7 best Call of Duty pro players for 2021 CDL Cold War season

Albert Petrosyan

2021’s Call of Duty League season is nearly upon us, but who’s the best of the best on Black Ops Cold War? We’ve picked out the 7 best CDL players going into the second season.

Skill vs stats… Ability vs intangibles. What does it mean to be Call of Duty’s best? Players like Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter and Seth ‘Scump’ Abner have rightfully earned their spot in the esport’s hall of fame, but whether they’re still at the top is another question altogether.

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Determining who makes the cut comes down to assessing several factors. Obviously, skill and ability are important, but there are other elements at play, such as leadership and championship experience. But when the chips are down, who are the best players in Cold War right now?

Best CDL players for 2021 season

Please note that the seven players are not listed in any particular order.

Anthony ‘Shotzzy’ Cuevas-Castro (Dallas Empire)

No such list can be legitimate without mentioning Shotzzy, who took the league by storm en route to claiming the inaugural 2020 world championship with Dallas Empire.

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On top of boasting impeccable aim, movement skills and rapid reactions, the former Halo World Champion is also known for seeing the game in ways that other pros don’t — point and case, this big-brain trick on Armada Strike shortly after Cold War had launched.

Safe to say that Dallas Empire doesn’t regret paying the reported $150,000-250,000 buyout fee from Splyce. Expect Shotzzy to once again be one of the frontrunners for league MVP in 2021.

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Chris ‘Simp’ Lehr (Atlanta FaZe)

No conversation about the best players in the Call of Duty League would be complete without Simp. After an incredible rookie season, Simp maintained his form through Modern Warfare and helped lead FaZe to the best Regular Season record — alongside a second-place finish at the CDL Championship.

His raw skill and ability are second to none; the former eUnited man’s ability to dominate an entire league is exactly why he’s rubbing shoulders with Call of Duty’s biggest stars so early in his career.

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Tyler ‘aBeZy’ Pharris (Atlanta FaZe)

You can’t have one without the other — aBeZy is the other half of the CDL’s Tiny Terrors. Together with Simp, the pair have tyrannized the CDL and lived up to their namesake. His meteoric rise to prominence in the Black Ops 4 season is even more impressive when you consider that it came alongside Simp.

Perfecting his role as a Slayer, aBeZy posted impressive stats while helping FaZe look so dominant in 2020. Arguably the most talented player in the world, Pharris possesses boatloads of skill that’s turned him into a perennial superstar at this point — and it’s clear that no matter the game, he’s always going to be ahead of the curve.

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Dylan ‘Envoy’ Hannon (Chicago OpTic)

If it hadn’t been for Simp’s electric pro debut, Envoy’s sprint to superstardom would have been a much bigger talking point in 2019. Earning a spot on the Chicago Huntsmen came with a set of heavy expectations, but he’s smashed through all of them to establish himself as an elite player.

The fact that he distinguished himself as an MVP finalist while playing alongside the likes of Matthew ‘FormaL’ Piper and Alec ‘Arcitys’ Sanderson is a testament to his ability.

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2021 will be the first year that Envoy will compete in 4v4 at the highest level, but the added layer of tactical awareness required to thrive almost suits Hannon’s style to a tee.

Brandon ‘Dashy’ Otell (Chicago OpTic)

At first glance, it might seem odd to include Dashy in this list after he never really got going in Modern Warfare and ended up getting benched. But consider this… Almost no one was better in Black Ops 4, and in an OpTic Gaming team brimming with talent, Dashy stood out as their clear-cut best player.

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Otell stood in as a last-minute fill-in for Kenny ‘Kuavo’ Williams during last season’s Playoffs and absolutely dominated, despite not having practiced in weeks. If that doesn’t prove that he’s one of the most naturally talented players in the league, then we don’t know what does.

Cold War brings Dashy back to his Treyarch stomping ground. Add into the mix that he’s back with teammates who bring out the best in him, and the ‘human highlight reel’ will no doubt be back again. After being dropped in favor of a rookie, he’ll be back with a chip on his shoulder — making him extremely dangerous.

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Sam ‘Octane’ Larew (Seattle Surge)

An eyebrow-raiser? Perhaps… But if you look beyond Surge’s dreadful 2020 campaign, it’s obvious that Octane was anchored by his teammates.

Always considered a top-tier assault rifle player, he took things to another level in Modern Warfare, leading the league in Hardpoint K/D (1.32) and Domination K/D (1.31). Even in the Surge’s lone Playoff series he was dominant, posting K/D ratios of 1.08 in HP, 2.33 in S&D, and 1.24 in Dom.

Now surrounded by teammates that fit his style better, all eyes will be on Octane to continue and maybe even further elevate his incredible form in Black Ops Cold War — and we’ve put him on our list because we fully expect him to do so.

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Austin ‘SlasheR’ Liddicoat (Los Angeles Thieves)

SlasheR is undoubtedly one of the best talents in the esport’s history. But does he have what it takes to be considered among the seven best players for the 2021 season?

In short, yes. Even a dreadful year with OpTic Gaming LA couldn’t stop him from posting stellar numbers. Now he’s back flying the 100 Thieves banner, he’ll be keen to reclaim the organization’s place on the podium, after being considered one of the most feared teams in Black Ops 4.

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If you take an unparalleled determination to win at all costs, pair it with uncanny leadership skills and a sprinkle of laser-like accuracy… you’ve got SlasheR. Regardless of the game, a skillset like that will leverage any group of players to be the best in the game.

Honorable Mentions

  • McArthur ‘Cellium’ Jovel (Atlanta FaZe) — Honestly, Cellium could fit into the top seven right now, but then again, so can the entire FaZe roster.
  • Alec ‘Arcitys’ Sanderson (Atlanta FaZe) — A dominant force when on his “A-game” — look for Arcitys to be a top-tier AR player again in 2021.
  • Seth ‘Scump’ Abner (Chicago OpTic) — He’s the King… Need we say more?
  • Cuyler ‘Huke’ Garland (Dallas Empire) — Arguably the most underrated player in the CDL, Huke could easily be a top-seven player by the time next season’s over.
  • Cesar ‘Skyz’ Bueno (Florida Mutineers) — Emerged as one of the league’s biggest talents in 2020, Skyz would cement his spot in the top tier with another MVP-level campaign.

Who do you think will dominate on Cold War? Can anyone stop Shotzzy from earning back-to-back MVPs? One thing’s for certain, we’re primed for the most explosive season of competitive Call of Duty yet.

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About The Author

Albert is a former esports and gaming writer, focused particularly on Call of Duty and content creators. Spending over three years at Dexerto, Albert eventually now works with streamer NICKMERCS and the MFAM group. You can find Albert @AlbertoRavioli on Twitter.