Who Benefits Most From the New Settings?

The new HCS settings have been released. With the game and meta now changing, let’s take a look at where players might see noticeable improvement during the Summer Season!

 

Fall of the Rad-ar Kids?

The most controversial addition to Halo 5’s competitive settings.

Just to be clear, no players will get spectacularly worse due to not having the full radar and automatic weapons. All have shown their ability with precision weapons, and most have at least played the classic titles at high levels despite not being pros. All players have adapted to using radar and will have to gain or re-gain their awareness. That said, some players will catch on faster and see more of a benefit due to prior experience. Here’s just a few!

 

The Up and Up

Two notable players that pretty much everyone thinks will improve are Justin and Jason Brown, or “Roy” and “Lunchbox,” respectively. These players have already stated that they are enjoying the game far more with the new settings. Being veteran players with top 8 finishes since Halo 2, these two can start showing that they are still top players.

 

Let’s hop to the Luminosity roster. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has been showing his improvement on these new settings.

 

Ninja has been performing much better since the changes, and his trademarked raging is also notably less present due to the lack of automatic weapons. The new radar allows flanks to have much more of an impact, suitable for fast-moving, hyper-aggressive players such as Ninja.

Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson is another player who will likely improve with the new settings. His slower, more methodical play-style will suit the newer radar, while once again, the lack of automatic weapons is just better for everyone.

Two more players who will likely improve are Eric “Snip3down” Wrona and Justin “iGotUrPistola” Deese. Both have been vocal about supporting these changes since launch and must be happy to finally see them implemented. Snip3down, with autos removed, has more room to make his excellent shot work. As for Ola, well, he’s the Wizard for a reason. Pistola is notorious for being difficult to play against, breaking many ankles in order to slip away whenever possible. The new radar will only bolster these abilities.

Many other players will see benefits from the new changes, these are just a few notable ones. Who else do you think will perform better with the new settings? Sound off in the comments or on Twitter!

 

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Devin! Get in touch with Devin personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @Frostbite_XV2!

Images via MLG and Eurogamer, respectively. 

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!

 

Pro League Events: EU Left Out?

After the conclusion of HWC 2017, many fans were eager to learn the details of the Pro League. Dreamhack was confirmed to be running the Season Finals for North America. However, we haven’t heard much since then, and we’ve heard next to nothing for the EU league. However, rumor has it that while NA may be getting a quality bump, EU is receiving a downgrade.

 

an ocean away

Pro player Jake “Chalkie” White. Courtesy of Halo Esports Wikis.

According to professional player Jake “Chalkie” White, EU players and fans will not have an event of their own. Instead, the top two teams from the online Pro League will travel to Dreamhack Atlanta to join the other top 8 NA teams. The above tweet was made in response to the Chalkie’s tweet. This decision could have serious repercussions for the foreign Halo communities as a whole.

While EU events may not have the overall viewership of NA events, all of their LANs have, for the most part, sold out. In comparison, some NA events have struggled to fill seats due to being on the West coast. There may be a very good reason for this, but it doesn’t seem worth the cost. The teams that are able to travel to Dreamhack will be decided via online play, which is very inconsistent. Add in Halo 5‘s numerous server and aim issues and it seems that this setup is not at all fair to the EU community. Sending only two teams to Dreamhack isn’t the issue, the issue is that only two teams will get to play offline.

ESL’s changes to the NA structure have been great so far. The Season Finals will now be an open event with all NA Pro teams instead of a four team invitational. If the cost of these changes is the EU scene receiving a fraction of the support they had in past seasons, it may not be worth it.

ESL is yet to confirm this. However, Chalkie doesn’t seem to benefit from this in any way. Hopefully it proves to be just a rumor.

 

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!

HCS Changes for the Upcoming Season

Two World Championships later, we are entering what is presumably the final year of Halo 5‘s competitive tenure. With a FPS Halo typically being released every three years, we will likely see a beta later this year. However, Halo 5 may be running on fumes. Currently, the game is becoming stale to many. With only eight maps and three game modes used competitively, we could use more content. On top of this, 343 Industries’ lack of communication has damaged the long-term health of Halo 5.

