OpTic Gaming Los Angeles' Thomas 'TJHaLy' Haly has appeared to leak changes to the Call of Duty League's playoff format ahead of their official announcement.
The inaugural Call of Duty League season has not been without its controversy. The move online has sparked debate over whether tournament wins should count, and the inclusion of Domination for the first time since CoD: Ghosts remains unpopular.
One team that has struggled to find its footing in the CDL so far is OpTic Gaming Los Angeles who, on paper, boasts one of the strongest rosters in the entire league. However, they have come away from 3 of 4 events without a single win, including the most recent Chicago home series.
OpTic Gaming LA's struggles have left them joint bottom in terms of CDL points, amassing a woeful 20 after four events. However, the current rule set states that 9th-12th in the overall standings miss out on CDL's Year One Playoffs.
- Read More: When is CDL Florida? Schedule, teams, more
This rule could be set to change though, with TJHaLy appearing to confirm that 9th to 12th place will simply start the playoffs in the Losers' Bracket.
"Chat saying 9 through 12 doesn't go [to playoffs], they changed the format," he said, in an April 30 Twitch stream. "9 through 12 start in the Losers' Bracket. Wait, did they [the Call of Duty League] ever make that public? Oh, well now you know."
There was a mixed response to the news of the format changes. Some fans were pleased that struggling teams will get another chance to redeem themselves. However, others argued that the change makes CDL points worthless given that every team will be present at playoffs, regardless of total CDL points accumulated.
Despite TJHaLy essentially confirming the format change, it remains unconfirmed until an official announcement is made by the CDL. It's unclear how pro players feel about the change but, given OpTic LA's struggles so far, TJHaLy's team appears set to be given a chance to prove themselves when the CDL reaches its climax.
Update - May 1, 11:52 EST.
In response to the leaks becoming public, Dallas Empire's James 'Clayster' Eubanks has explained why, even with the new format, seeding remains so important.
"Since it got leaked already, there is a point for all of these league matches," he said. "At Champs/Playoffs, 1/2 seed get a two round bye, 3/4 get a one round bye, 5-8 play each other first round in winners, and 9-12 start in losers. Huge to get a top seed, and huge to not start in losers."
Since it got leaked already, there is a point for all of these league matches. At Champs/Playoffs, 1/2 seed get a two round bye, 3/4 get a one round bye, 5-8 play each other first round in winners, and 9-12 start in losers. Huge to get a top seed, and huge to not start in losers.
— Empire Clayster (@Clayster) May 1, 2020
One fan concern following the leak was that being forced into Losers' Bracket was not a big enough punishment for poor performances all season long.
However, Clayster's reply emphasizes just how important form is to maintain throughout the whole season. Earning a two-round bye at a tournament as prestigious as CoD Champs would massively elevate a team's prize money and put them significantly closer to being crowned world champions.
We will continue to update you on format changes as they become available from the CDL.