Top 5 Call of Duty League stars being slept on ahead of 2023 season

slept on cdl players 2023Call of Duty League

The Call of Duty League is almost upon us once again, as players and fans alike gear up to compete in Modern Warfare II for the 2023 season, but some players are flying under the radar as potential game-changers for their team.

With 12 teams and 48 players taking to battle throughout the league, there are always going to be some names that slip between the cracks, as the likes of Seth ‘Scump’ Abner, Chris ‘Simp’ Lehr, and Anthony ‘Shotzzy’ Cuevas-Castro steal the spotlight.

While we know what to expect from many of the top CDL stars, there are some that fans haven’t given too much thought to — and that could change very easily when they start to really pop off.

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Here’s who I think are the top 5 players that could seriously turn heads this season — or remind fans and opponents alike that they’re still very much a threat.

Eli ‘Standy’ Bentz

Standy playing at Call of Duty League LAN for Minnesota RØKKRCall of Duty League
Standy had an incredible rookie year in Cold War and will be hoping to bring that same level of performance to Toronto.

The number one player that fits this bill for me is Standy, who finds himself on Toronto Ultra for 2023 after a two-year stint on Minnesota Røkkr.

Standy had one of the biggest impacts on a team in CDL history when he joined Minnesota in the Cold War season, hitting the ground running with dominant performances against the very best teams in the game.

Vanguard wasn’t quite as successful for Standy, but that kind of talent doesn’t simply disappear, and with the right unit around him, Standy could very well take over matches and guide Ultra to victory, no matter the opposition. With high expectations on the team during preseason scrims, Standy will definitely be one to watch out for, especially alongside Danish star Tobias ‘CleanX’ Juul-Jønsson.

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Byron ‘Nastie’ Plumridge

This could really apply to any player on the London Royal Ravens, but Nastie is the main name that takes the cake here. Nastie hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations that fans had of him before his entry into the CDL, but there’s clearly a boatload of talent.

In Modern Warfare 2019, he was one of the greatest Challengers players in the game, a dominant SMG that looked destined to take on the best in the game in the future.

He’s struggled to live up to that, though, with inconsistencies on his London Royal Ravens teams and the squad’s inability to really get the ball rolling much at all. If he can echo his MW2019 performances in MWII, however, that could be set to change.

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Carson ‘Brack’ Newberry

Fans who were watching before the franchised CDL launched will be well aware of what exactly Brack can bring to the table. He was a breakout star in Black Ops 4, a top-tier AR that just needed some fine-tuning to make him a consistent force in the league.

Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t presented with similar opportunities to excel going into MW, stuck as a substitute on Toronto Ultra before finding himself stuck on the Challengers grind once again.

He became one of the most consistent top performers in Challengers and even won the Challengers Finals in August 2022, alongside multiple 1st and 2nd place finishes throughout the season. If he can bring that same prowess to Florida, the team could see more success than it has done since 2020.

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Thomas ‘TJHaly’ Haly

TJHaly has fallen far out of favor in the Call of Duty League in recent years. Once an exciting young prospect, then an accomplished winner, there has been a lot of slander targeted at ‘Teej’ over the last couple of seasons.

But, their argument often lacks context. TJHaly was a decent player in Vanguard: of course, he didn’t set the world alight, but he didn’t drag his Boston Breach side down either. He’s a smart player, and he knows how the game should be played, not to mention he wasn’t playing the do-it-all SMG role he’s excelled in throughout his career.

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It would be a lie if I claimed that I expect TJHaly to once again be a top-tier sub that’s going to drop 50 bombs in every respawn. However, he’s certainly capable of helping lead his team in the right direction, especially playing a role in helping Byron ‘Prolute’ Vera navigate his first full season in the CDL.

Travis ‘Neptune’ McCloud

Last on this list but certainly not least, Neptune is a player that has experienced the rollercoaster of highs and lows of Call of Duty esports more than most over the last 12-18 months.

neptune la guerrillasLA Guerrillas
Neptune will be looking to bounce back after a rough 2022 season.

After looking like a real star for the future at the end of the Cold War season under Florida Mutineers, he was picked up by New York Subliners for the 2022 season alongside Paco ‘HyDra’ Rusiewiez and three-time world champions Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter and James ‘Clayster’ Eubanks.

While this was supposed to be the making of Neptune, instead, it all went horrendously wrong. He struggled to find his footing, as the team failed to make any mark on the league at all, and was promptly dropped after Major 2.

He then became one of the consistently top performers in Challengers with a top 5 KD, and multiple top 2 placements, before being picked up by LA Guerrillas for Major 4. The talent is clearly there: he’ll just be hoping for it to show under a new-look LAG this season.

Be sure to tune in to the CDL Major 1 qualifiers when they get started on Friday, December 2!