Thoughts on the New EG

Earlier this week, Evil Geniuses announced a flurry of team changes. Brett “Naded” Leonard and coach Ryan “Towey” Towey both retired. The Greatest of All Time, Tom “OGRE 2″ Ryan became the new coach. However, EG still needed a player to replace Naded. They turned to Josbe “Tapping Buttons” Valadez.

Evil Geniuses’ Revamp

Many questioned EG’s decision to take Tapping Buttons over other, more well-known NA free agents. However, the young,

Courtesy of Josbe Valdez.

Mexican phenom has already made some large strides and big impressions. OGRE 2 has often personally praised Tapping Buttons and even teamed with him during the 2017 Halo World Championships. He has become notorious in the Latin American scene for having near-perfect accuracy, with some players and fans poking fun at it and suggesting that he uses a keyboard instead of a controller. Josbe has also proven that he deserves the praise he receives as well.

Tapping reached the international stage during the 2017 HWC season. His squad attended the Gfinity Mexico City event without participating in the preceding online qualifiers. Once there, Josbe’s squad, Shock the World, upset all of the top seeded teams at the event despite forming soon before. In the Grand Finals, Shock the World defeated Synergy Gaming 4-2 to secure their place at the HWC 2017 Finals, despite being the 18th seed. Unfortunately, due to visa issues, Tapping Buttons was unable to attend and was replaced by Gilbert “MuNoZ” Muñoz for the end of the season.

The Solution?

The God Squad. Image by Ryan Towey.

It’s no secret that EG has been struggling since Tony “LethuL” Campbell left to join the OpTic Gaming roster. The twins Jason “Lunchbox” and Justin “Roy” Brown have been through several team iterations in an attempt to regain their spot at the top of the HCS, but to no success. Michael “Falcated” Garcia, despite having a bad event at Daytona has shown potential on this squad. However, with the loss of Naded, EG has lost both slaying power as well as some objective aggression.

Tapping Buttons has shown that he is more than capable of making up for the lost slaying power, perhaps even surpassing Naded’s contribution in this field. However, more pressure will be put on Lunchbox for objective modes and another player may have to step up in order to make up for this.

Despite being just a coach, Towey carried a large impact for the Brown twins, being their coach consistently since 2010. This built-up chemistry is not easily replaced. Despite this, OGRE 2 may be the perfect alternative, as he teamed with the twins previously and has a good relationship with them.

Their difference in coaching styles may serve to benefit EG even more. Towey was often very active as a coach, making frequent play calls and call-outs for the team. While this worked in slower games like Halo 3 and Halo: Reach, Halo 5’s faster pace caused problems. Towey’s enthusiasm and activity crowded up the communications, leading to disarray. OGRE 2 takes a different approach. He only calls out spawn timers and critical game calls. This leads to communication being less crowded, with OGRE 2 often driving his team to make smart, crucial game decisions as in where to push and when. Through the last few nights of scrims, the team also seems to react much better to Tom’s coaching then Towey’s.

Looking Forward

Speaking of scrims, EG has done surprisingly well since picking up Tapping Buttons. Their first scrim was against

Tapping Buttons during an interview. Image by Gamelta.

Luminosity Gaming, and it ended with an 8-5 LG victory. Despite this, several of EG’s losses were close while some of their wins were dominant. Their second scrim was against the Daytona Champions, Team EnVyUs. The scrim ended with an 11-2 nV victory.

Despite the ending score, it should be taken with a grain of salt. Five of EG’s losses are what is referred to as “coin-toss” situations. These are instances in which the outcome of an encounter is 50/50. It just so happens that many of these situations fell in the favor of nV. As OGRE 2 stated at the end of the scrim, EG also choked a couple of games. This squad has can perform and if they put in the time, they can improve to likely hovering just outside of the top four.

What do you think of EG’s new squad? Will they be able to keep their spot, improve or will they be relegated at DreamHack Atlanta? Let me know!

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 Devin! Get in touch with Devin personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @RattPackFrosty!

I’d like to personally thank both Naded and Towey and wish them the best. Naded is a community legend and very obviously is still an able competitor. Towey was a huge part of the reason I began competing myself, as the Instinct squad he coached were what finally pushed me to attend an event. I hope you both accomplish any and all goals you have outside of Halo!

Header image by Record.com

Plup Takes Home Largest Career Win at Runback 2017

 

Justin “Plup” McGrath fought his way to a victory at Runback in Mesa, Arizona. The win over Weston “Westballz” Dennis in Grand Finals secured Plup’s largest career tournament win.

In fact, it’s his first win at a tournament with over 200 entrants and Runback featured four of the top 10 players, so it was no cakewalk. He ended the day with two set wins over Westballz and a 3-0 to James “Duck” Ma in winners semi’s

For Plup, it’s been a strong year with consistent 5th place finishes, but he’s still looking to get over the hump. A win at Runback, even with none of the top five in attendance, instilled confidence that he’s a level above the players eyeing his spot in the rankings. If he can figure out players like Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma, he has the potential to win majors.

On a day where the raucous Arizona crowd was going off, Plup was calm and composed. It doesn’t matter who he’s playing or the stage he’s on, his demeanor is always the same. Even when Westballz had Plup against the ropes on game five, his approach didn’t change and he ends up winning the tournament on a ridiculous combo.

Westballz vs SFAT. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/SAKGamingTV

The return of Westbawz

The other main story out of Runback was the return of the cocky Westballz. After a lackluster start to 2017, Westballz seemed to get his mojo back this weekend with the second place finish. It was good to see the defense first, punish heavy Westballz this weekend.

