Player Feedback Noted as HCS Releases Version 2 Competitive Settings

Quickly following up on their promise to listen to the players, the HCS has adjusted the new competitive settings. The new settings, dubbed “Version 1” were released last week, receiving praise from many competitive players. The update, aptly named “Version 2” continues to tweak in-game properties and better balance the game. Due to the speed in which these settings are updated, it is possible that the settings used at HCS Daytona will have progressed to Version 3 or Version 4.

This piece will break down each change, and briefly discuss their impact on the game.

Battle Rifle Added to Carbine Two on Truth

Pink Tower has always been a power position, no matter which iteration of Midship is being played. In Halo 5, however, the presence of a Battle Rifle on Pink 2 created a very skewed balance of map positioning. To place better emphasis on the Carbine side of the map, a Battle Rifle has replaced the Carbine Rifle on Carbine 2.

Car 2 will now be a more contestable position. Courtesy of Youtube.com

 

The addition of a Battle Rifle will help players fighting on that side of the map, and make it a more viable position to defend. It will also eliminate much of the cross-mapping imbalance from Pink Tower, as players will have an equal precision rifle to fight back with.

 

Increased Magnum Ammo

The removal of the Assault Rifle as a starting weapon left the magnum as the lone tool for post-respawn play. Although this change was beneficial, the absence of a second weapon caused players to run out of ammo quickly. Players who were caught without magnum ammo were an easy target, and the default amount just wasn’t enough. To combat this occurrence, magnum ammo has increased to 60.

This change has effectively doubled the carrying capacity of the magnum, and will certainly reduce, if not eliminate situations in which players find themselves without a round to shoot.

 

Tactical Magnums in Fathom Treehouses

The TacMag creates stealthy precision. Courtesy of Reddit.com

343i cites pro player feedback as the primary influence behind this implementation. Previously, silenced Assault Rifles appeared in each treehouse. With automatics now phased out of Halo 5 competitive play, the stealthy tactical magnum will appear in its place. The tactical magnum is equipped with a silencer, thus allowing for stealthier plays.

The silenced magnum will help players put precision shots on opponents without appearing on the new radar. For this reason, it will be primarily useful when flanking. A player effectively utilizing the tactical magnum will sneakily stop a flag run, and buy time for teammates to counter-capture.

 

Plasma Pistol in Security on Eden Slayer

In the Version 1 settings, an Overshield was placed outside on Eden Slayer. The lack of an Overshield counter created a significant advantage for the team to reach the Overshield first. Resulting was a mad-dash to the Overshield at the beginning of games. To better balance the equation, a Plasma Pistol has been added to Security Tower.

The addition will allow players to feel more comfortable when utilizing a more balanced push at the start of each game. With a charged shot, the plasma pistol can remove an entire Overshield upon contact. Accordingly, players with the Overshield must now play more cautious to keep their precious powerup.

What are your thoughts on these changes? Are there any more you’d like to see? Let us know in the comments!

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

HCS Announces Summer Pro League 2017 Details

The Halo Championship Series has announced the official roadmap for the Summer 2017 Pro League. The announcement comes hot on the heels of brand new competitive settings, which are currently being tested. The new settings will make their official debut at HCS Daytona next month. This piece will recap the Pro League announcement and touch on competitive Halo plans for the rest of 2017.

North American Pro League

Following HCS Daytona in mid-May, the North American Pro League will make its official return on May 24. Pro teams will battle weekly in online matches to earn championship seeding points.

The HCS Summer Season will conclude with an open championship event at Dreamhack Atlanta from July 21 to July 23. Dreamhack Atlanta will feature an open bracket, and amateur teams will have the chance to battle their way to the title. As a result, Halo fans may see exciting upsets, as equal opportunity will be available for any team to succeed.

Additionally, the HCS announced seven pro teams that will comprise the Pro League top eight. Here are the teams:

  • OpTic Gaming
  • Team EnVyUs
  • Team Liquid
  • Str8 Rippin
  • Luminosity Gaming
  • TMMT Crowd Pleasers
  • Evil Geniuses

The eighth and final spot will be awarded to the winner of the Pro League Last Chance Qualifier, which will be announced soon. With rostermania in full-force, it will be interesting to see how these teams stand up as the Pro League action unfolds.