 

New Maps and Modes

With only 12 combinations of maps and modes, Halo 5 seems especially bare-bones compared to past games.

Stasis, the only post-launch map added to the HCS. It was universally hated and was eventually removed. Courtesy of Halo Waypoint.

Unfortunately, most of the maps added post-launch are unsuitable for competitive game-play. New maps would be a great way to bring back some interest in the HCS. Developer maps would be great, but 343’s spotty record with Halo 5‘s maps is not exactly commendable. Forge maps may be a great alternative to this. Community maps were used in both Halo 3 and Halo: Reach and were well-received. To facilitate community involvement, 343 could hold a Forge contest much like they did with the HWC Season, except have it focused on competitive maps. Have pros test the maps, and if approved, add them into the rotation.

Another way of gaining interest would be new modes. While 343 has attempted to add Assault, it has not worked particularly well and most pros stand against it. However, older modes such as Oddball could work spectacularly with Halo 5‘s mechanics. Adding this mode to rotation-heavy maps such as Plaza and Eden could showcase excellent game-play, assuming the pros agree. Even modes such as King of the Hill could be tested. If the pros wanted to take a crack at it, they could also attempt to make the changes they see fit to the Assault mode.

 

Community Interaction

Brian “ske7ch” Jarrard, community manager for 343i. Courtesy of Brian Jarrard.

Another change that needs to be made is in regard to 343’s communication with the wider community. It has taken 18 months for 343 to recognize and act on the issues of automatic weapons and the radar. This is despite the majority of the competitive community metaphorically screaming about these issues since launch. This is unacceptable. To maintain a healthy competitive atmosphere, developers must constantly re-tune multiple features of the competitive portion of the game. 343 has not done this at all, until recently. Ideally, with the new settings changes and changes to the Pro League structure, this will no longer be an issue.

 

Halo 5 had the possibility to be an excellent competitive game through its entire life. Unfortunately, this potential went untapped. With the changes made after HWC 2017 though, we can send Halo 5 out with a bang.

 

Are there any other changes that you would like to see in the HCS Pro League? 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!

 

 

Do Team Liquid and EnVyUs Need Roster Swaps?

Both Liquid and EnVyUs have been nipping at the OpTic roster’s heels since the start of the HWC season. Both teams were able to take OpTic to game 5s and game 7s at UGC, but were not able to come as close during later events. At Vegas, Liquid was able to take games from OpTic, but remained unable to beat them. At the HWC Finals, again, Liquid managed to take a game, but couldn’t take them down. NV met OpTic in the grand finals, and despite the games being close, fell 4-0. So what is stopping these teams from being able to take down the two-time World Champs? Can these rosters be improved by swapping a player or two?

 

Team EnVyUs

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

Austin “Mikwen” McCleary. Courtesy of Halo Esports Wiki.

This roster was fabled as a new God-squad when forming for the Fall Season. The only team that many thought could contest OpTic. This was proven true, as NV consistently beat OpTic online and were able to take them down at Fall Finals. However, HWC 2017 has been a different story. At UGC, they fell to OpTic in game 5. Liquid seemed to have NV’s number at Vegas as well.

At the HWC Finals, despite coming out hot in most of the games, NV were swept by OpTic. Throughout the whole weekend, Mikwen was being an absolute slaying machine and led his team through the loser’s bracket all the way to the grand finals. Snip3down and Huke were providing their usual slaying power (albeit less due to Mikwen just killing everything). The only weak link of the roster during HWC was The Wizard, Pistola. However, he was usually keeping his deaths down and had on-par damage. That said, it was obviously not his best tournament, but his Vegas and UGC performances do show that he is still a top player.

Snip3down has confirmed on stream that this squad will be staying together for the upcoming UMG Daytona event.

 

Team Liquid

Zane “Penguin” Hearon. Courtesy of Zane Hearon.

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

If NV was the roster to take on OpTic during the Fall Season, Team Liquid held that title during most of the HWC season. They were able to take them to their limits at UGC, but were only able to take one game from OpTic at Vegas and HWC.

At Finals, the only player that seemed to struggle was Rayne. Even then, he had assists and objective work to help his team. Penguin, StelluR, and Eco, on the other hand, all seemed to be performing well. Much like NV, the issue with Liquid’s stats is that there’s only so many kills to go around when Penguin is getting every power weapon. Again, there is no merit to make a roster change.