Also, the fact that Westballz beat Zac “SFAT” Cordoni in two separate sets on Sunday sparked some flames. As one of the most heated Smash rivalries in Melee, Westballz has historically had SFAT’s number (9-4 lifetime) and Runback was no different. He ends the two game losing streak with an emphatic victory at Runback.

In the end, he gave Plup a run in grand finals but got edged out in last stock scenarios. It’s his highest finish in 2017 and could be a confidence booster heading into the summer.

Top 8

1. Panda Global Plup (Sheik)

2. G2 Westballz (Falco)

3. CLG SFAT (Fox)

4. Phoenixl1 | Duck (Samus)

5. MedZ (Marth, Fox, Falco)

5. Tempo Storm Axe (Pikachu)

7. Bladewise (Peach)

7. EngGameTV Syrox (Fox)

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HCS Last Chance Qualifier Preview

With HCS Daytona wrapped up and OpTic losing for the first time since Fall Finals, the Halo community is now looking forward to the Pro League. However, one spot still remains in the league and there’s more than a few teams in the running to snatch it. Let’s take a look at the three most notable contenders that will be competing this weekend in the Last Chance Qualifier.

 

ERA Eternity

Roster: Hamza “Commonly” Abbaali, Ezekiel “Prototype” Martinez, Hunter “BabyJ” Schline, Dillon “Randa” Randa

BabyJ celebrating a victory. Image by Halo Esports Wiki.

Commonly was a player that most of the community assumed would end up on a team with a Pro seed. Instead, he ended up teaming with Prototype, BabyJ and Randa. Prototype has been an excellent main slayer since the days of Halo: Reach and continues to lay down consistent damage. BabyJ, on the other hand, has risen through the ranks since the release of Halo 5. These two players together challenged multiple pro teams such as EG and Splyce as Team Cryptik last season. This season, they’re joined by Commonly. Commonly is often seen as one of the best objective players in the league and continues his role on this squad. He always aggressively pushes flags and strongholds, forcing enemies to return to their base in order to force Commonly out.

At Daytona, ERa finished 9th-12th. Meeting EG in the first round of the Champ Bracket, ERa fell 3-1. This is reason for worry, as EG are likely only a top 8 team. Dropping to the loser’s bracket, ERa was knocked out by Str8 with a crushing 3-0 defeat. Again, Str8 is only a top 6 team, so ERa’s chances against the other two squads on this list are not particularly good. They’ll have to pull together and have a miracle run to take the Last Chance Qualifier.

 

Oxygen Supremacy

Nemassist played extremely well at Daytona. Can he keep it up? Image by Kyle Kubina.

Roster:  Ryan “RyaNoob” Geddes, Troy “DasTroyed” Dusman, Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski, Kyle “Nemassist” Kubina

Yet again, RyaNoob returns to cause chaos among pro and amateur teams alike. With DasTroyed, Nemassist and ContrA going huge in the slaying department, RyaNoob is left to make his crazy objective-oriented plays. The other most notable player on this squad is ContrA. Formerly of EG, ContrA also gave up a guaranteed Pro League spot in order to compete with this squad.

OS also competed at Daytona and after fighting through the open bracket was still able to go home with a top 6 finish. The first round in the Champ Bracket saw OS go head-to-head with Luminosity Gaming. In a move that shocked many, Luminosity lost 3-0 and was swept into the loser’s bracket. Meanwhile, OS went on to challenge Str8. Str8 also fell to the lower bracket with a 3-1 loss and later finished 5th/6th. Oxygen Supremacy went on to face Team EnVyUs, the squad that ended up winning Daytona. In a thrilling series, OS was defeated 2-3.

For being a squad for such a short amount of time, this was a huge accomplishment. Once in the loser’s bracket, OS seemed to run out of gas and fell 0-3 to Splyce. If Oxygen Supremacy can work on their endurance, they are the only likely squad that can challenge the next roster on the list for the final Pro League spot.

 

Splyce

Roster: Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi, Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-

Renegade may have been the key to this squad finally pushing into the top 4. Image by Splyce.

Castro

To nobody’s surprise, Splyce is the most likely candidate to win the Last Chance Qualifier. Renegade and Shotzzy have proven themselves as two of the deadliest snipers in Halo 5. The slaying numbers that they can put up if they both have good games is jaw-dropping. Both bubu dubu and Shooter have also shown that they are no slouches in the slaying department either. However, both also are consistently making smart support and objective plays, despite Shooter specifically making some questionable decisions every now and then.

At Daytona, Splyce proved that picking up Renegade was the right call. Their overwhelming slaying ability and individual play led them to a top 4 finish. Splyce fell to the loser’s bracket early with a 2-3 loss at the hands of Liquid, although the series was very close. Splyce had managed to beat Liquid in the groups stage, however. Once in the loser’s bracket, Splyce managed to send both Luminosity and Oxygen Supremacy home with decisive victories. In the LB semi-final, Splyce was within inches of defeated Liquid and making it into the top 3, but fell short in the end. They lost the series in game 7, 3-4. With Renegade still a new member of the squad, more time together will only benefit them. They are the most likely to take the Last Chance Qualifier, with their only apparent challenge coming from Oxygen Supremacy.

Who do you think will take the final Pro League spot? Is there another team outside of these three that are realistically in the running? Let me know!

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 Devin! Get in touch with Devin personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @RattPackFrosty!

Header image by Splyce.

Armada’s Loss at Royal Flush Ends Historic Six Month Run of Dominance

In the world of competitive Melee, it’s hard to imagine Adam “Armada” Lindgren being overlooked as a player. Falling short at Royal Flush to Joseph “Mango” Marquez was a heart breaker and ends a historic run of dominance from a singular player. But in this community, sometimes the narrative is more appealing than reality.

