At least coronavirus didn’t ruin this one.
Unlike the seemingly endless reports of events being postponed or cancelled during the virus’s time in the cultural zeitgeist (fall Coachella?), the Call of Duty League (CDL) tournament in Los Angeles went on without a hitch—with the event team easing worries by cleaning the venue each day according to Jen Neale, head of media for the CDL.
It was a big moment for the Los Angeles OpTic and Guerrillas, who’ve had their share of difficulties so far this season. The Guerrillas have been subpar in matches while OpTic faced derision from its fanbase after their 2019/2020 lineup changed dramatically from the roster OpTic fans knew and loved. But any resentment appeared to fly out the window as the teams were met with booming cheers from their hometown fans.
Paige Porter, a Call of Duty Twitch streamer, was there to watch her friends Brandon “Dashy” Otell and Jordan “JKap” Kaplan on OpTic, saying that “These are like really close friends of mine that are playing, but I’m hoping later on the future I can get really good and be able to play [professionally] too.”
Others, like sophomore and junior USC Football players AJ Mageo and Kana’i Mauga, had less of a personal stake in the action on stage but mainly came to watch the pros play their favorite game.
When asked about why they came to watch CDL, Mauga responded that it was because of his “passion for playing COD and all the competition that’s out there.”
The crowd was firmly in Optic’s favor in their opening match against their crosstown rivals, getting even more hyped as they stole a reverse sweep to make the final score of the opening match 3-2. The Guerrillas were predicted to make it the farthest of the two L.A. teams, but OpTic ended up asserting its dominance with huge plays coming out of star player Dashy.
Alas, OpTic fell in the semi final to a strong Dallas Empire, who went on to win the tournament after beating the Minnesota RØKKR 3-2 in a nail biting finish.
There was, of course, high level Call of Duty being played, but much of the show was held during the intermissions where fans were subject to merch booths stocked with jerseys, sweatshirts and controllers. Before the Empire vs. OpTic semi-final, CDL appealed to the less video game inclined by bringing up actor Michael B. Jordan, L.A. Rams running back Todd Gurley, actor King Bach and CDL Commentator Miles Ross Jr. to play some 2v2.
After this homestead, Atlanta FaZe still holds on to their first place position in the CDL, while the Empire and RØKKR sit at third and fourth respectively.