Upon the conclusion of CWL Champs 2019, we now know what to expect for next season.
The dust has settled on another spectacular CWL season with eUnited being crowned World Champions. This marked the end of the CWL chapter of COD esports. Moving forward, it’s well known that Call of Duty esports is transitioning into a franchised format much like the Overwatch League for next year.
In an official Call of Duty esports Reddit post, they detailed all the Call of Duty League 2020 information you could need. With Activision-Blizzard and the CDL teams announcing updates left and right, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's release on October 25th, it’s an exciting time to be a COD esports fan.
That said, here’s everything you need to know about the Call of Duty League 2020:
Pro Team Construction
Going into the 2020 CDL season, this is the first year we’re going to have an "official" feel on how Call of Duty esports is run. Noted in the Reddit post, Activision-Blizzard wants too "foster competitive balance within the league," as well as "to provide players with the opportunity to compete regularly during the season and to promote player development at all levels of competitive Call of Duty".
Some key notes that the Reddit post detailed included:
- Matches will be 5V5, the same as Black Ops 4.
- They will play the league on console.
- Rosters comprise a minimum of seven players with a maximum of 10 players on each roster.
- Mid-series substitutions may be included in the official rule-set.
These roster construction notes are appealing to fans. As with the possible mid-series substitutions, teams will need to be precise in constructing their roster. We may see teams signing some of the best snipers in Modern Warfare just to get that one extra kill during a crucial Search and Destroy match.
Hardpoint Secured!— Call of Duty Minnesota (@COD_MN) July 26, 2019
If you’re coming to Eagan for @Vikings Training Camp, check out the spot where we’ll be building our new practice facility and offices. #CallofDuty #VikingsCamp pic.twitter.com/YAFIFKEOjW
Along with the Pro Team roster rules, we also got some notes on when teams will be able to sign players along with details on contracts. Call of Duty esports has a somewhat reputation of shady organizations not paying their players from time to time. Although a lot of these teams are amateur ones, it’s a good sign that there will be stability for players next year.
Keynotes about contracts and player signings are:
- An Open Signing Window for all pro players begins September 3, 2019. This means that any player may negotiate and sign a new contract with any team in the league at this time. For the avoidance of doubt, players who are currently under contract with an existing organization remain subject to the terms of that contract while they negotiate new league contracts.
- Existing Call of Duty World League organizations who are transitioning into the new league as a city-based team will have the ability to sign players who are currently on their 2019 CWL rosters to new contracts 8 days earlier than any other organization beginning August 26, 2019.
- All players will be required to sign a new form contract in order to be eligible to compete in the upcoming league.
- Contract negotiation is between a player and teams. The League Office will not advise players or teams in contract negotiations.
- All pro players in the league will receive a minimum base salary of $50,000 USD per year, health care benefits, and retirement benefits. Teams are required to distribute at least 50% of their prize pool earnings to players directly.
- All pro player contracts will be guaranteed contracts; thus, any team that drops a player from their roster without cause is required to pay out that player’s remaining salary.
With the first signing window less than two weeks away and only nine teams announced for next season, it’s uncertainhow many more teams are going to be announced in this short window of time. Other than that, the guaranteed $50,000 is an amazing sign for Call of Duty players. They no longer have to worry about getting their payments, so it’s an amazing sign to see.
A big concern heading into the CDL 2020 season was the rumored concept of there being no more Open Events for Call of Duty players. This was a big concern to aspiring amateur players because this was their chance to make a name for themselves in front of a crowd and potentially be picked up by a Pro Team.
To many players’ delight, Activision-Blizzard has announced that they will be implementing a "Path To Pro" system for the upcoming season.
"We recognize the importance of a thriving Path to Pro competitive scene in Call of Duty esports, which has continued to garner strong participation and prizing each year,” says the Reddit post. “Going forward, we will support and administer extensive amateur competitions, both online and via open bracket tournaments in cities around the world, with dedicated prize pools. More details about the path to pro system and upcoming open bracket tournament events will be shared in the coming months."
So, there will be without a doubt some open tournaments around the world. They also stated that Pro Teams may have up to two players on their roster who can compete in these open events, which is a bright spot for amateur players.
The future of Call of Duty esports is moving on the right path it seems. It’s up to Activision-Blizzard to lead it into the promised land.