Armada vs DruggedFox . Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/VGbootcamp

Let’s take a look at just how good Armada has been in the last six months.

Yes, six months of dominance, from the end of October 2016 to early May 2017, Armada won everything. In that same time span, he only dropped two sets. One to Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma at Canada Cup 2016, and the other to Jason “mew2king” Zimmerman at UGC Smash Open, which both resulted in losses after the reset.

However, his last two outright losses were to Mango. In both instances, Armada lost to Mango’s Fox in reset game five situations. As always, those sets were absolute classics, with the crowd favorite Mango taking it home (The Big House 6 and Royal Flush). Armada responded exceptionally well after the game five loss at TBH6 and showed his untempered resolve.

Conversely, Armada gave Mango the hands at Genesis 4. Armada’s 6-1 game differential and a +10 in stock differential over Mango was staggering. Despite it being a massacre, the pure dominance is sometimes overlooked because entertainment value was compromised. It was the quickest Grand Finals yet, and killed the carry-over momentum Mango had from playing in losers. It almost looked too easy for Armada.

Subsequently, Armada ended up winning nine straight tournaments from October to April. Two Smash Summit victories, UGC Smash Open, Dreamhack Winter, and most importantly, Genesis 4. No one could touch him in the singles bracket. He had four Grand Finals victories over Hungrybox in that span, who has been arguably just as consistent.

That’s not even mentioning Armada’s results in doubles. It’s hard to argue against the Swedish “brudders” being the best team in Melee right now. The reset win over William “Leffen” Hjelte and Mustafa “Ice” Ackaya at Royal Flush showed once again the unflinching demeanor of Armada and his brother Andreas “Android” Lindgren.

Looking back on Melee history, Armada’s most recent run coupled with his success in the last three years has never been matched in modern Melee. Sure, Ken “Ken” Hoang had long stretches without losses, but those were in the early days. Now Melee has high-level tournaments every weekend. Mango is the only one with similar runs of pure dominance.

On the whole, it’s good to see new names on top of the results page. But let’s take a second to fully appreciate the historical context of what Armada was able to accomplish. It will be hard to mimic that performance with how competitive Melee is today, but Armada can do it again. His Fox continues to improve while his Peach is as steady as ever. He has the formula and experience.

Even with his most recent loss at Royal Flush, I would not bet against Armada heading into the Summer of Smash (tournaments). It will be interesting to see if Armada can win his third title at another tournament. Mango and Armada still battling for the Threevo.

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Frostbite’s HCS Daytona Predictions

The Summer Season Opener, HCS Daytona, starts today! This open event will see the best teams in North America compete for their share of $75,000. We’ve already taken a look at some of the roster changes during the off-season, now let’s take a look at some predictions for this weekend!

 

Outside of the Top 8: Evil geniuses and Ronin Esports

Evil Geniuses Roster: Jason “Lunchbox” Brown, Justin “Roy” Brown, Brett “Naded” Leonard, Michael “Falcated” Garcia

Ronin Esports Roster: Carlos “Cratos” Ayala, Cory “Str8 SicK” Sloss, Tyler “Spartan” Ganza and Ayden “Suspector” Hill

EG has not been able to find their groove since HWC 2016. After not making HWC 2017, many expected a team change. They were met with Naded and Falcated joining the Brown twins. Both provide a nice boost to the squad’s slaying power. This squad will likely be more successful over the season than their previous roster, but this squad has apparently not been practicing recently. They have been scrimmaging inconsistently over the past few weeks and appear to be one of the most un-practiced squads going into Daytona. This roster has the potential to make top 6 and do well over the course of the season, especially with the new settings, but their lack of practice will hurt them this weekend.

Ronin Esports, formerly Crowd Pleasers, have not necessarily improved or worsened. They have gained any slaying power that was lost during the roster changes. However, their issue remains; several of the players are too emotional. One loss could knock down the confidence of the roster and send them in a downward spiral. Spartan is a prime example of this. However, if this squad can keep their composure and not tilt too easily, they can break into the top 8. However, their chances of reaching top 6 are doubtful.

 

7th – 8th: Oxygen Supremacy

Roster: Ryan “RyaNoob” Geddes, Troy “DasTroyed” Dusman, Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski and Kyle “Nemassist” Kubina

RyaNoob during his time on ALG. Image by Halo Esports Wiki

Oxygen Supremacy is one of several new organizations that have joined the HCS over the off-season. Their new roster has a few players who are yet to reach top 8, and Daytona will be their best opportunity yet. RyaNoob brings proven leadership and intelligence to this squad, much like he did with Cryptik last season. ContrA will be doing the same job he did on EG last season. Relentless damage output and slaying power. DasTroyed is a more aggressive player and will constantly be leaving players one-shot for ContrA and Nemassist to pick up. Speaking of Nemassist, he’ll likely be playing more similarly to RyaNoob, filling in wherever he’s needed.

In scrims, this squad has already proved their competency, trouncing both Ronin and EG, and even leading a partial scrim with Splyce. However, it remains to be seen how they hold up against top 6 teams at live events, as they have also been picked apart in scrims by Team EnVyUs and Splyce.

 

7th – 8th: eRa Eternity

Ezekiel Martinez. Image by Halo Esports Wikis.

Roster: Hamza “Commonly” Abbaali, Ezekiel “Prototype” Martinez, Hunter “BabyJ” Schline and Dillon “Randa” Randa

ERa is another new org to join the HCS, and they picked a good roster to start with. Prototype and BabyJ were on Cryptik last season, and not only took down EG at Las Vegas, but also took two games off of NV. Both of these players are very dangerous slayers and teams would be wise to keep snipers out of their reach. Commonly, in the meantime, still does what he does best: aggressively pursue objectives better than most players in the league. Randa, on the other hand, plays very fluidly in Halo 5 and can fit in anywhere he’s needed.

