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The Call of Duty League Stage 4 Major brought real-time trash talk and dramatic comebacks to the place that they belong: the stage. Teams gathered in Dallas to duke it out in-person for the first time in over a year, giving Atlanta FaZe another championship win to add to their shiny and unblemished trophy case. 

The Dallas Empire played their hearts out, with Reece “Vivid” Dros helping to put the squad back on track to be a top team. Last year’s champions couldn’t beat the Call of Duty League’s final boss, Atlanta in an incredibly close 5-4 finish to a best-of-nine series. 

Outside Dallas, the other teams that needed to win didn’t do so. New York, fresh off the loss of Obaid “Asim” Asim, fell early alongside Florida Mutineers, Minnesota RØKKR and the Los Angeles Thieves. They all failed to make the dent they needed ahead of Stage 5. 

We’re headed into the final stage of the season before the championship tournament. Here’s where everyone sits in Upcomer’s Call of Duty League power rankings.

Atlanta FaZe

  • Season Record: 30-4
  • Stage 4 Record: 5-0
  • Movement: –

Atlanta FaZe were the favorites coming into the Stage 4 Major, especially with LAN returning. However, it was still shocking to see Atlanta take home their third Major win of the season, earning back-to-back Major victories after beating New York in Stage 3. On top of becoming the first team to go back-to-back, they were also the second team to go undefeated during the group stage. Stage 3 saw Toronto Ultra also go undefeated in their groups but they were unable to win the Major.

FaZe currently look unstoppable compared to other teams that don’t have the same level of chemistry as the boys from Georgia. It will be a while until we see a roster that can continuously test Atlanta FaZe’s limits. 

Danny Appleford

Dallas Empire

  • Season Record: 21-15
  • Stage 4 Record: 7-4
  • Movement: +4

After struggling with a near season’s worth of roster changes and drama, Dallas proved that they’re still a top tier team by taking Atlanta to a Round 9 in the grand finals of the Stage 4 Major. A standout performance by Indervir “iLLeY” Dhaliwal couldn’t derail the FaZe train that’s been chugging along all season. 

“I had an absolute blast this weekend playing on LAN again, no other feeling like it,” iLLeY said in a Tweet. “Can’t wait to get back to work with the squad.”

Dallas started the Major with a 3-0 win over Chicago before losing to Toronto. The Empire rallied, beat Chicago again and then took revenge on the Ultra before meeting Atlanta at the end of the tournament. It was a lesson in endurance, but the lack of best-of-nine experience came back to bite Dallas in the butt. They look primed for a strong Stage 5 performance. 

— Aron Garst

Toronto Ultra

  • Season Record: 22-14
  • Stage 4 Record: 5-3
  • Movement: –

Toronto Ultra met Atlanta FaZe in the Stage 4 winners final and couldn’t pull through in Control to tie the series up, losing 3-1. The Ultra are 12-10 in maps against the FaZe in their last four matchups. This includes a win at the Stage 2 Major. They seem to be one of the league’s best chances at ending FaZe’s 2021 reign. 

The Ultra have learned to play as a team in a way that no one else in Call of Duty does. They move quickly around hectic maps while their communication is calm and collected. Sometimes the synergy doesn’t work out though; for example, when McArthur “Cellium” Jovel managed a team kill against them in the Hardpoint that gave FaZe the victory. 

Toronto absolutely bodied Dallas in the first two maps in the losers bracket, but the Empire managed to come back afterwards and scrape by a Control win. Everyone on the Ultra, except Tobias “CleanX” Juul Jønsson, had a positive KD, but they still lost. They’ll need to win close games like that going forward. 

— Garst

Scump
Seth “Scump” Abner voiced his frustrations about losing after falling short at the Stage 4 Major | Provided by the Call of Duty League

OpTic Chicago

  • Season Record: 20-15
  • Stage 4 Record: 5-4
  • Movement: +1

It turns out the return to LAN wasn’t the be-all-end-all for OpTic Chicago. As in every Major prior to Stage 4, the team struggled to find consistency; especially against equal or higher-ranked teams (namely Dallas Empire). While Chicago managed to get revenge against the Seattle Surge, that was the high point of their entire event. 

Perhaps more time on LAN will do the veteran roster some good, but it’s clear that the players are frustrated. Seth “Scump” Abner tweeted an eye-opening message after the grand finals, stating “I’ve been sad for months and months. I want to win so badly.”

The main issue Chicago faces going forward is figuring out how to turn their close map losses into wins. The team performs decently most of the time but simply can’t make the jump to the next level. 

Joey Carr

New York Subliners

  • Season Record: 21-12
  • Stage 4 Record: 5-3
  • Movement: -3

It’s tough to rank the New York Subliners purely based on the Stage 4 Major. The team was without their routeman and shot-caller, Obaid “Asim” Asim, due to his issues entering the U.S. from Canada. In his place, Jacob “Decemate” Cato played admirably. He even made a few flashy plays, but it wasn’t the same New York roster. Still, they managed to take down a decent Florida team with a replacement. 

Heading into Stage 5, the Subliners should continue to play like a top-three team in the CDL. However, the top of the rankings are getting crowded with the Dallas Empire back in the mix.

