This article is part of our Call of Duty series.
The end of the 2023 CoD season is here with all eyes on Las Vegas for CoD Champs. Storylines abound as OpTic Texas look to bounce back from a disappointing Major 5 while New York Subliners look to build off of their early momentum. Here's a look at some players to target and fade as well as some general strategy for a tournament-long format in Call of Duty.
The most important thing to keep in mind when building a team that will accrue points throughout the tournament is to prioritize players who could make deep runs. It doesn't matter how good someone such as Pred is if he's likely to be headed home after a single series. On the opposite side Priestahh may not be the most spectacular option, but NYSL is coming off a tournament win and could be set for a deep run. With that in mind, two-player stacks gain a lot of value in full-tournament formats, with 2-2 stacks of the two grand finalists being the goal.
Players to Target
HyDra is in incredible form, and may have done enough to earn the regular season MVP with an utterly brilliant Major 5. The SMG has been putting together a peak that hasn't been seen since 2020 Simp, and is showing no signs of slowing down. HyDra is a premium option in all formats, but combined with Priestahh or Kismet could form a stack that is set for a run into the grand finals. The only concern with HyDra is how reliant NYSL are on his individual success. If he falters, NYSL could head home early.
Cellium might be the most consistent player in the Call of Duty League. The flex is nearly unkillable on the map and puts together 1.2 KD performances with ease. FaZe are the odds-on favorites coming into Champs and Cellium never has bad events. The only issue with rostering Cellium is how expensive his teammates are, as it's nearly impossible to stack two members of Atlanta FaZe without ending up with a bargain bin pairing to close out the lineup. Still FaZe haven't missed a Championship Sunday since Cold War, and have never finished worse than second at Champs.
The 2022 Champs MVP is back with a story many have heard before. LAT is out of form but are sticking with the same five heading into the business end of the season. Kenny in particular has struggled, but his ceiling is entirely impossible to ignore. At his best Kenny is one of the best SMG's in the game with the ability to pile on value in SnD in particular. Kenny makes a great pairing with Drazah or Envoy, two players with similarly amazing upside on the reigning champions.
Players to Fade
Kremp has put together an impressive rookie season, but was cursed with a tough opening match against OpTic, and a new SMG duo. Boston made the bold decision to drop Vivid heading into the final tournament of the season, adding new SMG Snoopy from their Challengers roster. While it might not be the worst thing to switch things up, it's hard to project much success for a Boston side who have struggled mightily on LAN taking on an OpTic team that is coming in with something to prove. It's definitely bold, but a truly contrarian stack of Snoopy and Kremp could pay dividends if the rookies show up.
Pred was a top-five SMG player throughout 2023, but unlike the other options in that top five (HyDra, aBeZy, Simp, Shottzy) Pred is on arguably the worst team that made it into Champs. Seattle have been anywhere from uninspiring to dreadful and come into Champs taking on Atlanta in the opening match. There's little hope for an upset there, putting Pred and co. into the losers bracket more likely than not. Pred is a free agent in the offseason and if he ends up on a top team in 2024 he'd immediately be an elite option.
Hicksy is the entry SMG for a Toronto Ultra side that has caused issues for everyone across the board since making the step back into the CDL. Still individually Hicksy has struggled, and Ultra were left with the reigning champions to open their Champs run. Hicksy and Ultra are one of the dark horses with a chance to make a deep run, but Hicksy is certainly the weakest individual on that roster. The main argument for Hicksy would be a stack with Scrap, the true superstar and slaying talent for Toronto.
Stats courtesy of Breakingpoint.gg