- Call of Duty League (CDL) officially starts with Kickoff Classic on January 23rd, 2021 at 3:00 PM EST
- The total prize pool will consist of $5 million, split between five major tournaments and one playoff final
- League officially starts on February 11th, 2021 when Atlanta FaZe host the first home series of the 2021 CDL Season
The Kickoff Classic celebrates the first chance we can see teams pinned head-to-head in an official match. While the Kickoff Classic does not count towards points for the season, it allows players the opportunity to showcase their talents.
This return helps fans get their first true look ahead for what is to come on February 11th, 2021 when the first tournament of the 2021 season begins. The season will consist of five major tournaments, allowing each team the opportunity to earn themselves CDL points to guarantee themselves a better seeding in the final playoff tournament.
Kickoff Classic weekend will showcase the new group selection process for this season. Dallas Empire, who ended the 2020 season as the reigning champions, will be given the first pick when selecting the groups. Followed by Atlanta FaZe, who will be selecting the teams for the opposing group. Each group stage will be three weeks of matches, leading into a major, where the results from the previous three weeks will decide a team’s seeding.
On top of a $200,000 major Grand Prize, the winner and runner-up of each major will then be the #1 and #2 seed during the next group stage selection. This means winning each Major is especially important for each team. The objective being to stick the top teams against each other on the opposing group to give your team an easier group stage.
Kickoff Classic gives us the first true taste of competitive play again, how will your team fare?
Call of Duty League 2021 Kickoff Classic Matchup Odds
|New York Subliners||+240|
|London Royal Ravens||-110|
|Los Angeles Thieves||-105|
Odds as of January 21st
Dallas Empire vs New York Subliners
This matchup was highly voted by the fans due to the underlying drama it brings from last season. After Clayster was removed from Dallas Empire only three days after winning the playoff championship, he is set to play against his old teammates.
Scrimmages for the Dallas Empire have been going phenomenally leading up to this event. The overall 4 vs 4 environments compared to last season puts Dallas decisively ahead of the Subliners.
Who is going to compete with Shotzzy and Huke on the SMG role?
We are thankful for everything that @ZooMaa has done for the Subliners & our entire org wishes him a speedy recovery. His incredible talent as a teammate & competitor has always made him amazing & the positivity he brings to the community is truly special. We’ll see you soon. https://t.co/P5ZIKnvE72 pic.twitter.com/Lm4xLRsEAd
— NYSL (@Subliners) January 19, 2021
Subliners’ ZooMaa took a step back from competitive play due to a career plaguing injury. On the backs of an already struggling team play dynamic, they will now be playing the Kickoff Classic with their new player Diamondcon who was recently promoted from the Subliners Academy team.
With less than a week to practice and going up against the reigning champs, the odds are rather generous for Dallas Empire. Dallas takes it in three maps as Clayster takes the next few weeks to rebuild his team.
Pick: Dallas Empire ML (-335) MAX
OpTic Chicago vs Los Angeles Thieves
Quite possibly the best matchup of the entire weekend pins together with a great storyline. The LA Thieves, who were called the LA OpTic last year, have officially rebranded. OpTiC Chicago also went through a name change as they were previously known as the Chicago Huntsman.
Hecz, the co-owner of the Chicago Huntsman, purchased the OpTic brand in the offseason and the two teams became new identities. While the name switch was taking place there was one notable roster change that is important for this matchup. Dashy being benched last season by what is now the LA Thieves, teams up with OpTic alongside two of the most renowned professional players of all time.
We love Texas @FormaL pic.twitter.com/zw9P8mqlBy
— OpTic Chicago (@OpTicCHI) January 16, 2021
Getting all four OpTic players together in a simulated lan environment is what makes this play for me. When considering the two lineups, the fact you are guaranteed two Search and Destroy (SND) maps if it goes to five maps is important.
I do not see a way the LA Thieves can pull together three map wins. Dashy and Envoy are two well known SND stars, and from what scrims I have seen of the Thieves, they have not been focusing on SND, as of recently.
The hardpoints will be very close, and the Thieves have the potential to upset. That being said, when it comes down to control and SND, I have to side with OpTic Chicago. They have undoubtedly been top two when it comes to scrim results leading into this event, which makes them a great bet here.
Pick: OpTic Chicago ML (-120)