Call of Duty League Stage 4 is upon us, and that means one huge change is coming to Treyarch’s first-person shooter: in-person play. After a season and a half of playing online, teams will finally see one another again when they meet for the Stage 4 Major in June. The excitement is palpable.
Upcomer’s Call of Duty League power rankings have shifted in minor ways since we last saw these teams in action. Atlanta FaZe is back on top with New York Subliners, Toronto Ultra and OpTic Chicago nipping at their heels. The Dallas Empire is continuing a slow and steady decline. And everyone else is scrambling to find — and stick to — their identities.
Stage 4 kicks off with the Chicago Home Series on May 27 with the Paris Legion taking on the Atlanta FaZe at 3 p.m. ET. Here are Upcomer’s power rankings heading into the next batch of matches.
1. Atlanta FaZe
- Season record: 22-4
- Stage 3 record: 8-2
- Movement: +2
Despite a brief bout of excellence from Toronto, Atlanta has remained the No. 1 team in the league throughout the Cold War season with the Tiny Terrors’ Chris “Simp” Lehr and Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris on the roster. Atlanta FaZe showcased what they were capable of again during the Stage 3 Major when they defeated the Toronto Ultra twice before taking out the New York Subliners in a quick best-of-nine grand final where the game was over before Round 8.
Stage 4 has Atlanta FaZe going up against OpTic Chicago, Los Angeles Thieves, Minnesota RØKKR, Paris Legion and Seattle Surge. Outside of OpTic and Thieves, Stage 4 should be another easy group for them. Unless something drastic changes, Atlanta FaZe will continue to dominate the Call of Duty League.
— Danny Appleford
2. New York Subliners
Season record: 16-9
Stage 3 record: 6-2
The most surprising team of Stage 3 was the New York Subliners. After the addition of Paco “HyDra” Rusiwiez, New York looked like a completely different team. They went on an insane 9-0 run in Hardpoint wins, mainly thanks to HyDra’s high-flying SMG and 1.13 Stage 3 KD. And they made it all the way to the grand finals at the Stage 3 Major where they lost to Atlanta FaZe.
The Subliners only lost two matches the entirety of Stage 3, both to Atlanta. Their inability to defeat FaZe is troubling when talking about long-term success but, for now, New York is a top three team in the Call of Duty League. Their place in the power rankings will be cemented in Stage 4, however, as they finally get to face the Toronto Ultra, their direct competitor in the standings.
— Joey Carr
3. Toronto Ultra
Season Record: 17-11
Stage 3 Record: 7-2
The Toronto Ultra crushed Stage 3 until it mattered the most. The European squad only dropped one map to the RØKKR ahead of the Major, going undefeated by shutting out Paris, Los Angeles, Dallas and Florida Mutineers in an incredible series of games. Their hot streak — one that’s been going since Stage 2 — ended when they couldn’t make magic happen during the Stage 3 Major.
The Ultra fell into the losers bracket after losing to Atlanta by one map, but they fought back hard and beat out OpTic and the Thieves before losing to Atlanta again. They’ll need to work on their control for their next matchup with the New York Subliners. Toronto has all the trappings of a championship team: five players with high skill ceilings that work incredibly well together. Atlanta is simply better right now.
— Aron Garst
4. OpTic Chicago
Season record: 15-11
Stage 3 record: 5-4
The real OpTic Chicago finally stood up at the Stage 3 Major, proving that they’re still one of the best teams in the Call of Duty League. After a hiatus that saw them lose every match against teams with a winning record, OpTic went on a huge losers run at the Major. They defeated LA Guerrillas, Dallas and Florida, only losing one map in that stretch.
Ultimately, they fell to Toronto 2-3 but Chicago looks to have its confidence back after finally making it to a championship Sunday in 2021. Brandon “Dashy” Otell seemed to be the key reason for the team’s turnaround, posting a 1.31 KD at the major and taking over maps at various points.
This success at the Major is a turning point for OpTic this season. But, as always, the big question is whether they can stay consistent moving forward.
5. LA Thieves
Season record: 13-12
Stage 3 record: 1-2
LA Thieves were hoping to soar to new heights after replacing Thomas “TJHaLy” Haly with Cuyler “Huke” Garland. However, after losing their winners Round 1 match against Florida Mutineers at the Stage 3 Major, things continue to look shaky for the Thieves. And now, head coach Jordan Kaplan has made another huge move in benching Huke.
With Huke no longer on the roster and TJHaly taking his place, there are even more question marks surrounding the Thieves. Kaplan says that the sudden roster change was based purely on performance, but that will be put to the test in their upcoming match against Seattle Surge.
6. Dallas Empire
Season Record: 14-11
Stage 3 Record: 2-4
We don’t know what is going on behind the scenes with the Dallas Empire and their switch from Huke to Tyler “FeLo” Johnson and now to Reece “Vivid” Drost. Head coach Ray “Rambo” Lussier must feel somewhat vindicated after Los Angeles also benched Huke. Still, all that matters is results.