Courtesy of Halowaypoint.com

Dreamhack Atlanta

Also announced was the Summer 2017 Finals at Dreamhack Atlanta. The top six professional teams will auto-qualify for the event and will play in the championship bracket. The event will feature a crowdfunded prize pool of well over $100,000.

Although the top six teams will auto-qualify for championship bracket play, the seventh and eighth-seeded teams will have to play through the open bracket. These teams will be challenged by top amateur talent as they fight to keep their top eight Pro League hopes alive. As July approaches, the HCS plans to announce more specific details regarding the Dreamhack Championship.

Following Dreamhack Atlanta, the HCS will begin the Fall 2017 Season in late August, which concludes with another open championship at Dreamhack Denver in October. As the competitive settings continue to develop, the HCS will continue to announce more details.

Are you excited for more competitive Halo action? Will you be attending an open event, or competing online? Let us know in the comments!


You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

The HCS Summer Preview Playlist is a Step in the Right Direction

Following the announcement of new HCS settings earlier this week, Halo has added a ranked preview playlist to Halo 5. The playlist offers players the opportunity to test the new HCS settings, and provide feedback. The feedback will be used to help decide further tweaks to the settings. The final settings will be used for both HCS Daytona and the Summer Season of the HCS Pro League.

The playlist is a step in the right direction for 343 Industries, listening to the Halo player base. While it has yet to be seen how the decision-making process will reflect player feedback, it is refreshing to see eyes and ears turn toward the Halo community.

This piece will preview some of the more specific mechanical changes, and discuss the importance of 343i’s new move to the competitive community.

 

Map and Gametype Changes

For all competitive maps, 343i has removed all traces of automatic weapons. Silenced Assault Rifles, SMGs, Brute Plasma Rifles, and Storm Rifles have all gotten the axe. The removal of such weapons will likely satisfy the community, who has sought their removal for some time. Splinter Grenades have also been removed, as 343i follows up on their promise given last week.

Also changed are the respawn timers for Tier 1 and Tier 2 weapons. Battle Rifles, Carbines, DMRs, Light Rifles, and Boltshots will now respawn every 40 seconds. The Plasma Pistol, Shotgun, Scattershot, Hydra, and Needler will see respawn timers of 20 seconds. The change will hopefully reduce the ubiquity of each weapon, and disallow snowballing during gameplay.

The SPNKr will now be the standard Rocket Launcher. Courtesy of Gamepur.

Another interesting change is the switch on Coliseum from the default Rocket Launcher to the SPNKr Rocket Launcher. Additionally, pad formerly featuring the SPNKr Rocket Launcher on Eden will now host an Overshield for Slayer games. It seems 343 Industries is making the SPNKr the standard Rocket Launcher, and alleviating some of the power weapon reliance in Slayer gametypes.

Also specified are the initial radar changes. The Motion Sensor Inner range has been changed to 60%, and the radar will no longer pick up players traveling at base movement speed. Because of the controversy surrounding the radar, it will be interesting to see how these settings are tweaked over the next few weeks.

 

Everyone Has a Voice

The HaloWaypoint forums will be the place to provide feedback. Courtesy of Accessify.

In the announcement, 343i revealed that the Multiplayer team met with top HCS players to discuss feedback. The players brainstormed several ideas for the settings, and had a heavy influence on what is now being called “Version 1” of the HCS Summer Season settings. This is reminiscent of the MLG days, where pro players were surveyed periodically for updates to competitive gametypes. Pro player preferences often reflect the opinions of the community at-large, so many players trust they will help keep the gameplay fresh and balanced.

Pro players are not the only group providing feedback, however. An official forum thread now exists for any community members to share opinions on the settings. This feedback will be used as a consensus to sway decisions regarding tweaks to the Version 1 settings. As players continue to test the new settings, look for more changes to be made accordingly over the next few weeks.

Conclusion

343 Industries placing their trust in the community is a fantastic move. They have finally moved away from keeping competitive play as “vanilla” as possible, and now allow the players to craft the settings that they want. This will keep players engaged with the game, and hopefully point the competitive meta in a new, better direction.

The one question that many have is, “Why now?” Halo 5 is in its final year, with two World Championships already under its belt. While the changes are certainly the correct move, is 343i offering too little, too late? Is this a move to appease a community growing in resentment for the developer? Or conversely, is it the start of a long-term plan to be more involved with the players? We must wait and see if the involvement continues into Halo 6. But for now, the changes are undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

 

Changes Are Coming to Halo 5 Competitive Settings. Here’s What They Mean for the Meta.