 

Conclusion

Individual skill is not what is separating OpTic and every other team right now. OpTic, NV, Liquid, and even Str8 all have similarly talented players for the most part. The difference maker is teamwork and chemistry. OpTic has been teaming for over a year, compared to a few months for the rest of these teams. While both NV and Liquid can make roster changes, they would only really be “side-grades” so to speak. Not necessarily upgrades. They’d be changing talent in one area for talent in another. Both of these teams should maintain their rosters for the upcoming season and improve as a team in order to take down OpTic.

 

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!

HCS Settings Discussion: Summer 2017

Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece that reflects the views of the author. 

The Halo community is constantly debating how the game should be played competitively. Radar, automatic weapons, all things that were never present in the competitive settings of previous games. The idea of “universal settings” has come forward in an attempt to unite the player-base into one community. However, this idea has only made both the competitive and casual communities more frustrated. Let’s take a look at what I believe can make Halo 5 a much more competitive and entertaining game, while also examining why universal settings doesn’t work.

 

Universal Settings

Halo, since its inception, has been one of few franchises that could include many different kinds of players. Communities focused on lore, map-making, and fun mini-games have all risen. Alongside these communities were the players who played at the highest level. Competitive players had their own playlist from Halo 2 to Halo: Reach. This allowed the community to design the playlist and settings to their hearts content, even if it was different from what a first day player might be interested in. In  Halo 2, this meant just changing the starting weapon and weapons on maps. In other games, it meant weapons changes, but also damage and movement speed alterations. All were done to make the game more competitive, and Bungie allowed our community to get our own playlist so we could do what we wanted without having to appease other communities.

Quinn DelHoyo, MP designer at 343. Courtesy of Quinn DelHoyo.

 

This is where 343 Industries has failed, leading to community divides only growing. Competitive players feel like the game appeases casual players with the inclusion of automatics and radar. Casual players feel like the game is too competitive-focused, or “sweaty” to just have fun on. Both sides feel like the other is being catered to and neither side is happy. Universal settings are great for games that are balanced around competitive play at their foundation; Halo, by satisfying so many different communities, is not one of these games.

 

Proposed Settings Changes

While given a whole new game to work with, I would push for the removal of functions such as sprinting, that is not feasible for a break between seasons. These suggestions are in no particular order.

  1. Team HCS Playlist: Competitive players need to have their own place to play how they feel they should. As said before, Universal Settings are a bad idea for Halo, and this community having their own playlist ensures that the experience of other communities remains intact.
  2. Pistol Starts: Automatic weapons objectively take less skill than precision weapons. However, no class of weapons should be entirely irrelevant. Unfortunately, they are currently too powerful to remain as starting weapons. Each player start with only pistols. Remove all Brute Plasma Rifles, Storm Rifles, and SMGs. Replace these weapons with Assault Rifles. However, there should not be more than 2-3 autos on the map, and each should behave similar to Tier 2 weapons. This way, they won’t re-spawn until the weapon is empty.
  3. 18m Ability Radar: The problem that many have with the current ability radar is that it makes autos even stronger. Paired with the previous suggestion, the ability-only radar makes sure players earn their information. It also discourages sprinting and charging.
  4. Removing Splinter Grenades: Splinter Grenades are inexcusable. Originally meant for zone control, they are rarely used for that. In conjunction with the radar, these grenades allow players to instantly level the playing field, if not outright killing their opposition. However, unlike Plasma Grenades, Splinters are easy to use.
  5. Removal of Grenade Hit-Markers: Grenade hit-markers function similarly to the radar. They give the player free information. This leads to more spamming of grenades and easy, mostly undeserved kills.
  6. Less Precision Rifles: Precision rifles in Halo 5 are excessively easy to use. They are hit-scan and have very fast kill times. This is fine, but the fact that so many exist on maps is what leads to them being too prevalent.

 

Conclusion

Professional players and fans alike detest the current settings. It makes the game far easier than it should be and generally does not feel like Halo should.

