Gotta love day trips during one of the most intense times of the CDL year. Champs is underway in a big way, and while I’ve been stuck in radio silence I’ve finally gotten caught up so we can discuss how Day 3 and big ole Championship Sunday came about. The LA Thieves are now your World Champions, so congratulations to Nadeshot and the staff, along with Octane, Kenny, Drazah, and Envoy earning rings.
Seattle Surge vs Toronto Ultra
Actual: 3-1 Seattle Surge
- It’s all about turning up when it matters, and the reigning Rookie Of The Year took it to the “former” ROTY. He was all over the map, dropping an incredible forty bomb on top of Toronto on a Tuscan where it was any man’s game. It wasn’t just the slaying, but his penchant for staying alive to harass everyone else, with only 23 deaths leading to a +17 difference. Having eleven more kills than anyone else on your team certainly proves your worth, and the score difference of twelve points (250-238) shows he pulled them over the line.
- Mack may be a bit up and down, and watching him this weekend shows a player that doesn’t always win the gunfight, but does make good decisions. His rotations have been key in Seattle’s run, and a dominant map four (33/21) gave his squad the victory and a chance to move on. He finished the series 84/75 with +9 kills and a 1.12 KD.
- There weren’t a lot of areas you could fault Surge on in this one, but their Control isn’t very strong. They lost Berlin 3-1, and while we’ve seen Pred put up superhuman numbers on this one, he got sniffed out too often by a disciplined Ultra. Seattle was also outslayed by 9, and Accuracy had a rough one at 14/23 and just under 2k in damage.
- After what may have looked like a breakthrough in versus Boston, Toronto came back down to earth. The entire team underperformed, being outslayed by 35 kills and CleanX posting the lowest damage in the lobby by 500. It’s a sad end for a team that came in second last year and looked like they might make a run after winning the Kickoff Classic.
- Cammy and Insight were both the most atrocious when you look at the scoreboard. They were outgunned, neither managing to break 70 kills and both with identical 67/81, -14 kill, and .83 KD stat lines. You have to wonder if this end cements one or even both of them not being on the team next season.
- Although disappointing in every other mode, Toronto still managed to smack Seattle in the mouth in the Control. Insight was surprisingly ineffective in this one, with only 30 engagements and 12 kills, but the rest of the team posted strong numbers. Better still, they kept everyone on the Surge side from even reaching 25 kills, which is impressive given the firepower they have.
Optic Texas vs New York Subliners
Actual: 3-0 Optic Texas
- After getting shredded by the Thieves, Optic shook it off and blew through their rivals. This was somewhat surprising, because in the little time we’ve seen them matched up this year, New York has had their number. Not everything stays the same though, and even with an hour long delay the boys in green ended things early.
- I know I talk on slaying not being the most important thing on the map, but it certainly helps. New York had nowhere to go because Optic kept them on the respawn timer, to the tune of 47 kills. iLLey lead the squad in KD with a 1.34, with Scump putting out the most damage with 7511.
- You wouldn’t know the game started so close in the Hardpoint given Optics dominance in the other two maps. After a few close ones that lead to the 2-2 tie, Optic asserted themselves on the Tuscan S&D, rolling through four rounds. It seemed like they were always in a man advantage, with New York players running around in 1v2/1v3 in several of them trying to take on the whole of Optic’s might.
- They might have had a miracle run to get to Champs, but it has been far from that on the big stage. They got reverse swept, the reverse swept someone else, and then they just got… swept. It was an extremely disappointing end to their Champs experience, and while it may not have been as severe as the other sweep at Champs, it wasn’t pretty.
- The only map that was even close was the opening Hardpoint, with only twelve points separating them and the slaying almost even. Even though the Subliners were really well set up going into the final P1, although they didn’t have spawns, Scump made a hero play and knocked them back off of it. If you’re stuck at the fountain spawn heading for P1 after the first hill opener, it can be completely over, and it unfortunately was for New York.
- You can’t expect to win on Gavutu Control if you play such poor defense. After Kismet saved their bacon with a multi-kill after Optic had two ticks on B (which isn’t an easy cap), they followed it up with falling apart in Optic’s final offensive round. The carnage finally ended with the ticks going through at B… and a 26-8 life count in Optic’s favor. My Lord, that’s some real inept play to only kill the opposing team four times. If that’s all you can muster, you don’t deserve to move forward.