Last Friday, Halo announced that changes will soon come to competitive gametypes in the HCS. The changes follow several accusations from the Halo community about the competitive viability of Halo 5. In a heated debate, community members made clear that the longevity of competitive Halo 5 was at stake if their voices were not heard.

These changes seem to be a response from 343 Industries, who affirm that they will be working with pro players to implement additional updates. Shaking up the Halo 5 meta is a welcomed change to a game in which competition is beginning to stagnate. The hope of the community is that 343 Industries will continue to be receptive of such criticism as Halo 5 enters its final year of competitive play.

This article breaks down each of the changes, and explains their implications in changing the Halo 5 competitive meta.

Energy Sword Removal

When explaining the removal of the energy sword, 343 notes that the increased movement speed imbalances Capture the Flag (CTF) games on Truth. When combined with Halo 5’s enhanced movement mechanics, a player with the sword equipped can run a flag across the map incredibly quick. The utility of the weapon is consequently exploited in competitive play, allowing for very imbalanced games. 343 claims to be working on a change to the weapon, and say that it may be re-instituted later.

Halo 5’s Midship remake, Truth. Courtesy of HaloWaypoint

Meta Implications: Removal of the sword will balance out CTF games, and allow for more structured play. This benefits teams that can control power positions and set up for spawn-trapping on Truth. Without the energy sword, the frequency of back-to-back flag captures will greatly decrease as well. If the sword returns in the future, it will likely be with a movement speed nerf to preserve its lethality as a close-range power weapon.

 

SPLINTER GRENADE REMOVAL

Splinter grenades were intended to be used as a strategic tool for area denial. Closing off flag routes, or removing the possibility of a flank would assist teams that utilized splinters wisely. In the current meta, however, splinter grenades have become more of a tool for close-range instant kills. Throwing a splinter grenade at an opponent’s feet requires little skill, and 343 has thus removed them. These grenades may make their return later, following a balance tune.

Meta Implications: Splinter grenades have become a big problem in the Halo 5 meta. More often than not, they are used as an easy-out for players who are disadvantaged in a battle. Players must now rely on better frag grenade placement, and accurate plasma grenade sticks. Additionally, because a prime method of area denial is now gone, players will be expected to tighten up positioning to win games.

Assault Rifle Removal

The AR had unprecedented power, but no reward for accuracy. Courtesy of HaloWaypoint

Citing similar outcomes during battles between players of separate skill levels, 343 Industries determined that the Assault Rifle was unqualified for competition. In the current meta, the assault rifle can be used to easily kill an opponent close-range, or benefit those who camp with the radar. Criticisms about the assault rifle had been leveled against 343 Industries for most of Halo 5’s tenure, as many players questioned its place in competitive play. 343 states that they are seeking to better tune the weapon for the future.

Meta Implications: Gone are the days of camping with the AR and the radar. The gun rewarded spray and pray use, and seemed fairly random in terms of accuracy. Players will now be required to have a better grasp of the magnum at all ranges. This will separate those with an incredible shot from others who used the AR as a last-ditch effort to take down opponents.

 

Brute Plasma Rifle Removal

The brute plasma rifle allows players to obtain lightning-fast close range kills because of its sheer power. The rifle quickly eats away at shields, and players can swiftly finish off their opponent with a subsequent melee. The lopsided nature of the brute plasma rifle prompted closer examination by 343, who then opted for its removal. The absence of the rifle reinforces the notion that automatics serve as a detriment to competitive play.

Meta Implications: Although the gun lacks lethality from a distance, it is incredibly overpowered up-close. As automatic rifles are phased out of competitive play, the focus will shift back to precision. Keeping a steady aim will put players in the driver’s seat to control a game.

 

Weapon Respawn Timer Adjustment

Addressing the snowball-like nature of the current Halo 5 meta, 343 announced changes to the frequency of power weapon respawns. These changes will affect precision rifles like the Battle Rifle and Carbine, and close-range weapons like the Shotgun and Storm Rifle. 343 adds that the changes will not impact weapons on Weapon Pads.

