Other than the fact the Atlanta FaZe won their second Call of Duty League home series on Sunday, the weekend was full of surprising results. It was the most unlikely final four yet this season, with the Toronto Ultra, New York Subliners and OpTic Gaming Los Angeles joining Atlanta in the semifinals of the Florida home series.
New York strung together two particularly shocking results on Saturday, beating both the Minnesota RØKKR and Florida Mutineers 3-0. Minnesota also lost to Toronto, 3-1, although they beat the Mutineers easily, 3-0.
The weekend results ensured there was quite a bit of movement among the middle-tier teams in the league in this week's power rankings and inspired us to take a look at the most surprising things about each team.
Below is how our staff voted to rank the 12 teams after this weekend's home series. Each participating staff member ranked the CDL teams from No. 1 to No. 12, and the results were aggregated to determine the list below. All player stats are courtesy of Atlanta FaZe stat analyst Austin O'Neil.
1. Atlanta FaZe
Season record: 15-2 | Week 7 record: 4-0 | Change from last ranking:1
While it's not surprising that the Atlanta FaZe took the win at this tournament, what is surprising is twofold.
First, the New York Subliners pushed FaZe to the brink a second time in two tournaments. It was an entertaining semifinal that says a little more about NYSL than FaZe, but some oversights from Atlanta highlight the match (looking at you, Preston "Priestahh" Greiner, missing that defuse at your feet on Search and Destroy on Arklov Peak). The widest margin of victory vs. NYSL outside of S&D maps was 28 points, which was the first map (Hardpoint on Gun Runner, as FaZe vetoed Rammaza, which NYSL won the previous time the teams played). Twenty-five points and three points separated the two teams on Domination on Gun Runner, which FaZe won, and Hardpoint on Hackney Yard, which NYSL won, respectively.
Second, and just as important, was FaZe's performance on Search and Destroy, something Emily Rand pointed out in her piece breaking down each map. Last weekend S&D was a clear weak point for Atlanta, going 3-2 overall, but 22-25 in rounds, across the entire tournament. The Ravens and Subliners both grabbed victories in that mode, while OpTic and Paris pushed FaZe to 6-5 wins. Compare that to the Chicago home series (29-20 in rounds, with three out of five matches decided by 6-5 scorelines), and you have a possible trend, and weakness, emerging.
-- Darin Kwilinski
2. Dallas Empire
Season record: 13-6 | Week 7 record: DNP | Change from last ranking:1
The biggest surprise to me for the Dallas Empire this season was their loss to the Minnesota RØKKR in the semifinals of their own home series. Considering they were coming off winning the Los Angeles home series, it was surprising that they weren't able to pull off the victory to reach the final and potentially win a second consecutive home series. They hadn't lost to any team beside Atlanta and Chicago until that point, and they had beaten Minnesota in the final of the L.A. event. If they had won their own home series, we might be talking about them winning three straight and being indisputably the best team in the league.
The team has improved throughout the season, and the entire squad is playing at a high level, from multitime champion James "Clayster" Eubanks to young star Anthony "Shotzzy" Cuevas-Castro. It wouldn't be surprising to see this team continue winning all the way to a season championship.
-- Brian Bencomo
3. Chicago Huntsmen
Season record: 12-4 | Week 7: DNP | Change from last ranking:
The surprising benching of Pierce "Gunless" Hillman makes it tough to get a read on how Chicago will come out in the Seattle Surge's home series, but with the Huntsmen idle this week, they have plenty of time to prepare.
Jordan "General" General will take Gunless' place in the lineup after Chicago's 3-0 loss to the Dallas Empire in the semifinals of the Chicago home series. Gunless, with a kills-deaths ratio of 0.9 and the team's worst plus-minus on Search and Destroy during the team's homestand, might have been the weak link for the Huntsmen, but it's tough to see General as an improvement until we see the squad in action again nine days from now against the struggling Paris Legion.
-- Sean Morrison
Check out the rest of the Call of Duty League schedule.
4. Minnesota RØKKR
Season record: 11-8 | Week 7 record: 1-2 | Change from last ranking:
Welp, foot in mouth on this one. I really thought Minnesota would be a shoo-in for top two at this home series, but color me surprised. Losses to the Toronto Ultra and New York Subliners definitely hurt, though NYSL is on a big upswing.
The loss to the Ultra, however, is less forgivable. A 6-4 Search and Destroy win doesn't help when you can't hold on to your lead in Domination on Hackney Yard and you play defeated on Hardpoint on Rammaza. We can't discount the RØKKR yet -- one bad tournament showing isn't the end of the world and they did 3-0 the Mutineers -- but this really was a squandered opportunity with the teams that were in the field this weekend.
5. Florida Mutineers
Season record: 9-8 | Week 7 record: 0-2 | Change from last ranking:
Florida took a very surprising step backward in their own home series, although that moniker has no meaning to it without an offline component.
In a tournament full of head-scratching results, the Mutineers' performance might be the most puzzling. The team was swept twice by two admittedly tough opponents in the Minnesota RØKKR and New York Subliners, but this looked like an entirely different team than the Florida that took down Chicago and Minnesota in the Dallas home series.
Maurice "Fero" Henriquez and Cesar "Skyz" Bueno did their jobs in both series, with Skyz leading the team with a 1.13 K-D for the weekend, but the Mutineers looked abysmal against the Subliners, particularly in a 250-194 Hardpoint loss that saw the other three members of the starting lineup go minus-25 overall. Colt "Havok" McLendon played poorly all weekend and went positive on just two of the six maps he played, while he and Bradley "Frosty" Bergstrom were the heels in a 6-5 Search and Destroy loss to New York with a combined 11 kills to 19 deaths and 3-5 record in one-on-one duels with opposing Subliners.
