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The 2021 Call of Duty League season is done and dusted, but competitive Call of Duty never stops rolling. The community is already looking ahead to the 2022 season. We are already witnessing some serious changes in terms of rosters, format and the overall appearance of the CDL. The current off-season has proven that the league never sleeps, with reported roster changes that will change the landscape of Call of Duty.

This article aims to gather all of the intel surrounding the structure of the CDL will take in 2022. There are some aspects that CDL executives have talked about, including a possible format change and expansion teams. There are also some questions heading into the season, though. Rumors of buyouts, mergers and teams putting up spots for sale has made rostermania even spicier.

The possibility of expansion teams in 2022

The first topic that most fans want some light shed on is the possibility of expansion teams next season. The league currently includes 12 organizations, but it’s clear there’s interest from other teams who aren’t currently a part of the league. eUnited, who recently baited the community into thinking they were purchasing a spot in the league, is one of those organizations.

While the stunt went over with mixed emotions, eUnited director of marketing John DeHart stated that the organization is still interested in Call of Duty. He added that “you never know what can happen in the future.”

Though, while teams are confirmed to be interested,  the CDL may be focusing on the current 12 teams for the time being.

“We don’t have anything to announce on expansion at this time,” CDL general manager Manager Daniel Tsay said. “We continue to see great interest from organizations that want to join the league. But honestly, we’re focused on our 12 franchises that are in the league right now.”

Atlanta FaZe Champs
Atlanta FaZe dominated the 12-team Call of Duty League in 2021. | Provided by CDL

Different organizations buying into the league

There have been a plethora of rumors surrounding new organizations entering the league. The Chicago spot, currently held by NRG Esports, is supposedly up for grabs with OpTic and Dallas Empire merging into one team.

There’s no official word on who could potentially buy the Chicago spot. However, Cloud9 has been the brought up by fans and insiders thanks to their not-so-subtle hints on social media. Leaks have also surfaced that indicate Cloud9 is the frontrunner to buy into the league.

Paris is another current spot in the CDL that’s supposedly up for grabs. The Legion haven’t made much of an effort in their two years of existence, not producing much content or signing any high-profile players. They reportedly don’t pay their employees nearly as much as other organizations. While Paris has kept their head coach Dylan “Theory” McGee on for next season, they could still potentially sell their spot.

If they do end up going down this road, one rumor points to Team Heretics purchasing the spot. Reportedly, before the 2020 inaugural season, the CDL was looking at Team Heretics for a Madrid spot. However, the league went with a London location instead. Those reports aren’t official, but a Madrid spot makes sense given Heretics’ history in Call of Duty and roots in Spain.

Team Heretics Call of Duty
Team Heretics have one of the most passionate fan bases in esports. | Provided by MLG

Also, The Flank host Tommy “ZooMaa” Paparatto mentioned Madrid in a recent stream, although it’s unclear if he misspoke or was joking with his audience. Paris might be holding onto the spot, as they’ve reportedly reached out to players they’re interested in signing for 2022.

A possible format change in the works

One aspect of the 2021 Call of Duty League that most fans and players want changed is the format of events. COVID-19 and online play affected the format in 2021, but some improvements can surely be made in 2022 even if the league stays online.

The big issue some players had with the format is that only eight teams qualified for Champs. Seattle, Los Angeles, London and Paris did not. Tsay stated that this format gave more of an incentive for regular-season matches. When speaking with Upcomer, he went on to say that “it makes it a little more exclusive, a little more of an achievement.”

Players like Austin “SlasheR” Liddicoat didn’t like that there were only 12 matches throughout all of Champs, making the tournament feel less impactful. Other players like Sam “octane” Larew have argued that no team should start in the loser’s bracket at champs—the entire event should be double elimination.

For this reason, Tsay went on to say that the league is considering changes to the format for 2022.

Another sore spot is the current format for the best-of-nine grand finals at both Champs and all five Major events. Some have said that the loser’s bracket team comes in with too much of an advantage. Players are hoping that’s reevaluated before next season kicks off.

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