LA Thieves win Call of Duty Champs, prevent FaZe from going back-to-back

by Brian Bencomo

The Los Angeles Thieves have been on some kind of run to close out the 2022 Call of Duty League season. During Major 4, LA Thieves lost only one match en route to the title. At the Call of Duty League Championship, they didn’t lose any matches.

They beat the defending Call of Duty League champs, the Atlanta FaZe, twice in dominant fashion: 3-1 in the upper final and 5-2 in the grand final.

This wasn’t just any ol’ defending champ. This was a historically great roster, with Chris “Simp” Lehr, Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris and Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson going for their third championship ring and league MVP McArthur "Cellium" Jovel going for his second straight ring.

Simp seemed invincible at the Call of Duty League Championship. He had never lost at a LAN Champs until Saturday when LA Thieves beat him, and now he’s lost twice.

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The LA Thieves’ dominance was on full display as they went up 4-0 in the best-of-nine grand final. FaZe made things interesting by taking the next two maps, putting the specter of a reverse sweep into play. However, the LA Thieves closed it out on Round 11 of Map 7 Search & Destroy on Tuscan.

The LA Thieves took advantage of Atlanta FaZe’s weakness on Berlin. Going into Championship Sunday, FaZe had vetoed Berlin Hardpoint 27 times and had a 2-6 record on the map. They also vetoed Berlin Control 14 times and were 3-3 on it. In the upper final, the LA Thieves beat FaZe handily 3-0 on Berlin Control and demolished them 250-71 on Berlin Hardpoint.

“We plot like 4 ARs on P4 and P5, those are probably our two best hills on the map,” Dylan "Envoy" Hannon said about Berlin Hardpoint in a postmatch press conference after the upper final. “And then when it comes to the other hills, me and Ken, once we get going in the staircases of P2 we’re just getting a lot of kills and pushing out, it just feels really easy. And it feels great that coming into the grand finals from winners we get to dictate a lot of the maps.”

One of the two maps FaZe managed to win in the grand final was 3-2 on Berlin Control. However, the LA Thieves took full advantage of their map picks and capitalized on their strength on Gavutu, winning the map on both Hardpoint and Control en route to amassing a 4-0 lead.

Read more: Call of Duty players say goodbye to Vanguard at Champs

Photo credit: 100 Thieves via Twitter

This was the first Champs title for Kenneth "Kenny" Williams, who had finished second two years in a row: 2018 with Team Kalibar and 2019 with 100 Thieves. He was named the Champs MVP too. He said onstage after the grand final that his teammates hard carried him. That might have been true in the grand final when he had a 0.96 K/D, but he was the only player on his team to go positive in the upper final when he put up an outstanding 1.31 K/D.

This also was the first Champs title for the other LA Thieves players, Envoy, Zack "Drazah" Jordan and Sam "Octane" Larew.

“I haven’t had the best Champs runs and I finally did it. It’s great that we could be here in LA in front of the home crowd,” Envoy said in an onstage interview after the grand final.

For coach Jordan "JKap" Kaplan, this was his third Champs title but first as a coach. He won Champs in 2015 with Denial Esports and 2016 with Team Envy.

Lead photo credit: 100 Thieves via Twitter

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