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.

Renegade’s Meteoric Rise: From Amateur Play to Str8 Rippin

Very few competitive Halo players make a splash shortly after entering the scene. Most players have to work long and hard to ascend the ranks and join the big leagues. Others, like Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, and Cuyler “Huke” Garland, have experienced a more prolific rise. Jonathan “Renegade” Willette is one of those players.

Upon entering the competitive Halo scene, Renegade proved he could compete with the best. His short professional career has landed him spots with reputable orgs like Elevate, Str8 Rippin, and most recently, Splyce. As the 2017 HCS Summer League commences, look for Renegade to continue establishing his place as a top Halo player.

2016 Season

Renegade surfaced in the Halo scene competing in the HCS Open Circuit. His team, Catastrophe, emerged as a top amateur team early. As a result, Renegade was courted by Team Elevate, where he would play briefly before being released. In an attempt to qualify for the relegation tournament and a shot at the Pro League, Renegade then formed a team with Halo veteran Faisal “Goofy” Khan.

The team failed to qualify, but Renegade had the eyes of top players on him. After the dismissal of OpTic Gaming’s faltering Halo roster, Renegade began subbing for Nick “MaNiaC” Kershner in the 2016 Pro League. Alongside Halo veterans Aaron “ACE” Elam, Bradley “APG” Laws, and Richie “Heinz” Heinz, Renegade helped lead the team to surprising victories over Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid.

Courtesy of 3sUP.gg

After a successful showing in the Pro League, Renegade found himself again teaming with ACE, representing The MoneyMatches Team at HCS Orange County. TMMT pulled off a surprising upset against Tyler “Spartan” Ganza and Team Liquid in round two of the Championship Bracket and earned an impressive top 6 placing.

Renegade continued his success after joining 3sUP, making a solid push for relegation qualification at the HCS 2016 Open Circuit finals. 3sUP finished the Open Circuit Finals in first place, and thus qualified for the relegation tournament. However, the team ultimately missed the chance to qualify for the Pro League, as Enigma6 and Team Allegiance successfully defended their spots.

 

2017 Season

After being on the cusp of Pro League play in 2016, Renegade was invited to join Str8 Rippin for UGC St. Louis, 2017. The move reunited him with pro players APG, Heinz, and ACE, who would eventually finish 4th place at the event. Renegade’s talent was on display, however, showing off incredible snipes, and leading the squad to a near-upset of Team EnvyUs.

Courtesy of Halotracker.com

At ME Las Vegas 2017, Str8 Rippin qualified for HWC 2017. The qualification followed a back and forth series against Tyler “Ninja” Blevins’ team Luminosity. Carrying the momentum into the Halo World Championship, Renegade and Str8 Rippin secured first place in Group D of pool play. In bracket play, Str8 emerged victorious in a close match against TMMT Crowd Pleasers, but would consequently be swept by an on-fire Team Liquid.

In the losers bracket, Str8 first overcame Splyce in an incredibly close best of 7. They would subsequently be swept by HWC 2017 runner-up Team EnvyUs. Renegade and Str8 ended their tournament run in 4th place, earning $50,000.

Placing top 4 at the biggest tournament of the year is no small feat. Renegade himself displayed consistency throughout the entire tournament. And like that, in a span of ten months, Renegade found himself going from shuffling between amateur teams to competing on Halo 5’s largest stage.

Conclusion

A few weeks ago, Renegade announced he would be joining team Splyce alongside young-gun Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller. The move came as a surprise to fans of Str8 Rippin, who anticipated the team to build on the top 4 Worlds placement.

As the HCS Summer Season approaches, Renegade will continue his professional career, and chase his first tournament victory. His achievements, however, will not go unnoticed by fans of competitive Halo. Furthermore, as a young star at the top of his game, Renegade will continue to be a dominant presence in Halo 5.

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!

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.

Renegade Leaves Str8 Rippin for Splyce

Aaron “Ace” Elam confirmed earlier this week that Jonathan “Renegade” Willette has left Str8 Rippin to join Splyce.

According to Ace, Michael “Falcated” Garcia was dropped from Splyce in order to acquire Renegade. This roster change has numerous implications for both squads and has the capability to shake up the top four team rankings.

 

Splyce

After being stuck in fourth place for the entire HWC 2017 season, Renegade appears to have sought after other options. Now teaming with Jesse “Bubu Dubu” Moeller, Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi and Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro on Splyce, this team could possibly challenge the top three.

Str8 has narrowly beaten out Splyce throughout this past season. Much of this can be attributed to Renegade making absolutely disgusting plays for his team. Now bringing his abilities to Splyce, his new squad has the slaying power to contend with teams such as EnVyUs and Liquid.

Renegade was previously with Splyce before being dropped for Shotzzy, so the chemistry is already there. This team is now just about guaranteed to take the last Pro League spot.

