Fri, 10 Jul 2020

Huntsmen aim high with 'Prestinni' on board

Field Level Media
27 May 2020, 13:19 GMT+10

Anyone wondering what the addition of Preston "Prestinni" Sanderson would do for the Chicago Huntsmen got a pretty quick and convincing answer last weekend.

The Huntsmen blew through the Seattle "home" series to take over first place in the Call of Duty League standings.

But with the biggest series of the season to date -- both emotionally and in terms of playoff positioning -- up next, Chicago is wasting little time on reveling in the victory, instead focusing on building more cohesion with its newest member.

Speaking Tuesday during a conference call with the media, Huntsman player Dylan "Envoy" Hannon said Prestinni's biggest contributions aren't necessarily what he's doing on the screen nor are they reflected in his final statistics.

"It's a positive mindset, and it just never feels like we're out of it," Envoy said. "And then him just applying constant pressure alleviates a lot of pressure on us to make faster plays or get faster cuts."

Envoy added, "We only had four days of practice (with Prestinni before last weekend), so there's a lot of tiny mistakes that would be game-changing. ... Having Preston on the team ... he does a lot of things we didn't used to do ... that actually help us a lot, so I'm definitely going to take some tendencies from him and we're going to learn from it together."

Chicago acquired Prestinni last week from the Florida Mutineers, after Prestinni's relationship with the Mutineers seemed to sour. The 21-year-old originally took time off in March to deal with mental-health issues, but he posted on Reddit later that month that he was ready to return to action and the decision to keep him benched was no longer his.

He wasted little time making an impact with his new squad, as Chicago lost only three maps en route to the Seattle victory, becoming the third team with multiple series wins this season.

Just a week ago, talk about the best team in the CDL typically involved two teams, the Atlanta FaZe and Dallas Empire (the other two teams with multiple series wins). The fact that Chicago not only sits atop the standings now but is also elbowing its way into that debate speaks to the impact Prestinni has had in his short time with the club.

And what the Huntsmen do in the immediate future, at the Minnesota "home" series starting June 5, will speak volumes about where they could be headed as the regular season enters its final two months.

First up for Chicago? The Mutineers. Having lost both previous matches against Florida this season, Chicago was sure to have plenty of incentive heading into the matchup. Add the way Prestinni left the Mutineers. and the revenge factor for the Huntsmen could be off the charts.

"Preston really wants to beat those guys really, really bad," Huntsmen player Alec "Arcitys" Sanderson -- Prestinni's twin brother -- said during the conference call.

Envoy added, "Those are some of my ex-teammates, and then obviously Preston's ex-team, so we're always looking to beat those guys."

And should the Huntsmen make it out of Group B, awaiting them in the final four could very well be the FaZe and Empire. Both Atlanta and Dallas are in Group A for the series.

One caveat that came with the Seattle series win is that neither Atlanta nor Dallas took part, both having a bye last weekend. Hence the significance the next series carries.

"This next event is going to be a big proving one for us, especially with two weeks more of practice," Envoy said, "We just moved back into the first-place spot in the points standings, and with the top three or four teams being at the next event, these points matter big."

While the Huntsmen's 180 points are 10 more than the FaZe's total and 30 more than the Empire's tally, both Atlanta and Dallas have a series in hand on Chicago, having played in five series each while the Huntsmen have played in six. However, a win in the Minnesota series would give the Huntsmen a little more breathing room -- and some momentum in the race for one of the coveted top two spots in the final standings.

"I think it's super important to go into (the playoffs) as a top two seed this year, just due to the byes you have and the guaranteed placing," Chicago player Troy "Sender" Michaels said. "I don't think it's one of those things where beating FaZe and Dallas is a confidence-booster. I think it's more like solidifying we are the best team when we are playing to our potential."

In the revised playoff format announced by the CDL last week, the top two teams in the final regular-season standings will receive a bye into the third round. The third- and fourth-place finishers will receive byes into the second round. The remaining eight teams will play in the first round of the double-elimination bracket. The playoffs will take place sometime in August.

Chicago Huntsmen Call of Duty League results

Launch Weekend

Huntsmen 3, Dallas 1

Huntsmen 3, OpTic Gaming Los Angeles 0

London Weekend

Huntsmen 3, Los Angeles Guerrillas 0

Huntsmen 3, Dallas 1

Huntsmen 3, Paris 2

Huntsmen 3, Dallas 0

WON WEEKEND

Atlanta Weekend

Huntsmen 3, Toronto 2

Huntsmen 3, Minnesota 1

Florida 3, Huntsmen 2

LOST IN SEMIFINALS

Dallas Weekend

Huntsmen 3, Minnesota 0

Huntsmen 3, Paris 1

Florida 3, Huntsmen 1

LOST IN SEMIFINALS

Chicago Weekend

New York 3, Huntsmen 2

Huntsmen 3, London 1

Huntsmen 3, New York 1

Dallas 3, Huntsmen 0

LOST IN SEMIFINALS

Seattle Weekend

Huntsmen 3, Paris 1

Huntsmen 3, Minnesota 0

Huntsmen 3, New York 1

Huntsmen 3, London 1

WON WEEKEND

Chicago Huntsmen remaining Call of Duty League schedule

June 5-7: Minnesota series (open vs. Florida)

July 10-12: New York series (open vs. London)

July 24-26: Toronto series (open vs. Seattle)

Call of Duty League standings through Week 8:

1. Chicago Huntsmen, 180 points

2. Atlanta FaZe, 170 points

3. Dallas Empire, 150 points

4. Minnesota Rokkr, 120 points

5. Florida Mutineers, 100 points

6. London Royal Ravens, 80 points

7. Optic Gaming Los Angeles, 70 points

T8. Paris Legion, 60 points

T8. New York Subliners, 60 points

T10. Toronto Ultra, 40 points

T10. Seattle Surge, 40 points

12. Los Angeles Guerrillas, 30 points

--Field Level Media

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