After yet another devastating season, Seattle Surge cleaned house by releasing all four players and head coach Joey “Nubzy” DiGiacomo. They’ll need to completely rebuild before next season.
For Seattle, their Call of Duty League season ended when they dropped out of the Stage 5 Major after losing to OpTic Chicago. For the other teams, the season still has two days left with Champs. The league decided to forgo including the bottom four teams at Champs this year. A new tradition that wasn’t customary to Call of Duty in previous years and was hotly debated by the pros.
Before the second day of Champs had begun, Seattle made their announcement to release their entire roster. A decision that would set the pace for the off-season before it even started for the majority of players.
“They dropped their entire team, just today?” Toronto Ultra’s Tobias “CleanX” Juul Jønsson told me after his match against Chicago. “Oh, s*** I didn’t know that.”
Despite the initial shock of having no one to base their roster around for the next season, CleanX agreed that the bottom four teams needed to make a change.
“I don’t think that [placing so low] is acceptable for any team to be consistently bad,” said CleanX. “There is a big gap. The top teams that are here at Champs were so much better than the lower four teams.”
Seattle is under fire for the timing of their roster move
While many teams expected Seattle to make a change in the off-season after being in the bottom four for two seasons, the timing was off for the announcement. While four teams were free to make roster changes, a champion had yet to be decided in Cold War.
“I think it was kind of stupid doing it right now,” said Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson, Atlanta FaZe’s in-game leader. “I just don’t feel like [dropping the roster] was the right move in this moment.”
Arcitys didn’t think the team deserved to be dropped but also brought up the players from the Seattle roster tweeting about their freedom after the post was made. Sam “Octane” Larew has been vocal on social media about his distaste for his situation on the Surge. When the announcement was made that he was a free agent again, he posted a gif from “Titanic” on Twitter.
Officially a Free-Agent moving into the off season. I feel like I watched COD for 2 seasons but NO MORE BABY pic.twitter.com/m2XaoHpg8T
— Sam “Octane” Larew (@OctaneSam) August 20, 2021
“Officially a free-agent moving into the off-season,” Octane tweeted. “I feel like I watched COD for 2 seasons but NO MORE BABY!”
Despite the freedom tweets from players that were on Seattle throughout the year, Arcitys was positive about the direction that the Surge was heading into with the off-season.
“I feel like it’s going to be the start of something different,” said Arcitys. “That whole team is gone, and there’s going to be a whole new roster coming in. Rostermania is going to be crazy, hopefully.”
Top teams likely won’t make changes
Outside of the teams on the lower end of the standings, pros like Eli “Standy” Bentz don’t think the teams at the top will make big changes if any. Especially with the skill gap that was present throughout the year between teams like Paris Legion and the Minnesota Røkkr.
“I think for a majority of the lower teams that didn’t go to Champs, 100% are going to be some roster moves,” said Standy, the star rookie for the Røkkr. “I think for most of the top six teams, maybe top four, there may be a slight change. But for the top four teams, probably not.”
Standy thought it was best for the lower teams who didn’t make it to Champs to wipe their rosters. After not performing all year, it would be better to start fresh and see what can be done with a new roster.
With the skill gap between the top and bottom teams, it’s difficult to say where the teams in the middle will land. Teams like New York Subliners, LA Thieves, and Florida Mutineers may make slight changes, but most likely will leave one or two of their former rosters. For teams like Atlanta FaZe and Toronto Ultra who have consistently been at the top, there isn’t a reason to change.