‘What just happened?’: Standy talks successful debut campaign in Call of Duty League, looks ahead to 2022

Standy set the bar extremely high after his debut season but is aiming even higher for year two.

Photo via ©2021 Call of Duty League

In April, OpTic Chicago and Minnesota RØKKR battled it out in an elimination bracket match at the Stage Two Major during the 2021 Call of Duty League season. Tied at two maps apiece in the best-of-five series, it was fitting that the final map, Moscow Search and Destroy, came down to a winner-take-all round 11. It quickly became a four-vs-two in OpTic’s favor with Standy and Priestahh falling, and then a one-vs-three after both Minnesota’s Attach and Chicago’s Envoy dropped. Minnesota’s tournament chances hung on by a thread. 

Standy thought his team’s run in the tournament had come to an end. The young rookie sat at his setup and experienced the lowest of lows that come with losing an elimination match in a heart-breaking manner. The entire series fell onto Accuracy’s shoulders, with the experienced AR needing to clutch the one-vs-three to keep Minnesota’s tournament chances alive. 

“I don’t mean to be, like, a Debbie Downer,” he said of Accuracy’s chances to clutch. “But it’s a one-vs-three. I truly thought we probably lost.”

Little did he know, the three remaining members of OpTic Chicago lined up perfectly for Accuracy as he turned the corner. With just 14 rounds from his Krig-6, he downed all three OpTic players and clinched the round and series for Minnesota in the most unlikely fashion. The entire team erupted in celebration as “round won” flashed across their monitors. 

“It was like, ‘What just happened?’ It was just, like, a crazy range of emotions,” Standy told Dot Esports. “I’ve never had a feeling like that before.”

Minnesota came into the 2021 season with sky-high expectations. The roster of Attach, Priestahh, MajorManiak, and Accuracy had both years of experience and the star power needed to put the RØKKR toward the top of the CDL. But Minnesota failed to live up to that promise in the early stages of the season and their rocky start forced the team’s hand. The organization turned to the Challengers scene in March to find a replacement for MajorManiak. Instead, Minnesota may have found its cornerstone piece and face of the franchise. 

Instant impact

Standy had been making a name for himself in the Challengers scene, performing well and winning the 2020 Challengers Champs with Triumph Gaming. Despite his great season, he received no professional offers ahead of the Cold War season. But he brushed it aside and continued to play at a high level in 2021. 

In March, he finally received the call he had hoped for with Minnesota bringing him into its starting lineup. He took full advantage of his opportunity with the RØKKR, posting one of the most successful rookie seasons in CDL history. 

Challengers within Call of Duty is akin to the minor leagues in baseball, except Challengers has even less backing from the CDL than Minor League Baseball does from the MLB. Unlike in Major League Baseball, the Challengers teams aren’t set to feed into the big league club. Rather, players will decide their fate, trying to find the best roster to take advantage of their skillset, hoping for the elusive call up to a CDL team. With only 48 starting spots available within the entire league, and even fewer that open up during the regular season, there’s a dog eat dog mentality within the scene. 

“Everyone in the Challengers scene, like, strives to go pro,” Standy said of his time in Call of Duty’s minor leagues. “You’ll get support but at the same time everyone’s going to do whatever they can to discredit you.”

Just a week after helping lead Fantastic Four, alongside Sib, Decemate, and Davpadie, to the NA Challengers Cup No. 9 championship with an MVP-caliber performance, Standy found himself facing off against the biggest brand in Call of Duty—OpTic—in his CDL debut with the RØKKR. Standy had faced OpTic earlier in the year during practices, even winning some maps during the scrimmage sessions, but that didn’t hold a candle to the real thing. 

While many expected Minnesota to marginally improve with the addition of Standy, no one could have predicted his sensational debut. Standy put on one of the best debuts by a rookie in CDL history. He led his team with 64 kills over the series’ three maps, good enough for a 1.52 K/D. Minnesota defeated Chicago with a three-game sweep, snapping their three-match losing streak. 

“It lit a fire inside of me,” Standy said of his debut match against OpTic. “I feel like they might have not took me as serious or, like, other teams didn’t take me as serious until that match.”

If the rest of the CDL weren’t taking him and Minnesota seriously yet, this performance put the league on notice. After their disappointing 3-5 start to the season, Minnesota went 17-12 with Standy in the lineup. His play helped take the RØKKR from a bottom-four team to one of the toughest outs in the CDL. At Stage Five, Minnesota won a championship in the least likely of fashions, coming back from a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Toronto Ultra

“Crazy stuff happens when I’m on the team,” Standy laughed. 

After a top-four finish at the 2021 CDL Playoffs last month with Minnesota, expectations are even greater for Standy in year two. Rostermania is in full swing but Minnesota has held steady with its current four-man roster. While it’s unclear if the team will make changes ahead of Vanguard, Standy’s outlook on the 2022 season remains the same. 

“Win more championships than I did this year,” he said of his goals for next season. “To win one or two, if I can.” 

The 20-year-old is wise beyond his years, though. Aside from winning championships and rings, Standy wants to become a staple within the Call of Duty community like Nadeshot or Scump. Winning events can build a championship legacy, but building a brand while competing can set young players up for life, even after they retire from playing professionally.

“Obviously, I want to win multiple championships and go down as one of the greats,” Standy said. “But I also just wanna go down as, like, a big face in the esports and CoD scene.”