The Paths of Most Resistance
Who has the toughest schedules for Major II Qualifiers?
With NYSL’s exciting victory at the Major I Pro-Am in Raleigh, North Carolina in the rearview mirror, it is time for teams to focus on the next stage of qualifiers. The road to Major II begins on Friday, January 13 (Warning: Spooky) and will be held over a typical three week span. Not all paths are created equal in terms of the level of difficulty each team will face leading up to CDL Major II hosted by the Boston Breach from February 2-5. Let’s take a look ahead at the four teams that will join each other on the path of most resistance.
#4. Las Vegas Legion
- Vs Seattle Surge (Jan. 13)
- Vs Boston Breach (Jan. 21)
- Vs London Royal Ravens (Jan. 22)
- Vs New York Subliners (Jan. 27)
- Vs OpTic Texas (Jan. 28)
Vegas has a lot to be happy about after their performance at Major I. They made it out of Group Play and managed to get into Loser’s Bracket Round 2 before being eliminated by the Subliners (who went on to win the Major). They can’t spend too much time thinking about their past performance as they certainly have one of the more difficult roads ahead leading up to Major II.
Their Major II Qualifier matches start with a tough matchup against the Surge (Major I Runner-ups). Seattle has been in the public eye throughout the most recent round of rostermania as Pred was nearly dealt to OpTic Texas to replace Dashy. The deal was declined and it will be interesting to see how the team chemistry holds up as Pred seemingly welcomed the idea of a move to the GreenWall. When playing up to their potential, the Surge are a tough opponent for anyone in the CDL and Vegas just so happens to be facing them at a point in time where they will be looking to make a statement that the current roster of Pred, Sib, Mack, and Accuracy are committed to redeeming themselves at Major II.
Two winnable matches vs Boston Breach and London Royal Ravens will most likely be the difference maker in the Legion placing into Winner’s or Loser’s Bracket at the second Major of the 22-23 Season. This especially being the case because a rematch of their Loser’s Round 2 faceoff vs NYSL is scheduled to follow. It remains to be seen whether NYSL will be a dominant force throughout the entirety of the season or whether their Major I victory was a one-off. Vegas will need to treat the Subliners as a true contender so that they don’t beat themselves mentally and underestimate the defending Major I Champs before the first Map of the series is played.
Clayster and co. will finish their Major II Qualifiers taking on the new-look OpTic Texas squad, featuring the reunion of the trio known as “XEO” (Shotzzy, iLLeY, and Huke). It just so happens that Clayster has history teaming with both the XEO trio (MW2019 – won Champs) as well as the other legendary member of OpTic, Scump (CoD Ghosts – won X Games Gold Medal). This will be the fourth match for OpTic Texas in the Major II Qualifiers meaning they will have had plenty of time to adjust to the roster and role changes taking place. If Scump proves to be a solid flex and XEO can play up to their Champs winning level, Vegas will be in for another fierce matchup against the Fan favorites in OpTic.
3. OpTic Texas
Vs Boston Breach (Jan. 15)
Vs Seattle Surge (Jan. 20)
Vs Toronto Ultra (Jan. 21)
Vs Vegas Legion (Jan. 28)
Vs Atlanta FaZe (Jan. 29)
Seattle is a top contender, Vegas placed 5th-6th at Major I, and OpTic is currently sitting in ninth place. A lot has changed since the inaugural season of the CDL era in 2020 but one thing that has stayed consistent is league drama involving the OpTic Texas (formerly OpTic Chicago/Chicago Huntsmen) franchise. After an embarrassing Day 2 exit at Major I, OpTic made the decision to cut ties with Dashy and after failing to reach agreements with the Los Angeles Guerrillas and Seattle Surge on Arcitys and Pred respectively, they turned their attention to Huke.
Huke had been released by LAG and became a Free Agent which made the process of signing him much easier than trying to deal for someone currently under contract. Huke has history with this Franchise (as previously mentioned regarding XEO) and GreenWall fans hope that he can return to his elite form. Regardless, facing off against three of the top four teams from Major I during this next set of Online Qualifiers is bound to complicate the revamped roster.
Their first match comes against a Boston Breach squad that is a wild card. A strong Opening Weekend was followed by a swift exit at Major I and it’s hard to say where Boston truly stacks against the rest of the competition. This is the type of match that will benefit OpTic as they adjust to Huke taking over the second SMG spot alongside Shotzzy and Scump moving into a Flex role for the first time in his historic career. Best case scenario is that all goes well, the team chemistry carries over from previous experience playing together and OpTic will enter the second weekend of Major II Qualifiers with a W.
Back to back matchups vs Seattle and Toronto will push this OpTic squad to its limits and all four players will need to be playing up to their potential for them to have a chance at winning either of these matches. Inexperience on the current Call of Duty title may be too much for the squad to overcome and they will need to remain composed in order to improve their team chemistry for the remainder of the season. A matchup against Vegas will provide a brief sigh of relief (or a wave of getting clowned on Social Media) depending on how that seemingly winnable match goes down.
Qualifiers for Major II conclude for the CDL with a powerhouse match between OpTic Texas and Atlanta FaZe for the first time on Modern Warfare II. The XEO trio managed to defeat Simp, aBeZy, and Cellium to win CDL Champs in 2020. Storylines galore exist for this match when you throw SlasheR and Scump into the mix who are no strangers to the storied rivalry of OpTic and FaZe throughout competitive COD history. Atlanta seems to have the advantage heading into what just may be the most viewed Online matchup of the 22-23 CDL Season, but OpTic have an opportunity to regain and establish themselves as a legit contender for Major II.