CDL Logo and Team Names and Colors
On October 9, 2019, the world finally got a sneak peek into the new franchised league thanks to this official announcement video by the Call of Duty League on Twitter:
The 38-second video revealed that the league will be officially called the “Call of Duty League.” The logo shows three different pillars that represent Call of Duty: Professional, Amateur, and Community. “Call of Duty” is spelled out in its iconic font, but “League” is in a futuristic text.
Xav de Matos, the head of PR for the Call of Duty League, wrote an article explaining the meaning behind the CDL's logo. “The apex of the logo represents professional players from around the world who compete on city-based teams for the Call of Duty League Championship. Pro Players are the lifeblood of the league and embody the greatest skill, strategy, and competitive excellence,” wrote Xav de Matos.
Activision has already announced that there will be a Path to Pro system to implement an amateur talent pool with a Reddit post back on August 20th, confirming online and open events. The league’s logo’s second pillar is dedicated to aspiring professional players, showing how dedicated the CDL will be to amateur and upcoming athletes.
While each team’s official branding has not been announced, journalists were able to dig into the CDL’s official website and discover the potential branding names for each city. Journalist Adam Fitch for Esports Insider uncovered the potential names for London, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, and Immortal’s Los Angeles.
I just found "London Royal Ravens" in the code for the website. pic.twitter.com/recJoT9Mhj— Adam Fitch (@byadamfitch) October 9, 2019
And Chicago Huntsmen. pic.twitter.com/U8P2kZqZXP— Adam Fitch (@byadamfitch) October 9, 2019
And Seattle Surge. pic.twitter.com/3kuyitOmWJ— Adam Fitch (@byadamfitch) October 9, 2019
And Dallas Empire. pic.twitter.com/J6W1swgx2L— Adam Fitch (@byadamfitch) October 9, 2019
And "Optic Gaming Los Angeles." pic.twitter.com/ohx36kDp2k— Adam Fitch (@byadamfitch) October 9, 2019
Fitch was also able to find most of the color codes for every CDL team. Check out the table below to see the Call of Duty League team names and their colors.
|Team Name||Team Color|
|London Royal Ravens|
|Los Angeles Guerrillas|
|New York Subliners|
|OpTic Gaming Los Angeles|
The open signing period for all professional players began on September 3rd, with there being a minimum roster size of 7 and a maximum of 10 players per team.
Most teams initially hired management personnel to help build their rosters, with New York City being the first organization to announce their signings. John “Revan” Boble would be New York’s coach and JP Krez would be the team’s analyst.
Introducing the two newest members of the @CWL_NYC team — Coach John Boble (@RevanJB) , and Analyst JP Krez (@JPKrez). Welcome to the family. #ModernWarfare #NYC #esports #CallofDuty pic.twitter.com/WeTOG86Nip— Call of Duty NYC (@CWL_NYC) August 20, 2019
Slowly but surely, professional players would begin to be announced by their new organizations. The first official player signing was Bradley “Wuskin” Marshall to the London Royal Ravens.
Welcome Bradley "Wuskin" Marshall as our first @LondonCOD player, pending league approval. @wuskinz is one of the best Assault Rifle players on the scene. We hope Bradley's hardworking and individual skill will help put the team on the place where we expect to be. More tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/MqIRrrd4wM— London Royal Ravens (@RoyalRavens) September 17, 2019
Here is a current list of all the confirmed player signings for the 2020 Call of Duty League season:
Atlanta FaZe Roster
- Tyler "aBeZy" Pharris
- Chris "Simp" Lehr
- McArthur "Cellium" Jovel
- Michael "MajorManiak" Szymaniak
- Preston "Priestahh" Greiner
- Thomas "GRVTY" Malin (substitute)
- Juan Antonio "JurNii" Gonzalez (substitute)
Chicago Huntsmen Roster
- Seth “Scump” Abner
- Matthew “FormaL” Piper
- Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson
- Dylan “Envoy” Hannon
- Pierce “Gunless” Hillman
Dallas Empire Roster
- James “Clayster” Eubanks
- Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro
- Cuyler "Huke" Garland
- Indervir "iLLeYY" Dhaliwal
- Ian "Crimsix" Porter
Florida Mutineers Roster
- Ricky "Atura" Lugo (Coach)
- Preston "Prestinni" Sanderson
- Bradley "Frosty" Bergstrom
- Cesar "Skyz" Bueno
- Colt "Havok" McLendon
- Chance "Maux" Moncivaez
London Royal Ravens Roster
- Bradley “Wuskin” Marshall
- Matthew “Skrapz” Marshall
- Dylan “DylanCOD” Henderson
- Jordan “Jurd” Crowley
- Rhys “Rated” Price
Minnesota RØKKR Roster
- Brian "Saint" Baroska (Coach)
- Justin “SiLLY” Fargo-Palmer
- Adam “Assault” Garcia
- Adam “GodRx” Brown
- Alex “Alexx” Carpenter
- Obaid “Asim” Asim
- Kaden "Exceed" Stockdale (Substitute)
🚨 ROSTER UPDATE 🚨— Call of Duty Minnesota (@COD_MN) October 10, 2019
(pending league approval) pic.twitter.com/gfEm6DFVeX
FINALIZED ROSTER— Call of Duty Minnesota (@COD_MN) October 24, 2019
pending league approval pic.twitter.com/N6UO0un0ef
New York Subliners Roster
- Thomas “ZooMaa” Paparatto
- Donavan “Temp” Laroda
- Lamar “Accuracy” Abedi
- Trei “Zer0” Morris
- Dillion “Attach” Price
- Doug "Censor" Martin (Substitute)
Welcome to the @andbox_official family - Dillon "@Attach" Price.— Call of Duty NYC (@CWL_NYC) September 27, 2019
He became a World Champion at 18 years old, won the 2018 Esports Play of the Year, and was a 2019 All-Star.
We're excited to have him round out our stacked lineup and bring a Championship to New York. pic.twitter.com/xCFvUx065i
Los Angeles Guerrillas Roster
- Patrick “Aches” Price (Captain)
- Ulysses "AquA" Silva
- Jacob "Decemate" Cato
- Renato "Saints" Forza
- Andy "Lacefield" Lacefield
- More players to be announced
OpTic Gaming Los Angeles Roster
- Thomas "TJHaLy" Haly
- Brandon "Dashy" Otell
- Kenny "Kenny" Williams
- Austin "Slasher" Liddicoat
- Jordan "JKap" Kaplan
Paris Legion Roster
- Luke “Louqa” Rigas
- Conrad “Shockz” Rymarek
- Denholm “Denz” Taylor
- Matthew “KiSMET” Tinsley
- Timothy “Phantomz” Landis
- Zach “Zed” Denyer
- Paul “Breszy” Breszynski
Seattle Surge Roster
- Damon “Karma” Barlow
- Ian “Enable” Wyatt
- Sam “Octane” Larew
- Josiah “Slacked” Berry
- Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov
Toronto Ultra Roster
- Daniel “Loony” Loza
- Mehran “Mayhem” Anjomshoa
- Nicholas “Classic” DiCostanzo
- Ben “Bance” Bance
- Carson “Brack” Newberry
- Cameron “Cammy” McKilligan
- Anthony “Methodz” Zinni
- Tobias “CleanX” Juul Jonsson
- Alejandro “Lucky” Lopez
- Adrian “MeTTalZ” Serrano
Call of Duty Challengers
The amateur scene was introduced to the Call of Duty Challengers, which will act as an amateur player pipeline competition. This Call of Duty League article details how events will work, offline and online events, and a $1 million prize pool.
The Call of Duty League will host several events throughout the year through offline and online competitions, while CDL teams have the option of hosting their own events across the season. Activision promised to release a full schedule soon.
>Players will compete for Challengers Points that will be used to help determine seeding for events. Challengers Points considered the new era of Pro Points, which were used in the previous Call of Duty title’s to determine seeding and leaderboard placement for professional players. In a new addition with franchising, Challengers Points will also be used to provide travel and accommodations to the best teams as an incentive.
All professional competitions will be played on PlayStation 4 with a controller, with Activision making it clear that keyboard and mouse are prohibited. Players who are interested in competing will need to be at least 18 years old and have active Activision and GameBattle account.
Registration for the COD Challengers will open on October 30th, with Online Ladders’ beginning on November 2nd. The first Call of Duty Challengers online tournament will be held on November 9th.
Call of Duty League Format
The CDL confirmed that all teams will host two home series during the first regular season. All home series will feature several teams competing across two days. The home team has the option to host an open bracket competition for the amateur Call of Duty Challengers path to pro system.
