Why Call of Duty League players aren’t using Sniper Rifles

Black Ops Cold War sniping gameplayActivision

The world’s best Call of Duty players haven’t been using Sniper Rifles in Black Ops Cold War but there’s a good reason behind it. Here’s why.

Sniper Rifles have long been a staple of the CoD franchise. Some of the biggest moments in competitive history have come as a result of the one-shot killing machines. However, they’re completely absent at the very highest level in Black Ops Cold War.

While the Call of Duty League hasn’t officially started it’s 2021 season, we already have a sense of how things will look at the first proper event. Thanks to early scrims and the Kickoff Classic, we’ve seen how matches play out with Snipers gone from the game.

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But why aren’t they making an impact? Why aren’t some of the most freakish aimers getting to flex their skills and produce more montage-worthy highlights this year? Let’s break down why snipers aren’t on display.

Sniper Rifles unofficially banned from competitive CoD

Black Ops Cold War sniping gameplayActivision
Snipers have been unofficially ruled out for competitive play in Black Ops Cold War.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand the difference between the official competitive ruleset and the unofficial Gentlemen’s Agreements (GAs). Each and every year, a formal list of competitive settings are implemented across the competitive scene. These are outlined by CDL administration and apply to all levels of play from the League itself to the Challengers scene.

Meanwhile, GAs are unofficial rulings that all professional players follow. These essentially allow for the best players to further balance the state of competition. Certain guns overpowered but not addressed in the proper ruleset? They’ll be GAd in a matter of days. Perks or various equipment making too much of an impact? GAs will have them pulled from the game in no time.

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These are mutual agreements among the world’s most experienced professionals. All players abide by the ever-evolving list of GAs.

With Black Ops Cold War thrust into the spotlight, it soon became apparent that Sniper Rifles were causing issues. While the weapons themselves are extremely accurate this year, with minimal flinch and high damage output, snipers themselves weren’t the root cause of the issue.

No smoke grenades, no snipers in the CDL

Black Ops Cold War smoke grenadeActivision
Smoke grenades are the primary reason why snipers aren’t currently in play.

It was primarily smoke grenades that led to all Sniper Rifles being GAd. Smokes have always been the main counter for snipers. Blocking key lines of sight essentially negates a powerful gun on the enemy team for a short period.

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This can set up the perfect window for a flank, allow your team to take a more aggressive position, or even help you sneak to the objective. Unfortunately, smoke grenades don’t quite work as intended in Black Ops Cold War.

Weeks in team practice and top-level scrims, players began noticing more and more issues with smokes. There is currently a game-breaking exploit that allows players to see clearly through smoke from certain angles. In fact, some players simply don’t see smoke whatsoever.

One player could think they’re completely masked by the smoke effect, while another instantly locks onto them and guns them down without a hassle. Naturally, with the equipment being a major exploit, it was soon added to the list of GAs.

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Shortly after, Sniper Rifles were added too. Without this piece of equipment to counter snipers, they were able to run wild on any given map. With one-shot kill potential, there needs to be some form of counter-play but it simply didn’t exist.

Will Sniper Rifles come back soon?

This choice wasn’t made overnight. Players experimented with various levels of restrictions before coming to this decision. From running snipers without any attachments to restricting them in specific game modes, everything was tested. It’s clear that if snipers could be in play, they would. Players are all for it with many of the biggest names calling out the ‘boring’ nature of CoD without them.

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“No snipes is boring,” Damon ‘Karma’ Barlow tweeted on January 24. “Totally understand why, but SND without snipes and smokes is a snooze,” Tyler ‘TeePee’ Polchow chimed in.

For the time being, it simply isn’t meant to be. Snipers without smokes to counter them would be near impossible to play against.

Until a fix for the one-way smoke exploit makes its way to Black Ops Cold War, don’t expect to see snipers back in effect. As soon as Treyarch resolves the issues, however, it’s entirely likely the fan-favorites make an immediate return.