Tips for First-Time Halo Competitors

Yesterday, Halo laid out a preview for what the rest of 2017 has in store for the HCS. Announced first was a partnership with esports tournament organization UMG. This partnership will manifest itself in the form of a $75,000 Halo 5 open 4v4 and FFA tournament. The action will take place in Daytona Beach, Florida from May 12-14th.

Also announced is the continuation of the HCS Pro League and Open Circuit. Further information will be released next week, and Halo fans should be assured that 2017 will be a strong year for competitive Halo.

The Halo World Championship Finals was just announced to be the most-watched Halo esports event ever. As competitive Halo continues to break viewership records, it will surely extend its reach to new potential competitors.

With a new open event coming, and more on the horizon, several new players will be attending a major Halo tournament for the first time. While the idea of competing at a major event is intimidating, if you’re adequately prepared, you will surely make the most of it.

Although I’ve never been a professional, my Halo competitive experience spans nearly a decade across five Halo titles. I’ve attended local LANs, competed at majors, and jumped into the online ladders. Over the years, I’ve picked up some skills that help me navigate the world of competitive Halo a little better. If you are newer to the competitive Halo scene, these tips are for you.

Develop Chemistry with Your Teammates Out of Game

This cannot be emphasized enough, and can really spill over into tournament gameplay. Knowing your teammates on a

The best teams are also friends out of game. Courtesy of HaloWaypoint.

personal level can help develop trust, and greatly increase your communication in game. Take time around your matches to grab food together, and chat casually. It’s psychologically proven that team performance is enhanced when those on the team are comfortable with each other.

Also, spend some time talking strategy for certain maps and gametypes, so you’ll be familiar with the game plan. A team with great chemistry will respond promptly to verbal communication, and will be aware of each other’s movements throughout the game. This is especially important when you need backup on a flag run, or some support when grabbing a power weapon.

Stick to Your Settings

The good old-fashioned Halo sensitivity crisis. We all know it, and we all have experienced it. BUT, the middle of an event you’ve practiced so hard for is not the time to fiddle with your controller settings.

You may feel that your reticle is too fast or too slow during warm-ups, or that your shot is ever so slightly off in your first series. I can promise that switching sensitivities is not the solution. It should also go without saying that a Halo tournament is not the time to decide you’ve wanted to play Southpaw. In short, stick with your settings, and you’ll be fine.

Be Social

Several players come to compete in Open Bracket tournaments. Courtesy of HaloWaypoint

Don’t be afraid to approach other players around the event. Every competitor is there for the same reason as you are, and nearly all of them are open to the idea of having new people to game with. This is the time to forge those friendships, and expand your Halo social network.

Team changes happen all too often in competitive Halo. Meeting other players at the event may allow you a larger pool of potential teammates should yours not work out.

Dress Comfortable

It’s a Halo tournament, not the Opera. Find some nice comfortable sweats, or jeans if that’s your thing, and be comfortable! Yes, we all play better when we’re at home, and what you’re wearing is one of the few things about the tournament atmosphere that you can control.

Let me also note that tournament venues are usually pretty cold. Having a hoodie, or something warm in your backpack could save you from the mid-match shivers.

Scrimmage, Scrimmage, Scrimmage

The best way to get a taste for the meta in Halo is to do battle with another team. OpTiC Gaming didn’t win back-to-back

Scrimmaging helps prepare for the actual event. Courtesy of EsportsArena

world championships by just grinding matchmaking. Going head to head with another set of competitors will help solidify your strategy, and give you an idea of what you’ll be up against in a tournament environment.

My advice is to take scrimmages seriously. Call out, practice starting strategies, and time power weapons like you’re already at the tournament. Be sure to keep track of the series score, and maintain your intensity. Afterwards, view your games in theater mode, and critique the gameplay.

Scrimmaging with a tournament mentality will help you feel more comfortable at an event, because you’ll feel like you’ve been there already. This type of practice can eliminate the “tournament jitters,” and keep your shot steady during bracket play.

 

Are you a seasoned competitor with some advice that I missed? Are you a newer player who enjoys the tips? Let me know in the comments, or contact me on Twitter!

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