How Dallas Empire became CDL championship contenders again

crimsix and illey for dallas empire at cdl stage 4 majorCall of Duty League

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Dallas Empire were the 2020 Call of Duty world champions, but throughout much of the 2021 season, they didn’t look at all like they could truly challenge again — until now.

Dallas were at no point a ‘bad’ team, so to speak. While Stage 1 went well for them, they spent several months floating around the upper-mid ranks of the power rankings, never quite looking as ferocious as they did in Modern Warfare.

Now, though, Stage 5 brought out the best in several teams, with both Dallas and OpTic Chicago now looking like they could truly challenge for championships again.

But what changed in the Empire camp to make that happen? As Andrew ‘Enigma’ Campion points out on Reverse Sweep Round 11, it boils down to a few key changes.

Shotzzy hitting MVP form

Shotzzy playing on stageCall of Duty League
Shotzzy will be looking to uphold his MVP form for Champs.

The arrival of Reece ‘Vivid’ Drost to the roster allowed his sub duo Anthony ‘Shotzzy’ Cuevas-Castro. With Vivid acting as the aggressive ‘dirty work’ player that Dallas needed, Shotzzy has been allowed to flourish once again and return to his 2020 MVP form.

For any team to be able to take on Atlanta FaZe, their sub duo needs to be able to go toe-to-toe with Simp and aBeZy — and Enigma thinks these two have it in them.

Clutch factor

One of the main things Dallas are doing now that they weren’t doing before is clutching up to beat their opponents. They’re winning matches by close margins, playing fundamentally sound Call of Duty to grind out wins, and this is especially apparent in Hardpoint.

This is a stark contrast to a team like Atlanta FaZe who, while they do play the fundamentals correctly, they’re better known for completely blowing out teams with displays of raw skill and slaying prowess.

illey dallas empire cdlEnvy Gaming
Illey has been criticized a lot this season, but he’s really finding his Champs form now.

Improved map pool in all modes

The best teams are often the ones who can perform on any map, as is clear with Atlanta FaZe. Dallas have taken huge leaps in expanding their map pool since the end of Stage 4, and it shows.

They’ve become more comfortable across all maps and modes, especially in Search & Destroy and Control, and this will be crucial going forward, especially if they reach the best of 9 grand final matches.

Enigma argues that Dallas are one of the only teams whose map pool is as expansive as Atlanta’s — and this could just see them over the edge.

Enigma goes on to discuss how Dallas have worked on their game in regards to playing the best teams, changing their strategies so as not to match the best but to counter them instead.

Whether this results in a championship is impossible to tell thus far, but they’re in a far better spot now than they have done throughout the rest of the season — and they’re peaking at the perfect time.