CDL 2023 Mid-Season Hot Takes

As we approach Major III for the 2023 CDL Season, you realize a lot has changed since the year kicked off on December 2. NYSL and Atlanta FaZe took home the first two Majors of the year, and team’s are gearing up for the next LAN tournament that will be hosted by OpTic Texas. Now is a great time to look ahead and make some spicy predictions for the rest of Modern Warfare II. Lordjosh and PescaroDB have teamed up to provide fans with 10 hot takes that are sure to turn some heads.

#10. “Vegas qualify for Champs” – LordJosh

The Legion haven’t really done anything in the CDL since Modern Warfare but MW2 has certainly been their most promising season to date. Managing to recruit 3 time world champion Clayster was a huge bonus for the newly relocated organisation. Vegas currently sit 9th in the standings, 30 points off 8th place but are currently looking to secure Winners Bracket in Stage 3 for the first time in the CDL era.

Since bringing in 2ReaL they have seemed to improve a bit in respawn and have maintained a strong SnD presence. A strong result at Major 3 will put them right back into the mix and we could possibly seem them qualify for Champs.

#9. “NYSL peaked at Major I” – PescaroDB

There’s no denying how impressive the MWII season has been so far for the Subliners. HyDra is playing like the MVP-caliber talent that we all thought he would become and that led to a victory at Major I in Raleigh, NC. Fast forward to the final weekend of Major III Qualifiers and the results haven’t exactly held up. Looking over their last six matches dating back to Major II, they have struggled to perform their best against other top contenders. The only win came against the Minnesota ROKKR in 3-2 fashion whereas they have been swept in two different series by the LA Thieves and Toronto Ultra respectively.

Although they hold a winning record in Search and Destroy (15-14 Overall Map Count), it is by far their most inconsistent game mode. The Subliners have to improve at SnD if they want to defeat other top performers across the CDL and prove that Major I was more than a one off.

#8. “LA Thieves break the Champs Curse” – LordJosh

The Champs Curse is a well known thing. No team since Complexity back in the Ghosts days have won an event after winning the Call of Duty World Championship. The most notable victims of this are the legendary OpTic dynasty roster and the imperious Atlanta FaZe roster from Cold War who could not manage to secure a victory in Vanguard.

This so called curse cannot go on forever and I think LA Thieves will be the team to finally break through. LA Thieves are coming off a 2nd place in Boston where if not for a miraculous aBeZy clutch the result could’ve been very different. I’m backing them to get over the line and secure a tournament victory possibly in Texas as they continue to look like a really strong team.

#7. “OpTic will win their first Major without Scump this season” – PescaroDB

I’m sure this take is gonna lead to a few laughs or “OpTic Fanboy” accusations, but hear me out. After a disappointing performance at Major I, the season has been a rollercoaster to put it lightly. Numerous rumored and official roster changes have taken place since the team originally decided to “run it back” with the Vanguard squad with the most glaring being Seth “Scump” Abner announcing his retirement after 14 years of competing.

As it currently stands, the OpTic roster consists of Dashy, Shotzzy, Huke, and Ghosty. On paper, the roster doesn’t really stand out with an inexperienced rookie and an SMG that has played for 3 different franchises since winning CDL Champs in 2020. With three matches under their belt, I am willing to put it in writing that this squad will be the one that gets the first Major victory in the post-Scump era. The reunion of Shotzzy and Huke has proven to be dynamic and we all know what Dashy is capable of during any given series. Ghosty has been added to a roster that has experience winning on LAN and after winning the Challengers Open at Major II, we have seen what he can do when it comes to in-person competition too.

#6. “Minnesota blow it up” – LordJosh

Minnesota have seen ups and downs so far in MW2 and they are in the lowest moments right now. A disappointing showing in Raleigh after a dominant showing in the online qualifiers was followed by an impressive run in Boston. The wheels did seem to completely come off the RØKKR Train as they choked a 5-3 lead in Game 5 against Atlanta FaZe to qualify for the Grand Final and have yet to win a series since.

A change seems likely but it is difficult to predict who. Cammy has had a difficult season on the whole, Afro has dropped off in Stage 3 after a ridiculous start, Bance showed forms dating back to Black Ops 3 at Major 2 and Attach has not really replicated his Vanguard form. With a Challengers roster stacked with talent who’ve been performing well and many impressive Free Agent names I expect Minnesota to make a change or risk dropping back into the race for Champs Qualification.