“Never in my entire year have I gone through what has happened this year,” said Dallas veteran Ian “Crimsix” Porter in a Tweet. “All that matters now is the effort we put into turning shit around.”
The Empire had a pitiful Stage 3 throughout groups and the Major. They got shut out by Florida, Atlanta and Chicago and they only pulled out ahead against a struggling RØKKR, Guerrillas and Legion; all teams on a downward trend. They’ll need to rebound heavily in Stage 4.
7. Florida Mutineers
Season record: 10-13
Stage 3 record: 4-4
The Florida Mutineers continue to be an enigma in the 2021 CDL. After shockingly defeating the newly revamped LA Thieves roster, they failed to win another map at the Stage 3 Major, losing to New York and Chicago. The entire roster seemed to fall apart after their win over LA, with only Cesar “Skyz” Bueno posting a positive KD at the Major (1.01).
Florida’s fatal flaw, it seems, is that they rely too heavily on the success of Skyz and Joe “Owakening” Conley. If both of them aren’t putting up godly numbers, the rest of the roster crumbles a majority of the time. While Travis “Neptune” McCloud had a memorable series against LA, those moments are too few and far between for the Mutineers.
8. Minnesota RØKKR
Season Record: 9-10
Stage 3 Record: 2-4
The RØKKR have been an enigma throughout the season. After benching longtime veteran Michael “MajorManiak” Szymaniak for Eli “Standy” Bentz, they seemed unstoppable for a short time. Now they’ve completely dropped the ball during Stage 3, getting shut out by the London Royal Ravens to push them out of finishing within the Top 8. The Northern squad has reversed course by bringing MajorManiak back as Lamar “Accuracy” Abedi finds himself on the bench.
Accuracy had been struggling for most of Stage 3 but fellow teammate Dillon “Attach” Price defended him saying what he provided elsewhere more than made up for going negative in-game. We’re headed into the final stretch of the season and the RØKKR will need to win in order to secure their trip to the final tournament of the season.
9. London Royal Ravens
Season Record: 6-14
Stage 3 Record: 4-4
The London Royal Ravens are still climbing the Call of Duty League ladder, albeit in a strange fashion. The Paul “PaulEhx” Avila-led squad proved that they could swing with higher ranked teams during the Stage 3 Major by beating Paris, Seattle and Minnesota in a strong fashion. They couldn’t keep up with the Thieves, though, and still have a ways to go.
Things became even more unusal as London replaced half their roster after winning four of their last six matches. They dropped Alex “Zaptius” Bonilla and benched Zach “Zed” Denyer in order to make room for Alex “Alexx” Carpenter and Marcus “Afro” Reid. They also brought back coach James “Dominate” Batz after only dropping him a few weeks beforehand.
“Glad to be back with the squad representing my hometown team,” he said in a Tweet. “The last few weeks have been interesting to say the least.”
It’s unlikely that the Ravens can save their season at this point, so you might as well try out some new compositions to see what works.
10. LA Guerrillas
Season record: 7-14
Stage 3 record: 2-5
After their showing at the Stage 3 Major, it’s safe to say that there’s a fundamental problem with the core of the LA Guerrilla’s roster. The trio of Adam “Assault” Garcia, Justin “SiLLY” Fargo-Palmer and Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov might have won a world championship together in 2018 but that recipe for success clearly has not translated in 2021.
The most surprising part of the entirety of LA’s season is that they’re often competitive in the bulk of their matches. They can take maps with ease against top-ranked opponents and even put up solid individual numbers. This hasn’t led to match wins, though, which leads us to think that a complete roster shake-up is necessary for any success moving forward.
11. Paris Legion
Season record: 5-13
Stage 3 record: 0-1
Paris Legion have improved somewhat after adding Donovan “Temp” Laroda to their roster. However, inconsistencies with Nicholas “Classic” DiCostanzo and Ulysses “AquA” Silva prevented them from reaching anything higher. Now with Classic joining Seattle Surge, and Alex “Zaptius” Bonilla taking his place, there is no telling where Paris Legion could end up.
Classic was a thorn in the side of Paris for most of their games, so with him no longer on the roster there should be some improvement. Paris is in a group with OpTic, Atlanta and Thieves during Stage 4. This will be a test for the latest version of their roster.
12. Seattle Surge
Season record: 4-15
Stage 3 record: 0-1
Seattle Surge benched Daniel “Loony” Loza during Stage 3 for Challengers player Jacob “Decemate” Cato. After dropping out of the Stage 3 Major early, Decemate benched himself from the roster. He had only been playing with Seattle Surge for a week, meaning that the team would have to find another last minute replacement for the roster.
The week before Stage 4, Seattle picked up Classic from Paris. Classic had varying performances with the Legion before moving to the Surge, which makes his skill-ceiling unknown. With Atlanta FaZe, OpTic Chicago and LA Thieves in their group, Seattle Surge’s chances for redemption before Champs doesn’t look promising.