The Call of Duty League is fast-approaching and, with less than a week left until matches officially kick off at the first event of the season, we’ve seen a big shift in how the teams have performed online.
While Dallas Empire seemed the team to beat in the very early days of Modern Warfare’s release, it appears that they might have lost their grasp on the top of the Call of Duty scene as more teams are learning the game – but they’re not to be taken lightly.
So how do our power rankings look as the teams head to Minnesota?
12. Paris Legion
Roster: Denz, Shockz, Phantomz, Kismet, Zed, Louqa, Breszy
The Paris players have definitely been a victim of geography during pre-season practice. With an international roster comprised of American, British and Australian players, it’s not been easy to get everyone on the same page – let alone in the same country – so they haven’t been able to scrim their opponents as much as they might have hoped.
Although this is the case, it could make them somewhat of a surprise entity when the league kicks off, and we might see them play a lot better than expected once they have some LAN matches under their belt.
11. LA Guerillas
Roster: ACHES, AquA, Decemate, Saints, Lacefield, Blazt, Ricky
Similar to their foes from Paris, Los Angeles Guerillas have not had much practice against their CDL opponents, and while this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a bad team, we simply don’t have enough information to fully assess their potential and where they’re at currently.
That said, the players on this team are good enough and experienced enough to make their presence known, but they might just be under-practiced as the league kicks off.
10. Toronto Ultra
Roster: Loony, Methodz, Cammy, Mettallz, Classic, CleanX, Bance, Mayhem, Brack, Luckyy
Toronto Ultra is the only team to have a full 10-man roster, but based on what we’ve seen and heard so far, the depth of the squad may not relate to results on the battlefield.
It has been suggested that Toronto has settled on its final roster, and many players believe that Classic could be great in this game, so he might be the key to bringing Toronto to the top of the standings.
9. OpTic Gaming LA
Roster: TJHaLy, Dashy, Kenny, SlasheR, JKap, Chino, Goonjar
OpTic Gaming is a name that has a storied history of winning in Call of Duty, but not many trust this current side’s ability to compete among the best in the opening weekend of the CDL.
A team with players of this caliber will likely be in fine form as they got more time under their belts – for example, SlasheR’s teams have had underwhelming starts for about four years running now – but heading into week one, they’ve not been playing how you would expect.
8. London Royal Ravens
Roster: Wuskin, Skrapz, Dylan, Jurd, Rated, Seany, Madcat
London is a team that has elite-level players with a huge ceiling of potential. Skrapz and Dylan were top-tier in Black Ops 4, while Wuskin, Jurd, and Rated have all proven in the past that they’re able to compete among the very best.
Although they don’t seem to have set the world alight like other teams in the weeks since Modern Warfare’s release, London has been splitting maps with top teams in scrims – so we may see them way higher than 8th in the next few months.
7. Seattle Surge
Roster: Karma, Enable, Octane, Slacked, Apathy, Pandur, Proto
Seattle Surge is a side that, on paper, should be hovering around the top. Each player has a history of winning and has experienced periods of dominance in their career, including Enable and Octane’s 100 Thieves side arguably peaking the highest of any team during the Black Ops 4 season last year.
While initially, they looked better than some teams that are above them on these rankings, others have managed to pick up their efforts a lot and currently look to be a stronger side than Seattle.
6. Florida Mutineers
Roster: Prestinni, Maux, Skyz, Havok, Frosty, Maniac, Atura
Florida Mutineers seem to be a team ready to take the world by surprise. At the start of the season, they were commonly regarded as a team made up of “the best of the rest.”
They didn’t have some of those star names that you see on other teams, but they seem like they’ve got a chip on their shoulder and a big point to prove.
5. New York Subliners
Roster: ZooMaa, Temp, Accuracy, Zer0, Attach, Censor, Happy
From what we’ve gathered, most pro players consider New York to be a top-five team. They seem to be part of a bubble of teams that aren’t quite as good as the top three, which seem to be undisputed at this point in time, but are notably better than their competition.
This doesn’t exactly come as a surprise: the players on this team, and the coaching staff they have supporting them, seems like a great mix of talent and experience with a winning mentality. All they have to do is break the barrier between themselves and the higher competition.
4. Minnesota Røkkr
Roster: Assault, GodRx, Silly, Alexx, Asim, Exceed, TTiny
Minnesota look, without a doubt, like they’re going to be the surprise of the season. Hosting the rest of their CDL opponents on the opening weekend, Minnesota will be looking to prove that their online success is no fluke and give the home crowd something to cheer for.
This is a team that not many foresaw being formidable opposition ahead of the CDL, but most teams now consider them to be one of the best in Modern Warfare. The question is, will they keep it up?
3. Chicago Huntsmen
Roster: Scump, FormaL, Arcitys, Envoy, Gunless, MboZe, General
Chicago Huntsmen are almost unanimously agreed upon as the third-placed team at the time of writing. Their two biggest opponents seem to be way ahead of them, but they, in turn, are clearly better than the rest of their opposition.
Despite not always winning convincingly against seemingly-inferior opponents, Chicago have cemented their spot as one of the best teams in Modern Warfare – they just have to learn how to counter the top two. With the likes Scump, FormaL, and Gunless on the team, the sky is the limit for the Huntsmen.
2. Dallas Empire
Roster: Clayster, Shotzzy, Huke, iLLeY, Crimsix, Tommey, Tisch
Dallas Empire kicked off the Modern Warfare preseason tournaments with a string of dominant results, winning any online tournament they entered and looking seemingly untouchable.
Any questions surrounding iLLeY and Shotzzy’s ability as players were quickly answered, as they showed that, despite never competing at the pro level in CoD, they could hang with the very best. Before long, though, it became clear that there was one team capable of beating them – and dominating in every sense of the word.
While the youngsters are setting the world alight for Dallas, the experience of two of Call of Duty's greatest champions, Crimsix and Clayster, will surely be an asset when the LAN matches get underway.
1. Atlanta FaZe
Roster: aBeZy, Simp, Cellium, MajorManiak, Priestahh, JurNii, GRVTY
Atlanta FaZe seems to be a near-unanimous number one as things currently stand, with pro players and fans alike making note of their dominance online. Although closely-contested by Dallas Empire, in the weeks leading up to the event we’ve seen a number of community members, from pros to casters, speak about how insanely talented this Atlanta roster is.
It has also been reported that over the Christmas period, Atlanta went on a 92-1 map winning streak in scrims which, even though it’s online and not LAN, is still a truly ridiculous figure.
It's hard to look past the name of Simp, the MVP of the Black Ops 4 World Championship, when discussing FaZe's roster, but aBeZy and Cellium have also been setting the world on fire in scrims according to multiple sources.
The real competition starts in Minnesota
Of course, LAN play is an entirely different beast, and scrims don’t always show the whole picture since they’re only practice. By the end of January, it may be clear that a team like London or OpTic Gaming is far better than they’ve been given credit for, or Chicago not as strong as we initially thought.
One thing is certain, though: in the first year of franchising in Call of Duty, these teams have a lot to fight for and need to prove their worth, with the competition as high as it’s ever been.