The rivalry between Chicago Huntsmen and Dallas Empire just got much more one-sided, as Seth "Scump" Abner and his squad handed Dallas Empire their second head-to-head loss this Saturday, February 8, during the London Royal Ravens' homestand tournament in London.
Chicago Huntsmen and Dallas Empire met in round two of Group A following their commanding wins over Los Angeles Guerrillas and Seattle Surge and while many expected it to be a close and exciting clash, it was more the latter than the former, as Chicago Huntsmen swept the floor with Empire who were no match for their adversaries.
The series took off with a Hardpoint game and right off the bat, all the spotlight was on Scump, who was seemingly unstoppable, racking up points while fending off the Dallas' advances into the hardpoints. Despite the dominant performance from Chicago, Empire were not backing down and showed their strides on the defensive end, but eventually fell flat as they proved to be no match for Chicago offensive strength, which earned them a commanding 250-151 win over Dallas Empire in round one of the series.
Following a dominant performance from Chicago on Hardpoint, it was time for the teams to measure up in the Search and Destroy which was arguably one of the most exciting and closest matches we have seen in the Call of Duty League so far this season.
Dallas Empire eliminated Chicago in round one and defused the bomb in the second to go 2-0 up. Ian "C6" Porter and his squad extended their lead in round three after forcing the clock to run out. After securing a commanding 3-0 lead, it was time for Dallas to switch sides, which started the comeback from the Huntsmen. Chicago secured the fourth round to reduce the gap to 1-3 and used the momentum to win the next two rounds to tie the series at 3-3.
Round five was as exciting as it gets with teams going back and forth until it all came down to only two players - Dylan "Envoy" Hannon and C6. Unfortunately for Chicago, it was C6 who came out ahead in the 1v1 madness and shut down Chicago's three-round winning streak. The next round was quite a messy one for Chicago who completely dropped the ball and basically handed Empire a 5-3 lead.
Sitting at a match point, Empire were doing their best to close out the series but to no avail. Scump, in his own fashion, stepped up and delivered in clutch situations to lead Huntsmen offensive against Dallas. Despite Empire's best efforts to close out the series, they fell flat and watched as Chicago took home three rounds in a row to close out the match and get themselves 2-0 up in the series.
Despite losing in a humiliating fashion, Dallas Empire managed to dust themselves off quickly and entered round three of the series, where Dallas and Chicago met in the Domination game. Dallas have proven before they are a very strong offensive team and they proved that once more here, as they cracked open Huntsmen's defence, which allowed them to keep a healthy lead throughout most of the match. The game as a whole was back-and-forth between the two teams, but in the end it was Dallas Empire who stepped up and pocketed a hard-fought win to claim their first win of the series.
Still sitting at match point, Huntsmen entered the fourth round (Hardpoint) hungry for a win, yet they met with resistance form Dallas, who were not giving up just yet. Much like the Domination game, Hardpoint saw teams go back-and-forth, with Dallas Empire once more showing their offensive capabilities against Chicago.
After about three minutes of play, the teams were separated by only five points, at which point, Chicago stepped up and snagged a 20-point lead over Dallas. The match continued with Chicago holding onto a healthy lead, thanks to Envoy and his impressive performances. Envoy also played a pivotal role in defending the last hardpoint, which helped his team defeat Dallas Empire 250-175 to seal the series at 3-1 and earn a spot in the semi-finals.
At the time of writing, Chicago and London Royal Ravens are the only two teams who have earned a direct promotion into the semi-finals. The other two spots will be filled on Sunday, February 9, when New York Subliners will chase a playoffs ticket against the winner of Paris Legion v Toronto Ultra match, while Dallas Empire will clash against the winner of Seattle Surge vs Los Angeles Guerrillas match.
Day one results (Saturday, February 8)
Dallas Empire 3-0 Seattle Surge
Chicago Huntsmen 3-0 Los Angeles Guerrillas
Dallas Empire 1-3 Chicago Huntsmen
Paris Legion 1-3 New York Subliners
London Royal Ravens 3-1 Toronto Ultra
New York Subliners 2-3 London Royal Ravens
Loser's Bracket Fixtures (Sunday, February 9)
Paris Legion vs Toronto Ultra (12:00 GMT)
Seattle Surge vs Los Angeles Guerrillas (13:30 GMT)