How we ranked the teams: a panel of 8 Breaking Point writers and staff evaluated how teams performed through the CDL Stage IV Major. The May 2021 CDL Power Rankings can be found here. Current CDL standings can be found here.
1. ATLANTA FAZE (30 – 4)
Previous Rank: 1 ()
CDL Points: 465 (+125)
In last month’s power rankings, we compared Atlanta FaZe to LeBron James. This time, Atlanta FaZe are the Warriors with Kevin Durant. In a return to glory, FaZe finished the stage 8-0, replicating their 8-0 undefeated sequence in Stage 1. Tested and true, they only dropped three maps during the entire stage en route to the Major finals against Dallas.
The team is so good that they can still win Majors even when one player can’t get it going. How many other teams in CDL can do that? That’s what happens when all four players on this team are legitimate MVP candidates. In our last MVP review, we gave the edge to aBeZy, but Simp has been lights out all year, and Arcitys had a monster Stage 3. This time around, it was MC’s time to shine. Cellium was announced as the Player of the Stage and was voted in by the community as the best flex player in the game.
Key Takeaways: Excluding the grand finals, FaZe were 10-0 in Hardpoints and 6-1 in Control. All four players were above above a 1.00 K/D in both game modes. Against any team outside of the Empire in the finals, they were dominant in respawn and turned around their 9-9 Hardpoint record in Stage 3. In the grand finals, it was ultimately FaZe’s Control dominance that gave them the edge over Dallas. FaZe won both Control maps after trading SnD’s and Hardpoints. Despite the scare that Dallas gave them on LAN, FaZe are unequivocally the best team in the League. The challengers have been vanquished, and only the king remains.
2. TORONTO ULTRA (22 – 14)
Previous Rank: 2 ()
CDL Points: 315 (+90)
Ultra started Stage IV with a game 5 loss to the Florida Mutineers. While there was some concern from Ultra fans, the team responded by rattling off 12 map wins in a row to top the group with a 4-1 record. Toronto displays some of the best teamwork in the CDL. Cool, calm, and collected comms have been a defining feature of this season’s team. In map 1 of Hardpoint Checkmate against Empire in the loser finals of the Major, not a single word was wasted. Ultra had one of the most dominant Hardpoints maps this season, winning 250-69. Unfortunately, they lost the series to Empire and lost another game 5 to end with back-to-back third place finishesin Major III and Major IV. Ultra are still a top team in the game, and arguably have the best AR duo in the League. During Stage IV, both Cammy and Insight had over a 1.10 in all three game modes.
Key Takeaways: Ultra’s best game mode was Control throughout the last two Stages. During the Major, they went 0-3 in Control and it was no longer reliable against top teams. Last stage, FaZe figured out Ultra’s SnD strats and were able to counter them (FaZe were 3-1 in SnD against Ultra at the Stage III Major). This stage, other teams have caught up in Control. The good news for Ultra is that are fundamentally sound on LAN. The “Bell Fiber” chants are gone, but in order to stay ahead of the competition, they must continue to evolve.
3. DALLAS EMPIRE (21 – 15)
Previous Rank: 5 (+2)
CDL Points: 320 (+90)
After all the speculation surrounding LAN performance, the Empire came out and showed that they were the true LANimals. Dallas once again found a way to sneak into the winner bracket during online pool play, but it wasn’t pretty. They were lackluster in respawn, going 4-4 in Hardpoint, and 2-3 in Control. Only Shotzzy was able to maintain above a 1.00 K/D in Hardpoint. On LAN? Empire had a positive W/L map count in every single game mode, and took FaZe to a map 9 in one of the more competitive grand finals we’ve had this year. It’s hard to know if the change in form is from LAN. We attribute the improvement more so to the addition of Vivid, who has become an integral part of the team, particularly in SnD.
Key Takeways: The Empire have bounced back after an abysmal Stage 3 that saw Huke transferred to the LA Thieves. They still have work to do to catch up to FaZe, but didn’t show any glaring weaknesses at the Major. They notched two wins against OpTic, and a win against Toronto Ultra. Are they peaking at the right time for the second year in a row? Last season, Empire hit top form towards the end of the year and won Champs.
4. NEW YORK SUBLINERS (21 – 12)
Previous Rank: 3 (-1)
CDL Points: 310 (+70)
Once again, NYSL and Clayster were dealt a tough hand. This time around, Asim was unable to attend the major due to visa complications. They brought on Decemate as a stand-in for the event. Unsurprisingly, there were some big issues. In the last two Stages, Hardpoint was been NYSL’s best game mode. During the Major, they went 0-5 in Hardpoint. Every player struggled during respawn, and the chemistry was clearly missing. Oddly enough, they went 3-1 in SnD, with Decemate and HyDra having impressive individual SnD performances. Mack hit MVP level form in Stage IV, but NYSL were unable to convert on a tournament win. The visa situation was extremely unfortunate for this team.
