. 2 hours ago
The fourth and final stage of the 2022 Call of Duty League season has crowned a fourth champion: the Los Angeles Thieves. By beating the miracle-working New York Subliners in Brooklyn, CoD’s newest champions now have the trophy to match their star-studded roster.
Two seasons ago, 100 Thieves were lucky enough to open up a CDL franchise when OpTic Gaming Los Angeles sold their way out of the league.
A season ago, the organization struggled to live up to expectations and rotated eight different players in its four starting spots, still not enough to finish in the top three of any tournament.
This year, despite their new roster failing to make the top three of any Major, the Thieves ignored their naysayers and stood their ground, keeping the same roster throughout the season. Now, with $200,000 added to their bank accounts and a “scary” new trophy on their mantelpiece, that commitment to the four of them has paid off.
To get to this point, LA had to battle the Atlanta FaZe (twice), the Toronto Ultra, and the New York Subliners in a 4-1 masterclass at CDL 2022 Major IV. While many had doubted this lineup’s ability to live up to their initial expectations, their new AR, Sam ‘Octane’ Larew, explained that “it was just a matter of time.”
overcoming the enemies
While the Thieves finished qualifying stage IV in fourth place with a 3-2 game count, enthusiasm from the team was minimal. Their flashy 2022 signings, Octane and Dylan ‘Envoy’ Hannon, had yet to help the organization finish in the top three and foes had apparently already written the group off.
When asked about criticism of the team for ‘underperformance,’ Envoy was undeterred: “Rightfully so, I feel like at the start of the game we didn’t deserve it, but obviously we weren’t the team we are now. ”
As for what changed, Octane was quick to credit the addition of trainer Shane ‘ShAne’ McKerral at the end of Stage III. Comparing the addition of ShAne to the multi-champion 100T roster change in Black Ops 4, Octane explained that “there was a change in our practice mindset.
“I think we were approaching things a little too broadly and once we cast Shane, things started to get a little more fine-tuned, our minds focused a little bit and we started putting in extra time and the change was pretty immediate. ”
Beat New York in New York
To even make it to the Grand Finals, LA had to beat the best CoD team (based on the 2022 rankings) twice. According to Kenny ‘Kenny’ Williams, the team’s sharpened mentality was key to overcoming Atlanta.
“I felt like we were playing perfect CoD. Our communications were all there, everything we needed to communicate, any time we needed to slow down the game and work together… that’s the only thing we’ve focused on is shooting together.”
After beating FaZe in Winners’ Round 1, LA proceeded to beat Ultra in Winners’ Round 2, lost to the Subliners in Winners’ Finals, and beat FaZe in Losers’ Finals to return.
Drazah bowed to the New York IRL crowd, then to the Subliners at the game.
As for what happened against New York in the first matchup? Octane explained that “they were playing maps that we don’t play, they were getting gifts.”
Zack ‘Drazah’ Jordan colorfully elaborated “they had a good side on every map. We just didn’t give a shit.”
After the Winners Finals, Subliners SMG Paco ‘HyDra’ Rusiewiez seemed confident in the map options, stating that Berlin was New York’s “playground”. While the map was 2-1 in favor of NY during the winners’ finals, it was 3-0 for LA in the grand finals.
That statement fell on deaf ears in the thieves’ camp. Octane looked at the map count, Drazah pointed to the trophy on the table, and Envoy replied, “Berlin is definitely not your playground. They need some work.
While the in-game maps were one thing, the real-world location was another. The New York Major, at the Kings Theater in Brooklyn, received praise from the community All weekend. Although the crowd was deafening in support of the Subliners’ CDL Champs and Major IV races, Octane welcomed the animosity:
“I love that shit. Playing against the crowd is one of my favorite things, I’ve done it my entire career, especially against OpTic, which is when you notice it the most, but playing against the crowd is always more fun.
The “team to beat”
During this run of Major IV, Thieves have called their teamwork “immaculate,” their Call of Duty “perfect,” and their opponents “scrambled.” Having beaten the home team 5-3 in the Grand Final, with every player finishing with a positive K/D, it’s hard to disagree with those statements.
The Los Angeles Thieves, for the first time in the history of their CDL franchise, are CoD champions. Up next: the $2.55 million playoffs, CDL Champs, where LA will take on Boston Breach in Round 1 of winners.
With the Major in the bag, the team has its eyes set high: “Grand Finals,” Kenny stated. “I don’t think there’s any game or team right now that’s looking to play, I think we’re the team to beat, so Grand Finals [is the goal].”