 

Str8 Rippin

Many though Renegade would stay with Str8 for the guaranteed Pro League spot. Needless to say, this change is not good for Str8.

Ayden “Suspector” Hill. Courtesy of FantasyHCS.

Not a whole lot of options are open to Str8. Renegade proved to be their best slayer and the squad played entirely around him in order to be successful. Likely options include Hamza “Commonly” Abbaali and Abel “Rammyy” Garcia.  Other possible options for Str8 include Hunter “BabyJ” Schline, Falcated, and Ezekiel Prototype Martinez. Out of these, however, my top pick would be Suspector and Prototype.

Despite not being at HWC 2017, both have proven to be capable slayers. With players such as Ace making opportunities, both of these players could find a very comfortable spot on Str8.

With Renegade gone, Str8’s ability to remain in the top four is coming in to question. While he didn’t necessarily “carry” Str8, Renegade was a huge factor in ramping up their slaying ability.


What do you think of Renegade joining Splyce? Who do you think Str8 Rippin should pick up? Let us 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 @Frostbite_XV2!

 

Frostbite’s HWC Las Vegas Top 6 Predictions

Six North American teams will have their tickets punched to the HWC Finals this weekend at HWC Las Vegas. While one more can still qualify through the online LCQ, every team would prefer to do it on LAN. At this time, an official bracket has not yet been released. The following are my predictions based on solely my estimation of a team’s ability to win.

 

5-6th Place: Evil Geniuses

Roster: Jason “Lunchbox” Brown, Justin “Roy” Brown, Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski, Tom “OGRE 2” Ryan

OGRE 2 at his last event before retirement. Courtesy of ESL.

I’ll be honest, my heart is making this decision instead of my brain. I desperately want EG to qualify, but their online results haven’t quite reflected what they should. However, circumstances have rapidly begun to improve for this team after dropping Devon “PreDevoNatoR” Layton for the greatest of all time, Ogre 2.

Ogre 2 in scrims and the final Online Qualifier showed that he was still capable of hanging with the best in the league as a support player and in-game leader. Ogre 2 can rein in the Brown Twins, allowing Roy and ContrA to slay while Lunchbox makes his calculated plays. This team even has the ability to place better than 6th in my opinion if they meet Team Allegiance. It would be a close series, but I would place EG on top. In my mind, dropping PreDevoNatoR for Ogre 2 was a great decision, as shown by EG’s superior performances since their roster change.

 

5-6th: Team Allegiance

Roster:  Tyler “Spartan” Ganza, Hamza “Commonly” Abbaali, Joe “TriPPPeY” Taylorand, Ayden “Suspector” Hill

This squad has also seen improvement recently. Scrim results show that Allegiance have convincingly beaten Luminosity Gaming, Str8 Rippin, and Evil Geniuses. Moreover, this squad topped Team Liquid 6-1, and later went on to even defeat OpTic 7-6. With the addition of TriPPPeY, this squad may have lost some overall slaying power, but has gained something arguably more important: slaying consistency. TriPPPeY has proved that he is a pro-level player and this squad can challenge to win the tournament if they come out of the gates hot. The only issue is that this squad does not hold a seed in the champ bracket. They will have to fight through the open bracket today to contend with the pro teams, and this could drain them.

 

4th: Splyce

Roster: Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi, Michael “Falcated” Garcia and Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-

Inconceivable was acquired by Splyce shortly after St. Louis. Courtesy of Splyce.

Castro

Anyone who believes that this squad is not a threat should take a second look at what this team has been able to do. Forming with little time before St. Louis, this squad still managed to finish 5th-6th. This squad has also done well in scrims, including close 6-7 losses to both OpTic and EnvyUs. What has stopped them consistently though, is Team Liquid, as shown by a 10-3 loss most recently.

However, bubu dubu is not to be doubted on LAN. During HWC 2016, his team had the 11th seed going into NA Regionals, but left that event with a 2nd place finish, losing only to what at the time was a dominant CLG. Bubu, as well as the rest of the team, is capable of catching fire during the event and just demolishing any team that stands between them and the Grand Finals. This team, like any of the top 4, is completely capable of winning this event with the right clutch plays.

 

3rd: Team Liquid

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

Despite a bit of a slump two weeks ago, Liquid seem to have bounced back. They have been doing quite well over the last week, especially with a close 7-6 win over OpTic Gaming in scrims. This team has also utterly destroyed teams, such as Allegiance, Str8 Rippin, and Luminosity. This squad is a powerhouse and is looking to improve upon their 2nd place finish at UGC St. Louis earlier this year. Unfortunately for them, two giants are standing in their way, and one of them is most definitely not going to fall to Liquid this time around without a much tougher fight.