Key Takeaways: It’s difficult to penalize a team for a down performance with a stand-in player. They showed tremendous individual improvements throughout the stage. Mack was a force in respawn, and HyDra now has the #7 SnD K/D in the League (1.13). Even with Asim in the lineup, they lost 0-3 to Ultra in a match that decided the #1 seed in their group. Teamwork is the name of the game for NYSL. The team has a high ceiling, but has yet to hit that potential.
5. OPTIC CHICAGO (20 – 15)
Previous Rank: 4 (-1)
CDL Points: 270 (+70)
This stage, OpTic needed to prove that they could contend for a championship. The fans expected OpTic to step up for LAN, but it was another disappointing result. The reality has now set in: LAN was never going to fix OpTic’s fundamental teamwork issues. Longtime fans of the team will notice this year’s squad making the game hard for themselves. They don’t play together. They rely heavily on winning individual gunfights. Watching the minimap during OpTic losses, all four players are frequently facing four different directions, unable to trade each other out. Against the bottom half teams, OpTic can outslay and rely on superior individual skill. Against teams like Empire, those mistakes were glaring. One example from last weekend stood out in particular: against Empire, OpTic recorded 0 seconds of Hardpoint time on Moscow P2, one of the money hills, while Empire recorded 145 seconds. A differential of -145 seconds. That simply cannot happen. Even in the listen-in, FormaL emphasizes the importance of P2, yet OpTic never get into a proper set up and are instantly broken.
Key Takeaways: LAN did not make OpTic a better team. The issues that existed before LAN are still present with this team. Are they still a top 6 team? Sure. But they need to tighten up on mistakes and become more efficient on the map. These are some of the best players of all time. It’s hard to say whether they need a coaching change, player change, or even a drastic role change, but after 4 stages, we find ourselves repeating the same talking points on OpTic. A strong OpTic is beneficial for the entire League. Something needs to happen because these four players are simply too talented and skilled to continue placing outside the top three.
6. FLORIDA MUTINEERS (14 – 16)
Previous Rank: 7 (+1)
CDL Points: 120 (+50)
The Florida Men™. We still don’t know what to make of the Florida Men™ this season. They are consistently inconsistent. They opened Stage IV with a fantastic win over Ultra and exceeded expectations in group play, going 3-2. The team’s only losses were against NYSL and the Empire in game 5’s. Unfortunately, they lost the head-to-head tiebreaker against Empire and had to start the Major from the losers bracket. There, they easily dispatched LAG, but then proceeded to lose to NYSL, who were playing with a stand-in.
Key Takeaways: Florida won both Hardpoints against NYSL. Neptune looked great on LAN and against NYSL, but somebody please help the rookie! At a 1.36 K/D, he had the second highest K/D at the Major, behind only Octane (1.37). Florida can look fantastic against top tier teams, then fumble against weaker opponents. Earlier this year, the narrative around Florida was centered on getting Owakening help. Now that Neptune has come into his own, that is no longer an excuse for this team. They finished with positive map counts in all three game modes in Stage IV and finished top 8 in the major. The Florida Men™ clearly have the talent and can win against top teams—they just need to do it more than once a stage.
7. MINNESOTA RØKKR (13 – 15)
Previous Rank: 9 (+2)
CDL Points: 200 (+70)
Where are the RØKKR? They’re not in Asgard, they’re not in Hel, and they’re not on Earth. They’re on the Bifröst, traveling towards an unknown destination. After a shambolic Stage III, RØKKR fans were hoping for a return to Stage II form, but instead they landed somewhere in between. The move to bench Accuracy and reintroduce MajorManiak seemed to help, but the team hasn’t meaningfully improved. Even more surprisingly, RØKKR ran into SnD woes in Stage IV. Attach and MajorManiak both had poor SnD K/D’s during the stage, with a 0.52 and 0.88, respectfully. SnD used to be a failsafe for RØKKR. Win the SnD’s, and you can 2-3-5 your opponents. Now, against stronger teams, they are not winning in any game mode.
Key Takeaways: RØKKR only lost to two teams this stage: OpTic and FaZe. They lost to both of them in the group play, and then lost to them again in the Major. RØKKR went 4-0 against all other teams and were 9-2 in repawns, but were only 1-9 in respawns and 1-3 in SnD against OpTic and FaZe. They can consistently beat the bottom half of teams, but look thoroughly outclassed against the top teams. If RØKKR can show an extra gear in Stage 5, they could become a dark horse contender at Champs.
8. LOS ANGELES THIEVES (14 – 17)
Previous Rank: 6 (-2)
CDL Points: 180 (+10)
There is a common occurrence this season for the LA Thieves. They make roster changes which lead to disappointing results. During the Major, Huke experienced a typo on his COVID-19 test that put him on the bench. Drazah was called back up, and they lost in game 5 to LAG to get first rounded at the Major. SlasheR’s long awaited return to LAN was spoiled and after the constant team changes, the Thieves are scrambling. If they can stick to a roster for the rest of the year, they can try to put together a run at Champs.
