LA Thieves Shockingly Bench Huke Ahead of Stage 4

by in Call of Duty | May, 26th 2021

When a team makes some bold decisions, there are times when you are just shocked by a roster change, even in the case of the Call of Duty League. The Los Angeles Thieves have announced their latest roster change. It is quite the doozy with Huke being benched once more.

LA Thieves Suddenly Bench Huke

This was revealed in a tweet from the organization as it tries to stay more transparent during this season as other teams have been. It noted that going into Stage 4 of the 2021 season that will be starting very soon, the Thieves will have a different main roster for the competition. 

As part of this, one of the starting members of the lineup, Huke, will be benched for the time being. This is shocking on multiple levels, not least because Huke just joined the team not too long ago, and much of the community was looking forward to that. 

The LA Thieves are one of the best teams in the league, but they are just missing that slight boost to remain in the upper ranks of the standings, and it was hoped that current champ Huke would be that. Unfortunately, it seems that the Los Angeles team is not quite impressed with his performance thus far.

As such, Huke will be benched effective immediately, starting with the very first match that the LA Thieves will have later this week in the first week of Stage 4. What is interesting about the situation is that the Thieves mentioned that Huke would be moved to the sub position “for this week.” 

Now, that might have been there to appease fans of the champ by making it sound better than it is. However, we think this could be a more permanent situation, depending on how the Thieves perform now that Huke is sitting on the bench. 

TJHaLy Is Coming Back

This is mainly because of the other part of the tweet. The LA Thieves also announced the starting lineup that it would have heading into Stage 4, and it includes some familiar faces. It is not like Huke is being benched to make way for a new player, but we already know and love. 

What LA is doing is essentially reversing the decision made in the past to bring Huke onto the team by bringing back TJHaLy, who was the player replaced by him recently. That was a controversial decision, and much of the community regretted it as TJ is a fantastic player. 

Some believed another player on the lineup should have been replaced by Huke when he joined, instead. Well, it seems that TJHaLy will get another chance to prove his skills this week as he moves back into his previous position as part of the main roster. 

The roster will be what it was before the end of the third stage, with TJHaLy, Kenny, Drazah, and Venom as the players who make up the star-studded lineup. The note about this being the lineup in Stage 4 tells us that this may be a bit more permanent than what the benching of Huke makes it seem. 

This makes it seem to us that this will be the LA Thieves starting roster moving forward for the fourth stage. And, quite honestly, if this is the lineup for Stage 4, it might as well be the one for the fifth and final stage, too, since the end of the 2021 season is looming ever closer. 

In our opinions, the fourth stage is the final place to make huge changes to a team’s roster like this one as the fifth stage should be where teams give it their all to earn as many wins and points as possible to secure a spot in the playoffs where they will show the fruits of their labor this season. 

A team should not make huge changes in the fifth stage or even the playoffs, or they will risk doing worse in the end than they would have otherwise. Teams need time to build their synergy together as a group, which I believe the Thieves struggled with when including Huke on the lineup.  

Breaking Down This Change

I am one of the fans of the LA Thieves who was excited at the thought of a current world champ like Huke joining the starting roster when the Dallas Empire surprisingly benched him in the past. That was a mistake on Dallas’ part and one that the team likely regrets at this point. 

I already went into huge details about why the Empire dropping Huke was a massive misstep. We have only seen that come true more and more as time went on. But the release of Huke was not all bad as it meant that other teams now had a chance to pick him up and add him to their team. 

LA Thieves were the team to do it, surprising since the roster was doing amazing now. Other teams would have benefited more from his acquisition. But it was a decision that was nonetheless exciting to us because he is one of the best players in the entire league at this time. 

There is a reason that he is a world champ and one of the main parts of what made the Dallas Empire defeat Atlanta FaZe at the end of the 2020 inaugural season to win the first league trophy. It seemingly aligned, too, with the star power that LA has that is just teetering on being worthy of the championship title. 

That said, when the excitement faded for a moment, there was one huge concern that I had for this situation: how Huke would fit into the mix with Drazah, Kenny, and Venom. All four are great players, but the problem is that just because everyone has talent does not mean that they will work well together as a team. 

This was an issue that I could see being a problem with Huke and the Thieves as they did not need another star player on the roster. That is an issue that can hurt a team if you have too many cooks in the kitchen. 

The Dallas Empire is a team that builds its whole premise on having a star lineup that all work together despite that, but the Thieves are not the Empire, and that is clear in the performance that the team had recently with the new member of the lineup.

Instead of dominating and even possibly more than before, the Thieves had a dip in quality. They did not do well in the recent Stage 3 Major, with an immediate and rather dominant loss on the first day of the tournament against Florida Mutineers in a shocking upset. 

They could win the next match while in the losers bracket to stay in the tournament and gain some points and prize money, but that was against the London Royal Ravens. Even though it was a clean sweep match, the defeated team was nothing shocking or indicative of the team’s talent. 

Then they were subsequently eliminated from the tournament by the powerful Toronto Ultra. This was not necessarily surprising here, but it is disappointing to see the Thieves doing worse than before the roster change.

This is understandable since it takes time for a new player to get used to working with everyone else and vice versa, but I think this is more of a case that the Thieves is not the right time for Huke. He needs a place where he can be the star of the show and have the team built around him. 

As such, here’s hoping that the LA Thieves can get back to the greatness that they experienced in the past with the return of TJHaLy and that Huke can find a better team to join soon. Several teams could benefit from his signing. I think he needs to go to one of the weaker teams to help them out.

I would argue that he went to the wrong LA team. I think that the LA Guerrillas could be a great spot for him. It is ironic given Vivid’s signing by the Empire, but the Guerrillas have always been missing that expertise and talent to go far, and Huke could bring that to them. 


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