It was announced that 100 Thieves would return to the competitive Call of Duty esports scene the LA Thieves this Friday, November 6. The announcement comes shortly after it was unveiled 100T had acquired the Call of Duty League (CDL) spot from OpTic Gaming Los Angeles earlier in October.
The Return of 2019 CoD World Championship Runners-Up
After initially declining to participate in the inaugural season of CDL, 100 Thieves have decided to re-enter the CoD esports scene for the 2021 season. This marks the return of one of the most recognizable CoD esports teams that hold a special place in the scene and its fans’ hearts for many reasons.
The refusal to participate in the 2020 season of CDL left many fans wondering how and why 100T decided to make that move. Not only have 100T won two championships in 2018-19 and reached the grand finals of the 2019 CoD World Championship, but are also owned by Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, who is one of the most well-known names in the CoD world.
Due to their renown, it would make sense for 100T to join what was billed as the biggest CoD tournaments in the history of the game. Unfortunately, Nadeshot decided for his esports organization to not participate in the 2020 CDL, citing the high cost of operating a franchise.
“We just can’t take that risk right now – to make a financial commitment as large as this just doesn’t make sense for us right now,” said Nadeshot in August 2019.
However, it seems that Nadeshot had a change of heart and decided for his organization to re-enter the competitive CoD scene, and that gave countless CoD fans a reason to be excited about what the 2021 season will bring.
“We [100 Thieves] won two Call of Duty championships in 2019, so our year away reminded us how amazing Call of Duty fans are, and how much we missed them,” said Nadeshot.
“Our fans deserve the best Call of Duty team in the world and we’re gonna do everything in our power to give it to them.”
OpTic Gaming’s Exodus Opens the Door
The return of 100T to the CoD scene, while a massive announcement, is not entirely shocking, considering the move has been in the works for a couple of weeks now. As reported in October, 100T purchased the CDL spot previously held by another prominent CoD organization in OpTic Gaming Los Angeles. It was not until this Friday when the official announcement was made.
The CDL spot, previously held by Immortals Gaming Club and their OpTiC Gaming Los Angeles, was at the start of October sold back to Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez, who at the time was the CEO of Chicago Huntsmen. Since he was unable to hold two franchises in the CDL, H3CZ was forced to sell one of the spots, which eventually fell into the hands of Nadeshot and 100 Thieves.
Before it was announced that OpTic sold their CDL spot to 100 Thieves, however, 100 Thieves continued to lead their fans to believe their return to CoD was not in the cards, citing the same reasons as he did back in 2019.
Still, not everyone was convinced by 100T’s claims, especially after the LA-based esports organization decided to disband their Counter-Strike: Global Offensive roster (October 18), making it clear they’re freeing up some costs to launch another project.
LA Thieves Unveil Their Four-Man CoD Roster
Los Angeles Thieves’ CoD roster will feature some of the biggest names in the scene, including Austin “SlasheR” Liddicoat and Kenny “Kuavo” Williams, who both previously represented the 100T brand. The duo will be joined by two former OpTic Gaming players in Thomas “TJHaLy” Halym and Zack “Drazah” Jordan.
The 2021 CDL will feature a changed s format to what was seen in 2020, with teams fielding only four instead of five players on their active lineup. This means LA Thieves already field a complete roster. However, it was announced Drazah will begin the 2021 season as a substitute, meaning the prominent CoD squad are currently still on the hunt for the fifth player.
Besides the arrival of four players, LA Thieves also unveiled Eric “Muddawg” Sanders will join the team as a General Manager, which he held at OpTic throughout the last season. Muddawg has previously served as the head of esports operations for 100 Thieves and played an integral part in their two championships 2018-2019 as well as the 2019 World Championship grand finals appearance.
As it stands now, LA Thieves have yet to unveil who will take over as a head coach of their CDL squad. There were strong speculations 100T’s former and now retired player Ian “Enable” Wyatt could take over the reins, but the speculations were later shut down by Enable himself, who stated he will not be a part of LA Thieves.
It is still unclear when the 2021 CDL season will begin. But, we do know the second season will be played on Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and will feature 16 teams of four players vying for the largest slice of a multi-million prize pool. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the 2021 CDL season will continue online for the majority of the season – or at least until the circumstances allow for offline events.