A hectic Call of Duty League offseason awaits, but the Dallas Empire are sitting pretty on their throne
The Dallas Empire was the first loser of the Call of Duty League off-season, but that doesn’t mean the defending champions aren’t pretty.
Three-time world champion James “Clayster” Eubanks wasn’t on the Empire’s to-do list, but Dallas had a tough decision to make.
Switching from 5v5 to 4v4 in the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War competition of 2021 meant at least one starter on each team would get the shoe.
For the Empire, that was Eubanks, who became a restricted free agent two days after his team won a world championship.
The Empire picked up the option for its four core players: Ian “Crimsix” Porter, Cuyler “Huke” Garland, Indervir “iLLeY” Dhaliwal and Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro, Envy Gaming Owner and Chief Gaming Officer Mike Rufail, told The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday.
Cold War looks like FIRE, can’t wait to play again 🥳
– Empire Huke (@Huke) September 9, 2020
This is far better than most CDL teams can say, even inaugural title contenders. The New York Subliners dropped four players while the Chicago Huntsmen lost two players, including Eubank’s former eUnited teammate Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson.
The CDL Rostermania did not end there. London, who made the cut in 2020 as the fourth team in the Champions, lost seven players. OpTic Gaming Los Angeles dropped four. Paris let go of its entire lineup and Toronto, Seattle, Minnesota and the Los Angeles guerrillas are all considering rebuilding.
The breakup with Eubanks was “devastating,” Empire players said, but it could have been worse. With the start of the free agency on Sunday, the empire could have avoided an oncoming train. Dallas is ready for a re-run to defend its title. Porter leads the indictment as the best gamer in esports history.
Rufail was supposed to keep the Empire’s young trio, Cuevas-Castro (2020 League MVP), Dhaliwal and Garland going. These three wanted to band together before the CDL started in January and have proven that together they can be fatal.
Porter said Wednesday’s early glimpse of the Cold War made Empire players go back to the lab and grind it. You’ll have to wait until October 8th to get another rift during the game’s open beta, but once the official release hits November 13th, Porter and the Empire can get to work.
The 4v4 format was supposed to slow the game down, but movement still seemed to be prominent during the Cold War, which makes Shotzzy stand out as a gamer to watch out for.
With Dallas not having to worry about revising a master plan, the biggest off-season dilemma is securing a replacement and Eubanks finding a new home.
Rufail said that neither Thomas “Tommey” Trewren and Paul “Tisch” carpenter options were selected, but that they were still considering who to bank. Trewren took to Twitter Tuesday to campaign for a starting role, while Tisch would look forward to replacing the CDL and Empire in 2021.
“Even if I can’t play,” Carpenter told The News. “I’d still love to stay here since I moved out (to Dallas) and Challengers isn’t guaranteed money. Of course I would love to play, but you have to pay the bills. “
Finding Eubanks a desirable place is also a top priority for Rufail as Eubanks is a restricted free agent. The founder of Envy didn’t want to have to make that decision in the off-season – the Empire even voted to continue 5v5.
But Rufail and Eubanks are still looking for the 28-year-old veteran’s new landing site.
“Clayster and I are still very friendly to each other,” said Rufail. “We worked very closely with him to make sure he went to a place he wanted to go. I am sure we can do it. “
While the celebration has been cut short for the Empire and the start of the off-season may not have tasted like champagne, Dallas could be raised for more trophies in 2021.
Find more Empire stories from the Dallas Morning News here.
You can find more esports stories from the news here.