 

2nd: Team EnvyUs

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

Envy disappointed at UGC by falling to Liquid. The squad, the only to ever defeat OpTic Gaming at a LAN event, ended 3rd, missing their rematch with OpTic. Since then, whatever issues they had seem to have been resolved. They defeated EG 12-1, Splyce 9-2, Str8 9-3, and Liquid 8-5 in scrims. Against Liquid, they had another 9-4 win a few weeks earlier. At the end of January, EnvyUs was able to defeat Liquid 12-1 in a demoralizing fashion. This squad is angry about their finish at UGC, and their online results have reflected this. With their consistent scrim victories over Liquid online, I doubt that NV is going to allow themselves to fall to them a second time.

Envy’s sights are set on OpTic Gaming, and they want the world to know that they are the best team going into the World Finals.

 

1st: Optic Gaming

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

OpTic claims victory at UGC St. Louis. Courtesy of HCS.

The defending Halo World Champions. The Summer League Champions. The UGC St. Louis Champions. The Greenwall is hungry for another event win, and Vegas looks to be it. This squad, despite losing the Fall Season Finals, won St. Louis, and have only gotten better since then. OpTic has had two scrims where they have dominated Liquid, 10-2 and 12-1. Despite a few close losses, I don’t see Liquid being able to contest OpTic this weekend, especially when considering that OpTic plays far better on LAN.

Team EnvyUs can be as hungry for a win as they want. If they can’t beat OpTic, it doesn’t matter. With five total scrims between these two teams since St. Louis, OpTic have won three of them. It gets much closer than that. OpTic has won 24 games across these five scrims, compared to NV’s 23. This is as close as it gets, comparable to the rivalry of Final Boss and Carbon in the old days. I’m placing OpTic first because they narrowly won online and the gap between OpTic’s online vs. LAN performance is greater than that of NV’s.

 

Conclusion

Any of the top 4 teams listed are capable of winning this event in my opinion. These games will be close. This event will be great. As for a few other teams, namely Str8, Luminosity, and Pnda:

Str8 has not played well over the past two weeks. Both in scrims and the Online Qualifiers, this team has played sub-par. While their recent scrims have shown an improvement, I’m not sure it’s enough to get this team into the top 6 and a Worlds ticket. However, if they can turn up at this LAN, they will beat both EG and Allegiance without much difficulty.

Luminosity, while being far and away better than they were at St. Louis, I don’t believe they will be able to contend with these top teams. It’s not a matter of LG being bad, it’s a matter of everyone else being really good. However, should the bracket favor them, they have a shot.

As for Pnda, despite my personal distaste for the players on this team, they have also improved after picking up Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi. However, the fact is that this team plays at the same level online as they do on LAN, at least from what I have seen. The issue here is that nearly every other team is far better on LAN. Again, if the bracket favors Pnda, they can make a run at top 6.

 

HWC Las Vegas is set to show the absolute best of Halo 5 that we have seen so far. The competition is tighter than it’s ever been and we are in for a treat. Be sure to tune in to the stream all weekend at twitch.tv/halo for the best Halo competition you can find.

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 @Frostbite_XV2!

The Importance of Play-Styles in Halo: Slayers

Many factors are required to make a team click. Main slayers, power slayers, objective players, and the often misunderstood “glue” players. Some players fit into multiple categories, but all of these must work together in perfect harmony to pull out a win against an equally-skilled team. No one play style is necessarily more important than another. While the design and pace of Halo 5 had slightly eroded the lines that clearly defined different play styles, they’re still important.

The most recognized play style are the slayers. What do these players do and how do they affect the team? Let’s find out!

 

Main Slayers

Main Slayers are the bread-and-butter of any team. If you can’t get any kills, it doesn’t matter how good of an objective player you are. If you’re getting spawn-killed in your base, it won’t make much difference how fast you can run a flag. These players will typically be the kind to get a perfect kill on you in every gunfight. Their magnum shots usually stand out and can tend to be very frustrating for other teams as it seems like they never miss. Main slayers will pick up every one-shot player that is called out, making sure players who try to dipsy-doodle (Thanks for that, Strongside) away don’t get very far. Very few of these players stand-out as solely Main Slayers, as they cross over heavily with Power Slayers.

Roy of Evil Geniuses. Courtesy of ESL.

 

Examples of Main Slayers:

Aaron “Ace” Elam (Str8 Rippin)

Justin “Roy” Brown (Evil Geniuses)

Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi (Free Agent)

Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi (Inconceivable)

Paul “Snakebite” Duarte (OpTic Gaming)

Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher (Team Liquid)

 

 

Power Slayers

The other (and often more recognized) subclass are the Power Slayers.

Is the Sniper Rifle gone? Or the Rocket Launcher? How about the Shotgun? Chances are, a Power Slayer has them. These are the guys who you usually see highlight reels from. These players have two jobs: get the power weapons on the map and use them to kill the enemy team as much as possible. A Power Slayer with a Sniper and good positioning can accumulate all of the simultaneous kills needed to capture a flag or get total control in Strongholds. Since their job is often to get control of power weapons and being able to kill other players who want them, they typically are also Main Slayers.

Snip3down. Courtesy of Eric Wrona.

 

Examples of Power Slayers:

Kevin “Eco” Smith (Team Liquid)

Zane “Penguin” Hearon (Team Liquid)

Mathew “Royal2” Fiorante (OpTic Gaming)

Eric Snip3down Wrona (Team EnvyUs)

Tyler “Spartan” Ganza (Team Allegiance)

Cuyler “Huke” Garland (Team EnvyUs)

 

Slayers, while being simple in concept, are the backbone of any Halo team. They are also the players who most frequently leave the jaws of the audience hanging open, and that’s something any fan can appreciate. However, they’re not the only thing enabling championship teams to win. When a flag or stronghold needs capturing, Objective players are the ones to do it, and we’ll be taking a look at them next time.

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 @Frostbite_XV2!

Liquid, Str8, Inconceivable: New Contenders

UGC St. Louis has been the best event yet in terms of gameplay. However, one key thing was noticed by many fans: Team EnvyUs nor OpTic Gaming were able to easily defeat every team they came across. They consistently struggled against Team Liquid, Str8 Rippin, and Inconceivable. These teams showed that their skill ceiling was just as high as that of OpTic and EnvyUs, but will they be able to keep pace going forward?

 

Narrowing the Gap

During the Fall Season, nV saw far more success than any other team against OpTic Gaming. However, though they were able to take series from them both online and on LAN, most viewers noticed one important factor: nV may have OpTic figured out, but they were more vulnerable when facing lower teams in comparison to OpTic. These opinions began to recede after nV won the Fall Finals, without dropping a game to any team other than OpTic.

Str8 celebrates their narrow win over Inconceivable. Courtesy of Halotracker.

Be that as it may, it seems that other teams are no longer settling for third.

Liquid and Str8 both managed to take nV to five games. Liquid also took OpTic to game five, and later game seven in the grand finals. Meanwhile, Str8 only narrowly defeated Inconceivable in a legendary game five Slayer that went to Overtime. Str8 later fell to Liquid 3-1, but the series score does not give credit to how close the games were.

Tim “Rayne” Tinkler and Zane “Penguin” Hearon were featured together on the HCS Listen-In prior to the Fall Season. Both said that OpTic (at that time Counter Logic Gaming) were a whole season, if not a year, ahead of the competition and that no team would be able to touch them for the duration of the season. Despite this, nV toppled the giants at the Fall Finals. Ignoring their own opinions, Rayne and Penguin showed that nV weren’t the only contenders for 2017 World Champions.

 

Long Term Analysis

The key for these teams to compete with OpTic and nV seems to lie with the young talent. Why not? It worked for OpTic and nV; they picked up Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom and Cuyler “Huke” Garland, respectively. Liquid is a team comprised of all players who have been relevant for just over a year or so. Inconceivable is a team that is all young talent, headlined by Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro. Str8 Rippin formerly acquired a player they had played with before, in Jonathan “Renegade” Willette (#RENEGOD):

These teams have shown that they can not only go back-and-forth with each other, but also with the absolute best of the best. As these players build up more chemistry with their respective teams (and in Shotzzy’s case, more LAN experience), they will only continue to improve. Now, I would also say that OpTic nor nV were playing at their full potential (especially Justin “Pistola” Deese and Austin “Mikwen” McCleary) and that I doubt that this will continue for long. Both teams are set to be significantly better going into HWC Las Vegas, but so will their competition. I fully expect that Liquid, Str8, and Inconceivable will truly challenge OpTic and nV and push them to their absolute limits, all the way to the HWC 2017 Finals.

 

Do you agree that any of these five teams are now currently capable of becoming World Champions? Or do you think it’s still only between Team EnvyUs and OpTic Gaming? 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 @Frostbite_XV2!

HWC UGC St. Louis 2017 Championship Sunday Recap

The first qualifier for HWC 2017 has passed, and UGC St. Louis has seeded the top teams going into HWC Las Vegas. Championship Sunday was filled with all the to-the-brink series, amazing clutch plays, and absolutely jaw-dropping moments we have come to expect from top-level Halo. Let’s take a look at how it all shook out and who walked away being the St. Louis Champions.

 

Top 16

The Championship Bracket began with the top 8 teams from the open bracket meeting the top 7 pro teams, with the first Winner’s Bracket round having several important match-ups.