Key Takeaways: Control was LAT’s worst game mode this stage. No player had over a 1.00 K/D in the game mode. SnD was one of LAT’s better game modes, but they got 3 out of their 4 map wins on Standoff. As other teams catch up, they may need to adapt a wider map pool. Thieves didn’t play Moscow SnD in Stage 4, and were a combined 1-5 on Miami SnD and Raid SnD. The same applies in the other game modes. If LAT can find a core four that they are committed to, they can improve, widen their map pool, and become contenders for Champs.
9. SEATTLE SURGE (7 – 20)
Previous Rank: 12 (+3)
CDL Points: 80 (+30)
After a winless Stage III, Decemate abandoned ship, and Surge were sinking fast. That trend continued through group play this stage, as they went 1-4 and finished at the bottom of the pool. They ended pool play with a high note—an impressive upset of OpTic Chicago in game 5 where they won their only SnD in group play. Octane had an MVP worthy performance in that match. At the Major, the Surge managed to beat London and Paris comfortably, but lost again to OpTic.
Key Takeaways: Surge earned back-to-back wins against Paris and London. It was the first time this season Surge won two games in a row. A small victory. As of right now, Seattle Surge are the best of the worst. Even though it was a better showing, their sluggish start to the year has them still tied for last in CDL Points (80). The team’s chances of making Champs are slim to none. Other teams (RØKKR, NYSL, LA Thieves, Mutineers) were quick to pick up fresh talent to try and improve. Those teams are all on track to make Champs. Instead, Surge stuck with the core roster, and it hasn’t worked out so far for the second straight year. If Surge go 5-0, win the Stage V Major, and Florida go winless in Stage V, then Surge can still make Champs. But don’t hold your breath.
10. PARIS LEGION (7 – 17)
Previous Rank: 11 (+1)
CDL Points: 90 (+30)
Paris Legion picked up Zaptius with hopes set on improving their SnD and Control. In group play, the Legion went 4-1 in SnD and beat the bottom teams in their pool. At the Major, the Legion ran into a determined Octane who dropped a 1.59 K/D in the series, dashing Paris’s hopes for redemption on LAN.
Key Takeaways: The last time this team strung together consecutive wins was all the way back in February. The Paris Legion roster was thrown together late into the signing period and has basically looked like a pickup team for much of the season. AR’s are more powerful on LAN, but even with 3 natural AR users on the roster, they lost to a Seattle team that they beat only a week earlier. Fire, their rookie prospect, did not pan out, and the Legion never revamped the team. They continue to make single player substitutions, when it’s clearly not a single player issue. There is almost no chance the team makes Champs. Is it time to throw up a Hail Mary?
11. LONDON ROYAL RAVENS (7 – 19)
Previous Rank: 11 ()
CDL Points: 80 (+10)
London finally were able to get their exciting young prospect, Afro, into the CDL. While he showed great flashes of skill at times, the constant team changes have hurt London’s chemistry. Alexx’s return was underwhelming, to say the least. London lost 9 maps in a row in pool play and only managed to beat LAG in Stage IV. Not quite as inspiring for Afro’s debut. At the Major, London lost to Seattle to finish in last place. However, in that series, Afro and PaulEhx showed moments of individual brilliance.
Key Takeaways: London may have the worst teamwork of any team in the CDL, even when you compare them to the other bottom four teams. On the other hand, they have some of the most exciting prospects to work with. Both Afro and Paul have shown that they can compete against the top talent in the league. With COVID restrictions subsiding, there is hope for next season. Even more talent awaits in Europe, and Champs or no Champs, the team has a few options available to them.
12. LOS ANGELES GUERRILLAS (8 – 20)
Previous Rank: 10 (-2)
CDL Points: 90 (+10)
LA Guerrillas have hit rock bottom. They are last in the power rankings. They were 0-11 in Hardpoint during Stage 4 and the highest Hardpoint K/D on the team was a 0.90. At this point in the season, not winning a Hardpoint over an entire stage is a hard pill to swallow.
Earlier this week, LAG decided to bench Chino for MentaL. This move prompted Nameless to take to the streets. The CDL analyst tweeted that the core three players (SiLLy, Assault, Apathy) on LAG may be protecting themselves from negative backlash after the successive benchings of Vivid and Chino. According to SiLLy, it was a management decision made without player influence. Whatever the case may be, MentaL will be getting his first chance at CDL action.
Key Takeaways: LAG did manage to pull off the 2-3-5 against LAT at the Major. Chino was the only player on LAG with above a 1.00 K/D in that series. It has been difficult to make sense of LAG’s roster decisions this season. And yet again, the Guerrillas are one of the worst teams in the League. At the end of the day, the fans are the ones getting truly monkey’d by the Guerrillas. The only glimmer of hope for LAG is that MentaL ends up being a star, like Vivid was last season! Then, they can build around him for next season before mysteriously benching him and trading him to a struggling top team. Shine on you crazy diamond.