Explaining how the Dallas Empire made their roster change for CDL 2021, Clayster revealed that Huke nearly quit Call of Duty to pursue Valorant so that the rest of the team could stay together.
The Call of Duty League shifted from 5v5 to 4v4 in the change to Black Ops Cold War in 2021. That forced a difficult decision on every single team in the CDL, but particularly so for the Empire, whose starting five were cohesive enough to dominate CDL Champs 2020.
Put between a rock and a hard place, the vast majority of fans and peers expected the Dallas decision to settle on two choices: James ‘Clayster’ Eubanks or Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter. With Cuyler ‘Huke’ Garland, Anthony ‘Shotzzy’ Cuevas and Indervir ‘iLLeY’ Dhaliwal forming a deadly core young trio known as “Xeo,” most believed that the Empire would need to choose one of the veterans to move on from.
In response to random fans on Reddit making baseless assumptions, Clayster explained that the process wasn’t so simple. In fact, Xeo was at risk of disbanding as Huke apparently wanted to quit CoD and pursue Valorant so that his teammates could remain together.
As Clayster reveals, team owner Mike ‘Hastr0’ Rufail hoped to put the decision in his players’ hands. As was already known, the organization tried to move quickly so that whoever was dropped would be able to have as much time as possible to secure a new team of their choice.
Once Rufail gave the players a chance to decide their roster for the next season, Clay shares a surprising anecdote about Huke, who is already an early MVP candidate in 2021: “Huke tried to quit and play Valorant or some s**t to let us four stay together.”
As should be no surprise, despite his best intentions, no one would let the standout SMG do so. “Obviously, nobody would let him do that (nor would I ever let him quit CoD to let me have a spot).”
As selfless as can be, Huke’s offer is evidence of the cohesion the 2020 Empire enjoyed. While fans are disappointed that the team had to split up, that decision was due to external factors and, for the time being, appears to have worked out favorably for all sides.
At the moment, both the Empire and Clayster’s New York Subliners are sitting at a comfortable 2-1 in the 2021 standings. On Friday, they’ll meet in-game for the first time since CDL Champs (and New York fans may end up hoping Huke wasn’t prevented from swapping to Valorant).