Team Allegiance met with Str8 Rippin, in what many thought would be a close series. However, Str8 Rippin proved my predictions wrong and came out hot against Allegiance with a 3-1 victory. Pnda Gaming, a team notable for including Carlos “Cratos” Ayala, fell to an amateur team, SetToDestroyX 3-1, much to the pleasure of the Halo community. Evil Geniuses was matched with a tough first round, having to face Inconceivable, a team brimming with talent. Unfortunately, the veteran leadership of Jason “Lunchbox” and Justin “Roy” Brown was not enough to stop the heated young-guns.

Jesse “Bubu Dubu” Moeller, one of the veterans on Inconceivable.

The second round saw Luminosity Gaming getting swept into the loser’s bracket by Str8 Rippin. However, this squad wasn’t done yet, as they were able to knock Pnda Gaming out of the tournament (again, much to the pleasure of the community) and making top 8. Allegiance also moved into the top 8 after also sweeping SetToDestroyX.

 

Top 8

The top 8 teams continued to race forward. In the second Winner’s Bracket round, Inconceivable matched up with the reformed Team Liquid, and fell in a close 3-2 series. Liquid moved on to play OpTic Gaming, and this is where things started to get crazy. In another incredibly close series, the Greenwall dropped Liquid to the lower bracket. Meanwhile, Str8 Rippin met with Team EnvyUs, and yet again, the series went all the way to game five, with Envy clutching to beat out Str8.

The Evil Geniuses also continued to push through the lower bracket, even sweeping Luminosity Gaming out of the tournament. After that, they had to contend with an angry Team Liquid, and unfortunately fell to them 3-1, in a series that arguably should have been a sweep if not for a game reset. With this, Liquid secured their spot into the final bracket.

What remained in the Loser’s Bracket were Str8 Rippin and Inconceivable. This series was as close as it could possibly get. It went to a game five Plaza Slayer, and then continued into overtime, nearly unheard of in Slayer matches. If Str8 won, they would have reverse-swept Inconceivable and moved into the top 4. What followed… words don’t do it justice. This may have been my favorite game of Halo 5 that I’ve ever seen played.

One more time, for the Str8 chant, courtesy of @DeontaeVidad:

Top 4

This is starting to look a lot like Fall Finals; we have OpTic Gaming, Team EnvyUs, Team Liquid and Str8 Rippin. To start off the Finals Bracket, the rematch we all waited for, OpTic vs. EnvyUs, and it started with a bang (mind the score). At the end of it all, Envy fell to the defending World Champions, and OpTic moved on.

Tim “Rayne” Tinkler has come into his own as a leader for Team Liquid. Also the new T2. Courtesy of Tim Tinkler.

In the Loser’s Bracket, Team Liquid stopped Str8 Rippin short of another miracle run, and sent them home with a 3-1 victory.

Here comes the upsets.

Team Liquid went on to meet Team EnvyUs, both hungry to get another shot at taking down OpTic Gaming and becoming the St. Louis Champions. The series once again went all the way, but Team Liquid managed to shut down the Fall Champions, and moved on to face OpTic gaming after a 3-2 victory.

 

Grand Finals

OpTic was ready for them. Liquid did not come that far just to beat one juggernaut and be stomped by another though. However, it would not be easy, as they would have to reset the bracket and then win a second series against OpTic to bring home a Liquid tournament victory. However, OpTic was not looking to have a repeat of Fall Finals, and although Liquid fought valiantly to take the series to a game seven, OpTic took home another win with a 50-46 victory on Colosseum Slayer. Now, OpTic looks to regain the dominance they had last year going into the World Championship, but the competition is only continuing to snip at their heels. Either way, this tournament has made one thing certain: This is no longer a fight for second or third place. Any of the top five teams are all capable of taking the title of 2017 World Champions.

 

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 @Frostbite_XV2!

P.S. Thanks for the Team Beyond Forums making everything that much better 😛

FrankieFourShot, here’s your chance for fame!

HWC 2017: UGC St. Louis Preview and Predictions

The first event of the 2017 Halo World Championship season is this weekend, January 20th-22nd! UGC St. Louis, while not awarding spots for the HWC Finals, will still be important to teams, as it serves as seeding and LAN practice for HCS Las Vegas, which will award HWC spots. Let’s take a look at my predictions for what the top eight teams will be come Sunday!

#8. Luminosity gaming

Roster: Visal “eL TowN” Mohanan, Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Joe “TriPPPeY” Taylor

Victory X. Courtesy of ESL.

Luminosity’s first dive into Halo ended with a 5th place finish in the Fall Season. Their new squad, while not necessarily worse, has much more fearsome competition to contend with. With eL TowN and Victory X bringing excellent support and objective work to the roster, their main concern will be slaying power. TriPPPey has proven himself to be very competent in this area, but his performance against higher-seeded pro teams remains unproven. This team should be able to dispatch teams outside of the top eight with relative ease. If Ninja can step up and be the jaw-dropping slayer we all know he can be, this squad can easily do even better. But with a 0-8 scrim record against other teams on this list, I’m not sure this LG squad can pull it off.

