Kiev Major Group Stage

The Kiev Major Group Stage Preview

The first Major of the 2017 season is upon us and it looks as though it will be amazing. The Kiev Major will take place from April 24th – April 30th. The event will be split into Group Stages followed by a single-elimination main event bracket. Let’s take a look at the Kiev Major Group Stage.

The Kiev Major Prize Pool

The prize pool of the tournament is $3,000,000 USD.

Place $ USD Percent Team
1st $1,000,000  33.33% TBD
2nd $500,000  16.67% TBD
3rd-4th $250,000  8.33% TBD
TBD
place 5 to 16
5th-8th $125,000  4.17% TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD
9th-16th $62,500  2.08% TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD

Courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2/Kiev_Major/2017

Kiev Major Group Stage Format

For the first time at a Dota 2 event, Kiev will use the Swiss-system format. A format commonly seen at CS:GO events, it will be interesting to see if it creates better seeding heading into the main event.

  • 16 teams are placed in a single group where they play in a Swiss-system format.
    • Four rounds of matches.
    • All matches are played in a Bo3.
    • Opponents will always have the same Win/Loss record.
    • Teams will never play an opponent twice.
  • Round 1
    • Initial eight matches are seeded.
  • Round 2
    • Divided into two groups:
      • Winners of Round 1 (“high”)
      • Losers of Round 1 (“low”)
    • Teams will be drawn an opponent from their group.
  • Round 3
    • Divided into three groups:
      • Teams with a record of 2-0 (“high”)
      • Teams with a record of 1-1 (“mid”)
      • Lastly, teams with a record of 0-2 (“low”)
    • All teams will be drawn an opponent they have not played yet from their group.
    • Winners of the high group are the highest seed for the playoffs.
    • Losers of the low group are the lowest seed for the playoffs.
  • Round 4
    • Divided into two groups:
      • Teams with a record of 2-1 (“high”)
      • Teams with a record of 1-2 (“low”)
    • All teams will be drawn an opponent they have not yet played from their group.
    • Winners of the high group are the 2nd highest seed for the playoffs.
    • Losers of the low group are the 2nd lowest seed for the playoffs.

Courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2/Kiev_Major/2017/Group_Stage

The Kiev Major Group Stage – Round 1 Thoughts and Predictions

The Kiev Major Group Stage Round 1 Matches

Image courtesy of https://twitter.com/wykrhm

Team Secret v VG.J

In the first game of the first round, Team Secret will face off against VG.J. Both of these teams will likely finish in the middle of the pack somewhere. VG.J on paper are the stronger squad. However, outside of the second place at StarLadder, they have yet to live up to the hype.

Both Team Secret and VG.J have a point to prove at Kiev, this will be one of the closest series of the group stages. When the dust settles, I think Team Secret will take the series 2-1. Mainly because VG.J have been inconsistent in recent times. This is also Team Secret’s return to the Major’s after missing out on a place in Boston. Team Secret will be the sharper team heading into round one and should take a close series.

Team Secret Kiev Major Group Stage

Image courtesy of teamsecret.gg

Invictus Gaming (IG) v Mousesports

No series on the road to a Major trophy is easy. However, Mousesports will be feeling unlucky with their round one match-up. Going up against one of the favorites and DAC winner, IG will be a huge challenge for the Greeks. This series will be the first that the former Ad Finem roster has played since the second place finish at the Boston Major. Since then they have changed orgs, failed to attend a single LAN and we have had a series of game changing patches. On the other hand, IG comes into this event in the form of a lifetime. A strong showing at DAC, which would eventually see them take home the crown, has catapulted them into a spot as favorites. IG and Mousesports are at opposite ends of the spectrum and IG should sweep the Greeks 2-0.

IG Kiev Major Group Stages

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Team Random v IG.Vitality

In the only all domestic match-up, Team Random will take on IG.V. This series looks to be another close match-up with both teams experiencing mixed form. Team Random, formerly Team Wings, are searching to recover the form they had leading up to TI6. IG.V are looking to establish themselves as a top team. Team Random have the stronger set of players but seem to out mind game themselves in most games. Team Random showed flashes of genius during DAC, but normally it was too little too late. IG.V, on the other hand, showed promise during DAC finishing in fourth place. At DAC IG.V started slowly and for this reason I am backing Team Random to take the series 2-1.

Team Randon Team Wings Kiev Major Group Stages

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

OG v SG esports

Favorites for the event OG take on newcomers SG in their first group stage game. For SG this series will be the hardest best of three they have most likely ever played. The current OG team are the most consistent team heading into the event. Since November, the lowest placing they have had is 3rd – 4th. Not bad for a team that everyone always rules out. SG will have to pull out a miracle to take the series from OG, think TNC at TI6. OG will come into the series full of confidence and will take it 2-0.

