The third Call Of Duty League Home Series event of the year takes place this weekend with eight teams descending on Atlanta’s Gateway Arena in what promises to be a blockbuster.
League leaders and CDL London champions Chicago Huntsmen will face their biggest challenge yet with the highly anticipated showdown against the hosts, Atlanta FaZe.
With Friday fast approaching, we predict the outcomes of the group stages and who we think will be crowned champions on Sunday.
Minnesota RØKKR vs. Paris Legion
The group stages kick off with an interesting and exciting international clash that will set the tone for the rest of the tournament.
Almost every fan and pundit had the relatively unknown Paris outfit at the bottom of the pile before Launch Weekend. Now they’re a shoo-in for a top-four finish.
Paris Legion had a slow start to CDL London, losing out to the New York Subliners but showed immense character by coming back to beat them convincingly in the losers bracket. While Paris Legion did lose to the Chicago Huntsmen in an incredibly close semi-final, they were the only team that looked like they could beat them.
Look out for: Denholm “Denz” Taylor, the AR man, put on an incredible performance in London and was close to being in our team of the tournament.
Minnesota RØKKR can feel confident in their unbeaten Launch Weekend run, beating LA Guerillas and Mutineers with relative ease. However, two victories against teams still struggling to find form shouldn’t lead to complacency among the Minnesota team.
Look out for: Alex” Alexx” Carpenter, the Flex player, has an exciting and aggressive style that could pose problems for the Paris Legion roster.
Paris Legion will be Minnesota RØKKR toughest match to date, and it will answer a few questions about both teams. Is Minnesota capable of beating a top-four finisher with more games under their belt? Is Paris Legion a “one-event wonder”?
Winner: Paris Legion takes the first head of the day. After Denz’s powerful display at CDL London, backed by the reliable and consistent performances of Zach “Zed” Denyer and Matthew “KiSMET” Tinsley, we don’t see Minnesota offering much in return.
London Royal Ravens vs. Florida Mutineers
The Royal Ravens were one game away from reaching the final at CDL London and could taste the dream of being crowned tournament champions on home soil. However, in a stunning reversal, Dallas Empire came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
Choking on a two-game lead in front of your home crowd is a massive blow, but the London based team can be confident in the fact that they posted a strong top-four finish and their main AR man Bradley “wuskin” Marshall in the form of his life.
The Royal Ravens learnt a valuable lesson against Dallas Empire; one slip in concentration can change the whole game. The Londoners will hopefully play to this experience.
Look out for: Bradley “wuskin” Marshall, was statistically the most deadly Hardpoint player of the tournament and almost made our CDL London team of the tournament.
Toronto Mutineers had a shaky start at the Launch Weekend. Just beating the Seattle Surge in a thrilling 3-2 match, shortly followed by an equally contested loss to LA Guerillas.
The Mutineers have a wealth of potential and will look to establish themselves as serious contenders this weekend.
Look out for: The 2019 Champion and twin-brother of Alec “Arcytis Sanderson”, Preston “Prestinni” Sanderson is deadly with the SMG in the slayer and support role. Besides his skill, he has valuable experience that the Florida Mutineers will hope to rally around.
Winner: London Royal Ravens will start their tournament with a win. Unless the Mutineers can stop Wuzskin from finding his flow early, particularly on Hardpoint, they might stand a chance.
Chicago Huntsmen vs. Toronto Ultra
The Toronto Ultra have been dealt a difficult hand with their first match-up against CDL London tournament champions, Chicago Huntsmen.
The Huntsmen are coming in hot on the back of a dominant CDL London performance. Besides the semi-final game against Paris Legion where there were some doubts, you could bet your house on the Chicago Huntsmen taking full honours.
The player statistics coming out of CDL London truly paints a picture of how frustratingly good this team is. Four of the Chicago Huntsmen players feature in our CDL London team of the tournament, purely by their individual statistics.
Look out for: Seth “Scump” Abner was the player of the tournament in London, and the iconic T2P duo was back to their old ways. Scump posted the best overall K/D and he was overwhelmingly the best SnD player of the tournament. Pierce “Gunless” Hillman was statistically the best player of the tournament in his role, posting the highest bomb plants and defuses, as well as flag capture rate.
The Toronto outfit will look to cause the upset of the tournament on Friday against the league leaders but would need to improve drastically from their Launch Weekend performance.
Look out for: Anthony “Methodz” Zinni had a better launch weekend than his teammates and looked comfortable in his AR role.
Winner: The Chicago Huntsmen advance through into the winner’s bracket.
Atlanta FaZe vs. Optic Gaming Los Angeles
Another team that got the short end of the stick, Optic will face a determined Atlanta FaZe in front of a home crowd with a point to make.
Currently trailing at the very bottom of the league table, Optic Gaming is still finding their groove and looking for their first win of the season with new head coach Johnathan “Pacman” Tucker. The hole left by the loss of Scump and Ian “CrimSix” Porter, however, could be too big to fill for the struggling team.
Look out for: Jordan “JKap” Kaplan is still a two-time world champion and remains one of the deadliest AR players in the game. A personally disappointing performance during the Launch Weekend may prove to be the catalyst that gets JKap to his best again.
Not only do the hosts have the home ground advantage, but they’re also fielding two 2019 world champions. Chris “Simps” Lehr and Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris have carried their form over into the New Year with some mastery play during the Launch Weekend.
Despite their stellar roster, the hosts will feel the pressure to perform in front of their fans while keeping in mind the inevitable showdown with the Chicago Huntsmen. But with the team’s depth in experience, the pressure shouldn’t pose a problem.
Look out for: aBezy, the 2019 world champion and MVP occupying the SMG slayer role along with his fellow champion Simps in his AR slayer role.
Winner: Atlanta FaZe will be determined to make an example of Optic Gaming, and easily progress into the winner’s bracket.
CDL Atlanta Champions?
An Atlanta FaZe and Chicago Huntsmen final is almost too much to comprehend. Both rosters fielding some of the best talents in the game, the home ground dynamic and atmosphere, old rivalries – there’s just too many levels.
We think Atlanta FaZe grinds out a 3-2 win in the final, taking advantage of the Huntsmen difficulty with domination.
Don’t agree with our predictions? Comment below and tell us who you think comes out on top at CDL Atlanta this weekend!
Based in Cape Town, Myles works full time as a content and SEO strategist but finds time to write about anything gaming related. If he isn't riding his pet cheetah, he's probably letting the squad down on CS:GO, Call of Duty and Battlefield.