2. Atlanta FaZe
Vs Seattle Surge (Jan. 14)
Vs Minnesota Rokkr (Jan. 21)
Vs New York Subliners (Jan. 22)
Vs Los Angeles Guerrillas (Jan. 27)
Vs OpTic Texas (Jan. 29)
After a third place finish at Major I, I bet you weren’t expecting to see such a consistently dominant team in the CDL era appear on this list. Tough teams aren’t immune to tough matchups and in this case, Atlanta certainly has their work cut out for them. Of all the teams on this list, FaZe are certainly the most capable of taking a W in all five of their Major II Qualifiers and placing as a top seed for the Major II LAN in Boston.
The road starts with a match vs another top contender in the Seattle Surge. They split the two matchups during Major I in Raleigh with Surge ultimately winning the one that eliminated Atlanta from the tournament and secured them a spot in the Grand Finals. I fully expect to see another contested match between two teams that are loaded with talent across the board. FaZe’s next match could easily be considered a “trap” game as they will take on the Minnesota Rokkr and follow that up with a revenge match vs NYSL. The Rokkr are a very talented roster that could easily give FaZe trouble if they are too busy focusing on their next opponent. Having a seasoned veteran in SlasheR will be key for FaZe taking a “one game at a time” approach to the Major II Qualifiers. Similar to the matchup against Seattle, I expect FaZe vs Subliners to be another fierce battle that could easily go five maps and be won on a Round 11 SnD.
Although the last two matches of their schedule are certainly a relief from the gauntlet of the first three, that’s not to say they will be easy. Their next two opponents will feature revised rosters which makes it hard to truly evaluate what Atlanta will be going up against. LAG still has Arcitys (who won CDL Champs 2021 with Simp, aBeZy, and Cellium) but elevated three of the four Academy roster players that won the Challengers Open Bracket at Major I. Assault has previous CDL experience but is looking to reestablish himself as someone who belongs in the highest level of competition. Exceed and JoeDeceives aren’t as well known but have earned their way onto the main roster and it will be interesting to see how the three newest members of LAG perform against FaZe in a grudge match for their veteran teammate.
As previously stated, Major II Qualifiers will end with a huge matchup between FaZe and OpTic that could really shake up the seeding for Major II. Although they only made a one player change to their roster, moving on from Dashy will have a domino effect on role changes that will complicate the move more than you’d expect. OpTic will be playing in their fifth match with the newly formed squad leaving FaZe to take them on at their highest level of experience to date. Atlanta made quick work of OpTic throughout the Black Ops Cold War season and the relocated OpTic Texas squad was able to return the favor throughout Vanguard. Fans will get a clear idea of which of these rivals is the more dominant team heading into the second Major.
1. Los Angeles Guerrillas
Vs Florida Mutineers (Jan. 14)
Vs Los Angeles Thieves (Jan. 15)
Vs Minnesota Rokkr (Jan.22)
Vs Atlanta FaZe (Jan. 27)
Vs Toronto Ultra (Jan. 28)
Massive roster turnover amidst a grueling set of online qualifiers heading into Major II is going to really showcase just how ready the recent elevations from the Academy roster are for the spotlight. Starting with a matchup vs the Florida Mutineers will provide a great opportunity to determine the capabilities of this revamped roster. Definitely not an easy opponent as Florida can be very scrappy, but a favorable one for getting acquainted with one another considering their next four opponents.
The real gauntlet kicks off with an inter-city rivalry match vs the Los Angeles Thieves, followed by taking on Minnesota, Atlanta, and Toronto who are all loaded with talent. Even if LAG only manages a single victory throughout the Online Qualifiers, the experience of taking on so much talent and experience could lead to a strong showing at Major II. The SMG duo of JoeDeceives and Exceed will be the biggest X Factor when the CDL resumes play on January 13, and they’re fully capable of exceeding (no pun intended) expectations.
It would be hard to fault LAG if they struggle in the qualifiers with that much change all at once. It’s important that Arcitys keeps everyone in a good head space and the coaches remain patient with the newcomers. Their biggest goal should simply be to show improvement with each match and continue to develop solid chemistry. There’s a lot of MW2 left to be played in the 22-23 CDL Season, and there’s no reason to rush the development of a potentially high ceiling roster by the time Champs is underway.
Anyone who wants to see the Challengers scene receive more support from the CDL will be rooting for LAG to have success after the roster change. Rewarding the top amateur players from the Major I Open Bracket with a spot on the main roster was not a guaranteed move by any means, but one that could open doors for the amateur to pro pipeline moving forward. The Guerrillas have a daunting schedule ahead, but don’t forget that Major II of Vanguard is where we saw the elevation of an amateur (Spart) lead to their first and only Major victory in the CDL era.
There’s arguments to be made for other squads to be included on this list, but based on matchups, roster changes, and storyline implications following Major I, these are the four teams that I believe have the hardest road ahead leading up to Major II. It will be interesting to see where the Las Vegas Legion, OpTic Texas, Atlanta FaZe and Los Angeles Guerrillas end up placing into the Major II bracket following their Online Qualifier schedules. If there’s a team that you believe will have more trouble than these four, be sure to let me know on Twitter, or in the comments section here on the Breaking Point website.
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