 

While this squad hasn’t played many scrims, they have constantly contended with both OS and Splyce in the online qualifiers.

 

5th -6th: Str8 Rippin

Roster: Aaron “Ace” Elam, Bradley “APG” Laws, Richie “Heinz” Heinz, Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi

As detailed previously, Str8 was the team that “lost” during the off-season. Despite picking up Danoxide, this squad is much less likely to retain their top 4 spot, as the firepower that Splyce now has can likely outmatch Str8’s. However, this squad could get an easy bracket and once again break into the top 4.

In scrims, Str8 has been struggling. Their only two wins were an 11-2 over EG and a 7-6 over Luminosity. Other than that, they have not been able to take more than three games off of teams like OpTic, NV, and Liquid.

 

5th – 6th: Luminosity Gaming

Roster: Joe “TriPPPeY” Taylor, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson, Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson

Saiyan during HWC 2017. Image by Halo Esports Wikis.

Immediately after their roster was finalized, LG showed improvement. Now with Ninja, TriPPPeY, and Saiyan providing consistent slaying power, this squad has become very potent. Both Ninja and Victory X have shown their prowess with the new settings, despite Victory X always focusing on objective play. Saiyan, quite simply, just does not miss. He wins the majority of his 1v1 battles and is constantly laying down damage. TriPPPeY has also shown that he is a capable player, but still remains somewhat unproven in comparison. The last time TriPPPeY was with LG, they were swept by EG. Even on Allegiance, his performances were not particularly spectacular.

In scrims, LG has shown that they are capable of contending with top teams. They have had decent scrims with Liquid, NV, and OpTic that had swing games that could have gone in their favor.

 

4th: Splyce

Roster: Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi, Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro

Splyce made a huge move by grabbing Renegade. While he didn’t necessarily carry Str8, all of Str8 played around his abilities. Even if Falcated filled a similar role, this decision could push Splyce into the top 4; not because it necessarily made Splyce much stronger (which it did, somewhat), but because it potentially made Str8 much weaker, providing Splyce an easier road to taking their place in the top 4. However, despite their immense firepower and talent, they may not yet have the experience and teamwork to challenge the top 3.

In scrims, Splyce has done well against teams outside of the top 4, including decisive victories over LG, Ronin, and EG. Simultaneously, they have also struggled against OpTic and NV.

 

3rd: Team Liquid

Penguin needed a nap. Image by Zane Hearon.

Roster: Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher, Zane “Penguin” Hearon, Timothy “Rayne” Tinkler, Kevin “Eco” Smith

Liquid came together last season to make a run for OpTic. They took down Str8, NV, and came close to defeating OpTic at different points in the season. While they were never able to do it, as many predicted they would, they retained their roster in order to try again over the Summer Season. Liquid are a near perfect storm of slaying power, aggressive movement, and map control. However, I don’t think NV will be content with Liquid being in the Grand Finals instead of them.

In scrims, Liquid is doing business as usual. Despite their scrim scores, this team has always been dominant at events in comparison. They’ve had very close scrims with OpTic especially, but have lost to NV on multiple occasions.

 

2nd: Team EnVyUs

Roster: Justin “iGotUrPistola” Deese, Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, Cuyler “Huke” Garland

Discussing NV right now is more a question of if they had a mental block against Liquid, and if they have passed it. NV

Mikwen was absolutely NV’s MVP at HWC 2017. Image by Halo Esports Wiki

was unable to defeat Liquid all throughout the HWC 2017 season until they beat Liquid in the Loser’s Finals to make it to the Grand Finals. Some hypothesized that NV had developed a mental block against Liquid at live events, and evidence exists to corroborate this. However, NV have now beaten them. Due to this, if they had a mental block previously, they’ve surpassed it now. If Mikwen is able to reproduce his monstrous performance at HWC 2017, this squad may even have the potential to win Daytona. At the HWC Grand Finals, NV were also significantly leading initially in all games against OpTic, despite being swept.

Outside of all this, NV may have benefited more than any other team from the new settings. All of these players are notorious for their accuracy, and the removal of automatic weapons will only showcase this more. More so, players such as Snip3down and Pistola are renowned for their sneakiness, to the point where teams in older Halo titles would specifically target these players for their capabilities. Pistola is known to be one of the hardest players to kill in Halo history. This coupled with the weakened radar means that other teams will quickly re-learn why he earned the nickname “The Wizard.”

NV’s strength under the new settings has been well showcased in scrims. In fact, they’ve only lost to one team: OpTic Gaming.

 

1st: OpTic Gaming

Roster: Tony “LethuL” Campbell, Jr, Paul “SnakeBite” Duarte, Mathew “Royal2” Fiorante, Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom

Two-time Halo World Champions. Image by Xbox Wire.

As usual in these prediction pieces, there’s not much that needs to be said about OpTic Gaming. They are absolutely dominant, to the point where many in the community view them as the greatest dynasty in competitive Halo, with the exception of the legendary Final Boss squad of Halo 2. This is for good reason. Since forming, they’ve only lost two events out of nine. Most of their wins were not even particularly close. This squad has dominated Halo since early 2016 and are very likely to continue doing so, at least through the rest of 2017 as well.

This squad has only lost one scrim since HWC 2017, and it was by one game to Team Liquid. They have seen no failure and will likely continue to not see any this weekend.

 

How do you think Daytona will play out? Be sure to let me know and tune in to HCS Daytona all weekend long on Twitch!

