Seattle Surge announce Karma replacement following CDL retirement

Seattle Surge

The Seattle Surge Call of Duty League franchise has announced that veteran competitor Nicholas ‘Proto’ Maldonado will be taking the place of Damon ‘Karma’ Barlow, who announced his shock retirement on June 3.

The competitive Call of Duty community is still reeling from the stunning news that one of the greatest players of all time, Karma, has officially retired. However, business must go on for the Seattle Surge, who have already assigned a replacement.

Proto, one of the team’s two substitutes, will be slotting into the starting lineup for the rest of the 2020 season, starting from the Minnesota Home Series on June 12-14.

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“I would like to welcome Proto to the starting lineup,” tweeted coach Joey ‘Nubzy’ DiGiacomo. “He’s someone that I have worked with at the beginning of my coaching career, and I’m excited to work with him again throughout the rest of this season. Thank you all for the continued support.”


  • Sam ‘Octane‘ Larew
  • Bryan ‘Apathy‘ Zhelyazkov
  • Josiah ‘Slacked‘ Berry
  • Casey ‘Pandur‘ Romano
  • Nicholas ‘Proto‘ Maldonado

Proto - Twitter

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Of course, the Surge did have the option of going with Ian ‘Enable’ Wyatt, who was benched midway through the season, temporarily brought back, and demoted again midway through the recent CDL Seattle Home Series.

However, according to Joey, the team is “not in a position” to bring him back to the starting lineup, which is why they’ve opted to go with the only other player they had left on the bench.

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“Ian has been incredibly professional and understanding of [what] our team asks of him throughout this season,” the coach said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we are not in a position to have him join the starting lineup in the interim.”


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While he hasn’t won a major championship yet in Call of Duty, Proto has been around the competitive scene for several years now, featuring for organizations like Elevate, UYU, and Enigma6 Group.

Arguably biggest success so far came at the 2018 CWL Championship, where he and his Elevate team finished 7-8th after just edging out the vaunted OpTic Gaming for a spot in bracket play.

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He was announced, alongside Pandur, as the Surge’s two required substitutes prior to the 2020 CDL season, and he’s been on the bench since then. His first taste of CoD League action will be at the upcoming Minnesota Home Series, which was supposed to take place June 5-7 but was delayed by a week.