Meta Implications: Placing the precision rifles and close range weapons to a timer that is more consistent with the high tier power weapons has two large implications. First, teams will need to prioritize which power weapons to pursue, given their strategy and map placement. Additionally, the change will create a more level situation when teams fight for fresh power weapons. This will put more of an emphasis on teamwork and strategy, rather than one team steamrolling another.

 

Radar Fixes

Halo 5’s in-game radar has been arguably the most hotly-debated aspect of competitive play for some time. Several players have called for its complete removal, as no other Halo game applied radar to competitive play. Conversely, other players claim that disabling radar will make gameplay too chaotic, given Halo 5’s movement mechanics.

The new radar will decrease spartan ability exploitation. Courtesy of IGN.

343 was reluctant to present a decisive judgment, but will instead work with pro players and the community to determine the best method going forward. Most recently, a new radar has been tested online in the Proving Grounds playlist. The radar compromises between each camp of thought, featuring an increased range, but only detecting non-silenced weapon fire, and spartan ability usage. The new radar allows players to control when they appear on the motion tracker, and better controls for exploitation of spartan abilities.

 

Conclusion

The changes to Halo 5’s competitive settings have been met with a mostly positive reception from the Halo community. Continued support from 343 Industries will hopefully give players the voice they’ve been yearning for. With pro player feedback as the driving force, Halo competition likely seems to be forging a better path forward.

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

Allegiance Founder Gives His Ideas for the Future of Halo Esports

In a post to the Team Beyond forums Wednesday, Team Allegiance President and Founder Connor “InStiiNcT” Hall gave ideas for what he believes can elevate Halo to a top-tier esport. Hall founded team Allegiance in 2015, and built a team to compete in Halo 5. Allegiance’s inaugural season was a success, as the team would go on to place second in the 2016 Halo World Championship.

Connor Hall (left) of Allegiance. Courtesy of Columbia Missourian

Since then, Allegiance maintained success in competitive Halo 5, boasting several top 8 finishes, and all-star rosters. However, after a disappointing bid for 2017 Halo World Championship qualification, Allegiance announced their withdrawal from competitive Halo. In his announcement, Hall provided justification for the departure, stating “-our vision in Halo doesn’t align any longer with the future plans for the competitive scene”. Following accusations toward 343 Industries about transparency, and plans for the future of competitive Halo, some wondered if Allegiance was the first of many organizations exiting the Halo scene.

Hall is not finished with Halo, though. In his post, he says that he is open to working with 343i to help grow the scene. In this article, I’ll break down major parts of his plans in easy-to-read bullet points, and give my take on his proposals.

Transparency and Communication

  • 343 must treat transparency with utmost importance.
  • Necessary for 343 to listen to players and community members to implement in-game settings.
  • Communication and transparency facilitates trust among the community.
  • Halo needs a spokesperson to respond promptly and professionally to the community.
  • A method of communication that prioritizes league investment, keeping players and organizations in the know.
  • Content must be created to showcase great aspects of competitive Halo, and build storylines.

My Take: Hall mentions that his organization was left in the dark about plans for competitive Halo. This is absolutely appalling. Esports organizations are businesses that require careful planning to function properly. I think it is at the very least disrespectful for 343 to exclude the community and orgs included from structural strategy. At the end of the day, the community is solely what drives interest in competitive Halo. Excluding the community is equivalent to signing your own death certificate. 343 must be better at allowing players an outlet for communication and criticism.

 

Player Professionalism

  • Pros must treat their position as a professional occupation.
  • Players should be expected to respect their contract, practice their craft, and seek improvement as necessary.
  • Players are representatives of their brand, and the community at-large, and should portray themselves as such.
  • Team changes are sometimes requisite, given the culture of the game, but loyalty is imperative.
  • Content creation is necessary to sustain interest in Halo as an esport.

Courtesy of ESL

My take: I wholeheartedly agree with all of this. Yes, Halo began as a grassroots community, with little to no player restraint necessary. But since the inception of org involvement in Halo, players are representing businesses. If a player acts poorly, it reflects negatively on the organization, which hurts marketability to potential sponsors. In its current state, Halo needs to be appealing to the largest audience possible. Immaturity will only leave a bad taste in the mouth of anyone with a prospective interest in the title.

I also believe it necessary for pro players to churn out content regularly. These players have a platform that many would kill for, and not creating content does a disservice to themselves. Many pro players don’t seem to understand that as interest in Halo esports wanes, so does the viability of their career as a pro gamer.

