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Call of Duty

Dallas Empire Crowned Inaugural CDL Champions

Jalen Lopez

The Call of Duty League’s exciting first season has finally ended. 12 teams have battled for their chance to win a $1,500,000, but only one walked away with the grand prize and bragging rights. After an intense competition between the final four teams, the Dallas Empire walked away as the inaugural champions.

Dallas Empire

The Dallas Empire are the inaugural champions of the Call of Duty League. (Photo courtesy Dallas Empire)

The first elimination

The London Royal Ravens and the Chicago Huntsmen faced off in the first match of Championship Weekend. London survived the loser’s bracket during the playoffs and brutally secured the fourth spot in Championship Weekend. London would not make it through their first match, unfortunately.

London started the series off strong with a 250-224 Hardpoint win, but this would be the only map they would take from Chicago. The Huntsmen immediately answered back with a 6-4 Search and Destroy victory where Seth “Scump” Abner secured three kills in the final round.

Chicago kept the momentum in the next two matches and sent the last European team home. London still walked away with a $450,000 cash prize, so it was not a total loss.

The battle for a grand finals spot

Atlanta and Dallas faced off in the second match of the weekend to see who would secure the first spot in the Grand Finals. Dallas started the series with a win on Azhir Cave Hardpoint, where Dallas almost pulled off a comeback. Atlanta was not discouraged by the first map and won a Gun Runner Search and Destroy match to tie the series.

Atlanta continued to dominate with a close 161-153 Domination win, which set them up to send Dallas to  the elimination bracket. Dallas started this map off strong, but Atlanta, specifically Chris “Simp” Lehr who almost achieved 30 kills, were able to pull off the win.

However, Dallas was not ready to drop a series and forced a map five with a close 250-239 Hardpoint win. Dallas secured their Grand Finals spot with a 6-3 Search and Destroy that sent Atlanta to the elimination round against Chicago.

Atlanta and Chicago have been one of the most exciting match-ups all season, and fans were excited to see which strong team would be sent home early.

The Huntsmen came out swinging with a 250-166 Hardpoint victory but could not maintain the momentum for the rest of the series. Both teams were evenly matched in the rest of the game modes, and Atlanta won an intense round 11 Search and Destroy match to tie the series.

The last two matches were close games. But Atlanta managed to beat Chicago for the second time since the regular season. Chicago finished in third place and walked away with a $600,000 cash prize.

The final match of the season

The inaugural CDL season’s final match came down to an exciting match up between the Dallas Empire and Atlanta FaZe. Dallas looked stronger than ever and started the series with a one map advantage. The final match was a best of nine, so Atlanta had plenty of opportunities to make up for their slight disadvantage.

Dallas quickly brought the series to 4-0 as Atlanta struggled to get on the board and looked like they were about to get swept. Atlanta prevented the sweep with a 250-211 Hardpoint win, but it only prevented the inevitable. Dallas finished the series with a 6-4 Search and Destroy win and were crowned the first champions in the Call of Duty League.

Several players on the Dallas Empire broke individual records and have established themselves as some of the best players in Call of Duty history. Ian “Crimsix” Porter and James “Clayster” Eubanks are now the first two esports competitors on a console to earn over $1,000,000 in prize money. They are also two out of three players who have won three Call of Duty World Championships. Crimsix was already the winningest Call of Duty player of all time going into the inaugural season, but he has further secured his spot as one of the game’s best players. He also was crowned the Championship MVP thanks to his amazing skill that helped his team in crucial moments.

Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro, the CDL MVP and former Halo professional became the first player in history to win back championships in two different games. Envy is also the first esports organization whose team has won multiple Call of Duty Championships.

Call of Duty League Commissioner Johanna Faries congratulated Dallas Empire on their vast achievement:

“What an epic finale to an amazing Call of Duty League Championship Weekend. Congratulations to the Dallas Empire as the League’s first-ever champions, to the entire Envy Gaming organization, and to the great city of Dallas. You all earned the glory with a dominating performance today. Thanks as well to all of our 12 CDL team franchises for making this inaugural season so successful, exciting, and memorable.”

The first season of the Call of Duty League had its fair share of problems and issues and was largely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, many fans tuned in during each Home Series and post-season events to watch their favorite teams fight for the title. It is unclear what changes will be made in the 2021 season, but fans can still expect intense games, deep rivalries, and exciting matches between the world’s best players in the world.