This tournament will serve as practice more than anything for Luminosity. They need to learn how to work together well and build a camaraderie outside the game. I fully expect their scrim scores to improve following this event, but I’m not sure I see them breaking into the top six before HWC Las Vegas.

 

#7. Str8 Rippin

Roster: Aaron “Ace” Elam, Bradley “APG” Laws, Richie “Heinz” Heinz, Jonathan “Renegade” Willette

I have a hard time saying that Renegade is an upgrade from Kevin “Eco” Smith. Both are great power slayers, but I feel Eco just slightly ekes out Renegade in most if not all categories. The advantage that Str8 has however, is that this team already has some previously built-up chemistry. Renegade played with Str8 before they were able to pick up Eco over the transfer period. Even with this, the team is not necessarily worse, but the competition has far improved from last season.

When it comes to scrims, Str8 has beaten Luminosity by only one game. However, the reason I put Str8 above LG on this list is because they have consistently done better against other rosters than LG. For example, both teams have scrimmaged the new Team Allegiance: Str8 lost the scrim 8-5, while Luminosity lost it 11-2. This sort of scenario has repeated itself multiple times with several different teams, and in most, Str8 comes out better than LG. UGC to this team will be about continuing to build their chemistry and seeing where they truly stack up against other top contenders.

 

#6. Team Allegiance

Roster: Tyler “Spartan” Ganza, Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi, Hamza “Commonly” Abbaali, Ayden “Suspector” Hill

This is where things start to get especially close. The new Allegiance roster will have to fight through the open bracket, but once in the champ bracket, they’re sure to start making it farther down the rankings. This squad has three top-tier slayers and an excellent objective player.

Commonly

Commonly, also lovingly nicknamed “The Problem.” Courtesy of ESL.

This squad can very quickly switch places with any team in the 3rd-6th spots. In scrims, this team has lost to OpTic Gaming by only one game, and has also split scrims with both Team EnvyUs and Team Liquid. While LAN results may differ, this team could be without a doubt a top four contender, assuming Spartan kicks up his game to a near-insane levels like he did at the Fall Finals. UGC will provide solid practice to see if this new roster can play well together and to see if their online results translate over to LAN.

 

#5. Evil Geniuses

Roster: Justin “Roy” Brown, Jason “Lunchbox” Brown, Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski, Devon “PreDevoNatoR” Layton

ContrA. Courtesy of ESL.

Now, to be clear, if this was an online qualifier, EG would most likely be in 7th or 8th place. But this is LAN. It has been proven time and again over the past decade that the the Brown twins are not to be tested at a live event. Throw in ContrA and PreDevoNatoR, another two players who have proven to be far superior on LAN to online. With a similar mix of play-styles to the EG team that dominated Halo 2: Anniversary, the potential of this squad is through the roof.

Despite this, numbers don’t lie. EG has lost all but one scrim out of the nine they’ve played. Despite this, they’ve taken a fair amount of games from both OpTic, EnvyUs, and Liquid. However, LAN EG is a completely different beast. During HCS Las Vegas last season, EG was able to take EnvyUs to a game five, pushing what virtually all view as a top two team to their absolute limits; and I’d say this squad is stronger. All of these players on LAN can far outdo themselves online, and as a fan of EG since they returned to Halo in 2014, I can’t wait to see what this team can do. UGC will serve as excellent practice for this squad, as they have not played on LAN since that Vegas event. However, teams that are absolutely brimming with talent are what is holding this team from joining the top four.

 

#4. Inconceivable

Roster: Jesse “Bubu Dubu” Moeller, Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi, Michael “Falcated” Garcia, “Shotzzy” (Full name unknown)

Be sure to give Bubu your Dubu this weekend, because he and Shooter are not going to be playing nice at this event. After being (for lack of a better word) screwed out of a Pro Bracket spot by their former teammate, these players are going to be hungry. Most of the attention is going to young-gun “Shotzzy,” a player who is so new and unknown that I can’t, for the life of me, find his actual name. He formed a duo with another young player to win several Team Beyond 2v2 tournaments, which included knocking out some pros. His movement and slaying power is already up there with the best, and he doesn’t even have a driver’s license yet. This team also won the NA placement cup prior to UGC and is in prime position to get into the top four. This squad has insane slaying power, led by Bubu’s clutch plays and top-tier objective work.

