There’s no denying that the Call of Duty League’s inaugural season took the esport to a different level. Shifting competitive Call of Duty to a city-based franchise model, the league overcame a number of obstacles, including a global pandemic, to set new records for prize money and viewership.
While the 2020 season was certainly not without faults, the general direction and recipe for the CDL was encouraging. However, for its second season, there are a lot of changes on the way. Not only will players be plugging their controllers into PCs rather than consoles for the first time in Call of Duty esports, but they’ll also be playing alongside fewer teammates. The switch back to a 4v4 format, which was announced at the end of the 2020 season, has forced franchises to controversially drop a player from their starting rosters.
We might be a long way off from the start of the 2021 Call of Duty League season yet, but the groundwork is already being laid. Rosters are starting to take shape, and the CDL is slowly releasing more and more information regarding next year’s competition.
Here we dive into everything we know so far about the 2021 CDL season.
CDL 2021 teams
With the CDL smashing viewership records and generously lining players’ pockets with prize money, many thought it would be in a strong position to expand and introduce a few new teams to the mix.
However, the Call of Duty League will not expand for 2021, and the same 12 teams will return to do battle – albeit with very different rosters.
The 2021 Call of Duty League teams are:
- Atlanta FaZe
- Chicago Huntsmen
- Dallas Empire
- Florida Mutineers
- London Royal Ravens
- LA Guerrillas
- Minnesota Rokkr
- New York Subliners
- OpTic Gaming LA
- Paris Legion
- Seattle Surge
- Toronto Ultra
CDL 2021 rosters
While the same 12 CDL franchises are returning in 2021, the majority are coming into the new season with completely rebuilt rosters as a result of the switch to 4v4 and the new game, Black Ops Cold War.
So far, only reigning champion Dallas Empire, Atlanta FaZe, Minnesota Rokkr, Seattle Surge, and Chicago Huntsmen have confirmed what their four-man starting rosters will look like for the Black Ops Cold War season.
For the other franchises, only some of their 2020 players have been kept on and had contracts extended, while the rest have been made free agents.
Here are the confirmed CDL 2021 rosters so far:
Atlanta FaZe roster
- Alec ‘Arcitys’ Sanderson
- Tyler ‘aBeZy’ Pharris
- Chris ‘Simp’ Lehr
- McArthur ‘Cellium’ Jovel
DESTINY HAS ARRIVED IN 4V4 😈
And it’s teaming up with the Tiny Terrors, just in time for Cold War.
— Atlanta FaZe (@ATLFaZe) September 15, 2020
Chicago Huntsmen roster
- Seth ‘Scump’ Abner
- Matthew ‘Formal’ Piper
- Dylan ‘Envoy’ Hannon
- Brandon ‘Dashy’ Otell
Dallas Empire roster
- Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter [also referred to as ‘C6’]
- Cuyler ‘Huke’ Garland
- Anthony ‘Shotzzy’ Cuevas-Castro
- Indervir ‘iLLeY’ Dhaliwal
Florida Mutineers roster
London Royal Ravens roster
- Sean ‘Seany’ O’Connor
LA Guerrillas roster
- Reece ‘Vivid’ Drost
- Bryan ‘Apathy’ Zhelyazkov
- Adam ‘Assault’ Garcia
- Justin ‘SiLLY’ Fargo-Palmer
Minnesota Rokkr roster
- Dillon ‘Attach’ Price
- Lamar ‘Accuracy’ Abedi
- Michael ‘MajorManiak’ Szymaniak
- Preston ‘Priestahh’ Greiner
— Minnesota RØKKR (@ROKKR) September 15, 2020
New York Subliners roster
- James ‘Clayster’ Eubanks
- Thomas ‘ZooMaa’ Paparatto
- Makenzie ‘Mack’ Kelley
OpTic Gaming LA roster
- Thomas ‘TJHaly’ Haly
- Austin ‘SlasheR’ Liddicoat
- Kenny ‘Kuavo’ Williams
- Zack ‘Drazah’ Jordan
Paris Legion roster
Seattle Surge roster
- Sam ‘Octane’ Larew
- Peirce ‘Gunless’ Hillman
- Preston ‘Prestinni’ Sanderson
- Daniel ‘Loza’ Loony
— Seattle Surge (@SeattleSurge) September 23, 2020
Toronto Ultra roster
- Ben ‘Bance‘ Bance
- Cameron ‘Cammy’ McKilligan
- Tobias ‘CleanX’ Jønsson
- Anthony ‘Methodz’ Zinni
Call of Duty League 2021 format
At the time of writing the format for the 2021 CDL season will be largely the same as 2020, with an event-based league that awards CDL Points, leading to a double-elimination bracket World Championship.
The only changes announced so far are the swap to a 4v4 format and the platform switch from PlayStation 4 consoles to PCs.
Whether the 2021 season will remain online or not is currently unknown. The inaugural season managed to host four offline homestand events in Minnesota, London, Atlanta, and Los Angeles before shifting online due to the pandemic.
However, it is likely that the league will be exploring ways to return to an offline format, so that homestand events can continue once again.
CDL 2021 schedule
There is currently no news on when the 2021 Call of Duty League season will start.
Related: Black Ops Cold War multiplayer weapons, perks, and more
For the inaugural season in 2020, the league kicked off with a launch event on the last weekend of January. The CDL will likely aim for a similar date to begin the 2021 season.
CDL 2021 4v4
After sticking with a 5v5 format for its first season, the CDL has decided to go back to the classic Call of Duty format of 4v4 for the Black Ops Cold War season.
This has caused plenty of debate. While pro players have been calling for a switch back to 4v4 for some time, many are angry that the decision has been made without expanding the league and adding more franchises.
With every team having to drop at least one player from the starting lineup, the opportunities at the top level of Call of Duty esports has been squeezed. This has resulted in massive roster movements and big names being dropped, despite excellent performances.
CDL 2021 prize pool
We aren’t sure how big the 2021 Call of Duty league prize pool will be yet, but it will likely match or be bigger than the $6 million given out to players in 2020.
The $6 million was divided up for both individual homestand events and for placings at the CDL World Championship. The overall winner of the league, Dallas Empire, took home $1.5 million of that pool for claiming the Championship title.