After winning his third world championship ring with Dallas Empire, James ‘Clayster’ Eubanks finds himself without a team once again as the Call of Duty League moves to 4v4 gameplay.
It’s almost like clockwork at this point with Clayster: his accolades speak for themselves, as one of the most successful players in Call of Duty history, but it seems he is unceremoniously removed from just about every team he plays on, for any number of reasons.
This has never been more prominent now, though, as he’s forced to rebuild a team for the second time in two years, despite winning Champs in each of those seasons.
So, how does he do it? What are Clayster’s options to build yet another world-beating squad for the 2021 Call of Duty League season?
Join a successful team
It’s fair to say that, given how the last couple of years have gone for him, Clayster’s stock is going to be pretty high in the off-season.
He’s a proven talent that can more than hold his own in-game, so he shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a team to pick him up, regardless of the success they had in the inaugural CDL season.
So, he could join one of the sides that saw moderate success in 2020. Atlanta FaZe have a great group, but do they need a veteran player to come in and help them refine their gameplay? The most likely scenario right now seems to be that Atlanta will be looking to pick up an AR player, and he could fit perfectly. Alternatively, Clay could reunite with his old FaZe Clan teammates on New York Subliners as has been rumored, though that would mean making a decision on whether he is better for the team than current main AR Lamar ‘Accuracy’ Abedi.
Nurture the next generation of talent again
In the last two seasons, Clayster has taken four rookies to two consecutive world championship wins. That’s no easy feat, but it proves that Clay has an incredible eye not only for finding the best young talent, but teaching them the keys to success, too.
Obviously, that makes Atlanta a possible choice once again, especially given his success in Black Ops 4 with Chris ‘Simp’ Lehr and Tyler ‘aBeZy’ Pharris, but that’s not the only option.
Florida Mutineers is a squad made up of young players (albeit, not rookies), though Cesar ‘Skyz’ Bueno had a standout year as their main AR player so they likely won’t be looking to replace him. Alternatively, young-ish players on Minnesota, such as Alex ‘Alexx’ Carpenter and Obaid ‘Asim’ Asim might look to someone like Clay as the bridge between their current level and becoming championship contenders.
Squad up with fellow veterans
Another option Clay might choose to try out is squadding up with fellow veterans who know what it takes to win. His partnership with Ian 'Crimsix' Porter worked out this season, and although there aren’t many players that have been around as long as he has, there are proven winners still in the league just looking to prove they’re still worthy of being at the top.
The Huntsmen might look to someone like Clayster if they think he or Matthew 'FormaL' Piper could comfortably become a flex player, but he might also want to try his luck with some of the recently-released Seattle Surge players looking for redemption, especially with SMG players like Bryan 'Apathy' Zhelyazkov still able to put up decent numbers.
That said, there aren’t many players that could be considered ‘veterans’ in the CDL right now, especially since many of the top current SMG players — those an AR like Clay will be wanting to team with — are young, ‘cracked’ talents.
Save a struggling franchise
Calling any franchise “struggling” at this point may be a bit unfair, as we’re only one year into what is expected to be a very long-term investment. That said, a number of teams faced a multitude of hardships this season, without doubt, and could probably benefit from having a three-time world champion join their ranks.
Once again, we look to Seattle who underperformed in almost every way this season, though Clayster and Octane on the same team would be a monumental role clash.
Alternatively, there are two or three other teams that Clayster could help boost. One of those is LA Guerrillas, who will be looking to add some star power to their roster after earning only five series wins in 2020, and have a selection of players that could be a little more flexible in the role department.
Similarly, Paris Legion will want to see improvements, and having Clayster leading the multi-national squad could be a solid solution, and similar could be said for Toronto Ultra, although they were far more successful than Paris this season.
Another one that is a possibility, especially with twins Skrapz and Wuskin mentioning that their future with the team is in doubt, is London Royal Ravens. With Wuskin saying his chances of staying on the team are “looking slim,” the team will be on the market for a new main AR, and Clayster could definitely help the middling team reach the next level given his experience and expertise.
So, Clayster likely has plenty of options ahead of him. His stock will be high, and you would imagine he has generated a decent amount of interest throughout the CDL, but we’ll have to wait and see while teams try to navigate the move from 5v5 to 4v4.
Of course, it was only a couple of years ago that Clayster was talking about retirement. It’s not outside the realms of possibility but, given how the last two seasons have gone, we would assume he still has enough left in the tank to continue building his legacy.