, whoever wins the Stage 4 Major can earn between 105-145 points (depending on what side of the bracket they start on).

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It won’t be easy, and luck needs to be factored in, but a lot can change in the standings before Champs. Good teams need to keep their foot on the gas and bad teams need to pounce when the top eight slip up. The latter might be difficult, as this week’s five players to watch are all serious X-factors who might be reaching nasty form.

McArthur ‘Cellium’ Jovel (Atlanta FaZe)

King Cobra

Cellium FaZe
Call of Duty League
Cell hit some demonic form last week.

Fans may meme about the snaking, but pros always emphasize just how deadly Cellium is. And, considering last week’s matches, MC’s fangs may have just gotten sharper.

Sweeping Seattle, Cell dropped a 1.43 K/D… ‘Nuff said. Then, while Chris ‘Simp’ Lehr got attention for feasting on the LA Thieves in Map 3, Cell had already cleaned out his plate.

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MC had a 1.71 through the first two maps, before finishing with a tidy 1.21. He’s hitting some absurd form right now, especially in Search & Destroy — where he posted a 3.14 on the week. If Cell keeps playing like this, the Stage 4 Major might already be in the bag.

Reece ‘Vivid’ Drost (Dallas Empire)

Confidence is one hell of a drug

vivid dallas empire cdl 1
Call of Duty League
Confidence has helped Vivid reach scary form.

It’s hard to be encouraged by losses, but something may have clicked for Vivid and that could be critical for a Dallas team that seemed to be flatlining.

The Empire benched Cuyler ‘Huke’ Garland and didn’t improve. Then they benched his replacement, Tyler ‘FeLo’ Johnson, for Vivid and, again, didn’t improve. But after sweeping the Guerrillas last week, in one of Vivid’s worst games ever, something changed and the newcomer proceeded to nearly carry Dallas to a win against the red-hot Subliners.

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Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter, reacting to the LA match being Vivid’s first CDL sweep, noted that the newfound confidence would turn the SMG into “a f**king weapon.” And boy, was he right.

Against the Guerrillas, Vivid had a 0.87 K/D with the fewest kills and least damage on the team. In a 2-3 loss to New York, he was the reason it went to five maps — posting the team’s most kills (joining NYSL’s Makenzie ‘Mack’ Kelley in the 100-plus club) and second-highest damage. That’s a f**king weapon.

Joseph ‘Owakening’ Conley (Florida Mutineers)

Demon Joe

big wake owakening mutineers
Twitter, @Mutineers
You see Big Wake on the right there? That’s a big x-factor.

At 7’2” and with a thousand suns coursing through his fiery thumbs, Demon Joe is a presence on the map. And when he’s on point, the Mutineers can sink any team in the league.

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Last week, Big Wake played well enough in a 2-3 loss to New York, posting a 0.95 and pushing the Subliners to a tie-breaker. But, against the Guerrillas, he was on another level — notching a 1.32, with over 20 kills and over 2,000 more damage than the next highest player for either… in the entire game.

The “Tampa Turret” has one of the highest ceilings in all of CoD. Florida are a top-three team when he reaches it.

Austin ‘SlasheR’ Liddicoat (LA Thieves)

Thanos returns

LA Thieves CDL player SlasheR
Twitter: LA Thieves
Guess who’s back.

He’s back. And he’s not alone. Following a Huke tell-all video about his CDL struggles, Huke and SlasheR have been announced as Thieves starters.

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SlasheR struggled before getting benched in April, but he also showed flashes of his veteran, superstar play. Now, with LAN returning for the Stage 4 Major, his return could not be more perfectly timed. As far as players to watch go, SlasheR is an obvious candidate — as he replaces his replacement, Zack ‘Drazah’ Jordan, in the starting lineup.

Paco ‘HyDra’ Rusiewiez (New York Subliners)

A sick individual

New York Subliners HyDra CDL
New York Subliners
The French Felon, the Mustachioed Menace. Sick or healthy, HyDra is getting even better.

There’s a reason why caffeine is omnipresent in first-person-shooters. High energy and laser focus are key to cracked gameplay.

So you can imagine the CoD community’s surprise when HyDra looked like he was about to fall asleep in both matches last week — and still put up one-plus K/Ds. Despite being sick, New York’s rookie phenom dropped a 1.04 in a 3-2 vs Florida and a 1.16 in a 3-2 vs Dallas.

The “French Felon” dropped serious kills on upsurging teams while under the weather. Either health is overrated or he’s still improving. If it’s the latter, Toronto might be in for one hell of a matchup.