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After an up and down year, the Dallas Empire took home the inaugural Call of Duty League championship. While some question their victory’s legitimacy due to the online nature of the event, the Empire dominated the rest of the field thoroughly. The roster earned the win and was looking like the top dog heading into 2021 and Black Ops Cold War. However, Activision then announced that the CDL would be moving to a 4v4 format instead of 5v5. This caused Dallas to drop three-time champion James “Clayster” Eubanks. Without Clay, can the Empire maintain the success they had in 2020?

Looking at the Dallas Empire in the 2021 CDL

While it’s not official as of yet, Dallas seems to be rolling with the same roster in 2021 minus Clayster. This includes the following players:

  • Ian “Crimsix” Porter
  • Cuyler “Huke” Garland
  • Indervir “iLLeY” Dhaliwal
  • Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro

An MVP in Shotzzy, the best player of all-time in Crimsix, and two young stars in Huke and iLLeY — that’s the Dallas roster going into 2021. It’s no question that this team will compete with some of the other top rosters that have formed during the early stages of Free Agency for 2021.

However, one lingering question for many fans concerns the Dallas Empire’s ability to stay on top. It’s extremely rare in Call of Duty to have a dominant roster in back-to-back years. OpTic Gaming took over the esports scene for several years but still only managed one world championship. The old Complexity and Evil Geniuses team featuring both Crimsix and Clayster wreaked havoc on the scene, but again, only managed one world championship win.

call of duty league cdl

If Dallas wants to be the champs at the end of the year again, they’ll need to be the first team in CoD history to repeat. That’s no easy task. Atlanta, Chicago, and Minnesota have all formed powerhouse squads that will rival Dallas in 2021.

In order for the Empire to succeed as they did in 2020, they’ll need Crimsix’s leadership over anything. Clayster brought a ton of that in 2020 but now that he’s gone, Crim is the lone veteran voice. Of course, the performance still needs to be maintained, if not improved, as well. The young guns of the Empire must improve their gameplay if they want a chance of taking down the other top squads in the CDL. Dallas did it in 2020, so who’s to say they can’t do it again in 2021? Well, Chicago or Atlanta will obviously have something to say.

Make sure to stay tuned to Daily Esports for all CDL news.


Joey Carr is a full-time writer for multiple esports and gaming websites. He has 6+ years of experience covering esports and traditional sporting events, including DreamHack Atlanta, Call of Duty Championships 2017, and Super Bowl 53.


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