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New York Subliners Defy All Odds & Win CDL Major I
The first Major of the 2023 Call of Duty League season has just wrapped up and it was an event filled to the brim with upsets that no one could have ever anticipated. But I think the same goes for many when I say that the thing that shock everyone the most is the New York Subliners taking home the trophy.
With an absolutely stacked roster featuring the French phenom in Paco “HyDra” Rusiewiez, tournament MVP Matthew “KiSMET” Tinsley, Cesar “Skyz” Bueno and Preston “Priestahh” Greiner, the New York Subliners (NYSL) claimed the Grand Prize of US$200,000 along with 65 CDL points that will contribute to their seeding going into the 2023 Call of Duty League Championship.
Throughout the event, the New York Subliners consistently impressed with their strong performances, winning match after match and earning a spot in the grand finals. In the final round, they faced off against Seattle Surge.
But their journey there wasn’t easy. Throughout the weeks leading up to Major I, NYSL didn’t have the best record in the online qualifiers as they went 2–2 only managing to secure the eighth seed going into the Major. This meant that they would have to start in the Group Stage where they would face other franchised teams along with Amateur teams that came through the Challenger Qualifiers.
Regardless of their poor seeding, they made quick work of their Group topping the table 2–0 while retaining a perfect map record of 6–0. Going into the Playoffs stage they would first face a hot Florida Mutineers who were just coming off an extremely intense series, upsetting the tournament favourites in OpTic Texas 3–2. Fortunately for the NYSL, the Mutineers weren’t able to capitalise on the momentum they had acquired from the series with OpTic and were sent into the lower bracket.
In the next round of the upper bracket, the Subliners were pitted against Seattle Surge, which would later become the Grand Final matchup. Despite taking Map 1 Breenbergh Hotel Hardpoint, Seattle were on top of their game as they went on to take the next three maps by a hair and winning the series 3–1, sending NYSL down into the lower bracket.
In the lower bracket, NYSL would face the newly branded Las Vegas Legion. Although the series was competitive, they managed to take down the Legion in a convincing 3–1 fashion.
The next round of the lower bracket would pit NYSL against one of their most formidable opponents so far in the tournament, Toronto Ultra. Considered the favourites to win after OpTic got upset, NYSL would have their work cut out for them. Toronto started off hot taking the first Hardpoint 250–236, but New York snapped back, taking the next Search and Destroy (S&D) and Control pretty convincingly. But the Ultra just had to show them that they were the superior Hardpoint team and managed to win Map 4, levelling out the series, 2–2. But there’s a saying in Call of Duty, “S&D wins series” and NYSL managed to take Map 5 without much hassle.
New York’s work wasn’t done quite yet though as their next opponent would be none other than Atlanta FaZe. Coming off an extremely close contested loss against Seattle, Atlanta were out for blood as they wanted the opportunity to get back at Surge. But so were New York as they managed to take Map 1. Atlanta bounced back winning Breenbergh Hotel S&D 6–4. Unfortunately for FaZe, winning Map 2 wasn’t enough to get their momentum rolling as New York managed to close out the next two maps with ease, solidifying their spot in the Grand Final where they would go on to face Seattle Surge once again.
In hindsight, it’s safe to say that although Seattle Surge looked unstoppable this entire tournament, New York were on a completely different level in this series as they took map after map only dropping Map 4 Mercado Las Almas Hardpoint. NYSL manage to close out the Best of 7 Grand Final uncontested 4–1, crowning them the CDL 2023 Major I champions.
During the qualifiers, a lot of drama surrounded New York’s star player in HyDra with now-retired teammate Ian “Crimsix” Porter exclaiming the narrative that HyDra was extremely difficult to work with during his final season. In HyDra’s post-game interview, obviously filled with emotions, he stated that:
“I proved Crimsix wrong, I’m so happy for that.”
— Call of Duty League (@CODLeague) December 19, 2022
To coincide with this victory, New York’s objective player, KiSMET was awarded tournament MVP for the phenomenal performance he displayed throughout this tournament. After not having the best couple of years being in and out of the CDL, this win is a testament that shows why he deserves to be in this league.
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