The London Royal Ravens soared to new heights this weekend as they reached their first home series final, where they ultimately lost 3-1 to the Chicago Huntsmen. In a serendipitous turn of events on Sunday, which was National Brother's Day, the final had everyone seeing double, as it featured a set of twins on both rosters -- Alec "Arcitys" Sanderson and Preston "Prestinni" Sanderson on the Huntsmen and Bradley "wuskin" Marshall and Matthew "Skrapz" Marshall for the Royal Ravens.
It was the second home series win for the Huntsmen. Their other victory occurred in London during the second weekend of competition. That means three teams have now each won two home series -- the Huntsmen, Atlanta FaZe and Dallas Empire.
If all this is making you think twice, you're not alone! With two being the prevailing theme this weekend, we took a deeper dive into what's making teams around the league see double.
Below is how our staff voted to rank the 12 teams after this weekend's home series. Each participating staff member ranked the CDL teams from No. 1 to No. 12, and the results were aggregated to determine the list below. All player stats are courtesy of Atlanta FaZe stat analyst Austin O'Neil.
1. Atlanta FaZe
Season record: 15-2 | Week 8 record: DNP | Change from last ranking:
The FaZe had this tournament off, but they'll be back in action June 5 -- and hopefully for them, they'll maintain their loss count at just two.
-- Darin Kwilinski
2. Dallas Empire
Season record: 13-6 | Week 8 record: DNP | Change from last ranking:
The Dallas Empire have to be itching to compete in the Call of Duty League again. They have been off for the past two weekends of competition since winning the Chicago home series. The Empire were the first team in the league to win two home series this year when they beat the Atlanta FaZe on April 26 and were widely considered to be the best team in the league at the time. Fast forward a month and both the FaZe and Chicago Huntsmen have captured a second home series, and there's renewed debate about who's the best team in the league, in particular whether it's Atlanta or Dallas.
When the Empire return to play on June 5 in the Minnesota home series, they'll face one of the few teams that have beaten them this season: the Minnesota RØKKR. None of the Empire players did well against the RØKKR on April 12, so they'll have to be better as a team this time around to get past Minnesota, who have not been playing as well of late.
If Dallas can get past the RØKKR, the Empire will likely face Atlanta in their next matchup. So the Empire will face some tough competition upon their return to play, but if any team is up for the challenge, it's Dallas.
-- Brian Bencomo
3. Chicago Huntsmen
Season record: 16-4 | Week 8: 4-0 | Change from last ranking:
The Chicago Huntsmen got another home series championship to go with their additional Sanderson brother this weekend.
Preston "Prestinni" Sanderson's tournament-wide K/D is nothing to brag about, but he made key play after key play for the Huntsmen in his debut for Chicago. He also led the team statistically in Search and Destroy with a 1.46 K/D and won the majority of his one-on-one engagements in the map type throughout the home series.
The rest of the squad looked much more stable, as well. Matthew "FormaL" Piper seemed like his old self with a 1.22 K/D for the event, the fifth-highest K/D of the tourney on Hardpoint and the No. 4 K/D on Domination.
The toughest test of the season comes next, though. For Chicago to go from seeing double home series victories to seeing triple, they'll have to take down the Atlanta FaZe, Dallas Empire or some combination of the two in the Minnesota home series June 5-7.
-- Sean Morrison
Prestinni on teammates agreeing they shouldn't go to LA Home Series
Prestinni tells Arda Ocal that he and most of his teammates agreed that they shouldn't go to the LA Home Series after a majority of events were being shut down.
Check out the rest of the Call of Duty League schedule.
4. Florida Mutineers
Season record: 9-8 | Week 8 record: DNP | Change from last ranking:1
Florida was off this week but will be seeing double during the next home series. The Mutineers face their former star in Prestinni and his brother come the Minnesota event, and their matchup is sure to be fierce.
5. London Royal Ravens
Season record: 8-9 | Week 8 record: 3-1 | Change from last ranking:3
The new-look Royal Ravens in the finals! Who could have guessed? (Me.) The addition of Trei "Zer0" Morris to this lineup proved hugely effective for London. He led the team with a 1.05 overall K/D during the Seattle home series. Dylan "Dylan" Henderson and Bradley "wuskin" Marshall also popped off, with Dylan scoring a team-high 333 kills and wuskin leading the league with 29 snipes (the next closest player is Minnesota's Adam "GodRx" Brown with 12).
The road to the finals was a rocky one, with the Royal Ravens starting the weekend off with the previously bottom-dwelling Guerrillas taking them to five games, including a brutal 6-3 Search & Destroy round on the home Piccadilly map. They overcame those troubles quickly though, winning every one of their remaining S&D rounds (with positive overall K/Ds all around), including one versus Chicago in the finale.
In the end, we got the twins vs. twins finale on National Brother's Day, just like the Huntsmen and Ravens planned. London won't be back in action for a month, when they kick things off versus Dallas at the Paris home series on June 19. That's plenty of time to iron out any remaining kinks with that new roster.
-- Elizabeth Baugh
6. New York Subliners
Season record: 6-12 | Week 8 record: 2-2 | Change from last ranking:
Another week, another promising performance from the surging Subliners. Although in the spirit of our theme, we'd have to note that there were two versions of the team this weekend: the one that beat weaker teams (Seattle Surge, Los Angeles Guerillas) 3-1 and the one that only managed one win against stronger competition (Chicago Huntsmen, London Royal Ravens). Right now, that places the Subliners around the middle of the league. But if they put up more rounds like they did in their one win over the Huntsmen, during which Thomas "ZooMaa" Paparatto and Makenzie "Mack" Kelley both notched 30+ kill-games, then you might see the Subliners legitimately threaten to win a home series.
