Las Vegas has been home to many high-profile sporting and entertainment events since the city began to boom. Since 2022 the city of Las Vegas has hosted the NFL Draft, GRAMMYs, and the Western Regionals for the NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament.
June 15-18 was no different, as the Thomas and Mack Center was home to one of the biggest championships in esports at Call of Duty Champs.
A tournament that had been seven months in the making brought together eight of the best teams and many of the world’s best players to compete for a massive cash prize of $1 million split between four players on their respective teams.
Along with the cash prize would come the ultimate bragging across the league for an extended five-month offseason, making it essential for some teams to get the job done.
Last year the annual event was held in the Galen Center on the college campus of USC. The tournament winners were Kenny, Envoy, Octane, and Drazah team, otherwise known as the LA Thieves.
The other team to meet them in the Grand Final last year was the Atlanta Faze, with players such as Arcitys, Simp, Abezy, and Cellium.
However, this year the scene was a little different. With a bigger venue in the Thomas and Mack Center and multiple other teams making roster changes and looking very good in the regular season, any team could show up and become victorious.
There were 14 matches across Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this past weekend, and with every game, a team came closer to being eliminated.
The first came with a shock as the reigning champions, LA Thieves, were dethroned by an underdog coming into the tournament in the Seattle Surge with players Sib, Accuracy, Pred, and Mack.
The surprises did not end there as the tournament rolled on as on Saturday, the No. 2 seed in the tournament and fan favorite Optic Texas was eliminated in 6th place.
The team of Shottzy, Dashy, Ghosty, and Huke had high expectations coming into Champs but could not put together a run in the loser’s bracket after losing early on in the tournament.
In a different sort of surprise, the team of Scrappy, Insight, Hicksy, and CleanX, better known as the Toronto Ultra, were looking to become a few of the first European players to win championship rings.
They dominated through its first three matches, making it to Sunday’s Grand Final without breaking much of a sweat.
The other team to meet them there was the New York Subliners. The team of HyDra, Kismet, Priestahh, and Skyz was looking for its third tournament win of the season. The Subliners carry momentum from a win in its last tournament three weeks prior in Toronto.
However, making it to the Grand Finals was no easy feat, as they had to take down the No. 1 team ranked in Call of Duty to get there in the Atlanta Faze.
The Atlanta Faze had not failed to reach the Grand Finals at Champs since the CDL’s inception four years ago.
While Faze held a record of one win and two losses in those finals, Atlanta was a tough team to beat, but with strong communication and teamwork, the Subliners defeated Faze 3-1 to advance to the best of nine-game final.
It was Sunday afternoon when the Grand Final began, and while the Ultra had beaten New York just earlier in a dominant 3-0 fashion in the best-of-five series, it did not seem to matter on Sunday.
The Subliners showed why it deserved to be crowned the 2023 CDL Champions with a 5-0 sweep against the Ultra 5-0.
This win was the first time in CDL history that a team swept its opponent in the Grand Final as the Subliners took home the trophy and the million-dollar cash prize.
HyDra was declared the league MVP just earlier in the weekend and became the first European player to win a championship ring.
As many of the players gave their responses during interviews after the event, one stood out as the sentiment they all shared.
Priestahh stated, “I am on top of the world!” as he lifted the Championship trophy for the first time in his career.
With a successful and well-attended weekend in the books, the focus now shifts to the next season as the Thomas and Mack Center eyes another date with the Call of Duty League.