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 Devin! Get in touch with Devin personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @RattPackFrosty!

 

Header image by Halo Waypoint. Scrimmage results by Halo Data Hive.

HCS Summer Roster Changes

The summer roster lock has come and gone, and the groups for HCS Daytona have been decided.

The top eight teams that have made roster changes are Evil Geniuses, Str8 Rippin, Splyce, Ronin Esports, and Luminosity Gaming. That said, let’s take a look at the results of rostermania!

Evil Geniuses

The Evil Geniuses have now acquired Brett “Naded” Leonard and Micheal “Falcated” Garcia. Alongside Jason and Justin

The Brown twins and coach Towey Image by Ryan “Towey” Towey.

Brown, or “Lunchbox” and “Roy” respectively, this squad is looking to put EG back into the top four conversation.

Naded can bring more aggressive objective play, similar to Lunchbox. Having both of these players fly at you and your flag could be a very terrifying experience. Meanwhile, Roy will continue to be an aggressive damage dealer, while Falcated will be a more passive slayer in order to pick up kills. Overall, EG has come out of the HWC season looking somewhat better with their new roster. While dropping Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski could come back to bite the Brown twins, Falcated is definitely capable of filling his shoes.

 

Str8 Rippin and Splyce

Str8 has lost their star player. Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, affectionately labeled “Renegod” departed the team to join Splyce. Since then, Str8 has acquired Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi as a replacement. This was one of the earliest changes to occur after the conclusion of HWC 2017. To get more thoughts and details on this swap, check it out here.

 

Ronin Esports

Suspector during his time on Allegiance. Image by Josh Billy.

Formerly the TMMT Crowd Pleasers, Ronin has made a few changes. The two players who will be joining Carlos “Cratos” Ayala and Cory “Str8 SicK” Sloss going forward will be Tyler “Spartan” Ganza and Ayden “Suspector” Hill. These two additions just work to further stack Ronin’s slaying power.

Suspector is viewed to be on par with Danoxide, while Spartan is seen as a better slayer then Naded, but lacking the objective presence. However, Spartan is similar to Naded in that both players are very emotional. If the squad is doing well, both players will get loud and only begin to improve. However, the opposite is also true. If the roster starts to tilt, their chances of success will only slip further.

 

Luminosity Gaming

Luminosity will now be Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson and Joe

Saiyan during HWC 2017. Image by Halo Esports Wikis.

TriPPPeY” Taylor. Ninja and Victory have already proven to be a capable duo, with one providing high amounts of kills while the other does whatever objective work needs to be done. With Saiyan and TriPPPeY joining the squad, Ninja’s slaying ability and his inconsistencies will be balanced out for. While he can usually top the scoreboard in kills, sometimes he would end up having the most deaths in the game. Saiyan and TriPPPeY can help combat this while Victory X continues to be one of the best objective players in the league.

 

What do you think of the new pro rosters? How do you think it will all play out at Daytona? Be sure to leave your opinion and remember to check back here on Friday to see HCS Daytona Predictions!


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 Devin! Get in touch with Devin personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @RattPackFrosty!

Header image by Halo Waypoint.

 

HCS North America LCQ Details

With the 2017 HCS Summer Pro League starting up in just a few weeks, one spot remains. Earlier this week, ESL released the details surrounding the qualification process for the eighth spot. With the LCQ taking place in just two weeks, let’s go over the the details of the competition.

 

Triple-Threat

The LCQ will begin with two single elimination online tournaments, one on May 18th and the other on May 19th. Both of these qualifiers are open events, meaning that anyone can register to compete for a shot in the Pro League. Once both of these events have concluded, the LCQ will proceed into a double elimination bracket on May 20th. The top four teams from both of the open qualifiers will be seeded into this bracket.

Shotzzy represented Splyce well at HWC 2017. Image by Halo Waypoint.

The winner of the double elimination bracket will be the team to secure the final Pro League spot.

Many community members have pointed out that it doesn’t make sense to have these qualifiers be online, especially with HCS Daytona being an open event and taking place only a week prior. Considering Halo 5‘s constant online instability, it seems that something else must have come up to stop 343 from allowing Daytona’s open bracket to decide the LCQ.

You can find registration info for the LCQ here.

 

Coiled up

Prototype finally overcame the Brown twins, next stop is the Pro League. Image by Halo Esports Wikis.

One of the biggest contenders in the LCQ is Splyce. This squad, placing in the top six at the 2017 Halo World Championships, is not technically a “Pro” team. Due to last season’s happenings, detailed here, this squad will have to fight through the LCQ to return to the Pro League.

The Splyce roster is now Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi, and Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro. Much of the community has their money on this squad breezing through the LCQ. However, with other top players like Hamza “Commonly” Abbaali, Devon “PreDevoNatoR” Layton, Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski, and Ezekiel “Prototype” Martinez in the mix, it may not be so easy.

 

How do you think the LCQ will play out? Be sure to let me know.

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 Devin! Get in touch with Devin personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @RattPackFrosty!

 

Header image by Halo Waypoint.

2017 MSI stage and crowd in Brazil

MSI Play-In Champion Power Picks

The first stage of the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational is complete. Two wildcard teams have moved on to enter the second stage where they will meet representatives from NA LCS and LMS. Last weekend was a joy to watch, as teams from around the globe came together to battle on the Rift. This weekend promises similar excitement.

Before heading into the match-ups, though, it is important to highlight key champions. These are champions who had high pick and ban rates. They have been contested throughout the tournament. As regions enter and exit the competition, some preferences are bound to change. However, the following choices have proven themselves to be fruitful, and will most likely remain power picks for the remainder of the contest.

