One more event. The Call of Duty World Championship looms close, where 32 teams will battle on the biggest stage of the year. However, with numerous first-time viewers tuning in, a deeper understanding of the game needs to be learned. The meta of WWII was notorious for changing before nearly every major event at the beginning of the year, but now it has been cemented. We’re going to look at the standard weaponry and team setups of the Call of Duty World League.
Currently, only three primary weapons exist in the meta: two assault rifles – the BAR and the STG – and one submachine gun, the PPSH. The beginning of the season saw extensive use of the FG, but after a series of nerfs and buffs, the pros all came to a gentleman’s agreement to discontinue use of the FG.
From the very beginning of the Call of Duty: WWII, the BAR shredded opponents. Where most automatic assault rifles in Call of Duty need a minimum of four shots to kill, the BAR has a three-shot kill range. However, the BAR does not typically perform well at long-range engagements. Generally the mid-range weapon of choice, the BAR suits most flex players, though the main AR player will pick it up as well on maps with more close-quarter combat.
Unequivocally the best assault rifle at range, the STG provides a reliable four-shot kill at nearly all ranges. Hampered only by a lower damage output and time-to-kill than the BAR and PPSH, the STG excels in its recoil and high accuracy. Its qualities make it the perfect choice to anchor spawns or to hold down lanes.
The only gun used competitively by SMG players, the PPSH is another weapon that gives a reliable four-shot kill, although it’s limited to close and medium ranges. Its fire rate and mobility give a distinctive edge over assault rifles in transition and close quarters, but damage falloff and accuracy limit the PPSH at long range.
With four players on each team, roles tend not to vary from the basic four: main sub, support sub, flex, and main AR. On most maps in the current meta, teams will run two subs and two ARs. However, on certain maps, a third sub is needed, in which case the flex player will trade an assault rifle for a submachine gun.
The main sub, sometimes called the SMG Slayer, is supposed to be the most aggressive player on the team. They need to interact the most with opponents, killing around objectives as much as possible. Although the main sub may not get the most objective time, they need to keep enemies away from the objective. Varying slightly depending on map and mode, the main sub will typically use the Airborne division for the fastest speed (10% boost), coupled with either Hunker basic training for explosive protection or Instincts basic training for stun grenade protection. Some main subs may also use Armored division for stun and explosive protection coupled with Energetic basic training for slightly quicker movement (7% boost).
The support sub often does much of the objective work, shared with the flex role and main AR role. Depending on the team and its players, the support sub can play many different roles for the team. They can play an aggressive role alongside the main sub, or play purely for the objective. Support subs will almost always use Armored division with Energetic basic training.
The flex player uses any of the three guns used competitively, switching based on map and mode. The flex role needs to be the most versatile on the team, whether relating to weapon choice or in-game role. They often do the dirty work; they anchor spawns, play for the objective, fill in spaces around the map. Sometimes they even need to do much of the heavy slaying. Much of the pace of the game is dictated by the roles the flex player adopts. Flex players can use a multitude of division/basic training combos, depending on their weapon of choice. If they use an assault rifle, they may use Armored with Scoped, for faster strafe speed. If they use an SMG, they may use Armored with Energetic.
The main AR plays a few simple, important roles: anchor locations, lock down lanes, slay. Many play on the objective, posted up behind cover. Many also play positions looking over lanes, again posted up behind cover. The main AR plays the slowest on the team because they should never need to move as much as their teammates do. The simple roles they play, however, make or break success for their squad. The main AR will usually use Infantry division for an extra attachment and faster strafe speed with Hunker basic training for explosive protection. They may also use Armored with Scoped.
Roles are very defined in respawn game modes, most notably Hardpoint. They become a little more flexible in Search and Destroy, as sniper rifles come into play. Capture the Flag follows the traditional roles of the meta, with the exception of Flak Tower, where some teams run four submachine guns.
Of the five Hardpoint maps, Ardennes Forest, Saint Marie du Mont, and Gibraltar see teams consistently run two assault rifles and two submachine guns. One map, Valkyrie, boasts a three submachine gun/one AR meta, and the last, London Docks, goes either way. Objectively, the roles allow for relatively straightforward play. The main AR will hold down either a favorable spawn for the hardpoint or play in the hardpoint, posted behind cover. The flex will either hold spawns or watch a lane. The two subs will play around the hardpoint, forcing enemies back and preventing them from breaking in.
Stated above, Search and Destroy tends not to follow the typical roles of the competitive scene. Sniper rifles come into play, and teams mold their setups around the designated sniper of the team. SMG players can also be found playing with an AR in certain rounds when they play for picks on the other team. ARs hold down lanes and watch crosses, often closer to the bombsite than the sniper, who will sit back and hold down lanes from afar. Anyone running a submachine gun will make sneaky plays, flank opponents, and play to trade out the deaths of teammates.
Call of Duty: WWII‘s take on the common elementary school PE game differs from Hardpoint in the case of a single, set objective and a 7.5-second spawn delay upon death. Only three maps are in the rotation for Capture the Flag: London Docks, Ardennes Forest, and Flak Tower. Flak Tower has the most drastic change in meta among pro teams; teams will either use only one assault rifle and three submachine guns or they will use four SMGs. London Docks is widely known as the fastest map of the three, with scores commonly reaching five flag captures for the winning team. Finally, Ardennes Forest plays the slowest of all. With long lanes to watch and a long travel distance between flags, any flag captured is a dagger to the enemy. The open nature of the map also allows scorestreaks to dominate, making returns much easier.
Call of Duty may seem like a simple game: point, shoot, point, shoot. However, the greater teams don’t find success through a sheer difference in gun skill. Thousands of people have raw, natural talent. The understandings of the meta and inner workings of the game give the edge to the top-tier teams.
I’m a 19 year old in a college town that would rather spend Friday nights playing COD, PUBG, Fortnite, Overwatch, etc. than go out and seize the college lifestyle. I’m a very avid follower of Call of Duty eSports, and make it a point to keep up with the scene. In my spare time I go to the gym, run, and play basketball, tennis, and golf.
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