Scrims have gone very well for this new squad, including a 12-1 victory over Luminosity. They have also split games with both Liquid and Envy. However, the one thing holding them back from top three, is ironically Shotzzy. As far as I know, he has not played at any LAN events. This lack of experience can be detrimental to the squad, as his performance under pressure has not yet been tested. If Shotzzy holds up, this team is right up there with OpTic and Envy. Shotzzy’s performance will no doubt be a focal point for all teams this weekend at UGC. With this is the ongoing situation with this squad and the Pnda Gaming squad. If these two meet, I can only hope for the following scenario to be true:

t5evHFs.jpg

Bubu Dubu knocking out Carlos “Cratos” Ayala. Courtesy of “Craneteam,” from the Team Beyond Forums.

 

#3. Team Liquid

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

If you asked me to throw together the most talented pro players who were not on Envy or OpTic, this is probably the squad I would come up with. A squad of all relative newcomers. Rayne and Penguin have been an amazing duo since first seen on LAN at NA Regionals last year. Rayne provides excellent support play, StelluR is one of the best main-slayers in the league, and both Penguin and Eco have proven themselves as excellent power-slayers.

This team has split games with Envy in scrims and even won a scrim against OpTic by one game. This team has also traded scrims with Inconceivable, but as I said, I believe Shotzzy’s lack of LAN experience will separate these two. I am sure this team will be top four, but UGC will decide if they can join Envy and OpTic in being a step above other teams in the league.

 

#2. Team EnvyUs

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

Pistola, the resident Wizard of Halo. Courtesy of ESL.

The Fall Champions. The King-slayers. The only team to ever beat OpTic on LAN. With a star-studded arrangement of amazing slayers, this squad has done what many thought would have been impossible. With Ola and Mikwen not even making Worlds last year, this battle will be especially personal for them. In scrims, they have won all except for one tie with Inconceivable. They defeated the Pnda squad 12-1. To say the least, this team is dominating.

And yet, I have them at #2.

OpTic may have fallen, but I don’t think they are defeated yet. In fact, as I have said earlier, I think Envy have awakened a sleeping dragon. However, their previous win at Fall Finals may also further motivate Envy to continue their win-streak all the way to being the 2017 World Champions. But to do this, one squad stands in their way.

 

#1. OpTic Gaming

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

This squad needs no introduction. There’s a reason that I have OpTic winning UGC this weekend despite performing worse in scrims than Envy. LAN OpTic, in a similar fashion to EG, is a whole different beast. Losing at X-Games one year ago motivated the squad to become the first ever Halo World Champions. I’m betting that losing at Fall Finals will do the same. However, I don’t think OpTic will dominate as they have previously. At Fall Finals, OpTic was able to 4-1 Envy in the Winner’s Finals. Envy will surely take games. But I don’t think the #Greenwall is ready to go quietly quite yet. These two teams will be battling back and forth for the foreseeable future, but I think OpTic is going to be the defending world champs for yet another year.

OpTic wins HCS Orange County. Courtesy of ESL.

 

Do you agree with my placings? Be sure to let me know! Be sure to tune in to UGC St. Louis this weekend at: https://www.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 Devin! Get in touch with Devin personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @Frostbite_XV2!

 

HWC 2017 Rostermania: Teams and Thoughts

With the conclusion of the Fall Season Pro League, many Halo teams have made some huge roster changes, and as usual, some drama has followed. With OpTic Gaming and Team EnvyUs retaining their previous rosters, let’s take a look at how the other teams are shaping up going into the 2017 World Championship season.

 

Courtesy of Tyler “Ninja” Blevins

Luminosity Gaming

Luminosity Gaming ended their first stint in professional Halo in 5th place, just barely being knocked out of the Fall Season Finals by Str8 Rippin’s miracle run through the last half of the season. In preparation for HWC, LG has released fan-favorite player, Brett “Naded” Leonard as well as Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi. In their place, they have scooped up another fan favorite, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, as well as Joe “TriPPPeY” Taylor, a player who made it to the Fall Season Relegations. The full LG squad heading into the HWC 2017 Season is now Ninja, TriPPPeY, Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson, and Visal “eL TowN” Mohanan.

The success of this team lies with the consistency of Ninja. When he catches fire, he can consistently match teams such as OpTic and NV, possibly even beat them. The only issue here, is that Ninja can’t pull off these kinds of performances on a consistent basis. He’s always been an aggressive, high-risk, high-reward sort of power slayer. The issue with this is that it’s been more risk than reward as of late, leading to some low-damage and high death games. With Victory X and eL TowN bringing a proper objective focus to this squad, as well as TriPPPey’s consistent slaying power, this should allow room for Ninja to do what he needs to do. If he shows up, then this squad can definitely break into the top 4.

Evil Geniuses

Being an EG fan has hurt, ever since NA Regionals last February. The twins, Jason “Lunchbox,” and Justin “Roy” Brown have just not been able to catch a break. Not because Roy and Lunchbox (collectively known as “Roybox”) are no longer able to compete, but instead because they have not been able to find players that can match their play styles. Even with this, the twins along with their teammates always managed to place well on LAN. This might just be what brings EG back into the winner’s circle.