Top

2017 MSI top lane power pick: Shen   Pick/Ban Rate (P/B): 58%   Win Rate (W%): 25%

Shen is valued for his ability to impact the map. Stand United allows the top laner to protect allies with a shield, or follow the channel with Shadow Dash to engage fights.

Split-pushing is a bit easier, since Stand United and Teleport allow Shen to enter a neighboring lane. Top laners generally build Tytanic Hydra, Spirit Visage and Guardian Angel on this champion.

Do not let the low tournament win rate fool you. Players such as Seung “Huni” Hoon Heo and Yau “MMD” Li-Hung have 100% win rates with the champion, and Ki “Expect” Dae-Han, Asım “fabFabulous” Cihat Karakaya, and Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell are 67% or higher (Spring 2017).

2017 MSI top lane power pick: Fizz   P/B: 79%  W%: 57%

AD tank Fizz has become a menace yet again. Trinity Force is essential to this playstyle. Top laners have built Sunfire Cape, Spirit Visage and Guardian Angel for tankiness. They may include Blade of the Ruined King or Wit’s End for attack speed and augmenting the bonus damage of Seastone Trident.

Fizz has also been used for split-pushing. Playful Trickster is a low-cooldown spell which allows for speedy roaming. Top laners have been choosing Ignite-Teleport as Summoner Spells for early laning and global pressure.

Gigabyte Marines flexed Fizz into the mid lane once already, and other teams will most likely be open to this idea. In the right hands, this champion is truly a nuisance, which is why he has been banned so often.

2017 MSI top lane power pick: Galio   P/B: 75%   W%: 86%

The newly reworked Colossus made his debut at MSI. So far, he has been oppressive. Galio’s combination of tankiness, utility, and damage are difficult to overcome.

Players are building Spirit Visage and Sunfire Cape to provide resistances and ambient damage. Knight’s Vow and Iceborn Gauntlet have been prominent items, too.

The semi-global pressure of Hero’s Entrance is perfect for top laners, especially playing around objectives. Shield of Durand and Justice Punch provide high-impact crowd control for Galio’s team. So far, Nautilus has been the only other top lane champion with a higher win rate than Galio (with more than one game played).

 Jungle

2017 MSI jungle power pick: Ivern  P/B: 79%   W%: 50%

Redemption, Locket of the Iron Solari and Athene’s Unholy Grail are only built by the jungler if they are playing Ivern. His shielding and healing are ridiculously powerful when combined with Triggerseed.

Teams excel when Ivern enables his laners to snowball and siege turrets with Daisy! His jungle clear is quicker than most. He is also able to donate his blue and red buffs more frequently to teammates.

Drafting Ivern allows teams to create protect-the-carry compositions. When paired with Lulu, Orianna, Karma or Shen, Ivern unlocks marksmen, assassins, and mages to play fast and loose.

2017 MSI jungle power pick: Lee Sin  P/B: 88%   W%: 53%

Lee Sin is League of Legends’ perennial jungle champion. Once truly overpowered junglers have been banned or picked, many players fall back to Lee Sin. His mobility and early pressure allows teams to push the pace and snowball quickly when played correctly.

This tournament has seen Lee Sin played 15 times: 6 games more than the next most played champion. He is a versatile pick that can mesh with almost anyone. None of the best junglers are afraid to pull him out to demonstrate their Flash-Dragon’s Rage mechanics.

All of the remaining junglers at MSI have at least 64% win rates on Lee Sin this Spring. Han “Peanut” Wang-ho has maintained a 100% win rate over 11 games.

2017 MSI jungle power pick: Graves   P/B: 88%   W%: 75%

Teams have been smart to frequently ban Graves. Junglers have won 6 out of 8 games with him at MSI. End of the Line provides insanely fast jungle clears. Quickdraw allows him to move through thin walls and gain bonus resistances. Collateral Damage nukes low health targets.

No participating jungler has less than a 73% win rate using Graves. Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan has a 100% win rate and a 13.3 KDA over 5 games on the champion. Kang “Blank” Sun-gu sports 100% and 17.5 over 2 games.

Black Cleaver and Maw of Malmortius are featured items beyond Enchantment: Warrior. Players at MSI have even been building Blade of the Ruined King, which is arguably overpowered at the moment.

 

Mid

2017 MSI mid lane power pick: Syndra   P/B: 79%   W%: 50%

Koray “Naru” Bıçak and Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok have the lowest win rates on Syndra: 67%. All other mid laners at MSI sport 71% or higher.

Syndra has been a mainstay in the mid lane for a few splits at this point. Her combination of waveclear, crowd-control and reliable burst damage are hardly matched. She has the highest total number of bans for a reason.

The average damage per minute for Syndra players at MSI is 629. This is higher than any other mid lane champion with multiple games played. Expect her presence to remain on the high side moving forward.

2017 MSI mid lane power pick: LeBlanc   P/B: 71%   W%: 33%

LeBlanc’s strengths are similar to Syndra, except LeBlanc is more of an assassin. Distortion allows mid laners to quickly roam to other lanes or into the jungle. High level players can utilize Mimic to confuse and outplay opponents.

Hextech Gunblade and Void Staff are currently staples within LeBlanc’s build. When paired with Sorceror’s Shoes and Abyssal Scepter, LeBlanc’s burst is unsettling. One successful Ethereal Chains stun onto a squishy target is guaranteed death.

Văn “Optimus” Cường Trần lost his only LeBlanc game at MSI. Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok have yet to get the chance to play her this Spring. All 4 other mid laners have 60% or higher win rates.