Los Angeles Thieves vs Atlanta Faze
Actual: 3-1 Los Angeles Thieves
- While they let Faze take a round of them, you have to consider LA the absolute favorite at this tournament. They’ve been nothing short of dominant after a close one versus Boston, showing they just needed to warm up to get back to how incredibly they overwhelmed everyone at Major IV.
- The Berlin Hardpoint was a bloodbath. In a way similar to how they destroyed Optic on Gavutu HP, they eviscerated Faze. They were +25 kills on the map, the equivalent of having another player on their side. Obviously the kills alone don’t translate to a win, but the 250-71 score shows that everything the Thieves did worked.
- Literally the only mark on their report card from this one was the Tuscan, and even that was close. They lost by 41 points, which would equate roughly to a decent hold on a hill. Where it was a surprise was the slaying, where they went down -19 kills. Even so, they kept it close, proving it’s all about getting the right kills.
- Atlanta is really struggling on anything Berlin. The Control and Hardpoint were absolute blowouts, and Faze looked lost on them. The Control was pretty egregious because they lost two offenses, including the final one where they were up 10 kills and spawn killing them, only for the Thieves to turn it on them and only die two more times in route to a win. It was ugly.
- The MVP (Cellium) did his thing, but no one else did. aBeZy tried, but only made it to -2 kills in the end, but Simp has really struggled. He was -21 kills in the series, and that wasn’t the worst of it. He was an incredible 6/22 on the Berlin Hardpoint, a stinker from the former MVP of massive proportions.
- I’m not sure if this team is going to make it past the next round, let alone get to the Grand Finals versus the Thieves. They go from one good clutch to falling apart too often, and their map pool isn’t good enough right now to take them past these other teams that are riding with momentum. It’s up to them to regain, or it’s going to be another early exit or second place finish.
Seattle Surge vs Optic Texas
Actual: 3-1 Seattle Surge
- You won’t see many plays more incredible than Pred’s ice up on Control. The score was 2-2 and with less than ten seconds on the clock and there were two players left for each team. Sib was on the point, and Pred was up at plat. Scump came flying in from ramp to stop the clock and kill Sib, and he even got a few bullets into Pred. Dashy came down onto the point to force the issue, but Pred’s grenade made him move behind Scump, along with wanting to get the trade. With all players one shot, Pred sent two timely bullets down which shredded both players along with Optic’s hopes.
- Mack may not have gotten many kills, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t impactful. He was 78/93, for -15 kills, but he had the most damage in the lobby with over 11k. If you can’t kill them, at least wing them so your team can finish the job.
- Accuracy’s veteran play in the Berlin Hardpoint is the reason they closed out this game. He leaked through docks to get spawns for P1 with Optic having a set up to pin Seattle in the back. Somehow Shotzzy walked right by, focused on the street, and like two ships passing in the night it was over from there. My only qualm, Accuracy leaping from top fire. That could have been a Clayster-like death that could have cost, but instead led them to victory.
- Beyond iLLey’s popping off on Bocage, none of the maps broke Optics’ way. In fact, the last two maps had massive breakdowns. Sure, the Control came down to an amazing play from Pred, but you can’t look at that any other way than a disaster.
- Shotzzy ended his season about as disappointingly as possible. You expect your superstar to take things to another level under the bright lights, but instead he had -31 kills. The Hardpoints were especially terrible, with him collecting 29 of those. He can’t play like this and the team move forward.
- The Berlin Hardpoint reminded me a lot of one earlier in the season in which Optic blew a lead versus Minnesota. In this one, Optic held a 70 point lead, and had rotations for P4, but managed to allow Seattle to not only break them, but then break back through when P1 was coming up and take the map. It was embarrassing, but par for the course of their season, early success, but falling apart in the end.
Seattle Surge vs Atlanta Faze
Actual: 3-1 Atlanta Faze
- This is what comes of the recent struggles in Control and S&D. Seattle certainly has the firepower to get wins, but when they can’t step up to the competition in those two key modes, you’re going to struggle. It was especially heinous that they let Faze come back in the Tuscan Control, allowing two offenses while up 2-0.
