The Call of Duty League Stage 2 Major was the most intense and action-packed event of the season. Featuring mind-blowing upsets, incredible plays and general top-tier gameplay, there was never a dull moment from a viewing perspective.
This tournament certainly demonstrated what the 2021 season has been about thus far. The competitiveness of the league this year has never been seen before in Call of Duty esports, making for the possibility of wild moments endless in each match. Still, throughout all of the inconsistencies, there are a few concrete takeaways from the Stage 2 Major.
1. Toronto Ultra made the right decision
The Ultra’s decision to bench fan-favorite player Anthony “Methodz” Zinni in early March was not a popular one. Fans coined the expression “No Zinni no winni,” which, at the time, seemed like a true statement. However, after winning the Stage 2 Major, it’s clear the phrase holds no weight anymore.
It was seemingly a foregone conclusion that Toronto was going to promote rookie Jamie “Insight” Craven to the starting roster. However, it wasn’t clear whether Methodz or Benjamin “Bance” Bance would be replaced. Methodz ultimately took the bullet, but fans wanted Bance on the bench due to his lackluster stats in Stage 1.
BENJAMIN @Bance IS UNTOUCHABLE!
— Call of Duty League (@CODLeague) April 12, 2021
Bance proved nearly everyone in the community wrong at the Stage 2 Major, though. He finished the event with a 1.13 K/D (kills/deaths) ratio, including a 1.4 K/D in the grand finals. He was Toronto’s MVP, and it looks like the Ultra now have a bona fide top roster in the CDL.
2. Atlanta FaZe aren’t unbeatable
Before the Los Angeles Guerrillas Home Series, Atlanta FaZe hadn’t lost a single series in 2021. It was an unprecedented run that eventually came to a close once the team shockingly lost to the Guerrillas. This was brushed off as a fluke, though; most thought Atlanta was still an unbeatable force in the CDL. That’s no longer the case.
THEY SAID IT COULDN'T BE DONE pic.twitter.com/KV27GwqS5X
— Los Angeles Guerrillas (@LAGuerrillas) April 2, 2021
Atlanta had a great Stage 2 Major up until the grand finals. There, they ran into the full momentum of the Toronto Ultra and lost 5-3. FaZe looked extremely uncomfortable on some maps, especially in Search and Destroy.
While the circumstances of the match come into effect, the Ultra proved FaZe isn’t an untouchable foe. Atlanta can be beaten, and Toronto may have just uncovered the recipe to do it. The FaZe need to improve at the map/mode combinations they lost, or opposing teams will continue to pick those in matchups.
3. The CDL needs OpTic for viewership
One of the most noteworthy aspects from the Stage 2 Major away from the gameplay was the lackluster viewership numbers when OpTic Chicago were not playing.
It’s been a known fact for years that when OpTic plays, the audience of the broadcast grows substantially. However, the Stage 2 Major saw a significant dropoff in numbers when Chicago was eliminated by the Minnesota RØKKR. In the OpTic vs. RØKKR match, the official CDL broadcast saw a consistent 100,000 viewers. In the matches following this, the numbers never went above 80,000.
It’s unclear how the CDL can attempt to rectify this issue. However, with the league being more competitive than ever, perhaps fans will want to tune in to potentially see the next crazy moment.