 

Tournament Quality and League Vision

  • Tournament quality must be competitive in nature to other esports.
  • Possess standards of quality when working with tournament organizers.
  • Build events that appeal to spectators, fans, and competitors.
  • Share visions and aspirations with leaders in the community to attract professional interest.

Courtesy of ESL

My take: I don’t run an esports organization, but it seems that 343i is willing to accept a standard of quality that only just gets by. This cannot continue. To achieve the prosperity similar to other top esports, you must act like one. Poorly-run tournaments, lackluster venues, boring broadcasts, and little opportunity for amateurs to succeed will not drive interest. 343 Industries needs to work with their partners, and esports organizations to improve the quality of their league.

 

Conclusion

Hall has some great ideas that I can really get behind. He has demonstrated that he has the knowledge and passion to succeed in Halo esports. I believe that 343 Industries should be open to working with leaders in the community like him, and help create a better future for Halo esports. You can find Connor Hall on Twitter @CHInStiiNcT. You can read his original post here.

Do you agree with the proposals mentioned above? Do you have others to contribute? Let me know in the comments!

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

Things MLG Did Right With Halo That The HCS Can Adopt

Ever wonder why most competitive Halo veterans refer to the days of MLG Halo as “the good days”? There’s good reason. The matches were the most competitive, the personalities were enormous, and the storylines were compelling. Although Halo esports has grown and matured, the Halo Championship Series (HCS) hasn’t quite captured the magic that was primetime MLG Halo. However, the HCS could imitate some of the triumphs of MLG to better the tournament experience.

Sometimes to forge the best path forward, it’s necessary to look to the past. HCS, the oddball is in your court.

 

The Pro Circuit Format

For competitive play, MLG utilized a season-like format for their Pro Circuit. The circuit included several open events placed around the country, concluding with an invite-only national championship event. Events were held in areas like Anaheim, Dallas, Columbus, Orlando, and so on. The spread of events across the nation allowed for competitors of all regions to attend tournaments without too much burden. This kind of regional balance is something the HCS sorely lacks. A structured, seasonal open event schedule would allow players to better plan for each event, and could provide some consistency that the HCS needs.

Courtesy of GameGeex

Along with the live events, the MLG Pro Circuit also held Pro Circuit ladders. The ladders allowed teams to schedule matches at their own pace, climb ranks, and earn pro points. At the end of each seasonal period, the ladders would be formatted into a tournament bracket. The top ladder teams would then compete for seeding points at the next MLG event.

This structure benefitted amateur teams who put in the work, and fewer players were left at the liberty of a single-elimination qualifier tournament. Many amateur players were left discouraged during the previous HCS season, as the format seemed to stack the deck against them.

 

Live Event Experience

Most will agree that the MLG live event experience during the tenure of Halo 2 and Halo 3 carried unmatched hype. Whether it was Walshy likening the defeat of his former team to “taking candy from a baby”, or Faruq Tauheed hyping the crowd with his “Lock it up!” catchphrase, the excitement was always palpable. This type of environment seems absent at HCS Halo tournaments. The long downtimes and the going-through-the-motions style production makes the atmosphere seem deflated. While a professional atmosphere is necessary in today’s esports climate, competitive Halo feels truly at home in a grassroots environment. The HCS can surely better compromise between the two.

Courtesy of Major League Gaming

MLG events also boasted an incredible viewing experience for main stage play. The teams were seated just next to each other, with large projection screens above each respective setup. The coliseum-style seating brought spectators together and surrounded the main stage with hype. It gave primetime competitive Halo the experience of a sporting event, complete with great commentary and a rowdy crowd.

While Halo esports is more developed than 2008, the HCS should tap into this experience for future events. Put microphones on the crowd, allow some more trash talk, and keep the viewers entertained between or before each match. The Halo World Championship Finals live experience was heartbreaking, and crowd engagement needs a major resurgence.

 

Conclusion

Although these are just my opinions, I think most will agree with the unforgettable experience that was a MLG Halo tournament. With a year left of Halo 5, the HCS has plenty of time to improve the aspects in which they are lacking. Creating a more consistent, structured tournament format, and a better live experience will almost certainly help cultivate interest in Halo esports. The HWC Finals were ripped online for the tournament experience, and there’s nowhere to go but up.

