When it comes to Call of Duty esports, there is no one associated more with falling off of the map during competitive matches than Clayster, who’s been the target of many memes about it in the past, some even his own.
In fact, that association has become so well-known, that even top players from other major esports are using his name as a reference, like Team Liquid’s NAF at the Berlin Major.
Liquid and Astralis were locked in a heated battle in the quarterfinal round of the Champions Stage, with Liquid holding a 4-3 edge on the first map Vertigo.
Clayster himself later admitted that he was surprised NAF and some of the Astralis players were even aware of how falling off of the map has become his calling card over the years.
Fans did point out on Twitter that both NAF and Astralis’ Magisk had previously stated that if they had to pick another game to compete in, they would choose Call of Duty, which at least clarifies how and why they were aware of the comedic reference.
Paris Legion were the last team to announce their Call of Duty League roster and, while coach Dylan ‘Theory’ McGee tells us he’s confident in his squad, it’s hard to believe they made the most of their opportunity.
Don’t get me wrong: the players they’ve pulled together have all shown their ability throughout the course of their careers. These are players that have won championships in the past and competed at the top, as well as a young gun who, right now, is an unknown entity… But has looked more than capable of holding his own in the amateur ranks.
Paris Legion’s 2021 CDL roster
Ulysses ‘AquA’ Silva— AR
Nicholas ‘Classic’ DiCostanzo — SMG
Luis ‘Fire’ Rivera — Flex
Matthew ‘Skrapz’ Marshall — SMG
Dylan ‘Theory’ McGee — Coach
So Classic, Skrapz, AquA, and Fire will be donning the Paris colors heading into the 2021 CDL season — and this is definitely a roster worth talking about.
Paris’ slow decision-making was a huge talking point for both Call of Duty fans and players without a team. This begs the question: did the Legion miss a golden opportunity when constructing their roster?
Notably — and not unmissed by literally everybody involved with the CDL — Paris were the very last team to announce their roster. For a long time, it was unclear how long we would have to wait, with other teams already fully announced and scrimming to learn the game inside out.
While some were annoyed about the speed at which Paris were making their decisions, many of us saw it as the team taking a big opportunity to see which players were the best, waiting it out to find the form players and take advantage.
Lo and behold, that wasn’t quite what happened. With Challengers teams and individual players shining in Black Ops Cold War, the Paris roster seems to pale in comparison.
Coach Theory on forming Paris Legion
The reaction to Paris’ team was as expected. It looks very much like a group of misfits lumped together and told to make it work. While other CDL teams are formed with a mixture of cohesion and raw talent in mind, with partnerships that have been proven to work, this is one that has boggled the minds of fans.
Speaking exclusively with Dexerto, Paris coach Dylan ‘Theory’ McGee explained how he put together the team. “To me, I started with the best player available in my opinion which was Skrapz,” he said of the Brit. “From there, I wanted an AR who has competed with the best in Championship situations and Aqua fit that perfectly. He might be overlooked by the casuals, but his talent is unreal and I hope it gets displayed the way I think it will throughout the season.”
Explaining the acquisition of Fire, Theory had similarly high praise. “Everyone has taken notice of the swing in young potential the last few years, so we took a chance on the young gun Fire. His coachability and potential while only competing for six months was extremely impressive.”
Finally, Theory says that “nobody brings more to a team than Classic,” calling him a “proven winner on multiple titles and the ultimate role player and teammate.”
While McGee speaks so highly of his team, and it’s hard not to buy into his enthusiasm, there’s no denying that this is a mix of players nobody could have seen coming, and one that expectations aren’t set particularly high.
Theory (far left) knows what it takes to win championships, and hopes this Paris side can do so too.
Call of Duty League’s crushing pressure
Plenty of rumors have spread regarding Paris’ decision-making. In particular, the suggestion that they were simply looking to spend as little money as possible.
These four players are already on the back foot. While fans waited with bated breath before the Paris Legion announcement, they immediately wrote off this side once it came out — and the pressure was instantly on these players to prove their legion of doubters wrong.
They’re joining a franchise with a terrible record in its first season, and are already being looked at by many as bottom-of-the-pack fodder before the season is even underway.
In Activision’s Call of Duty League, we’ve seen how one bad season can impact a player’s career. Huge names such as Jordan ‘JKap’ Kaplan and Ian ‘Enable’ Wyatt retired after Modern Warfare, despite being top players previously.
And my fear is that one poor season with Paris Legion could be the icing on the cake for some of these players. So it’s important that this band of CDL castaways hit the ground running, to ease the pressure as much as possible.
The 2020 Paris Legion team had an extremely disappointing season, going months on end without a win.
What about the alternatives?
Perhaps the biggest cause for concern is that there were so many good, viable options in the run-up to Paris’ roster finalization. With all the time they had, so many of us expected them to simply scout out the cream of the crop that remained.
Similarly, there are a number of top pros sitting out that have arguably been more impactful than some of the Legion members of late. Skrapz’s brother Bradley ‘Wuskin’ Marshall had a solid Modern Warfare season — undeniably better than that of fellow main AR, AquA, who struggled to get much going with LA Guerrillas.
Zack ‘Drazah’ Jordan played for OGLA in the latter months of the 2020 season and helped turn that team’s fortunes around. He’s currently occupying the bench for LA Thieves, but surely he’s the exact type of up-and-coming star that could slot into a team such as Paris?
And if Paris were looking for viable slaying competitors from Challengers, Fire is a genuine talent and will have a great career ahead of him, but it’s unclear why he would be first choice. The WaR team of 2020 proved themselves as the best Challengers team in Europe. Surely the likes of David ‘Dqvee’ Davies and Marcus ‘Afro’ Reid would have been worth a call, if not that WestR side?
The former Atlanta FaZe Academy side, currently dominating Challengers as WestR, could definitely go toe-to-toe with CDL’s finest.
Paris Legion… The underwhelming underdogs?
This isn’t all to say that the Paris team will be bad. For all we know, they could turn out to be a sleeper team that storms the league. I for one quietly expect them to perform much better than the last Paris Legion iteration and turn a few heads in the process. Theory is similarly confident, hopeful we can “get back to LAN events where we can see players in their true form.”
That said, the amalgamation of talent on this lineup simply seems random with no clear identity to it. While Paris Legion could have brought in the best Challengers team on offer, they opted for a group that can’t provide much positive fanfare and set low expectations for the coming season’s performances.
Paris had the opportunity to make a nuclear signing and become the underdogs that Call of Duty fans love to cling on to. But instead, they picked up a roster that is similarly as uninspiring as the brand itself.