Activision and the CDL announced on October 29th that the first weekend of the league will be hosted by the Minnesota Rokkr from January 24-26, 2020. For three days, all 12 teams will compete throughout the weekend in 5v5 matches.
Opening weekend will also include the first Call of Duty Challengers Open where aspiring professional players can compete in an open bracket tournament. Teams looking to compete in the Open bracket will need to purchase team passes, and you can find more information about them here.
The official settings for all competitive Modern Warfare play was also released on October 29th, with Activision officially announcing what maps and modes will be in rotation.
All teams will be playing a rotation of search and destroy, donimation, and hardpoint. Here are the official maps and modes that will be used for the 2020 CDL season:
Search & Destroy
- Arklov Peak
- Azhir Cave
- Gun Runner
- Hackney Yard
- St. Petrograd
- Gun Runner
- Hackney Yard
- St. Petrograd
- Arklov Peak
- Azhir Cave
- Gun Runner
- Hackney Yard
- St. Petrograd
The announcement also included restricted items, weapons, kill streaks, and more. Most notably, all shotguns and LMGs have been banned from competitive play. You can see all the restricted items here.
On November 7th, the Call of Duty League dropped the schedule for its inaugural season:
|1 - Launch Weekend||Fri, Jan 24 - Sun, Jan 26||Minnesota Røkkr||Minneapolis, MN|
|2||Sat, Feb 8 - Sun, Feb 9||London Royal Ravens||London, England|
|3||Sat, Feb 22 - Sun, Feb 23||Atlanta FaZe||Atlanta, GA|
|4||Sat, Feb 29 - Sun, Mar 1||Paris Legion||Paris, France|
|5||Fri, Mar 6 - Sun, Mar 8||Los Angeles Guerrillas and Optic Gaming LA||Los Angeles, CA|
|6||Sat, Mar 14 - Sun, Mar 15||New York Subliners||New York, NY|
|7||Sat, Mar 21 - Sun, Mar 22||Toronto Ultra||Toronto, Canada|
|8||Sat, Mar 28 - Sun, Mar 29||Dallas Empire||Dallas, TX|
|9||Sat, Apr 4 - Sun, Apr 5||Chicago Huntsmen||Chicago, IL|
|10||Sat, Apr 11 - Sun, Apr 12||Florida Mutineers||Orlando, FL|
|11||Sat, Apr 18 - Sun, Apr 19||Seattle Surge||Seattle, WA|
|Midseason Weekend||To be announced||To be announced||To be announced|
|12||Sat, May 9 - Sun, May 10||Minnesota Røkkr||Minneapolis, MN|
|13||Sat, May 16 - Sun, May 17||Paris Legion||Paris, France|
|14||Sat, May 24 - Sun, May 25||Seattle Surge||Seattle, WA|
|15||Sat, May 30 - Sun, May 31||Atlanta FaZe||Atlanta, GA|
|16||Sat, Jun 6 - Sun, Jun 7||New York Subliners||New York, NY|
|17||Fri, Jun 12 - Sun, Jun 14||Los Angeles Guerrillas and Optic Gaming LA||Los Angeles, CA|
|18||Sat, Jun 20 - Sun, Jun 21||London Royal Ravens||London, England|
|19||Sat, Jun 27 - Sun, Jun 28||Chicago Huntsmen||Chicago, IL|
|20||Sat, Jul 4 - Sun, Jul 5||Dallas Empire||Dallas, TX|
|21||Sat, Jul 18 - Sun, Jul 19||Toronto Ultra||Toronto, Canada|
|22||Sat, Jul 25 - Sun, Jul 26||Florida Mutineers||Miami, FL|
|Championship Weekend||To be announced||To be announced||To be announced|
The first weekend will be packed with games from all 12 teams, with the Minnesota Røkkr acting as host. Every weekend event following the opening will have between five and eight visiting teams with the others having a bye. Individual match dates and times will be announced later.
There are two events that are to be announced, the Midseason weekend and Championship weekend. The Midseason weekend will take place between April and May 2020 while the Championship weekend event will take place after July 2020.
Want to attend home events for your favorite team?
Sign up for a pre-sale on November 12th here.
What do you think of the upcoming CDL for next year?
Let us know in the comments below!
Top image via Call of Duty League
This article was written by Amanda Zelauskas and Nick Farrell, an experienced esports writer who aims to provide insightful yet proactive news daily.