Following its Call of Duty League Championship win, the Dallas Empire has decided to drop James ‘Clayster’ Eubanks. The veteran player will leave the team ahead of the CDL’s switch to a 4v4 official competitive format for Black Ops Cold War.
With Clayster, the Dallas Empire defeated Atlanta FaZe 5-1 in the CDL Championship Weekend Grand Final on Sunday, August 30, before being named champions of the league’s first season. A day later, the CDL announced that the format would return to 4v4 for the 2021 season, meaning the Empire would have to drop one of its players.
Clayster, a three-time World Champion, has announced that he is a restricted free agent. He was the Major League Gaming (MLG) X Games 2014 gold medalist as a member of OpTic Gaming and MVP of the Call of Duty Championship 2015 as a member of Denial eSports. So far, the Winchester, Virginia native has won more than $730K in his career.
The 28-year-old says that he has no hard feelings about the Empire’s decision, though he does admit that he is heartbroken. “Spent all night sobbing and chain-smoking cigarettes. Feels super sh**ty to give it my all, to accomplish something, obtain that goal, then get put back into the mix like it was all for nothing. Just want security, man,” he wrote on Twitter.
Following the announcement, Team Envy and Dallas Empire owner Mark ‘Hastr0’ Rufail stated that the decision was solely determined by the switch to 4v4. As a restricted free agent, Clayster is free to sign with any esports organization that offers him a contract, yet the Empire retains the option to match that offer and keep him on their roster as a substitute.
It seems unlikely that the Empire will stand in the way of Clayster signing with another team. Although upsetting, this is not the first time the player has found himself temporarily sidelined. In 2019, after eUnited won the CoD Championship, the roster was divided, with the five players heading to four different teams for the 2020 season. Clayster then signed with the Dallas Empire.
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