The inaugural season of the Call of Duty League has officially ended, with Dallas Empire crowned world champions after their 5-1 win over Atlanta FaZe at the CDL Championship Weekend.
It’s been an action-packed season, especially with the entire competitive landscape changing as events were moved online, but the season ended just as it began, with Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago Huntsmen looking to claim the throne.
After every CDL Home Series we’ve compiled our power rankings for the team’s that were performing best at the time, but now we look back at the season as a whole and see who was the best — and worst — across the entire year. We also compare their final position to how we ranked them pre-season, which definitely makes for some interesting reading.
12. Seattle Surge
Preseason ranking: 7th (-5)
There’s not a lot to be said for Seattle Surge. They were closely contested with Los Angeles Guerrillas for most of the season for the last place in the CDL standings, despite Octane arguably being one of the best players in the game.
There was never really a point where Seattle looked as though they could start moving upwards, and spent much of the season relying on the lowest-seeded teams losing, rather than getting wins themselves, in hopes they could capitalize.
11. Los Angeles Guerrillas
Preseason ranking: 11th (-)
LA Guerrillas, unlike Seattle, did have one or two events where they looked half-decent, but it never really stretched that far.
The Guerrillas didn’t have high expectations on their shoulders headed into the league, with a distinct lack of real star power, but eventually seemed to be a stronger team than closest rivals Seattle Surge.
10. Paris Legion
Preseason ranking: 12th (+2)
Paris had a truly impressive run of losses between April and July 2020 after getting off to a pretty impressive start, which really scarpered their chances of being placed higher in our power rankings.
They managed to find some semblance of form again in the final weeks, but it was too little, too late at that point, and Paris were resigned to being a lower-table team.
9. Minnesota RØKKR
Preseason ranking: 4th (-5)
The RØKKR might be one of the most confusing teams of the 2020 CDL season. After kicking it off looking strong, even verging on title contenders, there was a sizeable downward trajectory for the team.
This culminated in a roster change heading into Champs, with GodRx being replaced by Exceed, but there was no saving them: the team finished the season with just one series win in their last 13.
8. OpTic Gaming Los Angeles
Preseason ranking: 9th (+1)
On paper, the OpTic Gaming LA side at the start of the year looked like serious championship contenders. Surprisingly, quite the opposite turned out to be the case in the opening months of the season, and the team especially struggled to keep up momentum when the league went online.
Though they showed signs of overcoming their difficulties, it was never quite enough to be regarded as a top team, though they were frequently pushing upwards, despite online struggles.
7. Toronto Ultra
Preseason ranking: 10th (+3)
Choosing between Toronto and London for this spot was a tough choice. They’re both fairly comfortably middle-of-the-pack teams that had one or two standout performances, especially towards the end of the season.
It took several roster shuffles to find what works for Toronto, but by the end of the year they became a competitive side that was capable of challenging even the very best. That said, their early-season form can’t be ignored. They were really struggling at the start, with some heralding them as the worst team in the game — something London never had to suffer through, hence why they edge just ahead of Toronto.
6. London Royal Ravens
Preseason ranking: 8th (+2)
London’s standout performance at CDL Champs was one that almost nobody saw coming. Although the team clearly had potential, and did manage a second-place finish at CDL Seattle, expectations weren’t that high for the squad.
London were often found towards the middle or bottom of the standings at each Home Series event, coming 5-6th at almost every one, but never looking like they were completely lost.
5. New York Subliners
Preseason ranking: 5th (-)
New York Subliners had their moments in the spotlight this season, including a big win over Chicago Huntsmen to claim first place at their own Home Series event. They were regular names among the top four at events, but rarely managed to break that barrier.
As far as the mid-table teams go, New York were undoubtedly the strongest for the duration of the season.
4. Florida Mutineers
Preseason ranking: 6th (+2)
Florida Mutineers had quite an up-and-down year. They won three Home Series events, but there were plenty of weeks where they just didn’t look up to the task, and their strength over the opposition was clearly dropping off towards the tail end of the season.
This culminated in a 7-8th place finish at CDL Champs, with two straight losses to Toronto Ultra and OpTic Gaming Los Angeles, but it’s impossible to forget the period of dominance they had throughout the midpoint of the season.
3. Chicago Huntsmen
Preseason ranking: 3rd (-)
Chicago Huntsmen had some struggles throughout the season and, despite some unexpected losses, always managed to force their way into the championship discussion thanks to the level of talent on the team.
Huntsmen won two Home Series events this year, and a third-place finish at Champs seemed fitting for the team that always looked to be a level above the rest of the field without Atlanta and Dallas.
2. Atlanta FaZe
Preseason ranking: 1st (-1)
At their best, Atlanta looked like a side that couldn’t be touched. Nobody even came close. A team of youngsters with more raw talent than you could imagine, their sheer ferocity and aggression making them immensely difficult opponents.
Though they fell just short at Champs, it doesn’t deplete how they performed throughout the year, and even at their worst Atlanta was still undisputedly a top side. The future is bright for this team.
1. Dallas Empire
Preseason ranking: 2nd (+1)
Who else? Even at their worst this year, Dallas Empire looked like a formidable team. Not including launch weekend, Dallas placed in the top four of every single Home Series they attended, before topping it off by winning the historic World Championship event.
Starting the year just as they ended it, Dallas were dominating online tournaments prior to the CDL kicking off, and they didn’t once lose that fire all year. Now, the question is whether they continue that form into CDL 2021.