OG Kiev Major Group Stage

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Liquid v Thunderbirds

This series is my one to watch heading into the first round. Two teams who have championship pedigree but are currently having some issues. Liquid are more up and down than a yo-yo. They place first at StarLadder and then finish 9th – 12th at DAC. Liquid are another team that on paper should be challenging for every title. However, for whatever reason, they are struggling to convert talent into ability in-game. Thunderbirds, formerly DC, have struggled since winning ESL One Genting in January. The team has been struggling in-game and out of it. With the team now leaving DC, it is possible that they will make a return to winning ways. Similarly to Secret v VG.J, both these teams will likely finish in the middle of the pack. This is a difficult series to call, but I have Liquid edging it 2-1.

Liquid Kiev Major Group Stage

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Faceless v Virtus Pro (VP)

Kiev will be the first LAN that VP have attended since January. Starting off with a series against Faceless will be a tough test for VP. Faceless come into the event the same as always, dominant in SEA, disappointing internationally. VP come into Kiev with strong domestic form in the last few months. This is series will set the tone for both teams heading further into the event. Will VP choke again, will it be same old Faceless? Faceless are on the cusp of a strong performance. However, VP are the team in form at the moment and I have them taking the series 2-1.

VP Kiev Major Group Stage

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Digital Chaos (DC) v Newbee

In their first series as DC, the former Team Onyx squad will face off against Newbee. Newbee are one of the more consistent teams heading into the event with a first, second and third place finish in the three events they have attended in 2017. On the other hand, this will be DC’s first LAN event as a team. The nerves will be high for the new squad, especially with the controversy surrounding their move to the DC banner. Newbee are looking to go into the later rounds of the tournament and a strong performance in round one will set the tone. I have Newbee taking the series 2-0

Newbee Kiev Major Group Stage

Image courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2

Evil Geniuses (EG) v TNC Pro Team

EG v TNC on paper should be a relatively easy matchup for the North American powerhouse. However, if one thing is certain in Dota it’s that EG always start slow. EG come into the event with questions hanging over the roster. The performance at DAC raised more questions on whether the roster is strong enough to be consistently at the top. On paper EG has one of the strongest rosters in the world, they just can’t seem to click consistently.

TNC come into Kiev in the same spot they always are, underdogs. TNC have had an up and down 2017, which has included winning WESG. Furthermore, TNC have been hit and miss domestically, which is concerning considering the lack of tier one times in SEA. I have EG taking the series but it will be a close 2-1.

EG Kiev Major Group Stage

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Kiev Major Group Stage – Final Thoughts

Every event since Boston has been building up to the Kiev Major. The first Major of 2017 will be hotly contested with at least five teams strong favorites to take the event. Near the top should be the likes of OG, IG, VP and EG. Teams like Secret, Liquid and Thunderbirds have questions to answer moving into the build up to TI7. At the other end, SG esports are looking to capture the hearts of fans as TNC and Ad Finem have done before them.

The new group stage format will provide more consistent seeding heading into the single-elimination main event. Teams that start slow will have the chance to repair things and get a decent seed for bracket play.

For more in-depth coverage of each region check out my Regional Roulette series:

South East Asia

The Americas

Europe and CIS

China

What are your thoughts on the round one matchups? Let me know in the comments below.

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 Joe!

You can follow Joe here – https://twitter.com/TrenchCommander

 

 

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. 

The Kiev Major Regional Roulette – The Americas

Welcome to day two of the Kiev Major regional roulette. Today we are looking at the land of the meme, home of the flame, the Americas.

The Americas – The Teams

It came as no surprise when Valve announced that EG and Thunderbirds, formerly DC, would be receiving direct invites to the Major. What may have come as a surprise, however, was the decision to split the Americas qualifiers into North and South America. In total, there are three North American teams and one South American team attending. Let’s take a look at who will be heading to Kiev.

Evil Geniuses – Direct Invite

DAC EG

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Arteezy

Position 2 (Mid) – SumaiL

Position 3 (Offlane) – UNiVeRsE

Position 4 (Support) – Zai

Position 5 (Support) – Cr1t-

Heading into DAC, EG felt confident. Yes they hadn’t played in a competitive LAN since January, yes they were up drawn in the tougher group. However, EG should have been top four at DAC. Instead, they looked out of touch and behind the meta as they scrapped to a top six finish. When this roster was first announced, there were questions around whether Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen could transition into a captain. It seemed at first things were going to be fine for the new roster. However, at DAC, cracks began to show.

