Atlanta FaZe win the second Major of the 2023 CDL Season
(Gray News) - The Call of Duty League (CDL) held its second Major of the season in Boston this weekend. The tournament saw a lot of close matches right out of the gate, with three out of four matches going to map five on day one. It quickly became evident that several teams were seeking redemption for their lacking performances at the first Major back in December.
OpTic Texas and LA Thieves fell under this description and faced each other in the first round of the winner’s bracket. The reigning world champs, LA Thieves, failed to get past the second round of the elimination bracket in the first Major and needed a solid start to the weekend. Alternatively, OpTic Texas failed to get past the group stage in Major I, so they were looking to capitalize early and get a confidence win.
OpTic Texas pulled out a 3-2 win over LA Thieves thanks to tenacious performances on both maps of Search & Destroy (SnD) and a pivotal map four Hardpoint win. OpTic fans also could breathe a slight sigh of relief as Brandon ‘Dashy’ Otell, the replacement for recently retired Seth ‘Scump’ Abner, put up great stat lines and looked comfortable in his role. On the other hand, LA Thieves fans would have to settle into the idea that their team now had a long journey ahead of them if they wanted to make it to Grand Finals.
Atlanta FaZe had a more successful result in the first Major, exiting after a loss in Elimination Finals, but still expect nothing but the top spot every time they compete. They consistently place top three at Majors and, more often than not, take second if they don’t win the Major. So a third-place finish at Major I may sound respectable, but it seems they know they could have done better and wanted to prove it.
FaZe had a round-one matchup against Boston Breach, the hosts of Major II, that went 3-2 in favor of FaZe. A blistering map four Hardpoint and a dominant 6-0 map five SnD solidified the win. FaZe continued, knocking Toronto Ultra into the elimination bracket with a 3-0 win in round two, followed by a 3-2 win over Minnesota RØKKR in Winners Finals.
RØKKR put up a solid fight in Winners Finals with wins on maps one and three, but an unavailing map four Hardpoint spelled disaster as FaZe took over and pulled out a 6-5 SnD win on map five. RØKKR now had to face the LA Thieves in Elimination Finals if they wanted to make it to Grand Finals.
LA Thieves managed to pull off the elimination bracket run to get to Elimination Finals, and they had done it handily too. The Thieves went 3-0 against Florida Mutineers round one, New York Subliners round two, and Toronto Ultra round 3. Thieves then had to face OpTic Texas again in elimination round four.
The match was a barn burner that saw OpTic take an early lead with a map one win. However, the Thieves were unstoppable on their hunt for Grand Finals. Map two saw a 6-5 SnD win for Thieves. OpTic tried to claw a win on map three, but Thieves took control in Control and won the map 3-2. Finally, on map four, OpTic failed to cover a ladder entry to the final hardpoint location, and the Thieves won the map 250-243. The match earned one of the highest peak viewerships for a non-world championship event in Call of Duty esports history.
LA Thieves went on to their matchup with Minnesota RØKKR in the Elimination Finals, winning with an efficient 3-0. LA Thieves had made it to Grand Finals, where Atlanta FaZe laid in wait.
The Thieves took a heavily contested map one win, only winning Hardpoint by two points. FaZe retaliated with solid wins on maps two and three, but the Thieves wouldn’t go away quietly and took a map four victory. Each team needed two more map wins to emerge Major II champions.
Map five was SnD on El Asilo and proved to be the tipping point for FaZe. McArthur ‘Cellium’ Jovel clutched round one in a 1v2 situation eliminating Zach ‘Drazah’ Jordan and Sam ‘Octane’ Larew as they pushed the bomb site. Cellium also managed to stave off a late-round bomb plant by Octane in round two. Thieves cleaned up a relatively straightforward round three, and Octane managed to hold off a defuse push by Cellium and took round 4. Thieves also grabbed rounds 5 and 6, but FaZe had a quick win in round 7 and took round 8, killing the momentum LA Thieves had garnered. Both teams traded rounds 9 and 10, leading to the deciding round 11. A quick bomb plant by FaZe put Thieves on their heels and led to FaZe winning map five.
FaZe took advantage of the morale hit to the Thieves and coolly won map six to become the CDL Major II champions.
OpTic Texas is hosting CDL Major III in Arlington, Texas, from March 9th through the 12th. Major III qualifiers start February 17th and will be broadcast on the Call of Duty League’s Twitch channel.
Gray Television is an investor in OpTic Gaming.
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