The 2021 Call of Duty League Championship Weekend is now finished, with one player writing their names in the history books by adding themselves to the prestigious list of CoD World Champions.
Everything changed for Call of Duty fans following the 2019 CWL Championships, with the esport moving to a franchised model that saw 12 teams purchase a place in the newly-minted Call of Duty League. While the majority of the 2021 season was played online, the last two majors and Champs were held on LAN.
With Atlanta FaZe dominating most of the season, they entered CDL Champs as a heavy favorite. However, Major 5 winners, Minnesota ROKKR were looking to go back-to-back after they pulled off the greatest reverse sweep in CoD history.
On the first day of matches, the Dallas Empire got off and running with a statement win over the Major 5 Champions. Also, in Clayster’s return to the starting lineup, the New York Subliners were able to shock OpTic Chicago sending them to the loser’s bracket. Unfroatnely, the the Florida Mutineers and LA Thieves saw their 2021 season come to an end with a quick exit.
With six teams remaining heading into day two, the intensity started to pick up. With FaZe and Empire punching their tickets to the winner’s finals, four teams were sent to fight for their survival. Tornoto Ultra and ROKKR prevailed in the loser bracket sending OpTic and NYSL packing.
The winner’s final was nothing short of domination from FaZe, they took down Dallas 3-0 and moved onto the Grand Finals. On the other side of the bracket, Toronto was looking to bounce back after collapsing at Major 5. They were able to run it back, defeating ROKKR 3-2 and then Empire 3-2, to set up a date with FaZe for the trophy.
Even though FaZe came through the winner’s bracket they received no advantage in the championship against Ultra. The EU roster was able to jump out to a quick 1-0 lead, but FaZe responded with an insane round-11 victory on map two. They would then extend their lead with two convincing wins on Control and Hardpoint to take a 3-1 lead. Ultra traded a few punches with FaZe, taking two of the next three to only find them down 3-4. However, FaZe shut the door on Apocalypse Hardpoint, becoming CDL Champions.
This was the second Champs win in three years for Simp, aBeZy, and Arcitiys who all are two-time World Champions. However, Cellium joined this elite club, winning his first ring, and adding his name to the incredible list of 26 players who have won the big one. You can check out every Call of Duty World Champion below.
1. Karma – 3x
When you think about three championship rings, it’s hard not to immediately jump to Damon ‘Karma’ Barlow, one of the most decorated CoD players ever, and the first man to win three Call of Duty World Championships.
The Canadian won his first ring back in 2013 with Fariko Impact and went back-to-back in 2014 with a dominating victory with Complexity. Karma had to wait three more years to get his third and final ring so far as part of the ultra-popular OpTic dynasty squad, but after disappointing World War 2 and Modern Warfare seasons, he called time on his legendary career in June 2020
2. Crimsix – 3x
Dallas Empire’s 2020 victory means Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter joins long-time teammate Karma on three championship rings and marks the first time he has won one without the Canadian.
The pair teamed up for Complexity and OpTic’s triumphs, however, following their split heading into the 2020 season, Crimsix found new success with young guns Huke, Shotzzy, and iLLeY, while reuniting with Clayster.
3. Clayster – 3x
It seems like championship victories are like busses for James ‘Clayster’ Eubanks. He waited 1,400 days for a major tournament victory, but two Call of Duty World Championships have arrived back-to-back for the fan-favorite, cementing his legacy as one of the game’s true greats.
Clayster lead the Denial Esports pack to their 2015 Advanced Warfare title and ended his four-year drought with eUnited in 2019 against 100 Thieves. Reuniting with former Complexity teammate Crimsix, Clay now has a third ring to add to his finger, marking a true renaissance in his career.
4. ACHES – 2x
Patrick ‘ACHES’ Price is a controversial figure in the Call of Duty scene, but there’s no denying his immense success. A two-time World Champion, ACHES was a constant during Complexity’s domination at the pinnacle of Call of Duty esports, and was part of the underdog Evil Geniuses squad who stunned the scene when they won the 2018 edition of CoD Champs.
5. JKap – 2x
Another two-time World Champion is Jordan ‘JKap’ Kaplan, winning back in 2015 with Denial Esports, and repeating the feat in 2016, on Team Envy. He has featured in a record four Grand Finals, coming up just short in 2013 and 2017.
Representing Evil Geniuses in 2019, JKap became the first pro player ever to finish in the top-eight of every Champs tournament up to that point, but 2020 marked the first year he missed out on the tournament completely after moving to OpTic Gaming LA’s bench.
6. Apathy – 2x
Bryan ‘Apathy’ Zhelyazkov rounds off the two-time champions on this list, having won in 2016 on Team Envy and 2018 on Evil Geniuses. He is famed for coming close to retirement before an incredible resurgence saw him add two championship rings to his collection.
7. Simp – 2x
After being named the 2021 CDL MVP, Simp was able to give FaZe its first World Championship, and give him a second ring.
Already boasting a strong reputation before he was even 18, Simp joined eUnited from their cadet team midway through the 2019 season. Simp was eU’s most important player at Champs 2019, helping the team to a championship while earning a much-deserved MVP for himself. Simp proved his rookie year wasn’t a fluke in 2020, making it all the way to the grand finals.
8. aBeZy – 2x
Few can match aBeZy’s talent, gunskill, and reaction time. Still very much a youngster in Call of Duty esports, aBeZy is already regarded as one of the better SMG players in the game.
The two-time champ took home the 2021 CDL Championship MVP in FaZe’s victory. In 2019, the young gun played a key role in eUnited’s first-place finishes at CWL Finals and Champs.
