It's been a long first season for the Call of Duty League, one that Activision could have never imagined. But after months of twists and turns that included COVID-19 stunting the whole enterprise, the league's first champions were crowned this weekend. The smoke has all cleared and it's the Dallas Empire standing on top, defeating the Atlanta FaZe 5-1 in the CDL championship finals.
The deciding Game 6 went to Rammaza for Search & Destroy. CDL MVP Anthony "Shotzzy" Cuevas and Ian "C6" Porter started off the first two rounds with crippling early kills to put Atlanta behind quickly. The FaZe started to come back, but hopes for an early tie ended when Michael "Majormaniak" Szymaniak went 1-on-5. While he nearly took out the entire Empire team, Majormaniak ran out of ammo and the Empire were able to defuse the bomb and defuse Atlanta's hopes. The FaZe, riding on Chris "Simp" Lehr, did their best to close in, but the Empire closed the game out 6-4 and took the final series 5-1.
The Dallas Empire entered the series from the Winners Bracket, meaning they took an automatic 1-0 lead. They took an early 3-0 series lead with wins on the opening Hardpoint map and the subsequent Search & Destroy round. Domination on St. Petrograd was about to go Atlanta's direction right to the very end, but behind incredible efforts from Shotzzy and C6, the Empire climbed back and took that round as well to threaten a shutout.
Game 5 sent the two teams to Gun Runner for Hardpoint. This was where the FaZe looked to rally, as they controlled the Hardpoint through the mine entrance. The Hardpoint moved to the cargo containers and the Empire began chipping away at the Atlanta lead. Atlanta looked to stop the bleeding, but Shotzzy went on a killing spree to put the Empire back in it. The Hardpoint shifted to the center platform with both teams tied at 102. Majormaniak tried to match Shotzzy with his own killing spree, but the Empire effectively closed off the center platform to take control. Atlanta managed to retake the lead back at the mine entrance and further extend it after the Hardpoint moved to the shipping warehouse. Behind a five-man killing spree from Simp and a durable Tyler "Abezy" Pharris, the FaZe hung on to get on the board.
It's been an eventful season for the Call of Duty League, as a whole, as they overcame the continuing COVID-19 pandemic to finish out this first season. It's also been an eventful weekend for both of the final two teams. The Empire's win comes days after artist Post Malone announced that he had become part owner of the team. The Atlanta FaZe will look to rebound into a brighter future, with parent organization FaZe Clan announcing Philadelphia 76ers superstar Ben Simmons as the team's newest investor. FaZe also welcomed in Bronny James, son of NBA legend LeBron James, as a new member of the organization.
For their victory, the Dallas Empire take home $1.5 million, the CDL championship trophy, the CDL championship rings, and the CDL Championship Throne. The runner-up Atlanta FaZe walk away with $900,000. There's no word on Season 2 of the Call of Duty League just yet, which is to be expected given the state of the world. Whenever it does return, look for the game to switch over to Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.