The Call of Duty League Championship is the crowning moment of the CoD calendar, with $2.5m on the line and players fighting for the opportunity to win a world championship ring and live forever in the Call of Duty history books. But which players should you be keeping an eye on?
For better or worse, there are certain players who will have a little extra weight on their shoulders when Champs rolls around on August 4. Some are fighting for their legacy, some are fighting for their careers, and others simply can’t afford to keep struggling on LAN.
With that in mind, here are six players that need to put in a serious performance at Champs that we should all be keeping an eye on.
The King himself, Seth ‘Scump’ Abner has qualified for Champs for 10 years in a row — one of only two to have done so, alongside Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter.
He always turns up at Champs: Despite only winning the tournament once, he has consistently placed in the top 3 at the event over the years and been firmly in the conversation as a possible contender each season.
After a rough few months, his OpTic Texas side came fourth at Major 4 following a loss to Atlanta FaZe. They looked better than they had done at any point since their Major 1 victory, and Scump will be looking to guide his teammates to their second world championship rings — or first in the case of MVP candidate Brandon ‘Dashy’ Otell.
Atlanta FaZe have been the best team in Vanguard, with three second-place finishes and one third-place finish — though trophies have thus far eluded them.
While Alec ‘Arcitys’ Sanderson would be an invaluable addition to any CDL franchise, his performances this season haven’t matched those we know he’s capable of as a two-time world champion and dominant main AR.
It’s unfair and dishonest to say that Arcitys is the reason FaZe haven’t won this year, despite what some critics might say, but if he manages to find form at Champs then it’s hard to look past anyone except FaZe winning it all.
Joey ‘Gismo’ Owen is the X-Factor for London Royal Ravens. Every player on this roster has the potential to pop off at any given moment, but Gismo has consistently been the guy to help them secure series wins.
The issue comes on LAN. Online, Gismo has a 1.10 KD in Major qualifiers, leading his team, according to Breaking Point’s stats. On LAN, though, he’s managed only a 0.86 KD across all four Major tournaments, a huge decline from his online dominance.
It’s unclear why this drop-off occurs, and it’s worth noting that no London player exceeds a 1KD on LAN this year, so maybe Gismo bringing his online form to Champs will be the key to getting the whole team on the right track.
Thomas ‘TJHaly’ Haly has struggled for some time now, and Champs may well be the last time that Teej will be able to prove his value to franchises and continue competing at the highest level of play.
Boston have been very up-and-down throughout 2022, and there has been a lot of discussion within the community about whether TJHaly still has what it takes to compete at the top.
With expectations low for Boston at Champs, Teej will have to put in clinical performances to convince his franchise and future potential teammates that he still deserves a spot in the CDL.
In recent years, Ben ‘Bance’ Bance hasn’t been considered a star player. He’s not a walking highlight reel like other SMGs in the league, but his fundamental understanding of the game is paramount to any success Toronto Ultra has.
Ultra are at their best, though, when Bance shows even shades of his former self, and if he can match the slaying of his efficient AR teammates, Ultra will firmly be in contention for a championship.
He’s placed second at Champs twice now — in 2016 and again in 2021 — and he’ll be desperate to get that monkey off his back and finally win the big one. If there’s any time for Bance to show up, it’s now.
As the veteran of the team, Lamar ‘Accuracy’ Abedi has helped his young teammates achieve incredible success in their rookie years, and his experience will be imperative to help guide them through one of the most daunting and challenging weekends of their careers.
Accuracy isn’t the insane slaying AR that other pros, such as Brandon ‘Dashy’ Otell or McArthur ‘Cellium’ Jovel, have been this season, but he hasn’t needed to be. What Accuracy brings to a team is stability and a deeper understanding of the game than many can boast.
Should we expect him to put up insane numbers this weekend? No, but his leadership will be key to helping Seattle Surge progress deep into the tournament.
Obviously, this list isn’t exhaustive by any means. The likes of Anthony ‘Shotzzy’ Cuevas-Castro, Kenneth ‘Kenny’ Williams, and Matthew ‘KiSMET’ Tinsley are all certainly ones to watch at Champs, with the chance to carry their teams to victory and earn a ring.
Crimsix is seeking a record-breaking 4th world championship win, while the Atlanta FaZe players are all looking to firmly stake their claim on dynasty status. With 32 players in attendance, only one thing is certain: every single competitor will be bringing their A-game to Los Angeles’ Galen Center.