The new Call of Duty League opened play Friday in Minneapolis with a rivalry matchup between two powerhouse teams, and the Chicago Huntsmen emerged with a 3-1 win over the Dallas Empire.
In the other first-day matches, the Florida Mutineers earned a 3-2 win over the Seattle Surge, and the host Minnesota R0KKR topped the Los Angeles Guerillas 3-1 thanks in part to a forfeited map.
The Huntsmen-Empire matchup kicked off the Launch Weekend, and approximately 80,000 Call of Duty fans patiently waited on YouTube for the delayed start.
The Chicago-Dallas matchup was intriguing as it featured former teammates on OpTic Gaming’s dynastic Call of Duty team (Matthew “Formal” Piper, Seth “Scump” Abner, and Ian “Crimsix” Porter), who since parted ways.
The dynamic duo of Formal and Scump, also known as T2P, rejoined forces on the Huntsmen roster as Crimsix relocated to the Empire.
Chicago got off to a 1-0 series lead as it captured the win in a very close 250-209 Hardpoint match on Azhir Cave behind the unmatched slaying power of Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson and Formal.
The Empire were quick to fire back with a fairly dominant 6-1 Search and Destroy performance on Arklov Peak with an impressive sniping performance from Search and Destroy mastermind Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro.
Chicago proved to be the better Domination team with a 202-157 win on Hackney Yard.
Dallas headed into the fourth game down 2-1 in the series but couldn’t extend the match any further, falling short in a 250-173 loss on Gun Runner Hardpoint.
Immediately following the Huntsmen’s series win, Formal and Scump did not hesitate to look over at the Empire and shout at their former teammate and new rival Crimsix.
In an interview with analyst Chris Puckett immediately following the conclusion of the match, Arcitys was asked how he felt about the series, and he said, “(Expletive) was easy.”
Scump stated that while the Huntsmen still need to work on their Search and Destroy game, they are very confident with Domination and Hardpoint.
In the second matchup, Seattle came out hot behind the slaying power of Damon “Karma” Barlow and Sam “Octane” Larew and took the first map by posting a 250-198 win in Hardpoint on St. Petrograd.
Florida fired back with a 6-3 win in Search and Destroy on Gun Runner and tied the series at 1-1.
Despite an impressive performance from former Halo pro Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom, the Mutineers lost a back-and-forth game of Domination on Hackney Yard by a narrow margin of 186-184.
The fourth game, Hardpoint on Azhir Cave, went to the Mutineers 250-215 thanks to a crafty flank orchestrated by Colt “Havok” McLendon.
The first game five in Call of Duty League history was a near perfect game of Search and Destroy from the Mutineers as they won 6-0 on Rammaza to close out the series 3-2.
In the night’s finale, visiting Los Angeles came out strong with a 250-169 win in Hardpoint on St. Petrograd to start the series.
Patrick “Aches” Price, also known as the villain of Call of Duty, was quick to point at the scoreboard to taunt the home crowd.
The Guerrillas looked very impressive in Game 2, Search and Destroy on Piccadilly, taking the map with the round count at 6-3.
Following that map, casters John “Revan” Boble and Ben “Benson” Bowe announced that the Guerrillas forfeited the map for using a banned item.
It was later confirmed that Guerrillas player Andres “Lacefield” Lacefield was using Hardline, which is banned under the Call of Duty League ruleset. With the forfeit, the series was tied at 1-1.
Game 3, Domination on Hackney Yard, went to the the R0KKR.
Minnesota was off to a hot start with a 40-point lead at half. Los Angeles made a late comeback to keep the score close, but R0KKR player Alex “Alexx” Carpenter took charge late in the game with a seven-kill streak to round out the victory at 192-174.
The R0KKR needed one more map with a 2-1 series lead heading into Hardpoint on Hackney Yard.
Once again, Minnesota started off strong and Los Angeles was forced to fight from behind to keep its hopes of winning the series alive.
Despite a nine-kill streak from the Guerillas’ Renato “Saints” Forza late in the game, the R0KKR prevailed 250-167 thanks to a crucial seven-kill streak from Adam “GodRx” Brown to seal the series.
Launch Weekend action continues with Saturday with five matches:
New York Subliners vs. London Royal Ravens
Toronto Ultra vs. Seattle Surge
Los Angeles Guerillas vs. Florida Mutineers
OpTic Gaming Los Angeles vs. Paris Legion
Atlanta FaZe vs. Dallas Empire
Four matches are set for Sunday:
Paris Legion vs. London Royal Ravens
Chicago Huntsmen vs. OpTic Gaming Los Angeles
New York Subliners vs. Atlanta FaZe
Toronto Ultra vs. Minnesota R0KKR
—Field Level Media