Top 20 players of Modern Warfare: #15 Clayster

James “Clayster” Eubanks slots into the number 15 spot for Breaking Point’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare top 20. Dallas Empire’s veteran leader earns this spot for his contributions as a main AR player and in-game leader, walking away with a first place finish at the CoD League Championships and a second place finish in the 2020 regular season.

A Call of Duty OG

Clayster is one of the longest standing professional CoD players with origins dating back to as early as 2007 with CoD 4: Modern Warfare. As the scene developed, Clayster found his way onto Complexity alongside Patrick “ACHES” Price, Tyler “TeePee” Polchow, and current teammate Ian “Crimsix” Porter. His time with Complexity netted seven first place finishes, part of the dominant run by Complexity during the Black Ops 2 and Ghosts seasons.

Following the Complexity run, Clayster moved on to various teams including OpTic Gaming, Team Envy, Denial Esports, FaZe Clan, and eUnited. Most recently, the Dallas Empire.

Present Day Clayster

Wherever Clayster went, success typically followed. Prior to Modern Warfare, only one player held the title of ‘three rings’ and that was Damon “Karma” Barlow. The conclusion of the Modern Warfare season with Dallas winning CoD Champs introduces Clayster and Crimsix into the 3 Ring Club.

Let’s start at the beginning of the Modern Warfare season. Clayster had just come off a CoD Champs win with eUnited during the Black Ops 4 season. As rostermania chaos died down, Clayster joined the Dallas Empire alongside Crimsix, Cuyler “Huke” Garland, Indervir “iLLeY” Dhaliwal, and Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro. A move seen by many fans as bold picking up two players who had no prior pro CoD experience.

Clayster and Crimsix often talked about players “buying in” to the system of seasoned veterans leading and growing the younger raw talented players into elite competitors.

The Minnesota Launch Weekend was their first test and a tough one to say the least with their two opponents being Chicago Huntsmen and Atlanta FaZe (both expected to be top three). Empire finished the weekend with a 0-2 series performance winning only one map (6-1 Arklov Peak Search & Destroy) against the Huntsmen.

This raised immediate questions from fans around the potential of this team and whether they may be a bust. The London homestand was an opportunity to prove people wrong. The tournament was off to a great start with a 3-0 win against the Seattle Surge (albeit close games; 250-225, 6-5, and 167-162), it was their first series win under their belt. This put them up against the rival Huntsmen team who had previously bested Empire 3-1. History would repeat itself with Huntsmen again taking the series 3-1 only dropping the Hackney Yard Domination. In the group stage knockout match, Empire would rematch against the Surge winning 3-1 earning them a spot in the semi-finals against home team London Royal Ravens. In a nail-biter series, Empire would come back from a 0-2 deficit winning three straight for a spot in the grand finals. Grand Finals would be none other than a rematch against Huntsmen where Dallas would fall to a 3-0 taking home 2nd place. Notable performance from Clayster in the Search & Destroy with the fourth highest overall KD ratio (12-5 Piccadilly VS Ravens, 14-4 Arklov Peak VS Surge, 11-6 Gun Runner VS Surge) finding himself on the SCUF Team of the Week.

However, a second place would not be good enough for the likes of Crimsix and Clayster. The LA homestand was their next opportunity to contend for a chip. Their round one match was against a struggling New York Subliners who had just swapped Trei “Zer0” Morris for Nick “Happy” Suda. Despite dropping map one, Empire made quick work of them with a 3-1 win. FaZe were their next opponent having previously defeated Empire 3-0 at the opening event. Although the respawns were close, FaZe took the series in a quick 3-0 fashion forcing Empire into the knockout match against the Florida Mutineers. Clayster and the Empire had their eyes set on the prize, taking down the Mutineers with a 3-0 followed by OpTic Gaming Los Angeles with a 3-1. Their opponent this time would be the Minnesota RØKKR who had been making their own statement since the beginning of the season. Empire took the series lead 2-0 with fairly convincing scorelines. RØKKR would proceed to force a game five after a nail biter 250-247 win on Hackney Yard Hardpoint. In a 6-2 victory, Empire took home their first tournament win of the Modern Warfare season. Once again, Clayster made his way onto the SCUF Team of the Week leading his team in Search & Destroy KD ratio at 1.23 with his team going 5-1 in the game mode.

Clayster and Dallas Empire’s Search & Destroy Statistics from CDL Los Angeles

The next event was controversial due to the switch to online and lack of server availability. Empire ended up getting knocked out in the semi-finals losing to RØKKR 3-1.