The current settings quite simply aren’t fun to play for many competitive players. This is the first game that I think has potential that I don’t bother playing. I love what this game could be, but I dislike what it currently is. With these few changes, this could truly be a great competitive game.

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!

Season Retrospective: Halo World Championship 2017

Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece that reflects the views of the author. 


Halo World Championship 2017 is over. The dust has settled. A World Champion stands crowned. Well, re-crowned.

Congratulations to back-to-back Halo World Champions, Tony “LethuL” Campbell, Jr, Paul “SnakeBite” Duarte, Mathew “Royal2” Fiorante and Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom, representing OpTic Gaming!

That said, this was very likely the worst run season of the Halo Championship Series yet. Numerous, repeated blunders from both 343 Industries as well as the Electronic Sports League (ESL) were present during the HWC. Let’s go over what went wrong.

Competitive Integrity

At the start of the season, the HCS confirmed which teams would hold pro seeds going into the HWC season. The rules stated that for a team to keep a pro seed, they had to retain two original members of their roster. Herein lies the first issue with this season, and it was before the first event even started.

While Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller and Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi, two former members of Enigma6, formed a squad with the expectation that they would retain their pro seed, they were left without it. Instead, the seed was given to Carlos “Cratos” Ayala and his new squad, in direct contradiction to the rules previously put out by ESL. This was due to Cratos’ coach submitting a fake roster (Here’s a statement from an ESL employee on the matter and another with its implications).

The fact that ESL allowed this to stand, despite referring to their rules as “a living document,” is disgusting. No justification exists for allowing a fake roster to stand without any sort of punishment. Combined with Cratos’ prior questionable actions, it seems that he is able to get away with quite a lot under ESL’s league management. This includes the same coach signing onto Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher’s account on a different box to sign StelluR out in the middle of a match.

However, the lack of competitive integrity extends further, most notably at the HWC Finals. According to multiple sources, the side station, as well as the blue side of the main-stage, were plagued by lag spikes as well as “heavy aim,” which has been a noted issue for Halo 5 since its launch. No long-term fix has even been mentioned and the majority of the community has given up on 343’s ability to properly care for the game after launch. The worst part of this is that it was apparently not fixed until the last day of the tournament. OpTic Gaming spoke of this “heavy aim” issue in the newest episode of their Vision series.

The fact that this was reported to ESL and they chose not to act on it until the final day of the tournament is absolutely unacceptable. Add on that this tournament is a World Championship and $1,000,000 is on the line. It only makes ESL seem even worse.

 

Production Issues

Starting with UGC St. Louis, the production this season was abhorrent. Frequent breaks and technical issues plagued both UGC and Vegas. This is an issue that arises with 343 not implementing Local Area Network (LAN) functionality into Halo 5. However, even despite that, events can still work relatively well, it’s just that these two did not. However, the venues for both St. Louis and Vegas were great and provided an entertaining live experience.

Now let’s get to the elephant in the room.

The HWC Finals venue was an absolute disgrace. ESL and 343 undoubtedly failed the community as a whole in this respect.

People paid $65 and traveled from around the world to sit in a tent and watch the same stream that I watched at home. While community figure Dan “Greenskull” Hammill did post pictures that showed a fuller venue, it was only marginally better. ESL should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to happen and allowing the 2017 HWC Finals to boil down to memes.

The only thing that saved this season was the astounding level of game-play. Following the event, an apology was provided, but it was mostly the same that’s been said before. We’ve heard “We’ll do better because that’s what Halo deserves,” constantly since 2012. After seeing little to no improvement, much of the community, myself included, are reaching the end of their patience.

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 2017 Finals Predictions

We’re finally here. Three months of competition and grinding have brought us to this. Twelve teams will compete in Burbank, California this weekend and only one will walk away with the title of “Halo World Champion.” Here’s how I think it’s all going to play out.

 

9th – 12th: SoaR Gaming

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

MuNoZ, of SoaR Gaming. Courtesy of HaloEsportsWikis.

Qualifying through the Latin America Qualifiers, this squad is looking to improve their region’s standing in the Halo community. Mexico City proved that they are a very competent team that has the endurance to compete with other top tier teams in the region.

