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