This weekend was setting up perfectly for the Dallas Empire. After winning the Los Angeles homestand, the Empire were going to host the next homestand with a chance to win one in front of their hometown fans.
"The team is hungrier than ever after our first win at the last event in L.A.," Dallas head coach Raymond "Rambo" Lussier told ESPN.
Instead, like every other major esports league, the Call of Duty League will be moving competition online as a result of the coronavirus. Despite the disruption in competition format, teams are still scrimming, and you can see the result of the latest coaches poll below.
Some coaches claim there won't be much of an adjustment to moving play online.
"I would say for our team it's business as usual," FaZe assistant coach Richard "RJ" Simoncelli said. "We're going to sit here and do our usual routine whether it's online or LAN, and as much as people want to act like it's a major difference, the fact is the results you see online mostly always reflect what happens on LAN whether other teams want to admit it or not."
Others recognized that their teams will have to adjust their approaches.
"Simply put, it is a mental adjustment for me as their coach and for the players knowing that there won't be a LAN tournament or match in the near future," OpTic Gaming head coach Jonathan Tucker said. "Usually teams can lose to lesser teams online but use it as a learning experience and keep on pushing. Currently we have to get past that mental hump and work to be the best online as that's where the competition is going to be held."
The issue of competitive fairness was something that multiple coaches brought up.
"Obviously there are a few worries with it being online when it comes to connection and 'fairness,' but i'm sure AB will work out the best solution for competitive integrity," London assistant coach James Batz said.
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"The obvious challenge with the format is how the league is going to make it as fair as possible for all of the teams competing," Tucker said. "Certain teams just simply do have geographical advantage and will have less latency issues than the rest of the field."
We've seen emotions run high when competitive fairness issues have come up in the past, from Patrick "ACHES" Prices' complaints about a banned perk that cost the Guerrillas a map and scheduling issues to Ian "Crimsix" Porter's rant about a patch Infinity Ward dropped. The Empire's coach acknowledged that players will have to stay calm amid issues that might pop up online.
"The real challenge will be temperament on the player attitude towards the issues of what online brings," Rambo said. "Even in the best online environment, there's always some element of advantage for certain players/teams, so it's going to be important for our players to stay cool and focus on the task at hand even if the playing field isn't in our favor."
Without further ado, here's how coaches around the Call of Duty League think the teams stack up. The ranking was determined based on an aggregate of votes from participating coaches.
1. Atlanta FaZe
Season record: 8-1 | Week 4: 2-1 | Change from last poll:
2. Chicago Huntsmen
Season record: 8-1 | Week 4: DNP | Change from last poll:
3. Dallas Empire
Season record: 7-5 | Week 4: 4-1 | Change from last poll:
4. Minnesota RØKKR
Season record: 7-4 | Week 4: 3-2 | Change from last poll:
5. OpTic Gaming LA
Season record: 2-5 | Week 4: 2-1 | Change from last poll:2
6. Paris Legion
Season record: 5-4 | Week 4: DNP | Change from last poll:
7. Florida Mutineers
Season record: 5-5 | Week 4: 1-2 | Change from last poll:1
8. London Royal Ravens
Season record: 4-4 | Week 4: DNP | Change from last poll:3
9. New York Subliners
Season record: 1-6 | Week 4: 0-2 | Change from last poll:1
10. Toronto Ultra
Season record: 1-5 | Week 4: DNP | Change from last poll:1
11. Seattle Surge
Season record: 2-6 | Week 4: 1-2 | Change from last poll:1
12. Los Angeles Guerrillas
Season record: 1-5 | Week 4: 0-2 | Change from last poll: