The Chicago Huntsmen will kick off the Seattle Home Series on Friday against the Paris Legion seeking to regain their early season form -- and with a new face on the roster.
The Huntsmen acquired Preston "Prestinni" Sanderson from the Florida Mutineers on Monday, reuniting him with twin brother Alec "Arcitys" Sanderson. More importantly, Chicago hopes Prestinni can provide a spark.
The Huntsmen enter this week's Seattle series in third place in the Call of Duty League standings with 130 total points, but they have not made it past the semifinals of their past two events. They did not compete in the Florida series won by the Atlanta FaZe, who took over first place.
The Dallas Empire sit in second place, but that won't last long if Chicago has a solid weekend while Dallas is idle this week.
"I haven't been this excited/motivated to compete and improve in awhile," Prestinni tweeted upon his move from the Mutineers, where he had been on the bench since February.
Atlanta and Dallas have won four of the first seven series and are the only teams with multiple wins.
In the three series since play resumed a month ago, each team has had a bye and won a weekend. Dallas' worst showing was a loss to the Minnesota Rokkr in the semifinals of the Empire's home series. Atlanta's only loss was to Dallas in the finals of the Chicago home series in late April. The FaZe won the Florida home series two weeks while the Empire had a bye.
"I wouldn't say we're the best team in the league right now. I would say we're probably top two with Dallas," Atlanta's Chris "Simp" Lehr said after the FaZe's Florida series win. "Until we have another chance to play against them and beat them or have another series against them, I'd say they're No. 1 until we can prove that we're better."
The Florida series might have brought evidence that other teams are prepared to make a run, especially with this week's confirmation that all 12 teams will participate in the playoff tournament.
While Chicago enters the Seattle series as the favorite, the New York Subliners and OpTic Gaming Los Angeles will seek to maintain momentum from two weeks ago when they joined Atlanta and the Toronto Ultra in the semifinals. OpTic led the FaZe in the final before Atlanta rallied for the victory.
"Honestly, there are still good teams besides Dallas and Chicago," Simp said. "OpTic made the finals (two weeks ago) and no one thought they were gonna make it. A lot of teams are getting better right now. Teams like New York, Toronto, OpTic ... everyone is just advancing in how they play the game, and I think we're going to keep seeing that throughout the season."
Atlanta and Dallas return to action June 5-7 in the Minnesota series, and they could play each other in the second round. One thing is for certain this weekend: several teams are going to close the points gap.
Two teams will advance from each group to the four-team, single-elimination bracket over the weekend. Ten CDL points are awarded for each match victory, with the mini-tournament winner earning another 10 points. The second-place team will earn 30 points for the weekend, with 20 points each going to the third- and fourth-placed teams and 10 points each for the fifth- and sixth-placed finishers.
That means Chicago would re-take first place with a series win and jump ahead of Dallas by reaching the final. The Minnesota Rokkr also could exit the weekend as high as second place with a victory.
The Huntsmen and Legion kick off Group A play, and the winner will face the victor between the Subliners and host Seattle Surge to close Friday's action. In between, the Los Angeles Guerrillas will face the London Royal Ravens and OpTic will battle the Rokkr.
Call of Duty League standings through Week 7:
1. Atlanta FaZe, 170 points
2. Dallas Empire, 150 points
3. Chicago Huntsmen, 130 points
4. Minnesota Rokkr, 110 points
5. Florida Mutineers, 100 points
6. Paris Legion, 60 points
T7. Optic Gaming Los Angeles, 50 points
T7. London Royal Ravens, 50 points
T9. Toronto Ultra, 40 points
T9. Seattle Surge, 40 points
T9. New York Subliners, 40 points
12. Los Angeles Guerrillas, 20 points
--Field Level Media