The Call of Duty League is set to get underway very soon, with the CDL Kickoff Classic finished and teams showing what we can expect in the coming season.
The return of the Call of Duty League means the return of Dexerto’s power rankings, tracking each team’s performances and highs and lows throughout the season.
While the inaugural 2020 season of the CDL saw teams like Dallas Empire and Atlanta FaZe dominate, fans will be looking to see more sides stake their claim as best team in the game throughout Black Ops Cold War.
With the roster shuffles that occurred during the Call of Duty League offseason, some teams are looking much better off — while others may struggle to find their feet. We’ve considered 2020 performances, our limited information on scrims, team potential and the CDL Kickoff Classic to come up with our pre-season power rankings.
12. Seattle Surge
Different Seattle, but no extra Surge
Despite some roster changes that look to be a positive for the team, including the acquisitions of Gunless and Prestinni, Seattle don’t look to be much better off now than they were last season.
On paper, the squad has a limitless skill ceiling, but it seems something still isn’t clicking and it’s an uphill battle for this squad to become legitimate contenders.
11. LA Guerrillas
Close victory over Seattle may spell struggles?
Featuring three of the four 2018 world champions, LA Guerrillas have some clear firepower on their team, but none of these guys have experienced much success of late.
Apathy had a strong showing at the CDL Kickoff Classic, and him performing well could be key to their hopes of becoming true championship contenders. That said, there’s some way to go for these guys to challenge the best.
10. Paris Legion
Bizarre, but it just might work…
For many fans, this Paris Legion squad doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, a group of players that not many would have put together given the choice.
That said, it doesn’t seem as though they’re struggling like some expected them to. They’ve looked decent in scrims and clutched a 3-2 win over London Royal Ravens at the CDL Kickoff Classic. But we’ll have to give them more time to really judge where they’ll bed in.
9. New York Subliners
ZooMaa’s retirement could spell disaster
New York Subliners were hit very late with the announcement of ZooMaa’s retirement, as well as an ongoing battle to get French star HyDrA into the US thanks to visa issues.
As such, the squad is hard to rank right now — but we expect them to improve over time and find themselves moving into the upper half of the rankings.
8. London Royal Ravens
Zer0 chance of proving themselves without Trei
London Royal Ravens are having a bit of a tough go of things right now, with Zer0 still stuck in the UK and seemingly unable to find a temporary replacement in the US to fill his spot.
- Read More: CDL 2021 Stage 1 groups announced
If they manage to get Zer0 out to the States and get some proper practice in, London could become a serious dark horse side. They lost a close 3-2 to Paris Legion at the Kickoff Classic, but it’s hard to tell whether that’s a fair appraisal of London’s ability.
7. Toronto Ultra
Huge dark horse potential in Toronto
On paper, you wouldn’t look at this Toronto Ultra squad and expect much from them, but they’re all players who have flown under the radar despite proving their insane talents over the years.
If the CDL Kickoff Classic was anything to go by, Bance is in for a serious year, and he could be the key to moving Toronto up the standings.
6. Minnesota RØKKR
On the fringe, ready to win
Similar to last season, the RØKKR look primed to cause some upsets at the opening events, and their close 3-2 win over Toronto Ultra suggests the ‘Battle of the North’ will rage on into this season as it did the last. These two teams look neck-and-neck, but RØKKR’s win puts them ahead of the Ultra.
While last year, the team slowly fizzled out as the season went on, the new roster has made some serious pickups. As a product, their strong start during the Kickoff Classic has put them in good stead.
5. LA Thieves
Stealing top spot is possible for this squad
LA Thieves had a rough go of things at the CDL Kickoff Classic, with a 3-0 loss to OpTic Chicago that really never looked to be going any other way.
That said, they’re full of talent and their fellow pros clearly rank them quite highly — we just need to see them get some competitive wins before we put them any closer to OpTic or Dallas in our rankings.
4. Florida Mutineers
Can they be the best team in the game?
Florida Mutineers suffered a horrendous setback prior to the 2021 season, starting with the sad and sudden loss of standout talent and person, F3ro.
While a phenomenal player, Florida look set to make him proud this season, and could push themselves to enter the championship conversation if they continue to improve. A 3-2 win over Atlanta FaZe at the Kickoff Classic suggests that another potential frontrunner is on the cards.
3. Atlanta FaZe
Rough start for world championship contenders
Atlanta FaZe were perennial runners-up for much of the 2020 season, often considered the best team in the game… But when it came to the events that really mattered, they fell short at the final hurdle.
Nonetheless, bringing over Arcitys from Chicago will no doubt elevate the Tiny Terrors, and they will continue to find themselves challenging top teams at each Major this season. Don’t expect to see them losing too much this year, despite their loss to the Mutineers.
2. OpTic Chicago
Forced to settle with 2nd… for now
OpTic are back with H3CZ and Scump, and they’re finding the results that the brand has become associated with over the last decade of CoD esports.
They’re natural winners and are going to continue to challenge at the top, just like they did last year as the Chicago Huntsmen. The inclusion of Dashy to the squad seems to be key to OpTic, and if he can find his Black Ops 4 form, we’re looking at an MVP-caliber player.
1. Dallas Empire
The Empire remain on top
It would be impossible to put the Dallas Empire anywhere except first right now. They’re the reigning world champions, are performing well in scrims and made short work of New York Subliners at the CDL Kickoff Classic.
By all accounts, it looks like we should be preparing for another big year for Dallas — and these guys won’t relinquish their hold on the top spot too easily.
So, those are our pre-season power rankings for the Call of Duty League 2021 season. The likes of Dallas Empire and OpTic Chicago will likely hover near or at the top for much of the season, but it will be interesting to see which teams can become their closest competitors.
The first official event of the 2021 season is the Atlanta FaZe Home Series on February 11-14, and that will be when teams really put their hard work over recent months into practice and prove how good they are.