2017 MSI mid lane power pick: Ahri   P/B: 50%   W%: 75%

Mobility is Ahri’s biggest strength in the current meta. Spirit Rush gives her three dashes to enter and leave fights as she pleases. Ahri’s item path is also one of the most flexible, as she can build into a teamfighting mage, an assassin, or some combination. MSI featured Morellonomicon, Zhonya’s Hourglass, Hextech Protobelt, Hextech Gunblade, Abyssal Scepter, and Luden’s Echo during the first stage.

Ahri has had the highest total plays during the tournament: 8. She also had the highest win rate of any mid lane champion with more than one game played. It would not be surprising to continue seeing her picked throughout the remainder of the tournament. However, Su “Xiye” Han-Wei lost his only Ahri game this Spring in the LPL.

Bot

2017 MSI bot lane power pick: Ashe   P/B: 88%   W%: 50%

Ever since Blade of the Ruined King rose to prominence, Ashe has remained pick or ban in most regions. Her global engage (Enchanted Crystal Arrow) and follow-up damage (Ranger’s Focus) potential is unrivaled in the AD Carry position.

Only Nguyen “Slay” Ngoc Hung has fewer than nine games on Ashe this Spring. All bot lanes in the tournament should be comfortable playing on this champion.

Items on Ashe are straightforward. Runaan’s Hurricane, Infinity Edge, Berserker’s Greaves, and Last Whisper generally round out the build. Landing ultimates is crucial for an Ashe to succeed. The entire team needs to be ready to pull the trigger after a well-placed Enchanted Crystal Arrow.

2017 MSI bot lane power pick: Caitlyn   P/B: 67%   W%: 40%

The non-utility marksman with the largest presence at MSI thus far is Caitlyn. While her Yordle Snap Traps provide small amounts of crowd control, Caitlyn’s primary goal is to rattle off as many auto-attacks as possible. Her passive, Headshot, can decimate entire teams once Runaan’s Hurricane is in play.

It’s unclear whether or not Caitlyn will remain such a high priority for the rest of the tournament. Her win rate so far has not justified her high pick rate. Many of the world’s top AD Carries seem partial to drafting marksmen with higher skill caps and higher risk-reward, such as Ezreal, Twitch or Lucian.

Only Jin “Mystic” Sung-jun has played Caitlyn more than 3 games this Spring. Lu “Betty” Yuhung, Bae “Bang” Jun-sik and Jason “WildTurtle” Tran have played her one game each.

2017 MSI bot lane power pick: Varus   P/B: 67%   W%: 43%

Varus has the lowest average damage per minute of the entire AD Carry class at MSI (392). He is played similarly to Ashe, except he trades lower engage pressure for higher poke damage. A well-placed Chain of Corruption can lock someone down long enough to eliminate them. Piercing Arrow gives bot lanes the ability to snipe low-health enemies.

Varus’ build path is virtually identical to Ashe’s, as well. Blade of the Ruined King, Runaan’s Hurricane, Infinity Edge, and Last Whisper are common. Some attack speed builds can include Guinsoo’s Rageblade.

Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Mystic have win rates 50% or lower with Varus. Betty has maintained a 100% win rate over sevengames played.

Support

2017 MSI support power pick: Lulu  P/B: 100%   W%: 53%

The only champion that is currently 100% pick or ban is Lulu. However, she only won just over half of the time. Lulu’s majorly impactful Wild Growth couple with the reliability of Help Pix!-Glitterlance-Thunderlord’s Decree poke makes her relevant at all stages of the game.

All support players at the tournament should be well-versed in Lulu’s gameplay. Her mechanics are rather straightforward, but proper timing of speed-ups, shields, slows and enlargments separates the best Lulu players from the majority.

2017 MSI support power pick: Zyra   P/B: 33%   W%: 50%

321 damage per minute is not bad for a support champion. That has been the average for Zyra at MSI so far. Brand is the only support to out-damage her.

Zyra seems to work for all support players at the tournament except Vincent “Biofrost” Wang, who only has a 20% win rate on the champion. Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Jie has even maintained a 100% win rate with Zyra over 8 games.

Depending on the needs of a team, support players build full damage or more healing and shielding. MSI has seen Redemption, Locket of the Iron Solari, Liandry’s Torment and Rylai’s Crystal Scepter.

2017 MSI support power pick: Karma   P/B: 63%   W%: 50%

When Lulu is unavailable, Karma becomes the next best utility support. Her Mantra-Inspire shields and speeds up the entire team, which provides some the most potent engage and disengage a support champion can offer. Karma’s Mantra-Inner Flame offers strong poke in lane, which is why many players choose Thunderlord’s Decree as their keystone mastery.

All of the remaining support players have 60% or higher win rates with Karma. While it has not been as common this Spring, Karma can also flex into mid lane. Xiye, for example, has won 100% of LPL game using mid Karma (6 games).

 

While these may have been the most prominent picks in the first stage of MSI, plenty of champions were played. Unique picks such as Sona, Blitzcrank and Darius left their mark on the Rift. Tahm Kench was played in the top lane. Hopefully, there will be more variation as other teams enter the competition. Nonetheless, look to these last seven teams to show how high the ceilings are on these champions, and why they may currently be so popular internationally.

Champion Images: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Champion_squares

MSI Champion Statisticshttp://www.gamesoflegends.com/tournament/stats.php?id=MSI%20Play-In%202017

Featured Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lolesports/albums/72157683248434325/with/34384923145/

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Final Summer 2017 HCS Settings Changes Analysis

Last week, 343 Industries released a statement regarding the final version of the 2017 HCS settings. Let’s take a look at a few of the significant map-by-map changes to see how things will change.

