Days after Dallas Empire made the shocking announcement that Cuyler ‘Huke’ Garland would be moving to the bench, former championship-winning teammate James ‘Clayster’ Eubanks has spoken up to defend the decision.
When news broke late on April 23 that Huke was being benched by the Dallas Empire, it caught the entire Call of Duty scene by surprise. The 21-year-old was holding his own throughout the first two stages, Empire was second in the overall standings, and they had just won a match that very day.
No one saw it coming, so naturally, the reception was a mixed bag of confusion and frustration. With Tyler ‘FeLo’ Johnson stepping into the starting lineup, nobody was certain what led to the sudden change.
Days removed from one of the biggest roster shakeups in 2021 and former Empire champion Clayster has chimed in. While there’s plenty of outrage with Huke on the bench, Clayster took the chance to defend his former team.
“It takes so much balls to do a change like Empire did,” Huke’s former teammate said on Thomas ‘ZooMaa’ Paparatto’s The Flank. “The fact that people are roasting them is insane.”
From Clay’s perspective, it’s a risky move, but they’re only doing it in hopes of improving. “They’re a top-three team trying to get better,” he stressed. They could have rested on their laurels but they want to reach that top spot yet again.
Moreover, he outlined plenty of other factors that would have made the shuffle worse. First of all, “they’re trying to do it with people they have under their umbrella already.”
By rotating FeLo into the mix, it’s not as though they’re replacing Huke with an outsider unworthy of the spot.
Empire is also testing the new starting four in “League matches. This isn’t a Major, this isn’t Champs,” Clay added. “They’re trying something out and they’re getting relentlessly roasted for it.
“In reality, it has to make sense from their point of view.”
While Empire’s initial statement did little to clarify the decision, ZooMaa quickly sided with Clay, outlining that “there’s probably so much more to it.
“There could be stuff going on behind the scenes. Sometimes you don’t know the whole story.”
Despite keeping things fairly close against the Stage 2 champions Toronto Ultra in their first series with FeLo, Empire ultimately suffered a 0-3 loss in the London Home Series.
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With barely a few days of practice together, both Clay and ZooMaa wants fans to “give them a bit more time” before properly judging the roster move.