Although they placed second in the final tournament of the “Call of Duty” League’s inaugural season, Atlanta FaZe secured the No. 1 seed ahead of the $4,000,000 ‘Call of Duty’ Champs season finale.
“I think we’re the best team in the game,” FaZe competitor Chris “Simp” Lehr said. “We’re playing the best we’ve played in a while and I think we’re ahead of the pack [compared] to the other top four teams.”
FaZe came out of the gate strong on Friday afternoon, making quick work of No. 8 Minnesota Rokkr with a 3-0 sweep to secure the first of two series victories required to make it out of the group stage.
Atlanta’s next match was Saturday against last weekend’s London Home Series champions, No. 2 Dallas Empire. FaZe had won four of the pair’s five previous encounters.
Despite close bouts throughout, the series between the two top-ranked teams in the CDL resulted in FaZe’s second 3-0 sweep of the weekend.
“We felt a lot more confident overall this weekend,” Lehr said. “A couple of changes the last couple of weeks set us back, but we got everything down before this weekend I think it showed.”
In game one, Dallas enjoyed a near 30 point lead until the final hardpoints, when a surge from FaZe earned them the lead, and Atlanta closed out the match 250-219. With the teams tied at 5-5, game two went to a sudden death, which FaZe took to go up 2-0 in the series.
The last two minutes of game three were neck and neck. The 25-point halftime lead FaZe earned was evaporated by Empire, who managed to tie the game in the last 30 seconds of round two at 150 apiece. But FaZe managed to edge out Dallas 160-155, securing their spot in the CDL Sunday semifinals.
In their first Sunday matchup, FaZe was met by No. 9 OpTic Gaming Los Angeles who had upset No. 4 Chicago Huntsmen Saturday night. FaZe kept their momentum from the last two days to take their third sweep of the weekend.
“I knew we were good enough to 3-0 anybody this weekend,” Lehr said. “I wasn’t necessarily expecting [to sweep each series until the finals], but I knew we could do it.”
Toronto Ultra’s finals appearance was their first of the season following a 3-1 upset over Empire in the other semifinal. The Canadian team matched FaZe’s strength from the beginning, dishing Atlanta its first loss of the weekend with a 3-point victory in game one, 250-247.
“They didn’t really do anything special, I honestly think we threw it away,” Lehr said. “We definitely should have won the first hardpoint, and I think us throwing it away gave them the chance to win.”
Atlanta answered back with a statement 6-0 win in game two but fell again in game three, 165-157. The back-and-forth series went on, with FaZe taking game four in decisive fashion, 250-143.
A blow-for-blow game five saw FaZe play another sudden death round to decide the tournament victors. This time, Ultra’s Anthony “Methodz” Zinni delivered Toronto the tournament win.
“Most of the finals we’ve played in this year, we’ve thrown away, and we’re starting to get annoyed at how we’re losing,” Lehr said. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure we’re the best team we can be for champs.”
Now, Lehr and FaZe await the start of the CDL postseason, set to begin August 20 on the league’s Youtube channel. The twelve CDL teams will fight for their share of the $4,000,000 purse, with the first-place team pocketing $1,500,000.