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The Call of Duty League Stage 5 Major was arguably the greatest event that the esport has seen in years. With the fans back in attendance on LAN and all 12 teams competing, the stage was set for an epic battle. And what a battle it was. There were upsets in nearly every round of the tournament. Even the matches without an upset went down to the wire and excited the Arlington Esports Stadium time and time again. Of course, this all culminated with perhaps the best grand finals of all time, as Minnesota  RØKKR took down Toronto in an Ultra-reverse sweep.

With such a dramatic event, there’s undoubtedly going to be things to take away. However, there are three that truly define the CDL Stage 5 Major.

1. The Champs bracket is wide open

Prior to Stage 5, there was no question who would contend for the CDL Championship trophy. It was seemingly between the Atlanta FaZe, Dallas Empire and Toronto Ultra. While OpTic Chicago and New York Subliners were seen as contenders, they were on the outside looking in when it came to the betting odds.

However, all of that’s changed after Stage 5. OpTic Chicago suddenly looks like a true powerhouse, New York has fallen off of a cliff and the Minnesota RØKKR could actually be the favorites heading into the event. There is truly no telling at this point who has the best chance at winning CDL Champs. Will the RØKKR stay hot? Can Atlanta and Toronto bounce back after their respective major showings? Could Dallas or OpTic swoop in? Or will there be another RØKKR-like underdog who no one sees coming? It’s safe to say the Champs winner is far from set in stone.

2. Online and LAN make a major difference

Perhaps the easiest takeaway from the CDL Stage 5 Major is that online Call of Duty pales in comparison to LAN. This was overwhelmingly evident in a number of matches. However, the team that proved this theory the most was the Seattle Surge.

In 2021, the last place squad managed to place in the top six, upsetting Atlanta FaZe in the process. Also, they took OpTic to a Map 5. Seattle looked like an entirely new team on LAN and proved to the community what they could’ve looked like if the CDL was played on LAN for the majority of 2021.

Of course, due to reasons outside of their control, the CDL had no choice but to play most of this season’s matches online. But the emergence of several players on LAN could play a huge role in free agency for 2022.

3. The battle for Rookie of the Year will be settled at Champs

For most of the 2021 season, the Rookie of the Year has been pretty much set in many fans’ minds. Jamie “Insight” Craven came into the lineup for Toronto in Stage 2 and immediately made the roster a contender. His dominant assault rifle play is among the best in the CDL and should be a frontrunner for Rookie of the Year.

However, there was also a player who joined in Stage 2 that now deserves more recognition. Eli “Standy” Bentz of the RØKKR was named the Player of Stage 5 thanks to his unbelievable plays and consistent stats. He ranks among the top players in the CDL in Kill/Death Ratio across Search and Destroy and Hardpoint. Of course, his performance at the CDL Stage 5 Major grand finals is the main reason he’s now in a fierce battle with Insight for the Rookie of the Year.

The battle will come to a head at Champs, where the better performer will likely earn themselves the title of Rookie of the Year.


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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