In perhaps the most shocking roster move in Call of Duty League history, Ian “Crimsix” Porter has announced he’s a free agent on Friday. After two seasons with the Dallas Empire, the first ending in a world championship, the team is going a different route in 2022. Crimsix is the winningest player in Call of Duty history, amassing over $1.3 million and winning over 30 events.
Today we bid farewell to the 3x World Champ and winningest player of all-time.
— Dallas Empire (@DallasEmpire) August 27, 2021
Right after Crimsix announced his free agency, former teammate Reece “Vivid” Drost also revealed he’s not returning to Dallas.
“Restricted F/A going into the next title. Nothing but love for @DallasEmpire for bringing me on for the second half of the year,” Vivid tweeted. “Looking forward to the future.”
The moves are somewhat shocking, as the Empire came out strong at the end of the 2021 season with Vivid in the lineup. They placed third at CDL Champs and second at the Stage 4 Major.
This marks the end of an era for Dallas. Crimsix was an integral part of their success over the past two years. It’s unclear what Dallas has in mind with the off-season looming, but it’s clear who they’re building around.
Dallas Empire part ways with Vivid and Crimsix
Dallas was always a toss-up heading into the off-season. Sticking with the same roster didn’t seem likely. Atlanta FaZe and Toronto Ultra are better teams, and Empire owner Mike “Hastr0” Rufail has been known to do whatever it takes to be at the top of Call of Duty. Apparently, soaring to the top involves dropping arguably the best Call of Duty player ever.
Vivid was, in many fans’ eyes, the odd man out for the Empire. His free agency was expected once the season ended. A key reason behind Vivid and Crimsix’s release is Dallas’ obvious intent to build around franchise cornerstones Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro and Indervir “iLLeY” Dhaliwal.
What happens from this point on is anyone’s guess. Dallas seems intent on acquiring younger talent to match the ability of Atlanta and Toronto. On the flip side, it’s hard to envision Vivid or especially Crimsix not finding a home on a starting roster in 2022. There should be plenty of teams with holes to fill on rosters and either Crimsix or Vivid would make fine additions. However, if rostermania has taught the community anything so far, it’s to expect the unexpected.