Black Ops Cold War League Play: divisions, ranks, rewards, and more

Matt Porter
Black Ops Cold War player

After months of clamoring from Black Ops Cold War fans, Treyarch have finally confirmed that League Play is officially in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

With Modern Warfare failing to feature any kind of ranked playlist for the first time since Call of Duty: Ghosts, fans were desperate for Treyarch to implement it in this year’s title, and thankfully, the devs have obliged.

Here’s everything we know about Black Ops Cold War League Play, and what you need to know to dive into the brand new mode.

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What is League Play?

League Play is a competitive playlist with a skill-based matchmaking system designed to put players of similar skill levels together. Players will compete in game modes with restrictions to weapons, perks, and attachments in line with the official Call of Duty League ruleset, and be awarded a ranking based on how they perform.

Game modes are also adjusted to custom rulesets, and maps are restricted to a custom map pool, voted on by the Call of Duty League’s players and coaches. This is the ultimate mode to play like the pros.

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Official Call of Duty League skin set, Black Ops Cold War and Warzone.

How does Black Ops Cold War League Play work?

League Play in Black Ops 4 was by far our most-played ranked competitive mode in Black Ops series history, setting new records for the number of matches played and time invested by the community. Its accessible Ladder system kept players coming back for more, and its core design solved several fundamental problems with Black Ops II’s model by introducing a progressive rank system, running more frequent Events in shorter sprints, and ensuring faster and healthier matchmaking for participants.

We’re building on that foundation this year, implementing a total of 30 new Ranks to achieve, returning to the classic 4v4 format of the Black Ops II days, and providing players with more flexibility in gameplay rules, such as available Scorestreak selection, compared to the full official CDL 2021 ruleset.

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League Play in Black Ops Cold War supports custom classes, including camo customization and Weapon Blueprint support for custom loadouts. Please note, any restricted attachments will be automatically removed from Blueprints in League Play to adhere to the CDL 2021 rules. Check out the full list of CDL 2021 restricted items here, and check back often as the rules and restricted items will change throughout the year.

For those looking to use official Call of Duty League pro loadouts, League Play’s default classes are made up of presets used by every team in the 2021 season. And if you want to play like the pros in private matches, we’ve also added the new CDL Pro mode to Custom Games for Hardpoint, Search & Destroy, and Control, which only offers preset Call of Duty League classes and more specific gameplay rules.

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SKILL DIVISIONS AND LADDERS

After your first League Play Event starts, you will be placed in a Skill Division of up to 50 players around your same skill level to compete for the top position in your Division Ladder.

League Play utilizes skill ratings to determine how active players are bracketed into the five Skill Divisions: Competitor, Advanced, Expert, Elite, and Master. Your Skill Division placement is relative to all other active League Play players, and may increase or decrease as your skill rating or the active player population changes.

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Here’s how the active League Play population breaks out across all five Divisions by skill:

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  • Master: Top 2% of players
  • Elite: Top 3-10% of players
  • Expert: Top 11-15% of players
  • Advanced: Top 16-20% of players
  • Competitor: 50% of players

Wins will award Ladder Points that increase your position on the Ladder. Losses will decrease your Ladder Points and can drop your position on the Ladder. Winning consecutive matches will earn you a Win Streak Bonus, and you can earn a Daily Bonus by playing every day.

We take match integrity seriously, and poor sportsmanship isn’t tolerated. Any players who quit a League Play match will receive Ladder Point penalties and a match loss, and increased penalties will be applied for players who quit a match before anyone else on their team does.

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LEAGUE PLAY RANKS AND REWARDS

Similar to our previous League Play system, you’ll earn Gems based on your final position in the Division Ladder at the end of each Event. Earn enough Gems, and you’ll advance your Rank.

Each milestone (earned at Rank 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30) has a unique League Play Calling Card reward to unlock. There are six distinct Calling Cards to earn across all 30 Ranks, each of which can be equipped in the Barracks to show off your skills to the rest of your lobby in League Play, Multiplayer, and Zombies.

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Your progressive Rank will reflect if you’ve ever placed near the top of the Ladder or won a League Play Event. Finish in the Top 10, Top 5, or 1st to permanently upgrade your Rank from Bronze to Silver, Silver Gold, or Gold. Finish first six times, and you’ll permanently upgrade your Rank to Diamond.

Of course, you’ll also earn XP and Battle Pass progression as you compete in League Play Events, so you’ll always make progress toward your next Prestige Level and Battle Pass Tier whether you win or lose your next match.

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Victory Flames also make their return in Black Ops Cold War’s League Play, showcasing the highest performance level for the best of the best. Finishing in first place will add the initial stage of Victory Flames to your Rank, and finishing in first in consecutive Events will advance your Flames to new stages. Your Victory Flames will last until the next League Play Event ends, and will degrade or disappear if you fail to place first in consecutive Events. Maintain your streak and keep those Flames burning bright!

What maps & modes will be in Black Ops Cold War League Play?

Black Ops Cold War’s League Play will feature the same maps and modes as the CDL, which means a rotation of Hardpoint, Control, and fan-favorite Search & Destroy.

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There are currently six maps in the official Call of Duty League competitive settings, with Express expected to be added to the S&D pool in the near future. You can view the full maps and modes below.

Game ModeMaps
HardpointCheckmate, Crossroads, Garrison, Moscow, Raid
Search & DestroyCheckmate, Garrison, Miami, Moscow, Raid
ControlCheckmate, Garrison, Raid

Will Black Ops Cold War League Play have custom classes?

It’s currently unclear if Black Ops Cold War League Play will allow players to use their own classes, but it appears that this will likely not be the case.

With the newly added CDL Pro modes coming with pre-set classes that mimic what the pro players use, it’s likely that we’ll have to choose from their setups when we play this mode.

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Image Credits: Treyarch / Activision Blizzard