With Dallas Empire moving Cuyler ‘Huke’ Garland to the bench, the door was open for a new franchise to secure a superstar-level talent. Here’s why Matthew ‘Nadeshot’ Haag made it a top priority to lock the 2020 Call of Duty champion down for the Los Angeles Thieves.
When Empire announced its surprise roster shuffle on April 23, it quickly became one of the most widely-discussed shakeups of the year. Empire was still a top-tier contender and Huke wasn’t in any kind of individual slump.
As a result, possibilities were wide open for the 21-year-old slayer and just two weeks later, he’s found a new home in sunny Los Angeles. Replacing Thomas ‘TJHaLy’ Haly, Huke stepped right into the starting lineup for the recently revamped Thieves.
While fans were overjoyed by the news, it wasn’t an easy call by any stretch. Hours after the dust settled, Nadeshot reflected on the positives and negatives that came with such a monumental shift for his CDL franchise.
Benching TJHaLy “sucks” for Nadeshot
“Been trying to think of the right words after today’s announcement. I just can’t seem to get it straight in my head,” he said, evidently torn by the decision. “Roster changes are tough.”
Coming over from the 2020 OpTic Gaming Los Angeles team, TJ was a founding member of the fresh Thieves lineup. Six months into his tenure on the starting squad, however, and the ‘Iceman’ suddenly had to make room for a newly available Huke.
Forcing TJ to the bench “sucks,” Nadeshot admitted. Calling him a “friend” and someone talented enough to “compete on a starting roster,” he clearly has nothing but praise for the now benched player.
enough talent to compete on a starting roster today. It just sucks, plain and simple. At the end of the day, you just try & make the right decisions based off the the information that’s in front of you and hope it works out. A great day but sad as well. Hate this shit sometimes.
— 100T Nadeshot (@Nadeshot) May 5, 2021
“End of the day, you just try and make the right decisions based on the information that’s in front of you and hope it works out.”
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While it’s a “great day” for Huke and the future of the Thieves, Nadeshot labeled it a “sad day as well. Hate this sh** sometimes,” he added.
Huke couldn’t be passed up by the LA Thieves
Despite the emotional baggage that comes from benching a well-rounded talent like TJ, the LA Thieves CEO was quick to highlight how Huke makes it worthwhile.
“Huke is a generational FPS talent,” Nade said. With years of top-level experience across both Call of Duty and Halo, Huke has long been one of the hottest prospects in the console esports scene.
“He will go down as a Top 10 player all-time when everything is said and done. I truly believe that.”
With such a degree of confidence in Empire’s former champion, Nadeshot ensured that his team did “whatever it [took] to sign him.”
After an impressive showing at the Paris Home Series, the LA squad now sits comfortably atop Group B. They won’t have long to integrate Huke into the mix though, as their next match against the Subliners comes in just four days.