Instead of two to three dominant rosters that are expected to win every tournament, several rosters look poised to make things competitive. The likes of the Seattle Surge, Minnesota ROKKR and New York Subliners all added new talent that should make for intriguing match-ups this season.
Although, the teams at the top of the power rankings have remained the same, namely Atlanta FaZe, OpTic Chicago and reigning champions Dallas Empire. While the former two experienced some roster shifts, the Empire simply cut one player, keeping the core of their roster intact.
For some, this was the right move to defend the title. For others though, this spells disaster and invites other teams in to claim the 2021 CDL title. So the big question remains, does the Empire roster have another championship in their sights?
Looking at the Dallas Empire’s chances in 2021
The Dallas' roster for 2021 (Picture: Dallas Empire)
While no one knows how the 2021 CDL will pan out, it’s clear Dallas Empire are one of the better teams in the league. It’s hard to say anything less about a roster that features the reigning MVP, Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro, the winningest player in Call of Duty history, Ian “Crimsix” Porter and two young hotshots, Indervir “iLLeY” Dhaliwal and Cuyler “Huke” Garland.
However, the roster did lose three-time world champion James “Clayster” Eubanks. Black Ops Cold War reverted back to 4v4 play and one member of the roster needed to go. Unfortunately for Clayster, he appears to have been considered the weakest link. Still, Clayster was a huge part of Empire’s success in 2020 and the questions surrounding their chances in 2021 without him are valid.
A true leader, Clayster’s role needs to now be filled by Crimsix. While the in-game roles are set, leadership is something that’s not tangible. It can’t be taught and makes a true impact on any esports team.
Of course, Dallas features enough talent to win matches by simply outperforming other teams. A roster like the Paris Legion stands little chance against Dallas in the early going of Black Ops Cold War. However, when talking about the Empire’s chances to repeat, the top teams of the CDL need to be brought into the conversation.
In scrims, Dallas has fared well against the likes of OpTic Chicago, Atlanta FaZe, LA Thieves and Minnesota ROKKR. This needs to translate into match wins when the league kicks off 11th February for Opening Weekend, but it seems Empire can still keep up with the top teams. Although, whether or not they can outlast them is the real question.
Dallas relied on a hot streak at the tail end of 2020 to become CDL champs. They looked dreadful early in the 2020 season but Shotzzy and Huke found their groove at the right time. While the same can happen in 2021, there are far more solid teams to reckon with than there was last year.
At least half of the league’s teams have a real shot to take the title, as of right now. Dallas didn’t have this luxury in 2020 when only four teams were truly in contention. The more solid teams there are, the less of a chance the Empire has to capture another championship.
All in all, Dallas Empire stands as good of a chance as any to take home the 2021 title. Sure, Atlanta FaZe, OpTic Chicago and the LA Thieves look like worthy adversaries. However, Dallas have a star-studded roster that has shown they can handle any type of adversity.
The main secret to Dallas becoming repeat champs? Consistency. Waiting too long to get hot likely won’t work in 2021 when the CDL has become more competitive than ever.
The Call of Duty League 2021 Opening Weekend starts 11th February on YouTube.