Call of Duty League 2021 Rules: Maps, Modes, Weapons

by in Call of Duty | Jan, 11th 2021

The Call of Duty League is one of the most anticipated esports leagues for this year. It is entering only its second season in this exciting format, and there are many changes from its first year to this year. As such, the Call of Duty League 2021 rules are drastically different as well. 

Call of Duty League 2021 Season Still Has No Official Schedule

Interestingly enough, no official schedule has been released for the Call of Duty League’s latest season, even though we are in the new year now. This is slightly concerning since the league got its start in late January of last year, making sense to know about it now. 

This tells us that the season will likely get started a little later than usual this time around, perhaps as the league gets ready for another online-only competition. However, we have heard some rumors about the possibility of an in-person, staged schedule but with no audience. 

It is hard to say at this point, but we know that it is really surprising that we haven’t heard anything at all. That said, there is one thing that Activision has made sure to make a point on the Call of Duty League 2021 rules

While we are uncertain about the schedule and how everything will even play out this year, we know the rules that will be binding everything together. It tells us at least that the league is nearing the ready point in time. 

Recently, there was a significant change to the Call of Duty League 2021 rules this past week that saw the introduction of a couple of significant shifts for the new season. With those in place and considering everything’s timing, these are likely the set rules for now.

We will go over all of the Call of Duty League 2021 rules for the upcoming second season that will dictate how the teams will do against one another in the events. Of course, as we already know, the game used this year is the latest Call of Duty title: Black Ops Cold War. 

Call of Duty League 2021 Rules: Game Modes

One of the competitive Call of Duty scene standards is to have three main game modes used to determine who the winner of each match will be. Over the years, the three modes featured have changed up and allowed for different metas and gameplay styles. 

In the Modern Warfare 2020 inaugural season of the league, the three game modes were Search & Destroy, Hardpoint, and Domination, with Domination’s return to the competitive side. Domination is the only one of the three that will not be returning for another go-around this time around. 

Instead, the three game modes in the Black Ops Cold War season will be Search & Destroy, Hardpoint, and Control. Yes, Control is making a potentially controversial comeback as a pro game mode for the league after its introduction in Black Ops 4 only two years and seasons ago. 

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out in the meta of everything this year as Black Ops Cold War is, arguably, a much better game meta-wise than its Black Ops 4 predecessor. Of course, though these three game modes are here, some various rules will switch them up, too.

There is a format for each match in which two teams of four players each will battle against one another. This is a return to the old way of doing it after Modern Warfare saw teams of five players each competing against one another. 

Though four players are the standard that most know and love, this sudden decision also meant that teams had to change up their roster by, at the very least, removing one player from the starting lineup, if not more than that. This has changed up almost every single team entirely for the new season. 

Matches are presumed to be like they were in the previous year, where it is a fight to see which team can get three points first. Points are earned by winning various rounds. Each round will switch the map and game mode to something else, alternating between the three available modes. 

With this system, matches can go up to five games to determine whether the competition is close. The win conditions for each round depends on the mode played. In the case of Hardpoint, for example, teams must earn 250 points or have the most points at the end of the round of five minutes to take the W. 

When it comes to Search & Destroy, the team that reaches six rounds wins first to take that victory, with each round being a minute and 30 seconds long. For Control, the team wins the best three rounds first, with each round also playing out at one minute and 30 seconds. 

For those who don’t know Control well, it is a game mode that is like a blend of Search & Destroy and Domination. Each round, one team is the defender and the other is the attacker. The attacking team has to capture two points to win the round or drain all of the defending team’s lives before the time runs out. 

On the defending side, which is arguably the much more advantageous position, they need the time to run out entirely without both points being lost or take out all 30 lives of the enemy team. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out this season. 

Map List

As equally important as the game modes that the Call of Duty League 2021 rules have in place are the maps that the 12 teams in the league will be competing on. At this time, the map count for the season is pretty low, especially when compared to the 2020 season.

There are only five maps in total that have been decided for the Hardpoint game mode. Those are Checkmate, Crossroads, Garrison, Moscow, and Raid, with Raid being the newest addition that replaced a former map after joining the game in its first season of content. 