However, losing their star player Josbe “Tapping Buttons” Valadez and using MuNoZ as a late substitute could damage this team’s performance. Moreover, these players, with the exception of MuNoZ, don’t have experience competing against North American teams and that will likely work against them. MuNoZ must lead this team perfectly for them to make the top eight.

 

9th – 12th: London Conspiracy

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

Despite having several notable players on the roster, I just don’t think London Conspiracy have the firepower to deal with the other teams attending the Halo World Championship. With Team Liquid and Luminosity Gaming in their group, it’s hard to see them winning it, meaning they’ll likely be seeded into the loser’s bracket. With other teams such as Team Immunity and Supremacy likely joining them there, this squad has a tough route to make it deep into the bracket.

 

9th – 12th: Supremacy

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

This squad has a similar story to London Conspiracy. In the same group as OpTic Gaming and Crowd Pleasers, saying “only a miracle could win this squad their group” would be an understatement. And then dropping to the loser’s bracket, this theme continues. Supremacy isn’t bad, they’re just not going to be able to contend with the other teams here, specifically the North American teams and FabE.

 

9th – 12th: Team Immunity

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

Benno, during his time playing Call of Duty. Courtesy of EGaming Network.

Right off the bat, I’ll say that this squad has already impressed me. The team has come out to Burbank early to get more practice against North American teams and they’ve been doing well for themselves. Scrim results show that they’ve taken three games off of Team EnVyUs, with several other winnable games. They even managed to win a scrim 7-6 against Splyce. However, they’ve also been picked apart by Str8 Rippin, with a 13-0 loss and only two close games.

Immunity does have an advantage in that this is the same squad that represented ANZ at last year’s Halo World Championship. They and OpTic are the only teams to have the same rosters. This built up chemistry could very well swing fortune into Immunity’s favor, but with both Splyce and NV in their group, they’ll need to catch fire quickly.

That said, I place them here reluctantly. Depending on how the bracket plays out as well as which teams come out hot or cold, this squad could very well slip into the top eight, possibly even top six.

 

7th – 8th: Luminosity Gaming

Roster: Visal “eL TowN” Mohanan, Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins

Starting off in the top eight is Luminosity Gaming. With the slaying capabilities of Saiyan and Ninja combined with the support

Saiyan, the newest player on LG. Courtesy of Tommy Wilson.

work of eL TowN and Victory X, this squad is a potent combination. This was shown at HWC Las Vegas, where the squad nearly defeated Str8 Rippin and even managed to send Splyce home. Luminosity has proved that when they’re at their top level, they can contend with the best of the best. But therein lies the problem.

According to HaloDataHive.com, a website that tracks the scrim scores and stats of professional Halo, LG hasn’t had a scrim in over a week. Assuming this is a lack of practice, this could severely hinder the squad’s ability to repeat and improve upon their earlier performance. Scrim results prior to their absence don’t look bad, however, with a 6-6 scrim with Splyce and a 9-4 over Team Liquid. However, there’s also a 0-7 loss to OpTic as well as a 1-12 loss to NV. This squad has the talent to squeak into the top eight, but past that, this lack of practice will keep them from progressing.

 

7th – 8th: FabE Games eSports

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

The top European team and arguably top foreign team have proved that they are legitimate contenders for the Halo World Championship title. Despite splitting scrims with other EU teams, when it comes to events, this squad has not faltered to any non-North American team. During the Fall Pro League season, this squad did play NA teams and was defeated by Str8 Rippin 4-1. Despite this, this squad has improved since then and the recent LAN experience against NA teams will play to their advantage. Joining them in Group D is Str8 Rippin and SoaR. With this in mind, they are very capable of winning this group if Str8 comes out flat, putting both them and most likely Str8 in the winner’s bracket. However, despite being a great squad, the next caliber of teams are just a step above.

 

5th – 6th: Crowd Pleasers

Roster: Carlos “Cratos” Ayala, Brett “Naded” Leonard, Cory “Str8 SicK” Sloss, Daniel “Danoxide” Terlizzi

Carlos Ayala at MLG Regionals last year. Courtesy of Halo Esportspedia.

