Coming in at #6 of the Top 20 players of Modern Warfare, presented by Battlebeaver, is Cuyler “Huke” Garland of the Dallas Empire. The SMG star had a fantastic season for the Empire, helping them win multiple homestands and take home the World 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 today, with the likes of Brandon “NovusVita” Hewitt (Paris Legion Analyst for the ’19-’20 season), Ryan “Flux” Oldfield (Toronto Ultra analyst), IUOTurtle (Community Stats), and Cam Allen joining us to vote on who their top 20 players were for the Modern Warfare season.
The History of Huke
Huke got his start in competitive CoD at the young age of 13 competing before the age restriction of 18 was established. He made a name for himself during the Advanced Warfare days initially with Stunner Gaming alongside current pro-player Thomas ‘TJHaLy’ Haly placing 2nd at UMG Orlando 2015. This would pave the way for a move on to FaZe Clan and eventually Denial Esports with multiple top 4 finishes at major events and the weekly 2K and 5K series. Huke and the Denial roster finished the season 2nd place at the MLG World Finals.
In the years to come, Huke began competing in Halo stepping away from competitive CoD due to the introduction of the age restriction of 18. Huke continued to perform at the top consistently placing top 4.
Huke turned 18 with the release of World War II marking his return to the CoD franchise under the Envy banner. His return was highly anticipated, however, the team struggled to break into the top 4 only accomplishing this once the entire season. Huke and Envy finished the WWII season placing 5-6 at CoD Champs. Black Ops 4 meant a new beginning with 5v5, but their struggles would continue with consistently sub-par performances only cracking top 4 once all season.
Breakdown of the Empire’s season
After failing to win a single major event in the three seasons that Huke competed professionally, he decided to team up with two up-and-coming players in Shotzzy and Illey. This young core was soon joined by veterans Crimsix and Clayster, and they were signed by Dallas Empire on October 14. Huke, Shotzzy, and Illey 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 Huke and his teammates, but most people didn’t expect them to take just one map from the entire weekend. 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.
Speaking of FaZe, Empire bumped into them 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. Huke himself appeared in plenty of finals in his Call of Duty career but failed to overcome the last hurdle. At the LA Home Series, he finally reached that milestone by helping his team beat Minnesota RØKKR 3-2 to win the event.
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 a RØKKR team that they defeated to win the LA Home Series. Huke 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?
Huke’s 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 Huke 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, Huke and his teammates decided to flip the switch and surpass all their previous performances, winning the event with just one map loss. The final tournament of Huke’s 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 Huke’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 a moment of magic from Huke on Piccadilly helped his team take the map and series. 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 Huke, 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. Huke entered the 2020 season with no championship to show, and exited with something that 99% of players don’t have. This is just the beginning for Cuyler. At 21 years of age, his best years are still ahead of him.
Huke played a hard role for the Empire, as he helped with the entry SMG role and playing the objectives. He was a very selfless player for the team, sacrificing personal statistics for the greater good of the team. This mindset that the Empire players had paid dividends and it’s what made them the strongest team in the league. Here is a breakdown of Huke’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.
While there is a lot of red on this graphic, a lot of it was due to his role. As the aggressive, selfless SMG for Dallas, he was put into positions where his KD and objective numbers wouldn’t shine, but it was for the betterment of the team. His roles weren’t to sit in the hill in Hardpoint or capture flags in Domination, it was to put pressure on teams and try to slay. One weak statistic that he will have to improve on next season is his opening duel numbers. He had 41 opening duels won but lost 74 over the season. His final three tournaments were very concerning, having just 6 opening duels won while losing 29. Check out his detailed game mode breakdowns below:
While Huke didn’t have the shinest individual statistics in Hardpoint, he was one of the best SMG players in the mode. He consistently had very good kills per 10-minute numbers, hitting 28.95 Kp10M at CDL Minnesota and 28.62 Kp10M at CDL Chicago. He found his stride midway through the season, having phenomenal KDs of 1.25 at CDL Minnesota, 1.22 at CDL London, and 1.18 at CDL Chicago. He was crucial to the success of the Empire, as his slaying and selfless play opened up the map for his teammates to thrive.
Search & Destroy
SnD was an interesting mode to break down for Huke. He had the hard role, entry SMG that slid into sites first. He started out the season very well, having great marks at CDL London and LA. But he started to struggle in opening duels and his KD began to fall. He kept his cumulative KD above a 1.00 for the majority of the season before it fell to a 0.96 after he struggled mightily at CoD Champs. He posted a 0.53 in the three series he played, having 26 kills and 49 deaths. In the final three tournaments, he had just 6 opening duels won while losing 29. He’ll look to improve in the mode next season for the Empire.
Domination was a mode that Huke was very consistent in, as you can see in his cumulative KD over the course of the season. After posting a 0.73 at Launch Weekend, he would post KDs over a 1.00 at each of the 9 tournaments. He would post a high of 1.21 at three tournaments (London, Paris London) and back his great KD numbers with high kills per game numbers. He would only go negative 13 times in Domination over the course of the season while going positive 24 times. As an aggressive SMG, these stats are very impressive.
Here are Huke’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 5 map series versus the London Royal Ravens at CDL London when he dropped 106 kills. Huke would hit 90+ kills six times over the course of the season, and his number would’ve been higher if his series would’ve gone more maps. As for his highest KD marks, he finished with a high of 1.43 series KD in the opening match of CDL London versus the Paris Legion. Check out more series data below:
Why #6 for Huke?
Dallas had one of the most dominant seasons in Modern Warfare closing out the year by winning CoD Champs besting the Atlanta FaZe. Huke was an integral component to their success, playing one of the most challenging and selfless roles as the utility player with smoke and at times also the trophy system. Arguably the best utility player in the league, his role was to ultimately put his team in the best position to succeed, however, he did this while maintaining strong individual statistics. Contrary to other utility players, Huke maintained a positive KD ratio across Hardpoint and Domination as well as finished the year as Empire’s top respawn slayer with 25.7 kills per 10 minutes. In Search & Destroy, Empire finished the season with the 2nd highest win-rate with Huke putting his body on the line with a 26% probability of being involved in an opening duel either netting the kill, setting his team up for a trade, or simply gathering info for his team thanks to his aggressive playstyle. Huke was a do-it-all player this season and a crucial part of the Empire’s success story.
A look towards Black Ops Cold War
Huke had his contract extended by the Dallas Empire after they won CoD Champs. He will be joined by Modern Warfare teammates iLLey, Shotzzy, and Crimsix. With the league switching to a 4v4 format, the Dallas Empire were put in an extremely difficult position of dropping a player on their World Championship winning roster. Unfortunately, that led to the departure of Clayster from the team. With Clayster leaving, so does a lot of veteran leadership. Huke will be tasked with continuing his great form in the aggressive SMG role and helping be a leader for the team. The defending champions will surely be a fantastic team in 2021 and will be one of the favorites to win the championship yet again.