Atlanta Faze are your CDL Stage 4 Champions after an action-packed weekend of Call of Duty. The Grand Finals was the first match to ever go to 9 games.
The Atlanta FaZe have won the Stage 4 Major after being put through the ringer by the Dallas Empire. The "Tiny Terrors" also found themselves in the history books as they played in, and won, the first ever Game 9 in CoD Esports history. Here is a quick breakdown on FaZe's historic victory, and what that means for them going forward.
FaZe's Road To A Historic Win
Having started in the Winner's Bracket, and given that they haven't lost a match since, FaZe were the clear favorites going into this tournament. Though there was certainly some added pressure given that this was to be their first match on LAN, it was business as usual, as they dispatched the Minnesota Rokkr in a relatively comfortable 3 - 0 fashion.
They then found themselves facing an old foe in the form of Toronto Ultra who, despite getting beat 3 - 1, made FaZe work for each of those map wins. In fact if it weren't for a few bits of brilliance Stage 4 MVP Cellium, as well as a moment of shear madness from Arcitys, Ultra could have potentially caused them some more problems. And then came the final boss; the Dallas Empire.
Coming into this Dallas had considerably more pressure on their shoulders given the fact this tournament was in their backyard. Through a slew of controversies and roster changes, many would have expected FaZe to walk away with this one pretty easily prior to the start of the event. It was anything but simple for them, especially as Dallas had just pulled off one of the most impressive reverse-sweeps in recent memory against Ultra in the losers bracket prior to the final.
What came next was three hours of the best games of Call of Duty we have ever seen in the CDL up to this point. The match could be best described by the old saying "anything you can do I can do better" as neither team looked like they were backing down. Eventually, after closing out the match with a tension packed, and historic, 6 - 4 win in the Game 9 Search & Destroy, FaZe secured themselves the $200k cash-prize and all of the bragging rights.
What does this mean For FaZe going forward?
This means that FaZe have managed to win back-to-back events this season, having previously claimed the Stage 3 crown. It also marks the third event win overall for the "Tiny Terrors" as they continue to dominate the league on-and-offline. Their hard-fought victory over the Dallas Empire means that FaZe have officially secured the number 1 seed for the Call of Duty Championship.
While there is still more Call of Duty to be played before we get to the main event of the CDL calendar, FaZe will be feeling pretty confident; especially given that they have won 3 out of the 4 major events this season, which has given them a pretty sizeable lead in the standings. With just over a month to go before CoD Champs, the ever-present question remains; can anyone defeat this Atlanta FaZe squad?
Why is this such a historic moment?
. Prior to the formation of the CDL, back in the days of the Call of Duty World League, CoD events had always run with the same format for their grand finals matches. The teams in the final would play out a standard Best-of-Five series and if the team from the Winners Bracket won, they would simply win the whole tournament. If however the team in the Losers Bracket were to come out on top then the bracket would effectively reset itself and the teams would play out another Best-of-Five series.
Once franchising kicked-in, the people in-charge of the CDL decided to draft up an entirely new format that made it a little bit more similar to Activision-Blizzard's already successful Overwatch League model. That being that it ran more like a traditional sports league, with a regular season followed by a series of playoffs. In the playoff final for the CDL, the two participating teams, which funnily enough happened to be Atlanta and Dallas, played out a Best-of-Nine series with a team needing to win 5 out of the 9 matches played.
This format has since been adopted into the multi-stage format and utilized to decide every single tournament. Until yesterday, there had never been a Game 9 played out, as all of the previous finals had been decided well before it ever got to that point. Hence why it was such a landmark moment for CoD Esports as a whole.