This squad came out strong at Las Vegas, securing fourth. With crazy momentum-based slaying on their side, CP can just about cruise into the top eight before having real struggles. With OpTic and Supremacy in their group, they will likely take second and move into the winner’s bracket as well. The issue I have with this squad is that they are momentum based. All four players have been known to be extremely emotional and while this can play to their advantage, in the long run it is more likely to hurt them. If this squad runs up against a particularly tough match-up early in the bracket, they can tilt themselves all the way out of the tournament. However, if they can move on from losses with relative ease, this squad does have a chance to make top four.

That said, scrim results don’t paint a good picture for CP. Hard losses to NV, Splyce and OpTic shows that this team may not yet be able to stand with that category.

 

5th – 6th: Splyce

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

Bubu during his time on E6. Courtesy of Halo Esportspedia.

Castro

We’re starting to reach that point where any of these teams can take the title if things go a little in their favor. Splyce,

despite a disappointing performance at Vegas, punched their ticket to HWC through the LCQ. Another squad of young guns, these players all have the potential to go off and absolutely take control of a game on their own. Shotzzy, being the youngest player at the tournament at the age of 15, has shown that age is not a marker of ability. Bubu and Shooter also have something to prove, as they unfairly lost their Pro League spots due to Cratos’ actions. Scrims have been conflicting for Splyce, with 5-8 losses to Str8 but 9-4 wins over CP. However, much like OpTic, Str8 and Liquid, this roster is much stronger at live events, Vegas being the exception. Expect a hot start and continuous momentum deep into the bracket.

 

4th: Str8 Rippin

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

Richie Heinz. Courtesy of ESL.

This squad has been on a roller coaster of a ride since the end of HWC 2016. After Ace, APG, and Heinz were dropped from OpTic Gaming, they were acquired by Str8 Rippin, a legendary name in the history of competitive Halo. From there, this squad made a miracle run, going from the bottom of the standing to top four, just barely making it to the Fall Finals. Since then, they’ve picked up Renegade and have only gotten stronger. Despite scrim results being less than ideal across the board, this squad has shown that they are not to be trifled with. They are likely to win their group and proceed into the winner’s bracket, where they’ll likely stay there for another two rounds or so. Vegas showed that this team can contend with OpTic and they are more than capable of winning if Renegade is able to consistently put up huge numbers along with the rest of the team.

 

3rd: Team EnVyUs

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

“Hyoooook.” Courtesy of Cuyler Garland.

Despite Str8 being very strong, I do still think that NV are the better team. This squad is the only current squad to ever best OpTic Gaming on LAN. Since Fall Finals, NV has stumbled once the tournament slimmed to the top four. Despite consistently beating Str8 and other squads below them, Team Liquid has had them dialed in this season.

Despite this, scrim scores show a resurgence for this squad. This team has won nine scrims consecutively, with most of them being blowouts. This does also include a 7-6 victory over OpTic, although their last loss was to OpTic and was 9-4. It is completely viable for this team to come out hot and start knocking other teams into the loser’s bracket with sweeps. If this squad can manage to get past Liquid, they can take down OpTic and become World Champions.

 

2nd: Team Liquid

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

StelluR at Vegas. Courtesy of Braedon Boettcher.

That said, any rumors of Liquid’s victories over EnVyUs being flukes have been silenced. Liquid has beaten NV three times at events. Two of those were dominant 4-1 and 4-2 victories. This squad is the strongest new team to come out of the Fall season and has contested OpTic the best so far. At UGC, both of the series that Liquid played against OG went to the final games and were close. At Vegas, Liquid lost 4-1 while Rayne played with a broken controller. If there’s a squad who can take out OpTic, this is the most likely.

 

1st: OpTic Gaming

Roster: Paul “SnakeBite” Duarte, Matt “Royal2” Fiorante, Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom, T.J. “LethuL” Campbell

Beware this man in Blue Cave. Courtesy of Mathew Fiorante.

Back to back, two for two. Consecutive World Champions. This squad is going in already being at the top of the mountain and they have seen absolutely no failure this season. OpTic is the next dynasty of Halo and being the World Champs again will only solidify that. LethuL puts up consistently good numbers every game and does whatever is necessary to win his team the game. Snakebite is a similar story, consistent and overwhelming slaying with an insane clutch factor. Royal2 and Frosty have put up huge numbers repeatedly. Undoubtedly, these four are among the top 10 players in the game and it is likely that OpTic has four out of the five best players. As long as this team is playing their game, they will win and become the 2017 Halo World Champions.