 

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

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!

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

Status’ Top 5 Moments from the 2017 Halo World Championship Finals

The 2017 Halo World Championship Finals has come and gone, but it brought some of the best moments to date in competitive Halo history. For the competitors, the event was the conclusion to several months of practice and competition. For spectators, it was wondering if anyone could topple OpTic’s Halo 5 reign. Sporting a one-million-dollar prize pool, an all-star casting crew, and some insane matches, the 2017 HWC Finals had no shortage of great moments. These are my top five.

5. Two Halo Legends Talk Competitions Past

Tom “TSquared” Taylor and Dave “Walshy” Walsh. Both legends of their respective craft, and monsters of Halo 2. Amidst the trash talk and in-game shenanigans at the HWC Finals, they took a break to reminisce of some vintage trash talk of the Halo 2 era. Referencing this clip, TSquared spoke of an embarrassing time when Walshy went after him with dual-needlers at an MLG tournament. At the time, Walshy was competing with legendary team Final Boss. In a time before fines and player discipline, trash talk was on another level. It was great to see these two talk about times past, and their passion for Halo competition.

 

4. Mikwen’s Epic Overkill vs. Str8 Rippin

When you are Str8 Rippin, and your backs are against the wall, the last thing you want is a red-hot Austin “Mikwen” McCleary on the opposing team. After going down 0-3 against Team EnVyUs, Str8 Rippin looked to bounce back in Fathom CTF. Their chances were bleak, but Str8’s resiliency had been on display all weekend.

The game started strongly in Str8’s favor, and the overkills flew as Envy eventually tied the game up. Going for the win, Envy’s Justin “IGotUrPistola” Deese grabbed the final flag, and headed for his base. Mikwen provided a perfect escort, and killed the entire Str8 Rippin team, clearing the way for the winning flag capture. The play perfectly underscored the lethality of Team EnVyUs, and ended a flawless series to progress them further in the bracket.

 

3. The Entire Str8 Rippin vs. TMMT Crowd Pleasers Series

When Str8 Rippin and Crowd Pleasers met in Round 1 of bracket play, everyone knew sparks would fly. Crowd Pleasers contained notorious trash-talkers Carlos “Cratos” Ayala, Brett “Naded” Leonard, and pterodactyl impersonator Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi. These players were eager to knock Halo veteran Aaron “ACE” Elam and the rest of Str8 into the losers bracket early.

The series started heavily in favor of Str8, as they quickly jumped to a 3-0 lead. Crowd Pleasers were not content with a sweep, however. Cratos and crew answered with 3 straight wins, and forced a Game 7 against a stunned Str8 Rippin. As the crowd cheered in disbelief, the entire team gave Str8 the look of doom right before the deciding match.

In game 7 Regret Slayer, each team traded blows until Str8 capitalized on an overshield spawn, and pulled away. Upon victory, ACE was so excited that he hopped his way across the stage to shake the hands of Crowd Pleasers. This entire series was a back-and-forth battle, with a very satisfying end. The passion and personality clash between the teams is unmatched.

 

2. Frosty’s Disrespect

In Game 4 of OpTic Gaming’s Grand Finals sweep over EnVyUs, Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom decided to have a little fun. His team was well on their way to defending their world title, and he wanted to show OpTic’s dominance to the world.

Love it or hate it, disrespect and competitive Halo have been inseparable since the beginning. At the end of the day, the players are friends, and what happens in-game, stays in-game. The showmanship exhibited by Frosty adds a layer of personality and excitement to the narrative, and is welcome in my opinion.

 

1. Snip3down Finds a Glitch

This was hands-down the best moment of the tournament for me. When tied 2-2 in a series between championship contenders, a glitch is the last thing on the mind. For Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, however, a rendering glitch allowed him to see through a wall, and set up a critical snipe on Tim “Rayne” Tinkler.

The greatest aspect is the reactions from both Snip3down himself, and the casters. Snip3down is so confused that he throws his hands up in disbelief mid-game. The casters are caught off-guard and lose their train of thought. Meanwhile the crowd is going crazy. The irony of a glitch making its debut during a million-dollar tournament is lost on nobody, and is incredibly hilarious as a result.

clips courtesy of twitch.tv/halo

These are my top-five moments from the 2017 HWC Finals! Did I miss anything amazing? Let me know in the comments!