- It’s the end of the season for this squad, but it’s not anything they should feel bad about. Not winning a ring stinks, but they got a chip and Pred was the ROTY. They have great pieces on this roster, and maybe besides deciding if they want to change out Mack or Accuracy, this team should largely be the same heading into MWII.
- Speaking of Mack, he is literally the difference maker when it comes to them facing Faze. He wasn’t this time, the weak link with -28 kills. He was especially ineffective on the final Hardpoint, 20/33 and the least amount of damage in the lobby.
- It was a hotly contested match in only one of the maps, and that was the Control. I don’t think Faze has gotten enough credit for how good they are in it, and that showed today. They were not looking good in the first two rounds, but suddenly something clicked in the third. After that they were nearly unbeatable, in the final round holding two glide bombs to ensure the victory to go up 2-1.
- I’ve also got to give them credit for cleaning up their Tuscan Hardpoint. After a shocking loss to this Seattle team, they didn’t let the same mistakes bite them, getting set up and flipping Seattle to the fountain spawn in the final P1. Once they got Cellium set up on the U heady, it was all but finished.
- Cellium yet again put up stupid numbers to give his team the edge. In what has been a regular sounding stat line this year, he posted 95/66, +29 kills, 12k damage, and a 1.44 KD. Those stats are insane, and he’ll at least come close to the record in KD set by Formal.
Los Angeles Thieves vs Atlanta Faze
Actual: 5-2 Los Angeles Thieves
- I don’t know that I’ve seen a team suddenly wake up the way this squad has. Let’s not forget that this is the same LA Thieves that went 0-5 in the Major II qualifiers and looked cooked. But two changes, moving Kenny to the sub and Drazah to flex, along with bringing Shane into the coaching staff, brought them to another level. It wasn’t just the flip, it was the role change, allowing Kenny to be the one initiating their plays rather than waiting on his team to do it. His leadership on the maps played a major role, and it’s why he took home the Champs MVP award.
- So, I know Ally talked about how LAT was winning the Hardpoints, and while I haven’t listened to it, I’m sure it’s correct. But I have my own theory on it, at least when it comes to Gavutu and why they suddenly had a resurgence there. If you watch, Thieves make completely sure they’re mixy at P1 and P2, but not letting anything happen to flip them from P3 spawns. After that, they fight from the ridge and front to get time at P4, all while not allowing any spawn flips to the back (which Atlanta loves to do). Then, they set up for P5, using ridge and ring as defensive positions to keep the other team spawning back P3 so they get a largely uncontested money hill at P5. It’s a brilliant strategy, and even if you give up a full 60 at P4, the P3 and P5 make up for it.
- Something really incredible was seeing the kills go even across the board. At most, this match ended with the Thieves getting a single kill more than Atlanta. Yet, they dominated them. If there was ever proof of smart play giving you an advantage over simply slaying, that’s it right there, because the Thieves are your World Champs for the 2022 CDL Season.
- What could have been. It’s been documented how much this team hated Vanguard, and aBeZy even took to Twitter about it afterwards. This team is so talented though, even through the struggles and being pretty awful at this title, they were able to make it to the Grand Finals at Champs. It shows championship experience along with immeasurable talent.
- That being said, Simp is going to want to forget this one. He was shut down completely, a .81 KD and -25 kills along with the lowest damage in the lobby.. It’s unlike him to post a negative score, let alone one that bad, and his struggles can be pointed to as to why this team came up short of another ring. Hopefully he can turn it around in MWII, and I’m sure he will. We saw moments of brilliance in Vanguard, but it just wasn’t their game.
- One particular moment I want to mention is the Gavutu Control. Most will look at aBeZy’s unfortunate auto-mantle as the culprit of the 3-0 hole they found themselves in, but it was doomed in the setup. Atlanta broke in at the last possible moment and found several kills to put LAT with no respawns, and Faze had a 2 life advantage. Three were on the point, but Simp missed the shots onto Drazah in the back, leaving Arcitys to get shot in the back and aBeZy to try to hold his spot while the Thieves hunted them. It was a terrible moment that cost them the series in my opinion, a map that could have catapulted them at least to a Game 8 or 9.
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