The Chicago homestand was their next challenge. Empire made it through the group stage winning their first two matches, 3-1 VS OGLA and 3-1 VS Surge. This set them up for a semifinal match against their nemesis, Huntsmen. Their last three encounters, Huntsmen had won all of them convincingly (3-1 or 3-0). Map 1 was a blowout win by Empire on Rammaza, 250-165. Map 2 followed a similar result, 6-2 win on Gun Runner Search & Destroy. Empire closed it out in Map 3, finally defeating Huntsmen, a team they previously struggled with. The grand final match would be against their other nemesis, FaZe, who had won the past two encounters 3-0. The first map went the way of Empire with a strong hold on P2 Gun Runner to close it out 250-222. Map two came down to a round eleven 1v1 between Clayster and former eUnited teammate Chris “Simp” Lehr with Simp evening the series up 1-1. Empire took the next two maps to finish off the tournament with a 1st place finish. There were multiple takeaways for Empire this tournament; not only winning the Chicago homestand but besting both the Huntsmen and FaZe to do it.

Clayster and Dallas Empire’s Respawn Statistics for CDL Chicago

Empire would go on to place 3-4 at the following two events losing series only to FaZe and an emerging Mutineer squad who had just signed Joseph “Owakening” Conley leading them to two back-to-back tournament wins. Empire found success at the next London homestand. This tournament was dominance that had never been seen before, as they were the only team to have won a homestand by dropping only one map. Clayster led the squad in Hardpoint Hill Time (89s per 10 min), had the 2nd highest adjusted KD ratio at 1.27 behind teammate Huke, and led his team in first bloods per round (18 percent chance of producing a first blood). For a fourth time Clayster found his way onto the SCUF Team of the Week.

Although Empire would place 3-4 at the following homestand, this clinched their Championship spot in Winners round three, one round away from Winners Finals.

Their first match up at CoD Champs was against Toronto Ultra, who had just won the previous homestand. A back-and-forth series put Ultra up 2-1 going into map four Gun Runner Hardpoint, a map Empire were 11-5 on previously. Empire would take this convincingly 250-107 followed with a 6-2 win on Piccadilly Search & Destroy to advance into the Winners Finals against none other than FaZe. In similar fashion to the Ultra series, FaZe were up 2-1 going into map four Gun Runner Hardpoint. Coming down to the 3rd P2, Clayster plays his life long enough for reinforcements to help off spawn tying up the series 2-2 with a 250-239 win. Empire went on to take Map 5 comfortably in a 6-3 win to move on to the Grand Finals.

FaZe would drop to the losers finals to play Huntsmen ultimately defeating them in a 3-1 map count to set up a rematch against Empire for the CoD Champs title. A best of nine to determine the champion with Empire coming into the series with a one map advantage (due to advancing through the winners bracket). With a disciplined approach to Azhir Cave Hardpoint, Empire took map two. Map three and four also went the way of Empire to put them one map away from being crowned victorious. FaZe would keep things interesting by taking the Gun Runner Hardpoint setting up a map six on Rammaza Search & Destroy. Clayster and the Empire squad made some clutch plays including Clayster sticking a defuse narrowly defusing the bomb before being killed. The Dallas Empire would win the grand final 5-1 netting them first place at the inaugural CoD League Championship.

A look back at Clayster’s season statistics

A Cerebral Leader

With Clayster winning this year’s CoD Champs, he now becomes known as one of the greatest players to have ever touched the esport. Despite the spotlight being on teammates like Shotzzy, Huke, and iLLeY, Clayster’s contributions have not gone unnoticed. An intelligent mastermind, reading plays in Search & Destroy to making clutch plays in respawn, Clayster had a direct impact on the team’s successful season. Outside of his playmaking ability, one of Clayster’s greatest qualities is his leadership. During every Astro Gaming Listen-In, there is one commonality between them all; that is Clayster’s guiding and leading voice directing the team and keeping them composed. All of this contributing to one of the most dominant season records this year.

Empire’s Season Tournament Finishes

What’s next for Clayster?

For the past two years, Clayster has put himself in a setting that allows him to excel and elevate those around him. The combination of raw talented players with his leadership and guidance have proven successful for him. First with Simp and Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris on eUnited winning the 2019 CoD Championships, then with Shotzzy, iLLeY, and Huke on Dallas Empire winning the 2020 CoD Championships. The 2021 season is already shaping up for a repeat with Clayster joining the New York Subliners alongside veteran and former teammate Thomas “Zoomaa” Paparatto, 2020 top prospect Mackenzie “Mack” Kelley and French top prospect Paco “HyDra” Rusiewiez. What will Clayster be able to accomplish with this squad!

Breaking Point
Author: Breaking Point

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