 

 

 

We’re going to see the best Halo 5 competition yet this weekend. While it’s hard for me to picture anyone but OpTic winning, any of the last five teams listed here are more than capable of wrestling the title away from them. Be sure to check out the stream here!

Do you agree with my predictions? Let me know on Twitter or in the stream this weekend.

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These were too good not to include. Courtesy of “overuled” and “Chong” of the Team Beyond forums. Only the dankest of memes.

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!

Team Liquid: Poised to be Champions?

The Team Liquid that has competed throughout this HWC season has shocked many. After dropping Tyler “Spartan” Ganza and Hamza “Commonly” Abbaalli, many questioned this team’s ability to remain in the top four. However, Zane “Penguin” Hearon and Timothy “Rayne” Tinkler have ended those rumors.

 

Liquid From the Ashes

Eco during his previous time with Liquid. Courtesy of Kevin Smith.

After only barely taking third at the HCS Fall Finals, Liquid decided to pick up Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher and Kevin “Eco” Smith. This change was questioned. Commonly and Spartan were both regarded as top players. Eco was picked up after Liquid reverse-swept them at Fall Finals. StelluR wasn’t even at the Finals. Early scrim performances led to many continuing to question the roster change.

The only thing that seemed to be going for Liquid was that they were one of the first teams to form after the Fall Season and had already had previous chemistry as a team. However, most people thought that they would still not be able to contest with OpTic and Envy.

Then UGC happened.

 

UGC St. Louis

Liquid’s first notable matchup at St. Louis was against Splyce, at the time Inconceivable. Liquid narrowly won with a 3-2 victory, with no particularly easy games. Next, they encountered OpTic, and this was when people first saw what this team was capable of. Liquid took OpTic to a Game 5, very nearly becoming the second team to ever defeat the dominant roster on LAN. Unfortunately, Game 5 didn’t go in their favor and they dropped to the loser’s bracket.

Liquid fought through the loser’s bracket, sending Str8 Rippin home with a 3-1 score. Their next opponent, however, was Team EnVyUs. The only squad to ever best OpTic at an event. Again, many thought that surely, Liquid would be sent home and we would have another OpTic vs. NV rematch.

Against all odds, Liquid managed to eliminate NV from the tournament with another slim 3-2 victory. They then met OpTic in the Grand Finals and took the series all the way to Game 7. In Game 7, Coliseum Slayer, they were only defeated by small clutch plays. The game ended with less than a 10 kill difference, but Liquid had fallen. Nevertheless, the fact that they played OpTic so close and managed to eliminate NV was astounding to many. Despite this, some called it a fluke, claiming that NV just had a bad event, much like OpTic had at Fall Finals. This too, did not last.

 

HWC Vegas 2017

At Vegas, Liquid managed to defeat Pnda 4-0, a team that later went on to get top four and punch their ticket to HWC Finals. Next, they once again were met with NV. Much to the disappointment of many, Liquid forced NV down to the loser’s bracket with a 4-1 victory. NV were outright dominated in two games of the series, and their only win was relatively close. Liquid had shown that they were now OpTic’s greatest contender.

Let it be noted that according to Penguin, Rayne’s controller had malfunctioned, rendering him unable to crouch. With Halo 5’s controversial radar inclusion, not being able to crouch and stay off the radar was crippling.

Team Liquid’s Rayne. Courtesy of Tim Tinkler.

Nevertheless, Liquid continued on to meet OpTic, but were defeated 4-2. Liquid then dropped to the LB to play NV yet again. NV was playing much better at this point, but it was not enough for them to overcome Liquid. NV was eliminated from the tournament after a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Team Liquid.

In the Grand Finals, Liquid once again faced OpTic. With several close games, Liquid was defeated 4-1, with a larger margin between the two teams than at UGC. All still, with Rayne’s broken controller.