There are five maps here when it comes to the ever-popular Search & Destroy, but they are different. We have Checkmate, Garrison, Miami, Moscow, and Raid. We come to Control, which only has three maps to date, with those being Checkmate, Garrison, and Raid. 

At this time, it looks like Checkmate, Garrison, and Raid are the only three maps shared across all three game modes. Moscow would have been included in this group, too, but it was removed from Control in favor of Raid. 

Interestingly, it was removed rather than added to the list, telling us that there may only be three maps for Control in general. That is a very small number, but it may be going to be the odd game mode of the three where only one round per match is played using it. 

Where Is Cartel and Armada?

Regardless, the map list in the Call of Duty League 2021 season has us questioning a lot about map choices. For one, there is the fact that there are so few overall. Modern Warfare had up to seven different map choices for one of its game modes, with only five max.

I’m not saying that there needs to be that many per game mode. However, an even five across the board would allow for some missing maps to get the chance to shine. Several maps are missing from this list of competitive rules.

There is Cartel, Armada, Satellite, The Pines, and Nuketown. The latter two are understandably missing for good reason. Satellite is easily the worst map in the entire game. For that, I am grateful that it isn’t on here as I was worried that Satellite would make an appearance in S&D potentially, which would have caused so many issues balancing-wise. 

But Cartel and Armada are at least worthy of being on this list as both are great maps and have become favorites for me, personally, since their launch. This is impressive in Cartel’s case, a map that I didn’t initially like overall. 

Unfortunately, Cartel was initially part of the list for both Hardpoint and Control, but Raid took its place for both spots. And Armada is fantastic for S&D with a balance and map design unlike anything else that would have been exciting to watch. Here’s hoping that there are some changes in the future.

Banned Guns and Items

The other most important part of the Call of Duty League 2021 rules is the restricted items after the maps and game modes. There are some guns and items that are not allowed in the pro scene. For the most part, they are generally what you would expect, especially compared to last year.

Pro players will not be able to use any shotguns, launchers, M79, or LMGs. What is new this year is that all tactical rifles are banned as well. A couple of attachments, including the SWAT 5mw Laser Sight for body, Ember Sighting Point for body, and Dual Wield stock are gone. 

On the tactical side, the stimshot and decoy are gone. Decoy is understandable, but the stim being gone is interesting since it was so heavily featured in Black Ops 4. For lethals, the Semtex was restricted, but that was since removed, but players will not use the C4 or Tomahawk. 

For field upgrades, the proximity mine, field mic, and gas mine are all restricted. For perks, the paranoia, forward intel, and tracker ones are gone. When it comes to the three wildcards, only the Danger Close one is restricted.

But for scorestreaks, there are five total banned. They are the combat bow, spy plane, counter spy plane, care package, sentry turret, and air patrol. All others are fair game for use. 

Changes We Could See in the Future

With all of these Call of Duty League 2021 rules in place, there is the chance that we could see changes in the future. Activision even warns this. We could even possibly see them happen in the middle of the season once the 2021 schedule gets going. 

As such, here are some changes that we could and would like to happen soon. For one, there are far too few attachments that are banned when it comes to weapons and items. Having only three banned leaves room for some of the other powerful and game-changing ones to still thrive that are potentially far more problematic, like in the case of underbarrels.

I’ve already expressed my disappointment with the lack of two main maps, Cartel and Armada, and I would love to see them join the pro maps’ ranks in the future. Personally, how I would do it is have Armada on the Search & Destroy list, possibly moving Moscow over to the Control side in the process.

This would have Armada as the fifth map in that category, instead. From there, I would put Cartel into the Control section, making it and Moscow be the fourth and fifth maps there. It would allow for better representation of the excellent maps that deserve to be shown off competitively. 

Though I wouldn’t expect more guns to be restricted per se, I wouldn’t be surprised if Treyarch makes more balancing changes that shake up the meta in the future, which would inadvertently affect the Call of Duty League in the process. We will have to wait and see as the league has still yet to begin its 2021 season. 


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