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Call of Duty: Cold War's new competitive mode bans over a third of its guns

call of duty league - cold war
(Image credit: Activision)
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If you're jumping into Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War's brand new competitive mode, don't get too attached to your favorite loadouts. League Play, a new ranked mode based on the Call of Duty League, launched yesterday with a stringent ruleset that bans over a third of Cold War's arsenal.

League Play is basically the closest that Cold War gets to a proper ranked mode, dividing players into skill brackets after completing five placement matches. The mode is also meant to emulate the exact ruleset and restrictions (commonly known as "GAs," or gentlemen's agreement) that pro players use in the CDL, meaning that a lot of guns have been completely disabled.

Players are barred from using any of Cold War's LMGs, tactical rifles (including the DMR 14 that took over Warzone's meta last month), launchers, or special weapons. In all, that's 12 out of Cold War's 30 guns.

The ruleset also outlaws numerous throwables, perks, attachments, field upgrades, and scorestreaks. Here's the full rundown:

(Image credit: Activision)

The crackdown on weapon choice is nothing new for CoD fans and its pro players, but it stands out among other competitive shooters. CS:GO and Rainbow Six Siege have agreed-upon competitive map pools like Cold War. Adjusting maps is a big undertaking, so it makes the most sense to ban them and move on. It's a lot rarer to ban weapons or items outright.

I would typically expect unbalanced weapons to be reworked until they're ready for the big leagues, but CoD weapons typically stay banned for the duration that a given CoD is played competitively.

During Modern Warfare's tenure in the Call of Duty League, a pool of over 20 weapons was banned. That pool also included every launcher, most shotguns, and single-fire DMRs. When it comes to competitive duty calling, players seem content with assault rifles, submachine guns, and basically nothing else. Call of Duty's awkward restrictions could be a consequence of a series that moves too fast for its creators to keep up. With such a brief moment in the sun before the next game comes along, there's hardly time to nail down a healthy meta.

If the CDL's idea of a good time matches your own, League Play seems like a worthy home for competitive Cold War. The mode is also the first opportunity for players to transparently watch Cold War's skill-based matchmaking in action.

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.