- As one chapter closes in the book of Call of Duty esports, another chapter opens. Here is a guide to the new Call of Duty League (CDL).
Activision Blizzard has created a new franchised league for one of the biggest games in the world. The new Call of Duty League (CDL) will have city-based teams, similarily like the Overwatch League which is also owned by Activision Blizzard. There will be 12 teams to start the inaugural season. Although many CoD esports fans were opposed to the CDL, in the end, the goal is to expand the Call of Duty esports brand across many markets and continue to grow in the fast-changing esports industry.
What Is The CDL?
The CDL is the new Call of Duty League. For many years, Call of Duty esports fans were accustomed to the old Call of Duy World League (CWL). The league wasn’t franchised, so there were no city-based teams. The CWL was founded in 2016 and had seasons in Black Ops 3, Infinite Warfare, WWII, and lastly Black Ops 4. The CWL Pro League had its last showing in August of this year with the CWL Championship. There were 16 teams that participated in the final season; OpTic Gaming, 100 Thieves, Gen.G, FaZe Clan, Team Reciprocity, Midnight Esports, Evil Geniuses, Luminosity Gaming, UYU, eUnited, Splyce, Heretics, Team Envy, UNITS, Enigma6 and Elevate.
- Recap of the 2019 CWL Season: CWL Pro League 2019 Guide: Schedule, Teams, Final Updates
On January 24, 2020, the new Call of Duty League will begin its inaugural season at the Armory in Minneapolis which will be hosted by the Minnesota Rokkr. In the Call of Duty League Launch Weekend, all 12 pro teams will be competing in the regular season matches. The launch weekend will also host the first COD Challengers open bracket tournament (more info below).
There are 12 professional CoD teams that will be representing North American and European cities. The same format will continue from the CWL as it will be a 5 vs 5 setup in the new Call of Duty Modern Warfare game. PlayStation 4 will continue to have exclusive rights to featuring the CDL tournaments.
Which Teams Are In The Call Of Duty League?
When Activision Blizzard announced that there would be a new city-based Call of Duty League, Overwatch League team owners had the first choice of participating in the new league. Many teams from the old CWL Pro League were not able to participate in the new league, mostly due to the expensive upfront costs involved in participating in the CDL. The cost to have a team in the new league was $25 million. The 12 new Call of Duty professional esports teams and ownership groups are:
- Atlanta Faze — Atlanta Esports Ventures, a joint venture owned by Cox Enterprises and Province, Inc.
- Chicago Huntsmen — NRG Esports
- Dallas Empire — Envy Gaming, Inc.
- Florida Mutineers – Misfits Gaming
- London Ravens — ReKTGlobal, Inc
- Los Angeles Guerrillas — Immortals Gaming Club (IGC)
- Optic Gaming Los Angeles – Kroenke Sports & Entertainment
- Minnesota Rokkr— WISE Ventures
- New York Subliners — Sterling.VC
- Paris Legion – c0ntact Gaming
- Seattle Surge — The Aquilini Group
- Toronto Ultra — OverActive Media
View this post on Instagram
How Does The Call of Duty League Work?
Each Call of Duty League team will hold 7 to 10 players on their roaster. Each player is guaranteed a base salary of $50,000 as well as healthcare and retirement benefits. There are no requirements for teams to house their players as traditional leagues have seen in the past. There is one requirement by the league that teams need to provide proof that they are helping their players find housing in the season. As was the case in last CoD leagues, teams can earn prize money for placing at the top of the podium and are required to split 50% of the winnings with their players. They do have the option of allowing a higher split to their players.
You can read more about how the CDL will work at the official CoD Competitive Reddit page here.
What is the Call of Duty League Format?
For the inaugural season, the Call of Duty League format will be 5 versus 5. The CDL teams will play a best of 5 matches during the regular season and the teams with the best record will advance to a double-elimination playoff bracket to decide the league champion. This will all take place on the new Call of Duty Modern Warfare game. All matches will be played on the PlayStation 4 as Sony has the exclusive rights for the 2020 esports season. The Call of Duty League Championships will take place anywhere in August or September of 2020.
What is the Call of Duty League Schedule?
The Call of Duty League schedule will have different teams play host for multiple league matches in their home town. Similarly like League of Legends, the season is split in two;
- CDL Spring Season
- CDL Summer Season
There will be a major event during the middle of the season in April that will have all 12 teams participate. As of this writing, not all Call of Duty League teams have confirmed that they will be hosting their matches.
You can find the official schedule here.
New Additions to Call of Duty Esports
Unlike the CWL Pro League that featured amateur tournaments parallel to the major tournaments throughout the team, the new Call of Duty League will be hosting many tournaments to give amateur players an opportunity to compete in competitive tournaments and make a name for themselves. There are thousands of players who are waiting to be scouted and this can be doen through:
- THE CALL OF DUTY CHALLENGERS: Taken from the official Call of Duty League website:
“Call of Duty Challengers is the official path to pro system for amateur players around the globe, carrying with it a prize pool of over $1 Million – combining all online and offline activities. Call of Duty Challengers teams are awarded Challengers Points based on their performance in online and/or LAN events. Registration for online Call of Duty Challengers activities is scheduled to open on October 30, 2019. Beginning November 2, 2019, Call of Duty Challengers online ladders will be open to registered players. The first online tournament event is scheduled to begin – for registered players – on November 9, 2019. Team seeding for the first online event will be based on Pro Points from the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 season.” – Source
- CALL OF DUTY LEAGUE CITY CIRCUIT: Taken from the official Call of Duty League website:
“The Call of Duty League City Circuit is designed to take casual competition to the next level by giving fans a chance to compete on behalf of Call of Duty League team cities. Launching later this season (2020), fans may sign up as duos to compete in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare “Gunfight” matches for a chance to win prizing and to compete at a Call of Duty League event. More details about the City Circuit will be announced in the coming months.” – Source
The New CDL Is Bittersweet For Some
A few months ago, when the new Call of Duty League was announced by Activision Blizzard, many traditional Call of Duty teams were pushed out of the league in place of Overwatch League owners who were ready to buy their spot ($25M) in the new CDL. One of the big names from the CWL Pro League was 100 Thieves, who were regarded as one of the best teams in the league. 100 Thieves was the only team to win back-to-back titles in the league. However, due to the high costs of having a team compete in the Call of Duty League, 100 Thieves founder Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag made a public announcement via all 100 Thieves social channels that the team would not be competing in the new CDL.
It is with a very heavy heart we announce that 100 Thieves will not be participating in competitive Call of Duty in 2020. pic.twitter.com/cdJD9DdUvQ
— 100 Thieves (@100Thieves) August 29, 2019
In the public announcement, Nadeshot stated that the organization is not just focused on esports, and due to the hefty fees in joining the CDL, it wasn’t an option that he wanted to take as it would put the company in a tight situation. He explained that the organization hs more than 30 content creators and that 100 Thieves was an “apparel” company first. Joining the CDL would have put a strain on the company and he wasn’t going to do that. The move was a rational one as 100 Thieves can continue building on its brand name in other areas of esports and content creation.
The new CDL broke up many esports teams and players as most from the CWL Pro League were not going to participate in the new league. This left many players out in the cold, looking for new teams; one of the 12 in the CDL. Mostly all the players who didn’t have a team were picked up by one of the main 12 CoD teams. But that wasn’t the only split that happened. Many CoD esports fans were disappointed with the new league as they were happy with the CWL. However, many of the same fans recognize that in order for CoD esports, and esports as a whole to grow, this was something that was needed for the longterm.