Here we go again then; season two of the Call of Duty esports franchise era kicks off tomorrow, February 11. The inaugural season of the Call of Duty League certainly had its highs and lows – but due to the coronavirus pandemic, much of what actually happened last year would’ve been almost impossible to predict beforehand. There were high-profile retirements, the shift to online play, London Royal Ravens’ surprise charge into the top four at Champs, to name but a few of the hard-to-call moments of the 2020 season.
So, guess what this bright spark is about to do, with the pandemic still raging and very little to go on? Yup, you guessed it – I’m going to predict what’s going to happen in 2021. With a revamped format, new-look rosters, a fresh game, and an ever-changing global situation, predicting the outcome of the 2021 CDL will not be easy – but I’m going to do it anyway.
So prepare yourself for four predictions about what will happen during the 2021 Call of Duty League.
We will have an offline LAN event for CDL Champs
This is probably the least risky prediction here, and it’s something that has been rumoured during the offseason. While the Championship had to move to an online format because of obvious reasons last year, it’s looking like an offline event might be given the green light this time around.
As the recent postponement of the Six Invitational has shown, things can change in a blink of an eye. Plenty of other big esports tournaments are still yet to be rescheduled and are floating in a dateless limbo.
However, I believe there’s a good chance that Activision and the CDL franchise owners will reach an agreement and pull off a LAN Champs event. While the action itself was enthralling during last season’s online Champs, you couldn’t escape how underwhelming it was to know Dallas Empire’s victorious players received their rings in the mail.
At least one CDL player will be dropped before the first major
Many were surprised to see how ruthless some franchises were last season when it came to dropping underperforming players so early in the season. But with spots in the league even rarer than before thanks to the switch to 4v4, organisations are about to get even more ruthless.
I’m predicting that by the time the first major of the season comes around in March, at least one player will have been benched or replaced on a CDL roster due to performance issues.
There are an abundance of hungry Challengers prospects and players that lost their CDL spots waiting in the wings. I think that changes will come sooner rather than later for teams that fail to make a strong start.
Minnesota Rokkr will win a major
Right, it’s time for a flaming hot take.
In the same way that a number of Home Series events last season ended up being won by some surprising teams, I think we’ll see a big upset at one of this season’s majors too. In my humble opinion, the team outside of the big three (OpTic Chicago, Dallas Empire, and Atlanta FaZe) that’s best placed to do it is probably Minnesota Rokkr.
Related: Every CDL 2021 roster for this season
It’s a completely new roster and a clean slate for Rokkr this season, and I think with the collective experience and talent it has in its ranks it could shock one of the top dogs and win a major.
This is a bold one, I know. To some, the likes of LA Thieves or even Seattle Surge may look better on paper than Rokkr this season, and more likely to clinch a major. But I’ve just got a feeling the Minnesota boys will do it.
Envoy will be CDL Champs MVP
Another risky one this – predicting an MVP for a tournament that’s at least six months away is probably not the smartest move.
But, I’m gonna say that Dylan ‘Envoy’ Hannon of OpTic Chicago is going to have an incredible year which will culminate in him being crowned MVP at Champs. He’s already shown that, despite his relatively young age, he has the composure and ability to clutch up and carry if needed, and I think after even more time in the presence of veteran teammates Seth ‘Scump’ Abner and Matthew ‘FormaL’ Piper, those traits will grow large enough that he’ll outperform virtually anyone. I’m expecting big things from Envoy this year.
This, by association then, pretty much suggests that I think OpTic also has this year’s title in the bag, right? You got it. I think OpTic is my favourite for 2021. Is that a bold enough take for its own heading in this list? Probably not. But hey, there’s some more ammo to shoot me with when this article resurfaces in six months.
So, am I on the money with these predictions, or is my crystal ball faulty? Only time will tell I suppose, but even if I go 0-4, this season promises to be an absolute belter for Call of Duty esports.