After an extended break from events, we finally got our first Call of Duty League event in the 2022 Vanguard Season! This first event was full of upsets and a few predictable patterns. Today, we will rank all 12 teams on how we believe they will continue to perform for upcoming events. This decision is based on a mixture of the Kickoff Classic results, scrims leading up to it, and how players performed last season together. Without further ado, let’s get into number 12.
12- London Royal Ravens
While quite a few teams squad-wiped their rosters after the 2021 season, LRR decided to keep one of their core players, Afro, and build the roster around him for the 2022 season. Even though Afro is definitely a strong player, this first event didn’t give LRR the opening they were hoping for. Going 0-3 against Seattle Surge in the first round (Who did manage to place 2nd at the event), made LRR one of the only teams who didn’t get a single-round win at the Kickoff. I believe that with a bit more time together and more LAN time for their less experienced players will help them improve over time, but at the moment, they appear to be the weakest link in the league.
11- Paris Legion
Paris Legion is in a very similar situation to London Royal Ravens: They changed their entire roster besides one player (Temp), who they have built most of their roster around. However, Temp is a more experienced COD player who is definitely showing why he deserves to stay in the league. While they also lost in the first round of the Kickoff event, Paris Legion did pull off a clutch reverse comeback on the Control round versus LA Thieves. Paris Legion also had a close first Hardpoint game versus arguably one of the best Hardpoint teams in the game at the moment. I believe Paris Legion with Decimate, FeLo, and John all having a decent amount of experience will lead to a potentially deadly roster with more LAN practice.
10- LA Guerillas
LA Guerillas this year seems to be an anomaly at the moment, as their roster is stacked with solid players that unfortunately just aren’t working super well together. LAG went against the Florida Mutineers in game 1 with the odds in their favor but lost 1-3 in the series, only taking the control game, which is the Mutineers’ worst game mode. They appear to be doing fine at scrims, and hopefully, with more time together on LAN, they can pull it together, but this was definitely not the showcase we expected from LAG.
9- Minnesota Rokkr
Minnesota Rokkr had some serious success heading into the end of the 2021 Cold War season. One of the most notable was reverse sweeping Toronto Ultra at the 5th Major, winning the event 5-4. Rokkr does have a stacked roster with some OG players like Attach, Priestahh, and MajorManiak. They also have one of the top rookies from last year, Standy, who in Cold War was arguably one of the top SMGs in the game. Unfortunately, at the Kickoff Classic, they got beaten 0-3 by NYSL, with most maps not super close in score. I think Rokkr will have more success later heading into the Vanguard season, similar to what they did with Cold War, as their players adapt a bit better to the maps and meta. Until then, they are sitting at a very vulnerable spot, especially with no roster changes made during the off-season.
8- Florida Mutineers
The Florida Mutineers have been getting bashed since scrims started in the Vanguard off-season, with Skyz specifically catching a lot of flack. They decided to show up at the Kickoff Event, taking out LAG with a swift 3-1, but lost the next match to Toronto Ultra 1-3. It should be noted they ended up beating Ultra in Search & Destroy, which is arguably the best team in the league at that mode. Davpadie had a good showcase for his first time at a COD LAN, while Owakening and Skyz popped off, respectively, having some of the top K/D at the end of the event. Mutineers still suffer from one of their biggest problems of last year: Closing out the match. There were a lot of opportunities for the Mutineers to win individual games or control rounds that were just taken away. I believe that this year, Mutineers will comfortably make it to quarter/semi-finals in every event, and we may get to see them in a final for the first time since Modern Warfare.
7- Boston Breach
Boston Breach showcased just how strong they can be on LAN. They ended up playing NYSL match one, losing 2-3. That being said, I think Boston Breach has the most potential to move up or down during the season. With a top-tier player like Methodz being brought back into the league, it’ll definitely be interesting to see how he plays with the rest of the team. Breach has brought together a unique squad, but a squad that definitely has a chance to make upsets. With former London player Zed as their coach, it will definitely be an exciting season for this debuting franchise.
