Call of Duty League Champs 2022: Can Atlanta FaZe repeat?

by Brian Bencomo

The Call of Duty League 2022 season comes to a conclusion this weekend with the Call of Duty League Championship aka Champs. The top eight teams in the league will be competing for a chance to be crowned champions of the CDL’s third season and to win a share of the $2.55 million prize pool -- the second biggest ever for a Call of Duty tournament. To get you ready for the biggest Call of Duty tournament of the year, here’s a primer on the qualified teams, schedule and format and storylines to watch.

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Qualified teams

  • Atlanta FaZe
  • OpTic Texas
  • Los Angeles Thieves
  • London Royal Ravens
  • Seattle Surge
  • Boston Breach
  • Toronto Ultra
  • New York Subliners

Schedule and format

The double-elimination tournament will take place from Aug. 4 to 7 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, California. On Thursday, there will be four upper bracket quarterfinal matchups:

  • Atlanta FaZe vs. New York Subliners
  • London Royal Ravens vs. Seattle Surge
  • OpTic Texas vs. Toronto Ultra
  • Los Angeles Thieves vs. Boston Breach

The two upper semifinals and the first two lower bracket matches will take place on Friday. There will be five matches on Saturday, including four lower bracket matches and the upper final. The final will happen on championship Sunday, of course, and it will be a best of nine. The rest of the matches will be best of five.

Storylines to watch

Photo credit: David Doran / ESPAT

Atlanta FaZe on the verge of doing something historic

It’s remarkable the Atlanta FaZe have not won any Majors this year. They have the best series win percentage (68%) and second-best map win percentage (59%) this season. They’re the only team that has reached multiple Major finals this season, but they have finished second all three times they reached the final. All of that won’t matter if they can defend their Champs title and win the Call of Duty League’s biggest trophy in back-to-back seasons. They would be the first team ever to win consecutive championships and would cement this roster as one of the best of all time.

Read more: FaZe among the top esports orgs in the world in 2022

Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris, McArthur “Cellium” Jovel, Chris “Simp” Lehr and Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson have been a very cohesive group since last season, and there’s no reason to think they can’t win Champs again. There has been hype heading into Champs about Ian “Crimsix” Porter potentially winning a record fourth ring, but Simp, aBeZy and Arcitys are going for their third, which would tie Crimsix, James “Clayster” Eubanks and Damon "Karma" Barlow for the most ever. In addition to winning Champs 2021, Simp, aBeZy and Arcitys won Champs 2019 with eUnited. Winning Champs 2022 would make the trio the winningest set of teammates in Call of Duty Champs history. But don’t forget about Cellium who is going for his second ring and might be the team’s MVP this season with a league-leading K/D of 1.22, according to Call of Duty stats site BreakingPoint.GG.

Can any of the Major winners add Champs to their trophy case?

Three of the four Major winners will compete at Champs: OpTic Texas, Seattle Surge and Los Angeles Thieves. OpTic Texas’ win seems like such a long time ago, but they might have won another had Indervir “iLLeY” Dhaliwal not been away from the team for some time to tend to an injury. They finished fourth at the last Major and had the best map win percentage (62%) this year. The Seattle Surge had a bad Major 4 run, but are a threat if they can find their Major 3 form. And the Los Angeles Thieves are coming in hot after winning Major 4 in New York. Plus, they might get a hometown buff with Champs taking place in Los Angeles.

Read more: OpTic, FaZe rivalry takes center stage at Call of Duty League's OpTic Major

Looking at the bracket, the Surge are on the same side as FaZe, which is bad news for Seattle if FaZe are on their game. Meanwhile, OpTic and the Thieves are on the opposite side. OpTic might be the team besides FaZe that has the best chance to go on a run, but they have the toughest draw having to face the Toronto Ultra first and then potentially the LA Thieves. The good thing for OpTic is that the Florida Mutineers didn’t qualify for Champs. They’re the only team that has beat OpTic more than twice this season.

Which of the teams without Major titles has the best chance of winning?

Of the other four teams at Champs, the Toronto Ultra probably have the best shot of winning the tournament. Despite finishing only seventh in points for the season, they have consistently stepped up their performance on LAN. Besides Major 2, the Ultra have finished at least in the top six in the three other Majors and top four in two of them. Toronto were one of the best teams last season, and their roster has remained unchanged since finishing second at Champs 2021. Their standout player has been Tobias "CleanX" Juul Jønsson who was fifth in the league this year in hardpoint damage per 10 minutes and fourth in Search & Destroy first blood rate, per BreakingPoint.GG.

The Boston Breach and London Royal Ravens each have a third-place Major finish this season but just haven’t been as consistent over the course of the season. The Subliners were runners-up at Major 4 which they hosted in New York. That performance was probably fueled by hometown crowd support and the leadership of Crimsix. The Subliners needed every win they could get at that tournament just to qualify for Champs. Otherwise, they’ve had a very disappointing season that started with so much promise with veterans Crimsix and Clayster anchoring the team. Crim is the winningest COD player ever, so as long as he’s performing in and out of the server, you can’t count this team out.

Lead photo credit: Atlanta FaZe

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