The Mutineers need a lot more from their SMG players across all three map types if the team hopes to remain in the top half of the CDL standings, but it doesn't get any easier from here for the Mutineers. Next up they face the Chicago Huntsmen during the Minnesota home series June 5-7.
To see rosters for all of the Call of Duty League teams, click here.
6. New York Subliners
Season record: 4-10 | Week 7 record: 2-2 | Change from last ranking:1
Hey, remember when I said the Subliners were SUDDENLY DANGEROUS after the previous home series? Surprise! That held up, as New York swept Florida and Minnesota after an opening loss against Toronto and were so close to beating Atlanta for a spot in the final. They'll be back at it again on May 22, matching up against the Surge during the Seattle home series -- and I wouldn't be surprised if they went all the way next time around.
-- Joe DeMartino
7. OpTic Gaming L.A.
Season record: 5-9 | Week 7 record: 3-2 | Change from last ranking:3
The fact that coach Jonathan "Pacman" Tucker announced he was leaving the team the day after OpTic Gaming reached the final of the Florida home series is surprising. OpTic achieved their most surprising result this weekend when they made it all the way to the final of the Florida home series, where they lost 3-1 to the Atlanta FaZe. Considering how disappointing OpTic have been this season, their performance this weekend was impressive.
What changed? Martin "Chino" Chino was subbed into the lineup this weekend for Jordan "JKap" Kaplan, but his stats really weren't that much better than JKap's. The big difference this weekend seemed to be OGLA's performance on Hardpoint. Whereas the team went 0-4 on Hardpoint maps during the Dallas home series, OpTic went 5-3 this weekend, including taking the opening map against Atlanta in the final. Since Hardpoint is always the first map of every matchup, it's imperative to do well on it, and OpTic got off on the right foot consistently, winning four of the five first-map Hardpoints this weekend.
8. London Royal Ravens
Season record: 5-8 | Week 7 record: 1-2 | Change from last ranking:2
If we're talking about what surprised us over the course of the Mutineers' home series, then we might as well address the elephant in the room straightaway. It was definitely that Day 2 controversial Hackney Yard Hardpoint map between the London Royal Ravens and Atlanta FaZe that changed the course of the weekend. Sure, we didn't predict OpTic L.A. coming in hot and taking London to five games on Day 1. The Ravens have taken maps from the dominant FaZe team this season, but not being able to restart after Matthew "Skrapz" Marshall was unable to enter the game appeared to cause some tension and alter the momentum for the Ravens.
The Marshall twins are trying their best -- they remain No. 1 (Bradley "wuskin" Marshall) and No. 11 (Skrapz) in overall K-D this season. It's worth noting Dylan "Dylan" Henderson had a positive impact this weekend (a 1.02 K-D with a team-high 242 kills), but something isn't clicking with this current lineup. No doubt that travel bans and visa restrictions are likely affecting Byron "Nastie" Plumridge's ability to join the roster, but London are going to be forced to make changes soon.
-- Elizabeth Baugh
9. Toronto Ultra
Season record: 4-8 | Week 7 record: 2-1 | Change from last ranking:2
I'm an any-given-Sunday kind of guy. I believe that in any competition the underdog can compete and win. Still, it's surprising when the Ultra have a strong showing against the rising NYSL and the nearly top-tier RØKKR.
Leave it to my main man Anthony "Methodz" Zinni to kick off the win against the RØKKR with a K-D of 30-16 and 11 assists on Hardpoint on Hackney Yard, followed by 24-17 with 8 assists on Domination on Hackney and then 25-14 with 10 assists on Hardpoint on Rammaza. He continues to be the anchor for this team.
Against NYSL, the Ultra showed a good amount of resilience -- 125 deaths to the Subliners and only 104 on Domination on Hackney Yard and still coming through with the 156-154 win is nothing to scoff at. Could this be the turning point for Toronto? More data is needed, but they continue to slowly come together.
10. Seattle Surge
Season record: 4-10 | Week 7 record: DNP | Change from last ranking:1
Seattle got an unpleasant surprise after Minnesota's performance this weekend, in that their three losses to the RØKKR don't look as good now, and all of a sudden that opening day matchup against the New York Subliners on May 22 seems a bit tougher. However, the Surge can take solace in how close they played Atlanta and Dallas during the Chicago home series and hope Josiah "Slacked" Berry (1.05 K-D in that event) and Bryan "Apathy" Zhelyazkov (1.02) can continue to give the team additional threats alongside Sam "Octane" Larew.
11. Paris Legion
Season record: 6-8 | Week 7 record: 0-2 | Change from last ranking:3
It's honestly surprising how poorly the Legion fared in the Florida home series. Sure, they had to face off against the FaZe (who won the whole thing) and a surprisingly scrappy OpTic squad, but despite all that, you'd expect more than just one map win in two games. To be fair, both of their matches were far closer than the scorelines suggest, and if you ran it all back again I'm not sure you'd get the same result. Paris will have to start off particularly strong in the upcoming Seattle home series, where they will face Chicago to kick things off.
12. Los Angeles Guerrillas
Season record: 2-9 | Week 7 record: DNP | Change from last ranking:
It's not surprising how quickly the Guerrillas moved to shake up their roster this season after getting off to such a poor start.
L.A. added Kris "Spart" Cervantez and Reece "Vivid" Drost to their roster just ahead of the team's home series and then announced they would be part of the starting lineup along with Rasim "Blazt" Ogresevic, who had previously been a substitute. The new lineup has yet to elevate the Guerrillas' play, but individually, Blazt has been impressive, putting up a 1.02 K-D, which is 19th best in the league. Spart was part of the AF Academy team that won a Challengers championship in Atlanta in February, so there's potential there.
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