6- Optic Texas
Optic Texas is a mixture of half the Dallas Empire squad (Shotzzy + Illey) and Optic Chicago (Scump + Dashy), and it has kind of worked out. Optic played only one match at this event, losing it 1-3 to LA Thieves. While almost all of the matches were close, there was a consistency in all the Hardpoint matches that they had a super strong start and then fell off. In Control, it was similar, but they managed to secure that win. I think Optic Texas is one of those teams that everyone just expected to be amazing off the bat but will be struggling to truly take a lot of wins off the top-dog teams until they can get a bit better at closing out their games.
5- LA Thieves
LA Thieves have finally made the right roster changes. Picking up Envoy from the disbanded Chicago Optic squad, and grabbing one of the top ARs, Octane, from Seattle Surge, truly rounds out the LAT squad. They decided to keep Drazah on as he showed tons of promise, as well as Kenny, another top-tier veteran in the game. During this event, LAT showed very few mistakes, getting knocked out barely by Toronto Ultra in the semi-finals 2-3. However, these were some of the closest games at the entire event, with the scores being tight and the matches being intense to spectate. LAT can definitely move up, and once they pave out a few issues that even they acknowledge they need to fix, they could easily contend for top-3 teams in the league.
4- New York Subliners
NYSL showcased a solid start to the CDL 2022 season. Although they started in the lower bracket with the other mid-tier teams, they managed to get to the semi-finals with a 3-2 win over Boston Breach and a 3-0 sweep against Minnesota Rokk. Keeping the strong team leader Clayster on their team alongside the amazing slayer Hydra, they also brought Neptune on board to SMG and drafted C6 to complete their roster. A mixture of veterans and fresh COD pros lead this team on a warpath of consistency. NYSL were knocked out at the semi-finals of the Kickoff by Surge 1-3. NYSL are one of the best Hardpoint/Control teams in the league now, and I think once they get a better grasp on their S&D wins, they will truly be a force to reckon with.
3- Atlanta FaZe
Atlanta FaZe had a rough intro to the 2022 season, unexpectedly losing their first match of the Kickoff to Surge 1-3. After a destructive Hardpoint win for FaZe, they proceeded to get outplayed map after map, although they were all close. FaZe stuck with their same roster as last year, hoping it would bring them another dominant season as Cold War did. There is no doubt that they are a top-tier group of players, and I’d argue they didn’t go into that match expecting to put 100% effort, but it definitely showed that they have a weakness that other teams can potentially exploit. I’m looking forward to seeing how FaZe performs throughout this season and if they will ever make a roster change.
2- Seattle Surge
Seattle Surge unexpectedly took the show at the Kickoff Classic, taking down London Royal Ravens (3-0), Atlanta FaZe (3-1), and New York Subliners (3-1), only losing to Toronto Ultra in this franchise’s first-ever finals appearance 1-3. Accuracy showed why he should be the IGL and stay in the league. Pred and Sib also showed record-breaking debuts at this event, dropping 40+ kill games on Hardpoint. Mack also slew out, even showing up his former team NYSL with a 3-0 sweep in Control. Seattle Surge have had an amazing start not just in the Kickoff but have been consistently playing well online as well. I’m optimistic that regardless of where this season goes, Seattle Surge will be fighting for a spot in the top 4 consistently, causing upsets when people least expect them.
1- Toronto Ultra
Toronto Ultra is undeniably the most consistent, composed, and well-balanced team in the league and COD History. It seems when one player starts to lack, the others instantly pull up the slack to shut out any weaknesses. Toronto finished with a 9-4 record at the CDL 2022 Kickoff, the closest of these series being in the semi-finals versus LAT. I think Toronto has a lot of great things going for them, the chemistry of all its players, a reliable coaching staff, experience from last year also dominating the competition. Bance is proving to be a great leader, and I don’t think there could be a better three to back him up. I genuinely believe the only times in the 2022 season that Toronto Ultra loses will be in incredibly close matches.