#5. “iLLeY and Standy won’t play in the CDL again this season” – PescaroDB

This particular take has a lot less to do with the talent of the players themselves and way more to do with the way other roster situations have been handled this season. iLLeY is currently a Restricted Free Agent for OpTic Texas and Standy finds himself in a similar spot with the Toronto Ultra. Both were replaced by Challengers players (Ghosty for iLLey, Hicksy for Standy) but neither of them were outright released by their current teams.

Assuming that both would have to be acquired in exchange for a hefty buyout, it is unlikely that another team calls up OpTic or Ultra looking to acquire them. Challengers has also been producing a lot of talent this year and is an easier route to go for a team looking to make a roster change mid-season. It also is unlikely that we see either iLLeY or Standy return back to the starting rosters of their current teams as both have hinted at strained relationships with their teammates on Twitter. Both are talented in their own right and it will be interesting to see whether they ultimately decide to compete in Challengers for the rest of MWII.

#4. “The first ever European MVP” – LordJosh

Europe has always been the little brother in the history of Competitive Call of Duty. Consistently seeming to fall short when it matters, a full European roster has only achieved victory at a Major event on 3 occasions. However the new generation of European players are starting to come in and the man leading that charge is the French Phenom himself HyDra.

Since his CDL debut in Cold War theirs always been something different about watching HyDra. Maybe it’s the way he takes gunfights or the smoothness of which he seems to play the game but it has never been more evident than in Modern Warfare 2. Maybe it’s the European bias in me but I’m packing the Frenchmen to lead New York for the rest of the season and become the first EU player to ever win Most Valuable Player.

#3. “Complexity will buy the LAG franchise spot when the season ends” – PescaroDB

I will preface this one by saying that I have ZERO inside information on whether or not this is something that is even in consideration. With that out of the way… it’s hard not to point out just how great of a fit that Complexity would be for the Call of Duty League. The organization already has a rich history in Competitive COD history and won COD Champs during the Ghosts season with a roster of Crimsix, Karma, TeePee, and Aches. It’s highly unlikely that LAG will remain a team in the CDL following the MWII season which means a franchise spot will be up for grabs.

Complexity has the ownership, credibility, and financial backing that would ensure that this move is able to take place. The CDL would benefit from another top tier organization like Complexity joining the league as it would bring more attention to the scene based on name recognition alone as well as with the support of big-time Content Creators including Tim The Tat Man and Cloakzy. The organization that is under the same ownership as the Dallas Cowboys even have their own facility where they could host Majors, the Lenovo Legion Esports Center. Maybe it’s just nostalgia getting the best of me, but the potential for a “Complexity Dallas” franchise is within the realm of possibilities.

#2. “Seattle throw a spanner in the works” – LordJosh

It seems almost written in the stars. The Australian Assassin, The Thunder from Down Under will play in Green. Fans are almost signing the contract for him already. Pred himself has expressed his desire to play for OpTic and the admiration from the Greenwall is also well documented.

But what if the script has a different future in store? What if Seattle Surge regain their form that we all know they can produce, if they make the run at the final event of the season and bring back the Rings to the Emerald City. What happens then? Does Pred still leave Seattle despite this victory? Does he run it back once again with the Surge and crush the hearts of OpTic fans all over the world? Only time will tell what the season has in store for us but it would certainly be an intriguing scenario.

#1. “CDL will switch over to YouTube before COD Champs… if they don’t get more sponsors for the league” – PescaroDB

The take that absolutely no one wants to hear, but I am 100% confident in being the truth. Viewership has been at an all time high for Competitive COD since switching over to Twitch after the exclusivity deal with YouTube expired. Both the main channel and watch parties from the likes of Scump, Methodz, and more have contributed to more eyes on the CDL than there ever were while the League was being streamed exclusively on YouTube. Regardless of the impressive viewership statistics, the league has been noticeably quiet on the topic of sponsorships.

We all have seen the GMC EV commercial about 1000 times now, but can you think of any other brands that are currently sponsoring the Call of Duty League? It’s not that long ago that you were seeing companies like Zenni, USAA, Mountain Dew, and Astro as part of the regular stable of sponsors. For reasons unrelated specifically to the CDL itself, sponsors have backed out of being associated with the Activision owned Esports league which has lead to a decline in revenue.

Sponsorships play a huge role in the world of Professional Sports/Esports business that most casual fans are unaware of. If YouTube is willing to make a sizeable offer to the CDL in order to reacquire the exclusive streaming rights, the deal will surely go through. The CDL needs money in order to continue operating and if sponsors aren’t being signed on, they will have no choice but to ditch the “Purple App” that has provided the most successful viewership to date.

Author: PescaroDB

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