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

Halo World Championship Finals Regional Preview: Australia and Latin America

The Halo World Championship Finals begin in just two short days. So far, this regional preview series has covered the best North American and best European teams. Because both Australia and Latin America are sending one team each, this final installment will merge both regions. At the 2016 Halo World Championship, both regions failed to crack the top 8. Both teams have spent the better part of a year practicing for their chance to win big. Is 2017 the year an Australian or Latin American team will raise the HWC trophy, or will these regions fall short yet again?

 

Australia: Team Immunity

Roster: Aaron “Benno” Bennett, Teddy “Junior” Joe Jr., Daniel “Seduce” Franken, Matthew “Voltage” Barker

Led by Australian Halo veteran Benno, Team Immunity will attend the HWC Finals with a roster identical to their 2016 showing. The team faced a crisis last year, with an injury sidelining former player Matt “Heff” Hefren. Just days before the biggest Halo tournament in history, Team Immunity was scrambling for a fourth player. The Australian squad hoped for the best, quickly acquiring rookie player Junior, but it unfortunately wasn’t enough.

Benno and Team Immunity. Courtesy of RespawnNinja

In the group stage, Immunity were swept by two red-hot North American teams, eLevate and Denial eSports. They failed to make bracket play, with their only win being a sweep over European team FAB Games eSports. Although disheartening given the circumstance, this shock lit a fire under Immunity for the 2017 HWC Finals. They were better than their placing, and they knew it.

Team Immunity’s road to the 2017 HWC Finals began in early 2017, with a series of online tournaments, concluding with an Online Regional Qualifier in Februrary. The eight-team qualifier featured the best Australian Halo teams, all fighting for one trip to the 2017 HWC Finals. With last years’ shortcomings on their minds, Immunity demolished all obstacles in their path.

The team swept their way into the Grand Final for a face-off with Gryffindor, but were not slowing down any time soon. A flawless 4-0 victory in the Grand Finals awarded Team Immunity with a ticket to the 2017 HWC Finals, and a massive weight off the shoulders of Benno and crew.

This weekend, Immunity seeks to build on their successes at home, and face the strongest competition in the world. Placed in Group C with North American titans Team EnVyUs, and LCQ Champs Splyce, it seems that they’ve got their work cut out for them. Look for Benno and the rest of Immunity to try catching these teams off-guard, as they battle for a spot in the Championship Bracket.

 

Latin America: SoaR Gaming

Roster: Irving “Drift” Ramírez, Atzin “Atzo” Pulido, Carlos “Bullet” Marlasca, Gilbert “MuNoZ” Muñoz

Munoz hopes to lead SoaR to victory. Courtesy of Twitter @elevateMunoz

SoaR Gaming, formerly Shock the World, has had an interesting week. First, the team acquired Halo veteran MuNoZ after losing Josbe “Tapping Buttons” Valadez to visa issues. Then, the Shock the World roster was acquired by esports organization SoaR Gaming for the HWC Finals. Although MuNoZ brings leadership and experience to the team, can they adjust in enough time to perform well this weekend?

SoaR Gaming began their journey to the HWC Finals by competing at the Mexico City HWC 2017 Qualifier. After barely edging out MuNoZ former team, Aztek Gaming, in Winners Bracket Round 3, SoaR cruised into the Grand Final. A charged-up Synergy Gaming roster proved no match for SoaR, as they defeated the fellow Latin American squad 4-2.

The victory in Mexico City punched SoaR Gaming’s tickets to California, but has left more questions than answers. Will MuNoZ HWC experience be enough to keep team composure? Can SoaR overcome European powerhouse FAB Games, or NA veterans Str8 Rippin in Group D? Can the squad adjust without teammate, Tapping Buttons?

Chosen Squad, the 2016 HWC Latin American team, won only a single game in pool play. On the other hand, the 2017 Latin American team is an entirely new roster. SoaR gaming is well-aware that they are the underdogs heading into the 2017 HWC Finals. Look for the team to unite under MuNoZ as they try to make a miracle run this weekend.

 

Conclusion

This concludes the regional preview series for the 2017 Halo World Championship Finals!  As we approach the beginning of the action, the teams are making their final preparations. Which teams will fall short of expectations, and which will rise to the occasion? Be sure to watch the action unfold this weekend at twitch.tv/halo.

