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New York Subliners take on Los Angeles Guerrillas in desperate search of points
Florida Mutineers take on a Minnesota RØKKR side in impressive form
Dominant London Royal Ravens square off against the beleaguered Seattle Surge, looking to cement their place in the top four
Atlanta Faze and Toronto Ultra have a similar record after shaky starts
Pick: London Royal Ravens
These two teams are at opposite ends of the spectrum, and the Ravens will back themselves to secure a series win against a Seattle side that has zero points on the board.
Seattle’s start to the qualifiers has been far from ideal. They’re winless so far after consecutive losses to the LA Guerrillas and Boston Breach, and are tenth on the standings with a 3-6 record and zero points.
Sunday’s encounter against Breach was particularly tough, where they went down 1-3. Makenzie "Mack" Kelley took the most kills for Seattle, 83, and was the only one on the team who managed a positive KD ratio of 1.16. He also planted two bombs in Search & Destroy, as well as capturing two zones, and dealing 9855 units of damage. In Saturday’s game against the Guerillas, he made a similar impact, with three bomb plants and three captured zones.
The Ravens have been at the other end of the spectrum in comparison to Surge with two convincing series victories. They’re in second place now heading into the next round of the qualifiers, with 20 points and an excellent 6-2 record.
Just like the 2022 season, they’ve started off on a very promising note - except this time, they’ll want to keep that pace consistent instead of fizzling out toward the middle and end. They kicked off the season with a dominant 3-0 victory over the New York Subliners on Saturday and followed it up with a 3-2 win against the LA Guerrillas.
The pick of their players from the sweep against Subliners was Byron "Nastie" Plumridge, who finished with 66 kills and a 1.53 KD ratio, along with 7350 in damage.
Pick: Minnesota RØKKR
Minnesota's new roster looks formidable, and they've made a dramatic turnaround from last season. The Mutineers, on the other hand, have been insipid and have a tough challenge up ahead.
The Mutineers have a 1-1 series record after the first round of matches and are ninth on the standings with a 3-5 win-loss ratio and 10 points. The first of their games was against the Las Vegas Legions, who they beat 3-2 last Saturday. They were then brushed aside 0-3 by Optic Texas soon after.
They’re playing with a brand new roster after a disappointing finish last season, but it’s still too early to tell whether they can lift the Mutineers from the rut they’re stuck in. Their Hardpoint gameplay needs work for sure, given they’ve lost three out of three games in that mode against both opponents so far. Javier 'Vikul' Milagro stole the show in the their series win with six bomb plants in S&D and four zones captures in Control.
New season, new RØKKR. Their 11th-place finish last season prompted a drastic revamp, and the results have been instant. They kicked off CDL 2023 with 3-1 wins against Optic Texas and the London Royal Ravens, two of the strongest teams in the league.
Of course, there's no denying that they got lucky against Optic - Cammy’s controversial summon of the SAE killstreak, which is GA’d in the league, saw sparks fly between the two teams. Tempers rose within the Optic unit when they were forced to play the round again owing to the use of the banned move, so they forfeited their game.
This suited ROKKR just fine, considering they were able to walk away in the end with a favorable result. The Toronto series went very well too, Afro picking up 89 kills and finishing with a 1.32 KD ratio.
Pick: New York Subliners
The Subliners are generally slow starters and there's no cause for worry just yet, while the Guerrillas have produced decent results despite looking patchy themselves. The Subliners are cornered, and will likely produce a good fight.
The Subliners are stranded in 12th and bottom of the standings after two losses last weekend. The first was a 0-3 sweep against the Ravens, followed by an equally demoralizing 3-1 defeat at the hands of Toronto Ultra. That adds up to a 1-6 record, and pretty much destroys their chances of finishing in the top eight for the Major.
They’ll need more from their new recruits, Cesar 'Skyz' Bueno and Preston 'Priestahh' Greiner - their KDs against the Ravens were 0.98 and 0.67 respectively. Hydra was the one who stepped up for his side, taking 64 against the Ravens and 55 versus Ultra.
The Guerillas have a 5-5 record so far after one series win and loss each, and are right in the middle of the table at sixth place. It’s not a bad position, though things could be better. They beat Seattle Surge 3-2, and went down narrowly to 2-3 to the Ravens. It’s too early to tell whether this is an improvement yet from last year, but overall the signs look quite promising.
Travis 'Neptune' McCloud was responsible for five bomb plants in their victory against Seattle, while Kris 'Spart' Cervantez planted and defused one each. The Guerrillas need at least one more win going to cement their spot within the top eight, but they’re in a position to finish within the top four as well and that’s what they’ll be aiming for this weekend.
Pick: Atlanta FaZe
FaZe are just starting to warm up after a favorable result against defending champions LA Thieves. They're the easy pick against Toronto, who haven't looked too confident.
Ultra are tied in sixth place with the Guerrillas, with a 4-4 record after their two series. Their series started out on a rough note after a difficult loss to the resurgent Minnesota RØKKR, but they pulled things back by beating the Subliners comfortably 3-1 on Sunday.
There must have been some frustration at the end of last season, where they were so consistent throughout only to crumble in the final stage. Now is their chance to make amends for that. Apart from the initial nerves against Subliners, where they dropped the first game on Hardpoint mode, they pulled things back very comfortably in the end. Insight had a 1.40 kill-death ratio with 67 kills, and he also managed a plant and a defusion.
Atlanta FaZe have looked a little out of sorts by their own standards, sitting eighth in the league with a 4-5 record. They were stunned by Boston Breach in the season opener, going down 1-3 and taken apart with only a single bomb plant on S&D and not even one zone captured in Control Mode.
That was hardly the start the 2021 champions were expecting, but a 3-2 victory the next day over the current title holders, LA Thieves, soothed their nerves a little. New recruit Slasher seems to be fitting in quite well and took 85 kills in that series along with one bomb defusion and one captured zone.
Teams: Seattle Surge vs London Royal Ravens, Florida Mutineers vs Minnesota RØKKR, New York Subliners vs Los Angeles Guerrillas, Toronto Ultra vs Atlanta FaZe
Location: North America
Time: Friday, December 9 at 3 pm ET onwards
How to watch: Official Call of Duty Twitch channel, CallofDuty
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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