Enter Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski and Devon “PreDevoNatoR” Layton. These two are now joining Roybox and coach Ryan “Towey” after the release of Ninja and Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher. ContrA brings excellent slaying power, with arguably one of the best magnum shots in the league. PreDevoNatoR rounds out the squad with a solid flex role, being able to slay and do objective work. The reason this is important, is because this is a similar combination of play styles that EG had when they were dominating Halo 2: Anniversary. While all players have a spotty record when it comes to online play, both RoyBox as well as ContrA and PreDevoNatoR have done far better when it comes to LAN play. They are likely to also break into the top 4. Make no mistake. This team is a threat and has the potential to be as much of a contender as NV or OpTic.

 

Team Liquid

Team Liquid ended the Fall Season with a 3rd place finish. Looking to improve, Tyler “Spartan” Ganza and Hamza “Commonly” Abbaali have been released. In an attempt to push to the same level as OpTic and NV, they have scooped up Stellur and Kevin “Eco” Smith to join Zane “Penguin” Hearon and Tim “Rayne” Tinkler.

Courtesy of ESL

This new Team Liquid is the most likely to catch up to NV and OpTic. Penguin and Rayne have already proven themselves to be a top duo with a top 4 finish at HWC 2016 and at both Pro League seasons. Combined with Stellur and Eco, this team has a scary amount of slaying power. These two have teamed along with Team Liquid previously in the Summer Season, and despite their poor overall placing, they looked like a team that could have made Finals in the final weeks of the season.

*Note: Team Liquid has not yet officially stated that this is their roster, but it is very likely. Regardless, this team will hold the Liquid seed.

 

Str8 Rippin

This is a roster switch that many didn’t see coming. Most, (including me) had hoped that Str8 would stick with their roster of Aaron “Ace” Elam, Bradley “APG” Laws, Richie “Heinz” Heinz and Eco, especially after the roller coaster they had been on, which concluded with their miracle run to the Fall Finals. Unfortunately, this was not the case, as Eco left the team for Team Liquid. In his place, Str8 has acquired a previous amateur player,

This is not the first time that Jonathan “Renegade” Willette has played with Ace and crew. After Nick “Maniac” Kershner’s retirement, the team picked up their first victory in the Fall season with Renegade. He fills a similar role to Eco, being a great power slayer. Whether this will make Str8 stronger or weaker, remains to be seen.

 

Pnda gaming

Made up of Carlos “Cratos” Ayala, Cory “Str8 Sick” Sloss, Brett “Naded” Leonard, and Kyle “Nemassist” Kubina, this roster’s legitimacy of holding a pro seed is questionable at best. Through unfair bending of the rules and usage of loopholes, Cratos and his squad have managed to hold the former Enigma 6 seed instead of the squad made by Jesse “Bubu Dubu” Moeller and Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi, much to the anger of the HCS community. While the ESL rules state that a team must have two members of it’s previous team to retain a seed (Which Bubu’s squad does and Cratos’ does not), Cratos still managed to snag the seed.

Nevertheless, they hold the seed. However, this squad has weakened from what it once was. Already being forced to Fall Relegations, the loss of Bubu Dubu and Shooter, two players who arguably carried the team through relegations, will hurt the team. With several other team’s looking to snatch one of the seven NA spots at Worlds, it is very possible that this team will not even make it to Worlds, at least as they are now.

 

Team Allegiance

Despite not holding a pro seed, this team will likely breeze into the top 6. Allegiance dissolved their seed from the Fall season to acquire a new roster of Tyler “Spartan” Ganza, Hamza “Commonly” Abbaali, Ayden “Suspector” Hill, and Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi. This roster is going to be scary. Spartan, Suspector, and Danoxide are all excellent slayers and can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the league. All this slaying power leaves Commonly free to run objectives however he sees fit and to be a general annoyance for the opposing team.

Spartan, team captain of the new ALG squad. Courtesy of Tyler Ganza

Spartan will be either the catalyst or the anchor for this team’s success. He has consistently been an emotional player who can either carry his squad with jaw-dropping plays, or just be completely shut down and become a detriment. Throughout the Summer Season, he was unfortunately the latter. However, during the Fall Season, this was not so. Spartan was consistently leading his team in slays, and at the Fall Finals, rocketed his team through a game seven Rig Slayer to reverse-sweep Str8 Rippin. Despite not having a pro seed going into UGC St. Louis, this team is likely a top three contender.

Many story lines are taking shape on the road to the 2017 Halo World Championship. The personal battle between Bubu Dubu’s now amateur team and Cratos as well as the ever present OpTic vs. NV rivalry, many questions will be answered this weekend. Come back later this week for a preview and predictions for UGC St. Louis!

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 @Frostbite_XV2!

 

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