 

Fathom and The Rig

On both Fathom and Rig, the Railguns have had their ammo slightly reduced. Although only one shot is lost, the difference is magnified due to the context. Both maps had the Camo power-up, which when combined with the Railgun could lead to gargantuan kill leads. The Railgun is an extremely powerful weapon due to its one-hit-kill potential without the need to hit a headshot. The only thing to account for on the Railgun was the charge time, but with the charge-up being as short as it is, this was easily compensated for.

The Bottom-Mid area of Fathom, where the Railgun spawns. Courtesy of Team Beyond.

The Scattershot on the Rig has also had its ammo reduced by a magazine. Again, this weapon was extremely potent when paired with the Camo. However, the Scattershot is extremely inconsistent. The weapon could kill you with one shot from an incomprehensible range for a shotgun, but then do negligible damage at melee distance. This change will lower its influence on the map and force teams to work better together to break setups.

 

Truth

Bottom-Mid on Truth, where the Tactical Magnum will now spawn. Courtesy of GameCrate.

On Truth, all rifles have been removed and a Tactical Magnum has been placed in bottom-mid. This magnum has a suppressor and a scope, allowing the shooter to remain off the radar while firing, while also offering range close to that of a Battle Rifle.

These changes have the potential to entirely change the meta on Truth. The rifles, as agreed upon by most of the competitive community, are far too powerful when compared to the Magnum. This, along with their abundance on most maps, meant that freshly spawned players were at a severe disadvantage to those who spawned slightly prior. The rifles were not hard to obtain as they often spawned near the initial spawns of both teams.

This led to players with rifles being able to lay damage down from across the map, allowing for easy clean up kills for their teammates, especially when these weapons spawned at Pink 2. Removing these rifles will increase the overall pace of Truth matches and will also showcase more gun-skill.

 

Future Changes

While this is a great start, these changes have been requested for a long time, which is part of the issue. It has been 17 months since Halo 5 released. The competitive community has called for these changes since launch and are only now receiving them. While it may be a case of “too little, too late,” 343’s rapid response to feedback after HWC 2017 bodes well for the future.

Going forward, other suggestions include the removal of grenade hitmarkers, as they provide free information to the player and encourage the spamming of explosives. Another idea is to take a look at some of the rifles, specifically the Carbine. Many pros, such as Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom, have suggested that the Carbine specifically needs to be removed. This is not necessarily due to the kill-time of the Carbine, but its rate of fire. The fast ROF allows a user to easily de-scope opponents and pick up easy kills, or force opponents to back down. The Carbine has become detrimental to movement, forcing the game to slow down.

However, with the changes we have already received, the Summer 2017 Season will now be a blast to both play and watch.

 

What do you think of these changes? What other changes would you like to see? Be sure to let me know!

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 Devin! Get in touch with Devin personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @RattPackFrosty!

Header image courtesy of Halo Waypoint.

 

Summer Season 2017 Roster Changes Preview

As usual, the end of a season in competitive Halo leads to a hurricane of team changes and roster swaps. While this pre-season has been quieter than most, there have still been some surprises. Most of these have been unconfirmed, but are looking more and more likely as roster lock approaches.

Evil Geniuses

EG, currently with Jason “Lunchbox” Brown and Justin “Roy” Brown, have been consistently scrimmaging with Brett

Naded. Courtesy of Brett Leonard.

Naded” Leonard and Michael “Falcated” Garcia. On paper, this change seems like neither an upgrade nor downgrade. The loss of Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski, whether he was dropped or left, filled a similar role as Falcated. Both open up areas around the map for their team and lay down damage.

Naded, on the other hand, has shown that he is a player capable of doing everything. Not only putting up big kills, but also aggressively pushing objectives like Lunchbox. Recent scrims show promise, with a close 5-8 loss to Team EnVyUs, and another 5-6 loss to Splyce. However, the next day, EG lost 2-11 to Crowd Pleasers. Whether this was just a bad day or not remains to be seen.

 

 

Luminosity Gaming

Luminosity has once again re-acquired Joe “TriPPPeY” Taylor and has shown vast improvement. TriPPPey, providing

Courtesy of Joe Taylor.

additional slaying power alongside Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson, has really pulled this squad together. With Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson handling the objectives, LG is looking strong. Scrims have reflected this improvement. This squad has split games with Splyce, Liquid, and even one with OpTic, while their only losses have been to EnVyUs. Many are already placing this squad in their top 4.

 

Splyce

Speaking of Splyce, the young guns have dropped Falcated for Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, the former star player of Str8 Rippin. Renegade will be joined by Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi, and Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro. This move seems to have provided a small boost for Splyce, as reflected in scrims. This squad has managed to beat Liquid, while also splitting games with LG. Their only losses have been to OpTic and EnVysUs.

 

Str8 Rippin

The loss of Renegade to Splyce was a big hit to Str8. He was their star player for a reason, constantly putting up huge slays, to the point of being nicknamed “Renegod” by the community. However, Str8 players have already virtually confirmed their new fourth.

Str8 Rippin will now presumably be Aaron “Ace” Elam, Bradley “APG” Laws, Richie “Heinz” Heinz, and Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi. Danoxide has proven himself as a capable slayer, but whether he can fill Renegade’s shoes is in doubt. Str8 often oriented and played around Renegade’s power slaying, and we haven’t seen Danoxide have that role to the same extent yet. The squad may not be able to play the same way they did around Renegade due to this change, which may jeopardize their ability to remain in the top 4.

We may still see a few more roster changes before HCS Daytona. However, the changes reviewed here appear to already be set in stone. With more and more teams rising to try to challenge OpTic, we could see at least a change in the top 4 very soon.

What do you think of these changes? Be sure to let me know!

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 Devin! Get in touch with Devin personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @RattPackFrosty!

Header Image courtesy of Halo Waypoint.

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