Top 20 players of Modern Warfare: #2 Shotzzy

Rookie of the Year and World Champion Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro comes in at #2 in our Top 20 Players of Modern Warfare, powered by Battle Beaver. His growth this season was remarkable, as he helped the Dallas Empire win 3 homestands and the Call of Duty Championship.

Last year was the first iteration of the top 20 where analysts, content creators, and personalities voted on the top 20 players in the recent season. This year we have 16 voters in our polls, with the likes of Brandon “NovusVita” Hewitt (Paris Legion Analyst for the ’19-’20 season), Ryan “Flux” Oldfield (Toronto Ultra analyst), IUOTurtle (Community Statistics), Cam Allen (European Analyst), and more joining us to vote on who their top 20 players were for the Modern Warfare season.

From Halo to Call of Duty

Shotzzy began his competitive career in the world of Halo winning his first event at the age of 16 under the Splyce banner (purchased by Toronto Ultra parent organization). During the 2018 season, Shotzzy and Splyce went on to win three major events including the 2018 World Championships. However, with the announcement that the Halo Championship Series would be discontinued until the release of Halo Infinite, Shotzzy opted to transition to Call of Duty. Prior to turning 18, he got his start competing in online Search & Destroy tournaments during the Black Ops 4 season. It was here that he met iLLeY along with other notable Search & Destroy players. The duo of iLLeY and Shotzzy went on to dominate many of the online tournaments netting themselves multiple 1st place finishes throughout the year. Upon turning 18, he competed in the 2019 CWL Amateur Finals placing 33-48 but his potential had already caught the attention of pro players, particularly the Dallas Empire. Entering franchising and the Modern Warfare season, Dallas Empire made a move in the off-season to acquire Shotzzy from Splyce with Shotzzy himself claiming the sale price was in the range of $150k-$250k showcasing the anticipated potential of this player.

World Championship Rookie Season with Empire

After grinding online tournaments in the year prior, Shotzzy finally got his big opportunity when he turned 18 and was eligible to play professionally. Dallas Empire signed him along with veterans Crimsix and Clayster. Shotzzy couldn’t have asked for two other players to develop them into serial winners. On paper, this roster was the perfect balance of youth and experience.

Dallas showcased their work ethic from day one of the release of Modern Warfare, successfully winning the majority of online tournaments against fellow CDL teams. This dominance failed to translate over the Launch Weekend though. Despite being tipped as one of the best teams in the game, Empire failed to defeat Chicago Huntsmen and Atlanta FaZe, two other teams highly rated by the community. This was undoubtedly a tough schedule for Shotzzy, so it was understandable that he would underperform in his first games as a pro. Dallas soon found their form in the following Home Series by reaching the Grand Final, but they ultimately fell to Chicago Huntsmen who were looking like the best team in the game alongside FaZe. During this weekend, fans taunted the rookie, telling him to ‘go back to Halo’. Anthony didn’t let this affect him though, as he took down the Home team London Royal Ravens on the way to the final.

Empire bumped into FaZe for the second time in the season, once again failing to take a single map from the series. They soon bounced back from this defeat by taking down Mutineers and OpTic, heading to the second final of the season. At the LA Home Series, Shotzzy helped his team beat Minnesota RØKKR 3-2 to win the event. He now had Championship victories in both Halo and Call of Duty.

Empire were scheduled to host their Home Series in the following tournament, but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this was delayed and rescheduled to Online play. Continuing their momentum from LAN, Dallas went undefeated in pool play to enter their third straight semi-final. Standing in their way was an RØKKR team that they defeated to win the LA Home Series. Shotzzy and his teammates knew all the ins and outs of beating this team, but in the end, were unsuccessful in winning this rematch. For the first time in the season, Empire failed to make the Grand Finals. But Empire continued to keep their head up and work harder than ever before. At the Chicago Home Series, they broke the curse of losing to FaZe and Huntsmen, beating both teams on the way to winning their Second Home Series. Was Dallas Empire now the best team in the game?

The next game ended up taking place two months later at the Minnesota Home Series, which put a dent in their sky-high momentum – to an extent. A defeat to FaZe and a heartbreaking game five-round 11 loss to Mutineers meant that Empire were unsuccessful in their attempts to win back-to-back tournaments. Dallas had the chance to avenge this loss at the Paris Home Series where they were matched up in the same pool as Florida. This was unsuccessful but the team still managed to progress to the semi-finals. For the fifth time in the season, Dallas were matched up against Atlanta, giving Shotzzy another intense SMG battle against Simp and aBezy. The series went back and forth but Faze ended up taking the series 3-2.