9. Arcitys – 2x
After leaving the Huntsmen squad to join FaZe, Arcitiys was quickly praised as the leader the team was missing. The AR slayer played a huge role in FaZe’s 2021 World Championship capturing his second ring.
eUnited would not have their 2019 rings without Arcitys. He didn’t always get the spotlight on eUnited’s star-studded roster, but everyone knew of his importance to the team. That importance showed at Champs 2019, as his stellar play in the Assault Rifle anchor role helped them win the whole thing.
Adam ‘KiLLa’ Sloss is a legendary figure in the Call of Duty scene, and was part of the Fariko Impact squad who took home the top prize in the first Call of Duty Championship back in Black Ops 2.
Chris ‘Parasite’ Duarte is a controversial figure among Call of Duty fans, but there’s no doubt he has one of the sharpest minds in the game. Parasite was part of the Impact squad that made history in Black Ops 2 and went on to play for teams like FaZe, OpTic Gaming, and Complexity.
Marcus ‘MiRx’ Carter was also a part of the Fariko Impact roster that won Black Ops 2’s World Championships. He was most recently a part of Orlando Reapers, but has not featured on a competitive team since January 2019.
Tyler ‘TeePee’ Polchow was a part of the fabled CompLexity roster that won the Ghosts World Championship in 2014. Since his retirement, he’s seen major success as a caster and analyst, as a coach for OpTic Gaming, and has become a full-time streamer thanks to his incredible skill at CoD battle royales Blackout and Warzone.
When you think about Dillon ‘Attach’ Price, it’s hard not to think about his incredible run as part of FaZe Clan, which spanned four Call of Duty titles. His association with the legendary organization came to an end at the start of the Call of Duty League when he joined New York Subliners, but his sole World Championship actually came as part of Denial Esports in 2015.
James ‘Crowder’ Crowder also won his ring on Denial in 2015 but decided to take a hiatus from playing until his return with FaZe during World War 2. Crowder went on to become one of the best coaches in the game, lending his expertise to 100 Thieves during their successful Black Ops 4 season, before returning to Atlanta FaZe to coach their young guns to second place in Call of Duty League 2020.
Austin ‘SlasheR’ Liddicoat won his ring in 2016 with Team Envy, then made it to the finals of the 2017 world championships with the organization. He also made the finals in 2019 with 100 Thieves, but came up just short against eUnited.
A truly dominant SMG player, Johnathon ‘John’ Perez won his World Championship in 2016, on Team Envy. He was also the MVP at the tournament, regularly putting up insane stats against the best teams in the world.
Seth ‘Scump’ Abner is regarded as one of the best SMG players of all time. He won his World Championship at the fifth attempt, at 2017’s Infinite Warfare tournament, to complete the ‘OpTic Gaming dynasty’.
Matthew ‘FormaL’ Piper exploded onto the competitive Call of Duty scene following his transition from Halo back in 2013. He won his ring at the 2017 CoD Champs and was also named MVP at that tournament.
Adam ‘Assault’ Garcia won the MVP award for his performances at 2018’s World Championship, as Evil Geniuses shocked the CoD community to take home the $600,000 grand prize.
Justin ‘SiLLY’ Fargo-Palmer was another member of Evil Geniuses’ 2018 Championship winning roster. Prior to that, he spent nearly 2 years on eUnited, where he experienced moderate success.
While he may not always put up the best stats, Prestinni played an important role for eUnited during their 2019 Champs victory.
Along with his twin brother Arcitys, Prestinni was eUnited’s longest active tenured player and brought the organization the game’s biggest crown in his final match for them. He went on to compete for Florida Mutineers in the CDL, before moving to Chicago Huntsmen to replace Gunless.
One of the most naturally gifted FPS players in the world, Huke’s skill across Halo and Call of Duty show just how good he really is. Regarded as one of the best players in Call of Duty since he burst onto the scene in 2015, Huke had found championship glory elusive before the Modern Warfare era, but finally earned the world championship his immense talents deserve with Empire’s 2020 CDL Championship Weekend victory.
Anthony ‘Shotzzy’ Cuevas-Castro is a history maker in his own right, becoming the first player to win world championships in multiple FPS titles. The 2018 Halo World Champ got off to a rocky start in his debut year as a Call of Duty pro, but the 2020 season quickly became the year of Shotzzy, putting on incredible performances as Empire won three Home Series events and the CDL title. To top it all off, the 19-year-old was crowned regular-season MVP, putting a stamp on his fantastic turnaround.
He may be Empire’s quiet man, but CDL teams quickly learned not to sleep on the 18-year-old, who was a major force behind the team’s run to the 2020 World Championship. The Canadian was predominantly a Search and Destroy star before he made the surprising move to the Envy-owned organization, but quickly settled into his new surroundings, pulling off incredible plays on the road to his first ring.
McArthur ‘Cellium’ Jovel, is known for his movement in-game. The youngster was a walking highlight reel for FaZe throughout the 2021 CDL Championship, leading the team with a 1.32 K/D. He becomes the only new champion this year, and could easily pick up another ring or two before his career ends.
Who misses out?
There are not that many noticeable absences from this list, given the fact that the overwhelming majority of big names have, at some point, won a championship.
Arguably the most noticeable are Brandon ‘Dashy’ Otell and Samuel ‘Octane’ Larew.
While relatively new to the competitive CoD scene, Dashy has quickly established himself as one of the best players in the world. His Maddox and Tempest skills saw him win CWL Las Vegas’ MVP, but unfortunately were not enough to help them win Champs in 2019.
Finally, Octane has been considered one of the best ARs in the world since the Infinite Warfare season, in which he invigorated Luminosity Gaming’s roster. He took these skills into the Black Ops 4 season, standing out on a strong 100 Thieves roster, and was the sole bright spot on a disappointing Seattle Surge roster. He now returns to the Thieves and will wield a deadly roster in LA.