London Royal Ravens trounce LA Thieves in CDL matchup of rookies, former CoD Challengers teammates

Call of Duty is a young man's game.

Photo via Call of Duty League™

The first Call of Duty League game of Stage Two’s second Friday was a matchup of two former WestR youngsters who have been called up to the big-time—Venom and the Los Angeles Thieves vs. PaulEhx and the London Royal Ravens. And today, PaulEhx got the better of his former teammate when London took down L.A. 3-1 in Venom’s professional debut.

The duo made up half of the WestR squad that dominated the NA Call of Duty Challengers scene in the first few months of Black Ops Cold War, so much so that teams took notice and made big rosters moves to pick them up.

The Thieves benched Temp in favor of Venom while PaulEhx replaced Parasite before Stage Two. And it didn't take long for the former teammates to meet up in CDL.

After another stunning 2021 CDL debut for a rookie yesterday by Minnesota's Standy, all eyes were on Venom and PaulEhx today when the series kicked off on Checkmate Hardpoint. Coming into the match, London had the most to prove sitting in last place in the CDL compared to the Thieves in fifth—and they were unable to deliver in game one.

L.A. fell behind 243-186 after a slow start and mounted a huge comeback to win 250-243, led by Kenny's 39 kills. But PaulEhx (25-28, 1:03 hill time) and Venom (22-25, 0:51 hill time) showed they belonged with the big boys early on.

The second game went to Search and Destroy on Raid, where London bounced back and exerted their will over the Thieves with a 6-2 victory. Zed dropped 10 kills for the Royal Ravens while Venom struggled in his first professional map of Search and Destroy with a 4-8 scoreline.

With the series tied 1-1, Control on Checkmate was up next and the momentum pendulum continued to swing in London's favor. In one of the fastest Control games ever seen in the CDL, London cleared out L.A. with a decisive 3-0 win. PaulEhx finished at 16-3, dominating the game, while every L.A. player had no less than six fewer kills than deaths.

Needing to win a second Hardpoint to stay alive in the series, L.A. battled London on Moscow in game four. But unfortunately for L.A., the Royal Ravens were not to be denied, holding off the Thieves for a 250-245 win. PaulEhx again led London with 26 kills, while Venom's 22-18 score wasn't enough to pull out the win. London improve to 2-0 in Stage Two group play, while L.A. drop to 1-2.

Up next, London will face the New York Subliners tomorrow at 2pm CT while the Thieves will try to regain against the powerful Atlanta FaZe on Saturday at 3:30pm CT.