The start of the second season of the Call of Duty League is quickly approaching, which means it’s time to take a look at the 12 franchises heading into professional Black Ops Cold War action.
I reached out to pro players and coaches over the weekend to get their power rankings for each team before the start of the 2021 season. Votes for a player or coach's own team weren't counted in these rankings, however.
With the Call of Duty League set to begin play on Feb. 11, here's some insight into how all the teams feel they stack up so far during the preseason.
1) Dallas Empire
- Average ranking: 1.6
- Roster: iLLeY, Crimsix, Shotzzy, and Huke
- Coaching staff: Rambo
- Substitute: Felo
- Kickoff Classic match: 3-0 win vs. New York Subliners
There was no doubt in anyone's mind that this team could transition into Cold War and continue to dominate. Huke, Shotzzy, and iLLeY have each looked like they could be the best player on the team at one point or another. And with Crimsix leading the pack, this squad is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
2) Atlanta FaZe
- Average ranking: 1.9
- Starting Roster: Simp, Cellium, Arcitys, and aBeZy
- Coaching staff: Crowder, RJ, and EasyMac
- Substitute: Sib
- Kickoff Classic match: 3-2 loss vs. Florida Mutineers
From top to bottom, this entire roster features some of the most talented players in the league. Each player is capable of dropping huge numbers on any map at any given time and they also have the coaching talent of Crowder, RJ, and EasyMac behind them. There's no way this team should ever be outside of the top three this year.
3) OpTic Chicago
- Average ranking: 2.5
- Roster: Scump, FormaL, Dashy, and Envoy
- Coaching staff: Sender
- Substitute: General
- Kickoff Classic match: 3-0 win vs. Los Angeles Thieves
Most fans probably aren't surprised by the top three teams so far. Although some might put OpTic a little higher, I think this is a fair call for now. Dashy and Envoy have both looked great at this game, and since moving to Texas, FormaL is playing his best since the Infinite Warfare season.
4) Florida Mutineers
- Average ranking: 4.4
- Roster: Skyz, Owakening, Slacked, and Neptune
- Coaching staff: Atura
- Substitute: Havok
- Kickoff Classic match: 3-2 win vs. Atlanta FaZe
The Mutineers started off this preseason with Havok as a starter. But after three months of practice, the org decided to bench him and add former Halo player Neptune to the starting lineup. Neptune has stood out so far and is looking like a frontrunner for rookie of the year.
5) Los Angeles Thieves
- Average ranking: 4.8
- Roster: SlasheR, TJHaLy, Kenny, and Temp
- Coaching staff: JKap and Novus
- Substitute: Drazah
- Kickoff Classic match: 3-0 loss vs. OpTic Chicago
SlasheR, Kenny, and TJHaLy started the offseason not knowing what their future might hold, but Nadeshot eventually answered the call and acquired OpTic Gaming Los Angeles' CDL spot. The team was then renamed to Los Angeles Thieves and they secured Temp as their fourth. This lineup has looked rocky at times, but any team with SlasheR on it tends to start off slower than they should. Expect improvements from this roster as the year goes on.
6) Minnesota RØKKR
- Average ranking: 5.6
- Roster: Attach, Accuracy, Priestahh, and MajorManiak
- Coaching staff: BrianSaintt and Reppin
- Substitute: BrianSaintt
- Kickoff tournament match: 3-2 win vs. Toronto Ultra
The RØKKR cleared its entire roster during the offseason and locked in four top-tier players in Attach, Accuracy, Priestahh, and MajorManiak. The team has looked solid in scrims so far and proved that with a 3-2 win against the Toronto Ultra in the Kickoff Classic last month.
7) Toronto Ultra
- Average rating: 6.5
- Roster: Methodz, Cammy, CleanX, and Bance
- Coaching staff: MarkyB and RBOFLX
- Substitute: Insight
- Kickoff tournament match: 3-2 loss vs. Minnesota RØKKR
Toronto Ultra finished seventh in the regular-season standings last year and went on to place top six in the 2020 Call of Duty League Championship. Going into this season, the org decided to stick with four of its players, joining Dallas as the only other team in the league to not add a new face to its starting lineup. But if this team struggles, Insight, who previously played for Team Singularity, is ready and waiting on the bench.
8) New York Subliners
- Average rating: 7.5
- Roster: Clayster, Asim, Mack, and DiamondCon
- Coaching staff: Revan and JP
- Substitutes: HyDra and ZooMaa
- Kickoff Classic match: 3-0 loss vs. Dallas Empire
Four days before the Kickoff Classic, ZooMaa announced that he'd be taking a step back from competitive Call of Duty due to a lingering hand injury. With HyDra stuck in France, the Subliners were left with few options for its roster. In the end, the org called up DiamondCon from its academy team. DiamondCon played well, but New York lost 3-0 to the defending world champions during the Kickoff Classic. With more practice, this team should only improve. If that fails, HyDra could make it into the country sooner than you think.
9) Paris Legion
- Average ranking: 8.2
- Roster: Skrapz, AquA, Classic, and Fire
- Coaching staff: Theory
- Substitute: Theory (unconfirmed)
- Kickoff Classic match: 3-2 win vs. London Royal Ravens
Paris dropped its entire roster during the offseason and almost scouted enough players to form its own league. But in the end, the Legion locked in Skrapz, AquA, Classic, and rookie player Fire. The four players individually might not be the most talented in the league, but they all have a point to prove this year. They're the underdogs going into this season.
10) London Royal Ravens
- Average ranking: 8.7
- Roster: Dylan, Seany, Alexx, and Parasite
- Coaching staff: Shane and Dominate
- Substitutes: Zer0 and Afro
- Kickoff Classic match: 3-2 loss vs. Paris Legion
Unfortunately for Zer0, he's been unable to secure his visa and will be stuck in the U.K. until further notice. Because of this, Parasite, who hasn't been in the pro league since Black Ops 4, has been given his first real opportunity in the newly formed Call of Duty League. Yet to be officially announced, Parasite will make his debut for London this weekend against the Seattle Surge.
11) Los Angeles Guerrillas
- Average ranking: 9.6
- Roster: Apathy, Silly, Assault, and Vivid
- Coaching staff: Bevils and Ricky
- Substitutes: Cheen and Mental
- Kickoff Classic match: 3-2 win vs. Seattle Surge
Apathy showed up during the Guerrillas' Kickoff Classic match, dropping a 1.22 K/D—the eighth-highest K/D of the weekend. The Guerrillas are hoping to replicate Assault, Silly, and Apathy's 2018 success where they won the Call of Duty World League Championship in WWII. But they have a long way to go before they become a serious contender in this league.
12) Seattle Surge
- Average ranking: 10.8
- Roster: Octane, Gunless, Loony, and Prestinni
- Coaching staff: Nubzy
- Substitute: Nubzy (unconfirmed)
- Kickoff Classic match: 3-2 loss vs. Los Angeles Guerrillas
The talent is there, but yet again, the Seattle Surge have struggled heading into the 2021 season. They still have a lot to work on before they can climb up these rankings—and luckily, the season has yet to start. But they'll need to figure it out before it's too late.
The 2021 season of the Call of Duty League officially begins on Feb. 11 at 2pm CT.