 Carr

RØKKR Stage 4
The RØKKR failed to go far at the Stage 4 Major | Provided by the Call of Duty League

Minnesota RØKKR

  • Season Record: 13-15
  • Stage 4 Record: 4-4
  • Movement: +1

Everyone was surprised when Standy stood on the stage for the first in-person LAN of the 2021, towering over everyone else on his team. The shock from that height reveal wouldn’t last long though as Minnesota started the Major off strong with a shutout over the Asim-less Subliners, before getting demolished by both Atlanta and OpTic Chicago. 

Wins over the LA Thieves, Seattle Surge and Paris Legion didn’t help the RØKKR prepare for the Major at all. They lost to the same teams they’d lost to in Groups. The standout performance came from Michael “MajorManiak” Szymaniak, fresh off the bench, when he started 1-11 and then finished 25-27 against New York in Hardpoint. He was one of the best performers against OpTic and FaZe as well. 

“Our teamwork and coms in the last two series were just straight up unacceptable,” he said in a Tweet. “Need to flip the switch in that regard for Stage 5.”

— Garst

Florida Mutineers

  • Season Record: 14-16
  • Stage 4 Record: 4-3
  • Movement: -3

Once again, the Florida Mutineers had a disappointing showing at the Major, placing seventh-eighth and only going home with $10,000. This was after one of their stronger Group stages where they took down the Toronto Ultra. In the end, though, they lost to the New York Subliners who played with a last-minute replacement. 

If there’s one positive to take away for Florida, it was the outstanding performance of rookie Travis “Neptune” McCloud. He finished the event with a 1.36 KD, which was good for the second-highest among all players. If he can begin to click with the rest of the roster, the Mutineers could have an even better Group stage next month.

Joey Carr

Sam “Octane” Larew proved that he is still a top AR player in the league | Provided by the Call of Duty League

Seattle Surge

  • Season Record: 7-20
  • Stage 4 Record: 3-5
  • Movement: +4

Seattle Surge’s saving grace was Sam “Octane” Larew during the first offline tournament in over a year. Octane showcased why he is still one of the best players in the game after having the top KD for the first two days of the tournament. He carried Seattle Surge on his back and earned them wins against Paris Legion and London Royal Ravens to earn $10,000 at the tournament. 

Despite their impressive success on LAN, Seattle Surge’s SMG duo has a hard time going positive during their matches. Preston “Prestinni” Sanderson and Nicholas “Classic” DiCostanzo started off slow during a majority of Seattle Surge’s matches. If Seattle wants to continue to improve, Octane is going to need more help.

Appleford

Los Angeles Guerrillas

  • Season Record: 8-20
  • Stage 4 Record: 1-6
  • Movement: +2

The LA Guerrillas shocked everyone when they upset the turbulent LA Thieves in the first round of the Major. This was the Guerrillas’ third straight win over their crosstown rival and it couldn’t have come at a better time. It marked LA’s first win of Stage 4, providing them with some essential CDL Points. 

This was the highlight of their event, though, as they fell one round later to Florida. If LA plays well in Stage 5, they could theoretically sneak their way into the Champs bracket. Of course, this is provided one of the sixth-eighth ranked teams goes into a huge slump — which the Thieves might be on the brink of. A sliver of hope is alive for LAG but it’s seemingly out of the realm of possibility that they could make any noise at Champs, should they make it. 

Carr

LA Thieves
More roster trouble plagued the Thieves at the Stage 4 Major | Provided by the Call of Duty League

LA Thieves

  • Season Record: 14-17
  • Stage 4 Record: 1-5
  • Movement: -2

LA Thieves built themselves a roster that was made of veteran talent just for the return of LAN for the Stage 4 Major. However, we didn’t get to see that version of the roster perform due to a misspelled name on a COVID-19 test from Cuyler “Huke” Garland. Despite being brought back onto the roster, we never got to see him play. 

A lackluster performance from the Stage 4 Groups put them in the losers bracket for the Major. This also meant they would have to win their first match to continue. Like the two other times the LA Thieves had faced the LA Guerrillas, they failed to pull out a win and were eliminated from the tournament early. Long story short, the LA Thieves do not look good going into Stage 5 and need to make some serious adjustments.

Appleford

Paris Legion

  • Season Record: 7-17
  • Stage 4 Record: 2-4
  • Movement: -2

Paris Legion were looking up after taking two wins during the Stage 4 Group but they were still placed in the lower bracket of the Major. While Paris was able to take a win off of the failing LA Thieves, they were unable to perform during the Major and still fell to the Seattle Surge. Seattle looked great on LAN while Paris looked about the same as they had before they were offline. 

Paris will need a miracle in order to make it to the final tournament of the season, which seems unlikely. They’ll need an amazing Stage 5 performance unlike anything we’ve seen from them this year. 

Appleford

London Royal Ravens

  • Season Record: 7-19
  • Stage 4 Record: 1-5
  • Movement: -2

London faced Seattle in the first game of the Stage 4 Major and that was as long as they lasted. After gaining some momentum in Stage 3, the Ravens have completely fallen apart during Stage 4. Their only win came against the Los Angeles Guerrillas with shutout losses against New York, Atlanta and Toronto. Outside of a miracle run during Stage 5, the London are only playing for pride for the remainder of the 2021 season. 

— Garst

 




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