Dallas finally went back to winning ways at the second London Home Series. After two tournaments without a victory, Ant along with the rest of Empire decided to flip the switch and surpass all their previous performances, winning the event with just one map loss. The final tournament of his regular-season was hosted by Toronto, and Ultra themselves were the new talk of the town. With the ability to clinch the number one seed for Champs, Empire failed to take down Ultra in the semi-final, allowing FaZe to have that privilege instead.

COD Champs was another test of Shotzzy’s willpower as the team was scheduled to play Toronto Ultra in their first match of the tournament. This showdown went all the way to game five and it was Dallas who came out on top. Standing in their way of winning Champs was Atlanta FaZe, a team they knew too well. In the five previous series they played against one another, Empire came out on top just once. This was the most important series of the season for Shotzzy, and Dallas knew they had to work harder and smarter if they wanted to come out on top. 3-2 in the winners final, 4-1 in the Grand Final. Dallas Empire were Call of Duty World Champions. Shotzzy entered the 2020 season as a nobody and exited with something that 99% of players don’t have. At just 19 years of age, the best is yet to come for Anthony Cuevas-Castro.

Statistical Breakdown

Shotzzy may not have started hot, but certainly finished the season out very well. The rookie had a rocky start to the season, finishing with overall KDs of 0.70 at Launch Weekend and 0.87 at CDL London, but he learned as the season went along and fought back. He quickly developed into a star with the MP5, helping the team find victory at 3 homestands and at CoD Champs. Here is a breakdown of Shotzzy’s key statistics throughout the season:

The statistics are formatted for their individual tournaments. If the cell is red, then it was on the low percentile for that said tournament. For the remaining colors, green is high percentile and yellow is average.

Dallas Empire found a star for the future this year, building up a very solid resume over the season. His Hardpoint game is what is most shocking, growing into one of the best players in the league. After the first two events, the kills per 10 minutes, KD, and hill time per 10 minutes led the way in the reminding eight tournaments. His CDL London was his signature event, finishing with 29.99 Kp10M, 1.45 HP KD, and 75.18 HTp10M. Check out his detailed game mode breakdowns below:

Once learning the ropes, Shotzzy turned into one of the best Hardpoint players in the league. After going negative in his first two events, he’d go positive in the remaining eight tournaments. This would include great performances at CDL Chicago (1.30 KD, +52 +/-), Minnesota (1.29 KD, +43 +/-), and London (1.45 KD, +43 +/-). He set great Kills per 10 minutes throughout the season. His high was at CDL Chicago, topping out at 30.65 Kp10M. Shotzzy was not only a beast in KD and Kp10M but in the objective category as well. His 67.5 average hill time was 9th overall in the League and 3rd among SMG players. He was a do-it-all star for the Dallas Empire in the mode.

Shotzzy’s Hardpoint graphs are the story of his season. He’d start off going negative in 9 of his first 15 maps. It’d drop his cumulative KD down to a measly 0.88 after the rough start, but it wouldn’t last long. He’d go on a spree of 38 positive maps, going negative just 10 times over the course of his remaining 48 maps. This cumulative would rise fast, going from a 0.88 to a 1.10 to end the year. He had many standout maps during the year, but one of his best was during CDL Chicago. In the opening Hardpoint of the tournament versus OpTic Gaming LA, Shotzzy would put on a clinic. He’d finish with 41 kills and 24 deaths for a 1.71 KD and 84 seconds of hill time. Once the older duo of Crimsix and Clayster taught the finer details of the mode to the young star, he really blossomed into the high fragging SMG player fans thought he would be to begin the season.

Historically, players coming from Halo tended to struggle to play Search & Destroy. We didn’t see these struggles in Shotzzy. He finished 8 out of 10 tournaments with a positive KD and had 0.7+ kills per round in 8 tournaments as well. The SMG star was elite in the objective categories. He finished with the most plants in the League with 97 total, 46 more than the 2nd player. His opening duel numbers were solid taking into account his role as well, finishing with 39 opening duels won and 45 lost (46.4% W%). While it wasn’t his strongest mode, Shotzzy grew into a strong, reliable player in the mode.

