On Monday, April 5, LA Thieves announced that they would be benching Austin ‘SlasheR’ Liddicoat and bringing Zack ‘Drazah’ Jordan to the starting line-up for the CDL Stage 2 Major.
It was a roster announcement that pretty much nobody saw coming. SlasheR has been one of the best ARs in recent years, a consummate winner that brings everyone around him up.
Referred to as a ‘Michael Jordan mentality,’ SlasheR’s leadership style might lead to fallout, but he has a strong history of making teams work.
Now, as arguably the face of the Thieves franchise, he’s been benched. So what happens next?
Fight for his LA Thieves spot
Realistically, this is the most likely scenario. SlasheR isn’t the type of player any team wants to give up unless there’s serious money involved. With him and Donovan ‘Temp’ Laroda on the bench, LAT have a couple of stars ready to step in when needed.
- Read More: CDL 2021 Stage 2 Team of the Week & MVP
Ultimately, we wouldn’t be surprised to see SlasheR starting again by the end of the season. He’s the only true assault rifle player on that roster, and is one of the best at it too.
Traded to another CDL team
Of course, it’s possible we see SlasheR head to another team and try to help them find success. It’s clear the vibes have been off with the core trio of SlasheR, Kenny ‘Kenny’ Williams and Thomas ‘TJHaly’ Haly for some time, and a clean break could be just what they all need.
Here are some of the possible landing spots should a blockbuster trade be made with another Call of Duty League team:
- London Royal Ravens: Despite improvements between Stage 1 and 2, there is still much more to be made in the London camp. Sean ‘Seany’ O’Connor is a good player, but if SlasheR is a viable replacement, they’d be silly to turn that down. The main issue here would be the value of London’s trade options. Realistically, they will have to put a lot of money on the table to buy SlasheR out.
- LA Guerrillas: Adam ‘Assault’ Garcia has been arguably one of the weakest main ARs in the CDL this season. Could a move to his local rivals, reuniting with his Champs-winning teammate Bryan ‘Apathy’ Zhelyazkov, be on the cards? It’s something both parties could benefit from.
- Florida Mutineers: The Mutineers have one of the strongest AR duos in the CDL, but as Jonathan ‘Pacman’ Tucker and Ian ‘Enable’ Wyatt discussed on Reverse Sweep, a trade with LAT could make sense. Trading for Joseph ‘Owakening’ Conley — perhaps with some cash entering LAT’s pockets too — could make sense, and would definitely give the Thieves good trade leverage.
Watch now: The BLOCKBUSTER TRADE To Save LA Thieves’ Season
Of course, a trade seems unlikely at this stage. SlasheR’s stock isn’t as high as it once was, and a lot of teams have already made their desired trades. Not to mention the cost — whether it be traded players, fees or his contract — will be an incredible amount; one that other teams might not want to consider.
Play in Challengers
SlasheR in Challengers? We just don’t see it happening. If it does happen, it will definitely be a temporary measure, and we can’t imagine that environment being one that he will be willing to put up with.
We know, this sounds even more ludicrous, but just last season the veteran AR said he would consider retirement if this season was online again.
He himself has said in the past that he would consider retirement if CDL was played online this season.
— DEXERTO Call of Duty & Esports News (@DexertoIntel) April 5, 2021
It feels like an unreal possibility, but it’s a possibility nonetheless. Could SlasheR just be waiting for the return of LAN events before making his comeback?
Of course, there are a number of possibilities for SlasheR and LA Thieves going forward, but it will be interesting to see how each party reacts in the coming weeks, and how they look by the end of the season.