The moment the 2020 Call of Duty season ended, this seemed inevitable.
One year after coming up just short against the Dallas Empire, the Atlanta FaZe finished the job this time around and clinched the 2021 Call of Duty League Championship today with a 5-3 win over the Toronto Ultra.
Atlanta’s core three of Cellium, Simp, and aBeZy from the Modern Warfare season stuck together after the CDL announced the change from five-vs-five to four-vs-four competition, separating from 2020 teammates Priestahh and MajorManiak. Coming off of a disappointing second-place finish at CoD Champs, FaZe decided to bring on a key player from Simp and aBeZy’s championship-winning eUnited team.
Arcitys teamed with Simp and aBeZy together in Black Ops 4, and after the amount of success they had that season, it only made sense to bring in the veteran AR to round out the roster. Pairing him with Cellium, an extremely fast-paced AR player, made too much sense with the cerebral and slower-paced nature of Arcitys’ gameplay.
Atlanta’s new roster dominated the CDL in 2021, winning three of the regular season’s first four Majors. But they struggled at the league’s last event in Stage Five, losing two series in a row to head home from the event with a top-eight placing. FaZe’s armor looked cracked for the first time all season but teams with the championship pedigree of Atlanta don’t fold so easily.
“This last month has been hell for us,” Arcitys told Miles Ross after the series. “Three of us got sick, we come out here, we don’t even know if we’re going to play this event. So we’re like screw it, if we come out, we come out, and we’re going to come out strong.”
Come out strong, indeed. Atlanta swept both Dallas and the New York Subliners on their path to the grand finals, making their way through the winners bracket with a perfect 6-0 map count. Toronto were the only team to take down Atlanta in a grand final this season and it seemed fitting the Ultra were the one team left in the way of an Atlanta dynasty.
Atlanta stretched out to a 4-2 lead before heading to Apocolypse Hardpoint. FaZe have been one of the best Hardpoint teams all season and avoiding a game nine in Search and Destroy held the utmost importance. Toronto were one of the best Search and Destroy teams all season and Atlanta had already dropped two of the first three SnD maps in the grand finals.
Atlanta fell behind in the early goings of map eight after Toronto chained together the first few hills in the rotation, with the Ultra holding a 90-35 lead. From that point on, though, Atlanta dominated the match, outscoring Toronto by a score of 215-57 the rest of the way to close out the series. Cellium led the charge in the map with a 23-12 stat line, providing the slaying prowess FaZe needed to dominate the map over the last rotations.
“I was just playing my game, you know, my entire team was helping me get to the spots that I was able to get in,” Cellium told Miles Ross in the post-match interview. “My whole team just set me up for greatness.”
While Cellium led the series in overall K/D with a 1.21 over the eight maps in the grand finals, aBeZy earned the CDL Playoffs’ MVP award. The king of first bloods, aBeZy went huge in the Express Search and Destroy and gave his teammates a four-vs-three advantage in numerous rounds, helping Atlanta take the map 6-5. He posted the second-best K/D during the series with a 1.08, helping FaZe take home the title and $1.2 million first-place prize.
Simp, aBeZy, and Arcitys are now two-time world champions, while Cellium got his first ring. Simp is already considered one of the best players of all time and a second championship moves the 2021 MVP into the upper echelon of the greatest to ever pick up a controller.
“I’m super proud, man. These last two weeks—ever since Major Five—we’ve been in the blender,” Simp told Jess Brohard after the match. “Our scrims have been amazing, just because we had this team talk. We got a little personal, we told each other what we needed to work on, and we did it, man. We’re back on top.”
Atlanta’s 2021 season will go down in history as one of the greatest campaigns ever put together in professional Call of Duty. With three Major titles, a staggering 37-7 match record, and a CDL Championship ring to bookend their terrific season, FaZe are truly back on top.