The 2023 Call of Duty League season reaches its halfway point
(Gray News) - Half of the Call of Duty League’s 2023 season has come and gone leaving three captivating Majors and a flurry of retirement and roster announcements in its wake.
Legendary Call of Duty professional Seth ‘Scump’ Abner retired from professional play during Major II qualifiers after stating at the beginning of the season that he would leave at the end of the 2023 CDL season. Major II also saw the highly decorated CoD player Anthony ‘Methodz’ Zinni announce his retirement to the Boston Breach home crowd before Grand Finals. Following these unforeseen departures, Major II saw a return to form for Atlanta FaZe, who took home the trophy after not winning a tournament since the League Championship in 2021.
New opportunities for rookies to prove themselves in the CDL have become more commonplace as members of the old guard of CoD esports continue to step away. Major III, hosted by OpTic Texas, saw two rookies, Thomas ‘Scrappy’ Ernst and Charlie ‘Hicksy’ Hicks of Toronto Ultra, win their first Major. Hicksy became the second player in CoD history to win their first Major appearance, joining Scump alone, who accomplished his debut victory in 2011. Daniel ‘Ghosty’ Rothe, a recent rookie addition to OpTic Texas, also showed grit in Major III after a disappointing main stage debut in Winners round one by helping OpTic claw their way through the elimination bracket to make it to Grand Finals.
The excitement of the 2023 CDL season shows no signs of slowing down as we enter the second half of the season. As expected, some teams have decided to adjust their rosters during the lead-up to Major IV.
London Royal Ravens dropped Paul ‘PaulEhx’ Avila and Trei ‘Zer0′ Morris to free agency and picked up rookie Ulisses ‘Ulisses’ Rios to fill the vacant starting spot. Despite this move, Royal Ravens have continued their struggles and sit at a 1-3 match record going into the final weekend of Major IV qualifiers.
Vegas Legion faired well in Major III but decided to make a change by dropping Brendan ‘2ReaL’ Stockdale to free agency in favor of Eli ‘Standy’ Bentz. They have a 1-2 match record so far in qualifiers, with two series left this coming weekend against Toronto Ultra and Florida Mutineers.
Minnesota RØKKR made a minor tweak by moving Kevin ‘Fame’ Bonanno up to the starting roster and Dillon ‘Attach’ Price down to substitute. RØKKR has a 2-1 start to qualifiers and will seek wins over Atlanta FaZe and Los Angeles Thieves this weekend.
Boston Breach promoted another rookie in Kyle ‘Kremp’ Haworth after seeing the impactful performance of Ben ‘Beans’ McMellon during Major III. Kremp replaces Reece ‘Vivid’ Drost, who will move to substitute. Kremp was added to the starting roster before the third series of Breach’s Major IV qualifiers and helped bring their record to 2-1. He will look to capitalize on their two upcoming series against OpTic Texas and New York Subliners.
Florida Mutineers are the most recent team to make a switch leading up to Major IV, moving Javier ‘Vikul’ Milagro to the starting roster and Colt ‘Havok’ McLendon to substitute. The Mutineers’ record is 1-3, with only one series remaining against Vegas Legion on Saturday.
OpTic Texas finally looks committed to their starting four after a tumultuous period of adjustments during the first half of the season. After a stellar come-from-behind performance at the last Major, it’s not hard to see why. They have kept their newfound upward momentum and remain the only undefeated team in Major IV qualifiers with a 3-0 record. They will play Los Angeles Guerillas Friday and finish their qualifiers with a series against Boston Breach on Saturday.
Los Angeles Thieves have had a hot start to their qualifiers. They won their first three series and found their only loss so far to OpTic in their penultimate series. On Sunday, they will look to add another win to their 3-1 series against Minnesota RØKKR.
Only some teams who have held back from adjusting their roster have found success during these qualifiers. After a dominant victory at the last Major, Toronto Ultra has been floundering in the lead-up to Major IV. Their first two series of qualifiers were close, but they ended up walking away from both with a loss. Ultra took another loss to Atlanta Faze in their third series before coming to their senses and beating Florida Mutineers decisively in their fourth series. Holding a 1-3 Record, Ultra needs a win Friday against Vegas Legion to close out qualifiers.
The second half of the CDL season is poised to delight fans as each team strives to put their best foot forward and jockey for a place in the postseason. Can OpTic Texas continue its apparent flow state, or will Guerrillas be the ones to add a blemish to their qualifiers? Will Toronta Ultra bounce back against Vegas Legion? Who will set themselves up best to win Major IV? To find out, watch the final weekend of Major IV qualifiers starting Friday at 3 PM by tuning into the Call of Duty Twitch channel. Or, if you prefer the analysis and input of former pros, tune into Scump’s watch party on his Twitch channel. Methodz co-hosts the watch party, and the show features an ever-rotating group of guests from OpTic Gaming and other organizations across CoD.
Gray Television is an investor in OpTic Gaming.
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