Mutineers Set Course for Repeat and a Spot Among League’s Elite
An article from Call of Duty League
The Florida Mutineers have something to prove.
That may come as a surprise. After all, they’re one of just a few teams to win a tournament this season, and that victory came in the Dallas Home Series just a few weeks ago. They’ve played and beaten some of the best in the Call of Duty League, and they believe they’re one of the top squads in the world.
This weekend represents another challenge for them to conquer and another opportunity to show their mettle as they seek to become just the second team to win their own Home Series. By all accounts, they should be feeling cool and content, satisfied with their place in the league.
But they’re not—because they haven’t yet convinced everyone else.
“A lot of the teams and analysts don’t think we’re even a top-four team, and that’s ridiculous,” explained Mutineers coach Ricky “Atura” Lugo. “The last few months have been a rollercoaster for us, but we won our last tournament. If anything we should be a top-two or three team. But no one else thinks that we are, and that really fuels the fire to keep grinding.”
“Grinding” is a word Atura uses regularly when discussing his team’s drive to improve, and it’s an apt term to describe how tirelessly they’ve worked to move up the league step by step. After an up-and-down start to the season, the Mutineers showed flashes of their potential late February in the Atlanta FaZe Home Series, coming out of nowhere to shock the previously undefeated Chicago Huntsmen in the semifinals before falling in what Atura called a “close 3-0 loss” to Atlanta in the title match. The Mutineers didn’t complete the underdog journey that weekend, but they had laid the seeds of the success that was coming.
That finish prompted a renewed focus on preparation and a roster change, and it was then that the team decided that win or lose, they would not be outworked.
“We made a name for ourselves against Chicago, and once we did that we decided to clutch up,” Cesar “Skyz” Bueno asserted. “We started scrimming three times a day. If another team is going to put in four or five hours, we’re going to put in eight to ten. We knew we had the talent and the smarts we needed. We didn’t have a big-name superstar on our team, but we were all good and knew we could make it work. Everyone’s fire is lit. We’re literally just trying to prove everyone wrong right now. We’re going to keep proving them wrong and keep beating them.”
The Mutineers’ upward trajectory is undeniable. They had a runner-up finish, added Maurice “Fero” Henriquez to the roster to replace Preston “Prestinni” Sanderson, and then looked dominant in beating the Minnesota Røkkr to win the Dallas Home Series, knocking off the Huntsmen again along the way. They’ve won their last four matches and went 12-4 on those maps.
Skyz traced the turning point back to the Chicago match.
“We weren’t playing that much at the time, but that gave us what we needed to keep pushing and keep grinding,” he said. “We saw how well we did on LAN, and we knew we could be really good. We committed to practicing more than anyone. We actually split up from Florida as people moved back home over the last month, but we’re still clicking really well online. The only difference is not having a crowd, but we’re handling it well.”
The Mutineers’ resume backs up their bravado, but for the team to cement themselves as one of the league’s best—and move up the analyst’s rankings—they know that one tournament win won’t be enough. With the Røkkr back for more and the Atlanta FaZe bringing their gaudy 84% win percentage to the bracket, this weekend’s Florida Home Series will be a showcase of the league’s top talent and give the Mutineers the opportunity to convert the nonbelievers.
“It’s win or bust for us,” Atura admitted. “Our practices leading up have just been too good. Coming off of winning our last event, not winning is not good enough.”
It may have been the Røkkr that the Mutineers beat to win a title, but they have another team in their sights. The Atlanta FaZe have twice swept the Mutineers this season, and if Florida is to take their place among the top teams in the league, they’ll have to do something they’ve never done: beat Atlanta.
“This is the event that determines how good of a team we are now and will be in the future,” Atura said. “And at the end of the day, it comes down to beating Atlanta. They’re by far the strongest team. If we’re as good as we think we are, we have to beat those guys to show it to everyone else. FaZe, Dallas, it doesn’t matter who is there—we feel confident.”