Str8 Rippin, comprised of Aaron “Ace” Elam, Bradley “APG” Laws, Richie “Heinz” Heinz, and Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, seems to have hit a slump recently. Disappointing scrim scores and Online Qualifier results seemed to hit them hard. This squad was top 4 at the St. Louis event earlier this year, but their ability to carry this performance forward into Vegas is now in question.
Str8 Rippin has not been able to win a 13 game scrim in over two weeks. Their last win was on February 10th against Pnda Gaming. Even then, it was not a particularly convincing win, ending at 8-5 with a decent amount of relatively close games.
Following that, Str8 lost two scrims 12-1 to Team EnvyUs, with less than four close games. A Team Liquid scrim the next night ended in a similar fashion. Unfortunately, it gets worse; Str8 fell again to Pnda Gaming 9-4, and Luminosity 7-5. The issue here is that these two teams are typically seen outside of the top 6. This is creating doubt in Str8’s ability to break the top 4 again, or even qualify.
Most recently, this squad has lost 9-4 to Allegiance and 9-3 to EnvyUs. The upside to these two scrims is that the games were significantly close, each having at least 3-4 games that could have gone either way. This shows some potential improvement on the part of Str8.
Str8 most recently played in the final Online Qualifier and ended up with a 5th-8th finish, falling 3-1 to EG. EG has recently been improving, largely due to bringing Tom “OGRE 2” Ryan out of retirement. Fortunately, Ace and Co.’s seed for Vegas is already set due to how the point system is set up.
Str8 only has a couple of days to prepare for Vegas. If they don’t make top 6 this weekend, they will have to play in the Last Chance Online Qualifier. The issue with this is that several teams, such as Pnda, seem to be much stronger online compared to LAN.
The silver lining for this squad is that they have taken a recent break from grinding Halo 5. Members of the squad were present at the MLG Atlanta event, and then the team was in New York City to help promote Halo Wars 2. This led to a large gap of time where the team was unable to consistently practice. Unfortunately, the squad seemed to suffer another loss yesterday.
— Allegiance (@TeamAllegiance) February 27, 2017
The loss of Emanuel “Hoaxer” Lovejoy as their coach, less than a week prior to the event, can work against this team.
Scrim results have been improving recently, but Str8 has an uphill climb and not a whole lot of time to get back to the top. However, Str8 is in a good position to still qualify at this weekend’s LAN. The top 6 will move on to Worlds, and Str8 likely still has the firepower to beat out lower Pro teams. They are more than capable of pulling together to qualify and prove themselves as top 4.
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