DAC gave the EG team a good idea of what improvements they need to make heading into Kiev. At DAC, EG started slow in the group stages. At Kiev, EG cannot afford to make this mistake again. With the introduction of the Swiss format, and also the single-elimination bracket, seeding will be very important to an extended run in the tournament.

One thing that is on EG’s side is history. Irrelevant of the players, in the last six Valve events, EG have finished top four at five of them. EG are a championship team that show up when they need to. Cr1t- and the boys will be hoping to add another trophy to the cabinet. They have the skill, all they need to do is apply it.

Thunderbirds (Formerly Digital Chaos) – Direct Invite

Thunderbirds Dota 2 The Americas Kiev Major

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Resolution

Position 2 (Mid) – w33

Position 3 (Offlane) – MoonMeander

Position 4 (Support) – MiSeRy

Position 5 (Support) – Saksa

If you have been living under a rock in the last week, the above picture will confuse you. Digital Chaos parted ways with the roster that came second at TI6 and won ESL One Genting. Rasmus “MiSeRy” Filipsen and the team have renamed themselves Thunderbirds, and are still going to compete at Kiev. They have retained the services of coach William “Blitz” Lee, and have also added fan favourite, Jacky “EternalEnvy” Mao, to the staff for the event. Blitz and EE bring a wealth of experience to the table and may be able to help Thunderbirds improve on some disappointing recent performances.

Thunderbirds started the year off with a victory at ESL One Genting. Since then, however, they have finished 7th – 8th at both events they have attended. Arguably, if they had not received a direct invite, they may not be at the event. Thunderbirds are starting a new chapter and should be coming into the event hungry for a win. They have a point to prove, both to their old organisation and any future organisations that are looking at a Dota 2 team. Rumors have been circulating with a few names being mentioned. One thing is for sure, all eyes will be on the Thunderbirds squad throughout Kiev.

Digital Chaos (Formerly Team Onyx) – North American Qualifier

DC StarLadder

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – mason

Position 2 (Mid) – Abed

Position 3 (Offlane) – Bulba

Position 4 (Support) – DeMoN

Position 5 (Support) – DuBu

As mentioned above, Team Onyx have now been picked up by Digital Chaos after they dropped their previous team. The reasons behind this decision are still unclear, but this has happened now. With that in mind, the new DC squad will be under immense pressure. They have been thrust into the spotlight at the most inopportune of times.

DC are a pretty new team, and this is the first LAN the five of them have attended together. One thing they have going for them is an experienced core group of players. In Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho and Kanishka “BuLba” Sosale, they have two players who understand what it takes to win when no-one expects it. This is what DC will have to do if they are going to achieve a decent placing at Kiev. The field at Kiev is stacked from top to bottom with several teams capable of winning it all.

DC’s first step at Kiev will be to get a decent seeding out of the Swiss stage. Step two will be to finish above the former roster, putting any questions about the decision to bed. The former Team Onyx players were hoping to come into Kiev under the radar. Instead, they have a big flashing light hovering over them. It will be one of the more interesting story-lines to follow during the event.

SG esports – South American Qualifier

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – hFn

Position 2 (Mid) – 4dr

Position 3 (Offlane) – Tavo

Position 4 (Support) – KINGRD

Position 5 (Support) – c4t

SG are going into Kiev with zero pressure. Of the 16 teams attending, they are most likely the weakest. They are expected to lose every game, and this could be where they pull off an upset. The South American scene is normally only referred to in memes. However, Valve are obviously attempting to help the scene grow by giving them a qualifier spot at Kiev. Beyond that, there is not really much else to say about SG. They will come in as underdogs, and no matter what happens, they should be immensely proud of attending the event.

The Americas – Summary

Of all the regions, the Americas have the most interesting story-lines heading into Kiev. Firstly, it will be old DC vs. new DC. In what seems like an odd decision by the DC organization, it may transpire to be a good decision in the long run. Old DC, now Thunderbirds, hope to increase their own value by finishing well at the event. With Immortals reportedly in the market for a team, Thunderbirds could find themselves with a new home by the end of the month.

Secondly, EG come into the event with questions about the current roster. This does seem weird considering they won Dota Pit in January. However, fans may find it hard to look past the issues shown at DAC. EG are still one of the best teams in the world and should be confident about adding a Major to the trophy cabinet.

Where do you think the American teams will place when it’s all said and done? Let me know in the comments below.

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 Joe!

You can follow Joe here – https://twitter.com/TrenchCommander

HCS Announces Summer Pro League 2017 Details

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

North American Pro League

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Halowaypoint.com

Dreamhack Atlanta

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

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

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

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


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

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!

Page 1 of 41234