What to expect after the unexpected in the CDL
January 16, 2023 is a day that will forever be remembered by fans of competitive Call of Duty. Seth “Scump” Abner announced in a video that he would be retiring from the CDL and pursuing full-time content creation following a 14 year playing career. Going into the Modern Warfare II season, fans knew that this would be the last one Scump would be playing. Following a disappointing Major I along with some internal roster drama, this decision was fast tracked and the question many fans have been asking is “Will the CDL be able to survive without Scump?” Whether we were ready for it or not no longer matters, the next era of the Call of Duty League is upon us and the future is brighter than you might expect.
The impact that Scump has had on the scene as both an elite player and beloved personality is something that will be noticeably missing from here on out. I do want to point out that Clayster is still competing as a member of the Las Vegas Legion and truly is the last remaining player from that first era that paved the way for what competitive COD is today. Starting with the second weekend of Online Qualifiers for Major II, we will feel the shift in the CDL as more players now enter “veteran” status while young guns continue to flourish and build a name for themselves.
From a competitive standpoint alone, the league has never looked better. The amount of talent across all twelve franchised CDL teams combined with the intense Challengers scene that continues to show that expansion is necessary should reassure fans. Call of Duty will continue to be played at an elite level and any team can make a run at any point. We’ve seen what this league looks like when one team is able to dominate for the entire year (Atlanta FaZe in Black Ops Cold War) and it’s not ideal from a viewership standpoint. Thankfully, all teams have balanced out since then and will continue to do so as more young stars continue to emerge.
Toronto Ultra has Scrap, the Subliners have HyDra, Seattle Surge feel great about their tandem of Sib and Pred, just to point out a few examples of how much talent is ready to take over the spotlight. Plenty of veterans such as Methodz, Attach, and Arcitys are also playing at an elite level which displays the balance of talent and experience that currently exists in the CDL as a whole.
Most eyes will be on OpTic Texas as fans eagerly await to see how this team performs without Scump in the starting lineup for the first time in over a decade. In his speech, Scump vouched for Brandon “Dashy” Otell to be brought back onto the roster claiming that he was “falling down so that you (Dashy) can go up.” This means that the XEO trio (Shotzzy, iLLeY, and Huke) will be joining forces with the MVP caliber talent of Dashy for the rest of the way. Things looked rough when Dashy was benched for Huke and the beef between Dashy and OpTic Texas were being publicly aired out. It appears as though the squad will use the retirement of Scump as a launching point for this new era of OpTic Gaming in Call of Duty and the potential for greatness or dysfunction is certainly worth keeping track of moving forward.
The personality and charisma that Scump brings to the CDL scene are shoes that will simply go unfilled. He will forever be tied to competitive Call of Duty and no one should expect anyone to be able to take over the throne in that sense. It’s important that more players start to participate in content and on social media so that fans can start to latch onto a new favorite player. You can argue that the CDL is doomed if more personalities don’t begin to emerge, but there is no denying that the level of talent that currently exists in the competitive Call of Duty landscape is off the charts which will continue to provide intense matchups and rivalries moving forward.