The Call of Duty League enters 2021’s Stage 3 Major and, while the cash is nice, CDL placement points are growing pivotal. With $500,000 on the line, five players hold the keys to their teams’ CDL Champs hopes.
Last week, we locked in on five difference-makers whose performances could dictate their rosters’ futures: Colt ‘Havok’ McLendon, Cuyler ‘Huke’ Garland, Makenzie ‘Mack’ Kelley, Matthew ‘FormaL’ Piper, and Jacob ‘Decemate’ Cato.
Of those, three couldn’t level up — including the two debuts — as Huke, Decemate, and FormaL all went winless during the Dallas Home Series. But the other two, Mack and Havok, went undefeated, posted 1.1-plus K/Ds, and surged into the Stage 3 Major’s Winners bracket.
This week, Major brackets have been determined, but $500,000 and the chance to qualify for CDL Champs await. From vets showing renewed promise to younger players hopeful to bounce back, here are the five x-factors to watch during the Stage 3 Major.
Indervir ‘iLLeY’ Dhaliwal (Dallas Empire)
A running narrative that has only amplified since Huke’s relocation, iLLeY’s play seems to dictate the Empire’s. While Tyler ‘FeLo’ Johnson’s play, in replacement of Huke, has obviously been pivotal — last week proved just how vital iLLeY’s play can be.
In an 0-3 loss to the Florida Mutineers, iLLeY dropped an 0.7 K/D. In the next match, a 3-1 win over the Minnesota ROKKR, he had a 1.0. As the pattern indicates, the Empire win games when iLLeY produces. That will be worth monitoring as Dallas meet the Atlanta FaZe in Winners Round 1.
Cesar ‘Skyz’ Bueno (Florida Mutineers)
He invested in his game, but those stocks were shaky for much of the season. Now, with Havok beginning to produce, Skyz appears to have regained his momentum and his 2020 MVP-nominee form.
Last week, Skyz posted a 1.52 K/D during Florida’s sweep of the Empire and a 1.26 in their 3-2 over the Los Angeles Guerrillas — both team-highs. That was enough to get the Mutineers into a WR1 matchup with the Thieves, but the superstar investment will determine how far they can go.
Sean ‘Seany’ O’Connor (London Royal Ravens)
Sean the Beamer
In 2020, it was Sean the Builder. In 2021, it was Sean in Shambles until the popular Scotsman earned a new moniker during the Dallas Home Series: Sean the Beamer.
After relentless inconsistencies and roster changes, the Royal Ravens brought in Alex ‘Zaptius’ Bonilla to help their pacing issues. After some time in flux, that change seems to be paying off — as a fluid London dismantled the Seattle Surge 3-1.
In that match, Seany dropped a team-high 1.15 K/D. Now, the Royal Ravens look to continue that momentum (on the back of Seany’s straight shot) against the Paris Legion in Losers Round 1.
Carlos ‘Venom’ Hernandez (Los Angeles Thieves)
Pacing, pacing, pacing
Perhaps no role is as impacted by roster changes as the submachine gun, as Venom and Thieves fans learned after bringing in Huke. The fast-paced sub’s season has been streaky, but ultimately effective, but there were visible struggles alongside a new star acquisition.
In a 1-3 loss to an upsurging New York Subliners, Venom posted a team-low 0.74 K/D. That’s an ugly number, but his role is dependent on pacing. If the Thieves are going to outduel the Mutineers and make a Stage 3 Major run, LA needs to figure out their pacing so Venom and Huke can regain their footing.
Dylan ‘Envoy’ Hannion (OpTic Chicago)
Time to regain (pt. 2)
Things haven’t been pretty for OpTic Chicago. Over the past two weeks, OpTic have lost three consecutive matches — with the most recent being a brutal sweep at the hands of Atlanta. And, speaking of brutal, Envoy posted a…0.47 K/D during that loss.
To be fair, OpTic was playing on Atlanta servers due to a CDL operational issue, so the loss (and stats) were likely worse than they would have been normally. Envoy has acknowledged that FaZe were the better team anyway, but everyone recognizes that bad ping means worse results.
OpTic already needed to regain, but now they start the Stage 3 Major in the Losers Bracket. Facing either the Guerrillas or Surge in Losers Round 2, Envoy and Chicago will need to bounce back in a major way — especially if they get better ping this time.