How Challengers molded the new-look Florida Mutineers CDL roster

felo and capsidal with florida mutineers logoCall of Duty League

Florida Mutineers fell short in Major 3, falling to OpTic Texas. Despite succumbing to an early exit, the Mutineers showed encouraging signs after a turbulent start to the season.

Roster turnover often happens in the Call of Duty League, and finding all the right pieces is a constant struggle. To be successful in Modern Warfare 2, the best CDL teams have a dynamic SMG duo, dominant lead AR, and a role player capable of filling any role when needed.

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For example, Atlanta FaZe’s “tiny terror” duo of Simp and aBeZy on SMGs paired with Cellium and Slasher eviscerating enemies using ARs combines for a lethal lineup. Another example is OpTic Texas which relies on the SMG prowess of Huke and Shottzy and AR playmaking ability of Dashy.

Players of that caliber don’t grow on trees, so organizations have had to get creative in uncovering the next big thing. Florida Mutineers and other CDL teams started to pluck talent from CoD’s amateur division, Challengers.

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Florida Mutineers’ history of looking to Challengers talent

Florida MutineersFlorida placed top 8 at CDL Major 3.

Florida entered MW2 with a lineup of Michael’ MajorManiak’ Szymaniak, Javier Javier ‘Vikul’ Milagro, Carson ‘Brack’ Newberry, and Colt ‘Havok’ McLendon.

Vikul and Brack joined from Challengers, with the organization deciding to take a shot on two rookie talents. 2023 started slow, with the team dropping out early in Major 1 and 2, but it didn’t discourage Florida from utilizing the amateur talent pipeline.

Florida reshuffled the deck and dove back into Challengers, recruiting Kenyen’ Capsidal’ Sutton and Tyler ‘FeLo’ Johnson during Major 3 qualifiers. Both players are at very different stages of their careers, but they came from the same environment.

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Capsidal learns valuable lesson in rookie year and Challengers

Capsidal joined Boston Breach for the organization’s inaugural season in 2022 and showed flashes of immense talent. The team performed well but was not strong enough to keep the roster together. Cap dropped down into Challengers and clawed his way back up to a CDL spot.

“In my rookie year, I was just sitting there, going through the motions and learning what to do. Now coming in, I know what’s going on and how everything works, and I feel like I am better prepared this year.”

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He added, “In Challengers, you have to grind. Every day is a grind. There are tourneys every other week like it just makes you better at the game.”

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FeLo hungry for CDL success after Challengers grind

FeLo has been a part of the competitive CoD scene since 2014. Since the CDL formed in 2020, the reliable veteran has gotten two shots on a pro roster. In 2021, he spent eight months with the Dallas Empire, and in 2022 he had a short stint with Paris. He hopes his third stint in the league will go a bit differently than those outings.

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“I have done nothing but learn and take accountability for what’s gone wrong. What I am thankful about with this team is that this is the first time in the CDL that everyone on my team is genuinely listening to me as a leader and is willing to trust in what I do.”

Challengers puts everyone through the wringer. Cap and FeLo acknowledged the developmental league’s pros and cons in making them better overall players.

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“There is not a day off. You have an elite on Tuesday, an Elite on Wednesday, and a Challengers cup on Saturday and Sunday,” FeLo explained. “It’s like a nonstop cycle, and it becomes a lot, but the tourney reps and the Search & Destroy reps you get make you ready.”

Capsidal pointed to the LAG Academy team beating FaZe twice during Major 1 and attributed LAG’s success to tournament reps.

“Tourney reps in Challengers is the biggest thing. Even at the Pro-Am, you saw LAG Academy. They had the most tourney reps in the game out of any team worldwide, and they beat FaZe in both Hardpoints.”

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FeLo agreed and claimed, “Going into CDL this year, I just feel so far ahead compared to these people. Like even New York, they just won a major, and in respawns, we kept up with them, and we are a brand new team.”

All of the puzzle pieces didn’t fall into place for Florida at Major 3. However, keep an eye on a hungry Mutineers roster heading into the Major 4 qualifiers with an entire stage of experience under their belts.

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