-- Joe DeMartino
7. Minnesota RØKKR
Season record: 12-10 | Week 8 record: 1-2 | Change from last ranking:3
In the spirit of our theme of seeing double, the RØKKR are pulling triple duty. Firstly, this is the second tournament in a row the RØKKR fell short of expectations. Secondly, the next event is the Minnesota home series, their second hosted event of the year, though this one will be online, of course. Thirdly, and the main part we'll focus on, is the win, and then the loss, to OpTic Gaming.
The name of the game where the matches tilted one way or the other was Search & Destroy. The first series saw both S&D maps go the distance of 6-5 with OpTic sneaking the first win (despite some heroics from Adam "GodRx" Brown to tie the map 5-5). The match-deciding S&D fell to Minnesota as GodRx picked off Brandon "Dashy" Otell to put OpTic on their heels.
The other two maps they lost in the second OpTic series were close -- 250-241 on Hardpoint on Azhir and 171-157 on Domination on Hackney Yard -- but it was still a poor showing in a 6-2 S&D loss that gave the momentum to OpTic. So what happened?
I'll point again to a lack of clear star power on the RØKKR and failure to consistently finish close maps. Sometimes it's GodRx with the hero rounds he had in the first series on S&D. Sometimes it's Adam "Assault" Garcia, putting up over 35 kills.
There are still moments of greatness with the RØKKR. A nice comeback in the second half in Domination Gun Runner proves they have the resilience to bounce back from close losses, which is something that's probably more important in the online era when you need to contend with possible lag. But sometimes someone stepping up and sometimes being able to close out tight matches isn't going to be good enough. Consistency is key.
To see rosters for all of the Call of Duty League teams, click here.
8. OpTic Gaming L.A.
Season record: 7-11 | Week 8 record: 2-2 | Change from last ranking:1
For the first time this season, OpTic Gaming Los Angeles put together back-to-back strong performances. They have now reached the semifinals in each of the past two home series. It has to be a big confidence booster for the team after many wondered what to make of a talented roster with a legacy name like OpTic that was foundering through the first few weeks of competition in the Call of Duty League.
Austin "SlasheR" Liddicoat carried OpTic throughout the weekend. Not only did he have far away the best K/D on OpTic -- none of the other OpTic players had a K/D over 1 -- he had the best overall stat line among all players this weekend at 1.34. Slasher also had very strong performances during the Florida home series (1.22 K/D) and the L.A. home series (1.3 K/D). Incidentally, those are the three weekends in which OpTic has looked their best and managed to pick up wins. Over the three other weekends when OpTic has competed, they have zero wins, and Slasher has had K/Ds of 1.04 or less. It seems like whenever Slasher is on, he has the ability to carry his team into Sunday play.
9. Toronto Ultra
Season record: 4-8 | Week 8 record: DNP | Change from last ranking:
We're going to need to stretch this one a bit. This will be the fourth home series the Ultra and Guerrillas will be at together but the first one where they'll face off against one another. Four homestands divided by two teams equals two. Isn't math fun?
10. Los Angeles Guerrillas
Season record: 3-11 | Week 8 record: 1-2 | Change from last ranking:2
The Guerrillas have had a rough season so far, but there were encouraging signs this weekend. They took two maps from Seattle home series finalist London, and they beat the Seattle Surge for the first time this year after losing to them in each of their four previous meetings. Particularly bright spots for the Guerrillas were the two strong performances on Search and Destroy maps on Saturday. They beat the Surge 6-1 on S&D, and the only map they took against the Subliners was a 6-3 S&D victory.
They also took an S&D map from the Royal Ravens on Friday, so overall they went 3-1 on Search and Destroy this weekend. Their dominance on this particular map is also evident in the S&D leaderboard, where Rasim "Blazt" Ogresevic led all players with a 1.6 K/D. The players with the third- and fourth-best K/D on S&D this weekend were also Guerrillas -- Jacob "Decemate" Cato (1.53) and Ulysses "AquA" Silva (1.48).
11. Paris Legion
Season record: 6-10 | Week 8 record: 0-2 | Change from last ranking:
Last weekend, the Legion were like a pair of brothers who, through circumstances beyond their control, took very different paths in life. On the one hand, you've got the cool, calm, collected Legion four-man squad that won the inaugural Warzone Weekend event, holing up in a strong position and needing only five kills to secure the W. On the other, the Legion team in the Seattle home series seemed to never have a chance, losing 3-1 matches to one of the best teams in the league (the Huntsmen) and one of the worst (OpTic Gaming L.A.). They can revel a bit in their $10,000 Warzone prize, but one look at their rapidly descending position in the standings and that starts to look a bit hollow.
12. Seattle Surge
Season record: 4-12 | Week 8 record: 0-2 | Change from last ranking:2
While the rest of the league was seeing double, Seattle saw something new: a loss to the Los Angeles Guerrillas, a team they hadn't fallen to all season and that had propped up their win/loss record throughout 2020.
The Surge are now 4-1 against the Guerrillas, but they have bigger problems than a lone loss against Los Angeles. After picking up their play and making the bracket in the Chicago home series, Seattle took another step back, with both the recently unbenched Ian "Enable" Wyatt posting a 0.62 K/D and the player he replaced, Casey "Pandur" Romano, getting a 0.75 with the two splitting time. All told, Enable posted the worst K/D of the tournament, with Pandur's being the third worst; and once again, Sam "Octane" Larew was left carrying his team to little effect despite one of the best performances of the home series.
It has been the same story for Seattle all year, but this weekend made it clear that both Enable and Pandur aren't the solution for this team. It's time to look elsewhere, though it might be too late in the year to switch up the roster, find a great fit and turn things around.
ESPN Daily: Sign up here!