Shotzzy’s best tournament in the mode was CDL Dallas, where he finished with a 1.26 KD and 0.91 kills per round. He was a slaying beast, but what was interesting was that 93% were after the first blood already occurred. He played the mid-round very well, usually after he had planted the bomb (he finished the event with 1.75 plants per game). He’d set his high for kills in a single map during this tournament as well while facing off against the Toronto Ultra. After just 8 rounds, Shotzzy ended with 14 kills and 6 deaths (2.33 KD, 1.75 kills per round). It was a dismantling and would boost his cumulative KD from 0.86 to 0.95. Look for Shotzzy to grow more in the mode next season, reaching a new level of form in the 4v4 format.

Domination was a roller coaster mode for Dallas’ star player. He’d finish 6 events with a negative KD, including a 0.53 at Launch Weekend and 0.81 at CoD Champs. But on the other end of the spectrum, he had a 1.38 at CDL Chicago and 1.19 at CDL Toronto. When he was doing well his kills per minute topped 2.00, and he kept his deaths per minute below 2.00. But when he struggled it flipped. One thing that did stay consistent over the year was his objective play. Shotzzy had 241 captures over the season, averaging 6.69 per map. He hit 8+ captures per game three times, including 9.0 at Launch Weekend and 8.25 at CDL London 2. He certainly had his star moments in the mode.

Taking a deeper dive into his phenomenal performance at CDL Chicago, it was his best event by far. It included two out of three of his best maps. He started his tournament with a 30-17 performance versus OpTic Gaming LA and followed that with a 29-17 map versus the Chicago Huntsmen in the semi-finals. He set season highs in KD (1.38), Kills per game (25.25 ), kills in a single map (30), high KD in a single map (1.76), and percentage of Dallas’ kills (23.2%). It was his signature tournament for Domination. His best map of the season would come at the next tournament, CDL Minnesota. Facing off against the Seattle Surge in the semi-finals, he finished a Hackney Yard Domination 32-15 (2.13 KD) with 4 captures. Given that we are unlikely to see Domination return in the competitive ruleset next season, it will be interesting to see how Shotzzy does in the 3rd game mode. Given time and the leadership the team has, Ant should be a force to reckon with in any game mode.

Here are Shotzzy’s season series statistics. It breaks down how he did in each length of series, whether the series went 3, 4, or 5 maps. He hit his high for kills during a 4 map series versus the OpTic Gaming LA at CDL Chicago when he finished with 110 kills and 68 deaths (1.62 KD). This would not be the only time the SMG star would get triple digits kills, having hit the mark 4 times total. Ant would also hit 90+ kills six times over the course of the season as well. As for his highest KD marks, he finished with a high of 1.74 series KD in quick three-game series versus the Paris Legion. In the stomping, Shotzzy finished with 59 kills across the three maps with only 34 deaths (+25 total, 1.74 KD overall KD). Check out more series data below:

Why #2 for Shotzzy?

Dallas had one of the most dominant seasons in Modern Warfare closing out the year by winning CoD Champs besting the Atlanta FaZe. They had the most 1st place finishes (four, including CoD Champs), and never missed a semi-final.

As a Hardpoint team, they had the 3rd best win-rate at 56.3% but led every team in the slaying and assist production. Shotzzy was the main contributor leading his team in slaying with 2.69 kills per minute, a KD ratio of 1.10, and strong objective hill time at 68s per 10 minutes. Not only was he a movement king and slaying monster, but he also had the gift of versatility (for example, switching to the Grau to help his team lock down P5 on Azhir Cave).

Across both Domination and Search & Destroy Shotzzy continued to support his team through his slaying and heads up plays. One of Shotzzy’s most defining characteristics is his movement proficiency. Whether it’s used to finesse around objects to pick up multi-kills or to pick up a kill and play his life, his movement puts him in a class of his own. Combining this with smart decision making and deep knowledge of the game (such as this 1v3 Search & Destroy clutch), ultimately puts him as one of the best players this year. Shotzzy also went on to win the 2020 Season MVP award, the announcement and interview can be seen here.

A Look towards Black Ops Cold War

Shotzzy was one of four players that had their contracts extended by the Dallas Empire this offseason. His teammates Ian “Crimsix” Porter, Indervir “iLLeY” Dhaliwal, Cuyler “Huke” Garland, and James “Clayster” Eubanks were also extended, but Clayster was soon traded to the New York Subliners.

The team will be a powerhouse again in 2021, with all of their roles covered. They will again have a great IGL in Crimsix, who will help the team adapt quickly to the 4v4 format. The SMG trio of Huke, iLLey, and Shotzzy will be able to slay with any team in the League. With rumors of Control or CTF returning, this team will be great in all 3 game modes.

Breaking Point
Author: Breaking Point

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