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

Halo World Championship Finals Regional Preview: Europe

Three teams will represent Europe in the Halo World Championship Finals next weekend in Burbank, California. FAB Games eSports, Supremacy, and London Conspiracy will venture across the pond to clash with Halo teams from North America, Australia, and Latin America. After a disappointing outing for Europe at the Halo World Championship 2016, these three teams seek to make a statement, and prove that the European scene is not to be taken lightly. This article will focus on each of the European Halo teams, and highlight their respective journeys to the Halo World Championship Finals.

FAB Games eSports

Roster: Brandon “Respectful” Stones, James “Jimbo” Bradbrook, Perry “TuFoxy” Kenyon, Luciano “Mose” Calvanico.

EU Halo veteran Jimbo. Courtesy of Halo Esportspedia

Of the three European teams competing at the HWC Finals, FAB Games eSports’ Halo 5 tenure has certainly been the most impressive. In addition to a dominant first-place finish in the HCS Pro League Fall Season, FAB Games boasts event wins at the HCS Summer Finals, HCS Fall Finals, and Gfinity London 2017. The presence of Halo veterans Jimbo and TuFoxy has helped the team hit their stride. Their chances going into HWC Finals have never looked better.

FAB Games qualified for the HWC Finals after a dominant run at Gfinity London 2017. There, they would crush team Supremacy 4-1 in the Grand Finals, not losing a single series prior. Several consecutive tournament wins, and bearers of the first EU qualifying spot signal that FAB Games is a promising contender for the HWC title. Expect them to enter the HWC Finals with a chip on their shoulder, as the best European team looks to continue their momentum and bring a win back home.

 

Supremacy

Roster: Norwen “SLG” Le Galloudec, Romain “PuniShR” Leroy, Sonny “Fragxr” Marchaland, Simon “SolaR” Racher.

Hailing from France, and sporting a re-tooled roster going into Gfinity London 2017, Supremacy appeared an unlikely candidate to qualify for the HWC Finals. Only the top two teams from the event would qualify. Supremacy would need to take down successful EU teams like exceL eSports, London Conspiracy, and Team Infused to have a shot.

Supremacy suffered a loss early to the BUK twins’ squad, Pace Making Pandas. Consequently, they would need to construct a herculean tournament run in order to qualify at Gfinity. The team responded with incredible composure, blasting their way through the Losers Bracket. Supremacy met fierce resistance against Team Infused in the Losers Finals. With HWC Finals qualification on the line, Supremacy vanquished Team Infused after a grueling seven-game struggle.

Supremacy would fall to FAB Games eSports 4-1 in the Grand Finals. However, the tenacity of the team left many surprised. Supremacy will need to dig deep to face the competition at the HWC Finals. They have the potential to shock the world if they can make a successful run.

 

London Conspiracy

London Conspiracy. Courtesy of Gfinity.

Roster: Rob “SeptiQ” Singleton, Andrew “Ramirez” Corrigan, Casey “Lunny” Lunn, Kristopher “Qristola” O’Keefe

Following Gfinity London, two of the three European HWC Finals spots had been claimed. Halo veterans SeptiQ and Ramirez knew they must win the Last Chance Qualifier if they wanted a shot at one million dollars. London Conspiracy finished a disappointing 5th-6th at Gfinity London. This prompted the departure of Ryan “Batchford” Batchelor, and the acquisition of newcomer Qristola. This change appeared beneficial, as London Conspiracy seemed refreshed heading into the LCQ. Incidentally, London Conspiracy would then defeat Batchford’s new team, Best Routers EU, in the Grand Finals 4-1.

As a result of the LCQ win, London Conspiracy holds the final EU spot for the HWC Finals. A relatively new team, London Conspiracy must play lights-out to have a chance at winning their pool, and moving into bracket play at the HWC Finals.

 

Conclusion

These teams are the best of the best in Europe. But are they skilled enough to beat the dominant North American competition? Only three teams will be representing Europe in the 2017 Halo World Championship, compared to seven from North America. If the European teams want a chance at victory, they seem to have their work cut out for them.

Furthermore, as the time until the HWC Finals grows shorter, anticipation is steadily building. Look for the EU teams to come out swinging while they attempt to topple the competition from around the world. As always, all the action will be streamed live at twitch.tv/halo.

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

Page 1 of 212