 

Looking to the HWC Finals

This weekend will decide if this squad has what it takes. They have shown that they are no longer third fiddle. They are better than NV, with little room for doubt after three consecutive LAN wins over them. Their chances at taking down OpTic are likely greater than those of any other team. However, they will need to come out very hot, or they too will not be able to break through the Greenwall. Liquid have shown that they are more than capable; but when you’re against a team like OpTic, no mistakes can be made. We won’t see if Liquid can accomplish this until this weekend, but they are surely going to be OpTic’s main contender.

 

Do you think Team Liquid has what it takes to be our 2017 World Champions? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Devin! Get in touch with Devin personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @Frostbite_XV2!

 

 

 

The Playbook: Rig Slayer

The Rig is one of the most important maps to learn in Halo 5, as it plays host to both Slayer and Strongholds. Having to play the same map twice in a single series can be a double-edged sword. If a team wins the first rendition of the map in a series, they’ll be more comfortable for the second. The opposing team who lost the first time around has the opposite effect. That said, here’s how you can help net yourself a win on Rig Slayer.

 

Rig Slayer Map Layout

Rig is the first asymmetrical map we’ll be covering in the series. The Red team spawns in the Bunker, with the Blues at the Carbine area. In the Nest, you’ll find a sniper rifle, with little cover. If the Red team is not careful about pushing this

Camo spawn.

area, the Blue team can easily toss in grenades. In the opposite corner of the map is the Scattershot, right by Barrels. Either team can choose to bait the Scattershot, by waiting for an enemy to push into the area and then shooting the explosive barrels.

The Camo spawns in the inside area of the map, adjacent to the White Hall. Hitting the white circle underneath the Camo platform will cause it to fall to the Sewers area. This is how nearly every game is started, as it allows both teams to further contest for Camo.

The Tower sits between the Bunker and Barrels and gives a nice overview of the entire inside area of the map. Behind the Tower is the Pipes area, which can be used for plenty of sneaky getaways.

Movement Around Tower and Pipes

Red Team Starting Strategy

Due to the Rig being asymmetrical, the Blue and Red teams have different strategies to use off the break. The Red team spawns inside of the map and has the better positioning. They are also in prime position to get control of the Camo.

Nest, featuring the Sniper.

Have two players rush Engine 2 (E2). One player should push into White Hall in order to watch the Nest and the Sniper. The other should have their eyes on the Camo and Basement Door. A third player should push up to the Tower and watch the Long Hall and Top Mid area as well as keeping an eye on Barrels. They may also be able to cover a part of the Outside Catwalk. Your fourth player should be charging the Camo. If the fourth dies, the player who was in E2 watching the Basement should be the next to attempt to grab it. Once the Camo is secured, the player in Tower should grab the Scattershot if it’s still available.

If a Red player grabs Camo, they should drop to Sewers and push into Basement for an easy flank.

 

Blue Team Starting Strategy

The Blue team has the weaker initial spawn. Have one player push to Barrels to grab the Scattershot, but be mindful of a

Barrels and the Scattershot spawn.

player in Tower. If this player is fast enough, they should be able to grab it without any trouble and double back to help the next player. Have the next player sit in the Basement Door to contest or at least burn the Camo. If a Blue player gets the first Camo, they should still drop to Sewers, but then should push into E2 to get a flank of their own. The remaining two players should push to Nest to secure the Sniper as well as contest White Hall. After getting a couple of kills, the Blue team should immediately swarm to the inside area of the map to get the Bunker spawns.

 

Rig Setup

Due again to being asymmetrical, the Rig has less of a focus on collapsing on spawns and more of a focus on holding

The Bunker area.

areas. After the initial fight, a team ideally should have control of the Bunker spawn, with one player anchoring the team there. The rest of the players should be split between controlling the White Hall and Tower. From there, let enemies push in, and kills rack up. Holding this setup basically guarantees you the Camo while also providing relatively good access to both the Sniper and Scattershot spawns.

When attempting to break a setup, the best way is to wait for a power weapon or Camo to spawn. Once your team has control of it, they can get easy kills and flood back into the superior side of the map. If the other team pushed your outside spawn, use it to your advantage. Have a player sneak back into the Bunker while they are pushing elsewhere and force them into the weaker spawn.

 

These strategies are very general and will not apply to every case. Make sure that you are conscious of what’s happening around the map and that you’re prepared.

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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