Week 3 Day 2 HCS Pro League Predictions

Week Three of the HCS Pro League Summer Season is shaping up to be the most interesting one yet. Earlier this week, it was announced that Team Liquid and Str8 Rippin would be exchanging players. The transaction was finalized, with Tim “Rayne” Tinkler now a member of Str8 Rippin, while Aaron “ACE” Elam found his new home on Team Liquid.

Both teams suffered a rocky start to this season of the Pro League, and a roster swap may just be the solution to their Summer Season woes. This article breaks down each matchup for the second day of Pro League Week Three and predicts each victor.

Splyce vs. Team EnVyUs

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

nV: Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, Justin “Pistola” Deese, Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, Cuyler “Huke” Garland

Snip3down of Team EnVyUs. Image by EsportsWikis

If there is a matchup for Splyce to lose, this may be it. Although Splyce has the raw slaying power to compete with most teams, EnVy has the experience to counter. This shows when the assists of each team are compared. EnVy’s 430 assists in the Pro League outclass Splyce’s 394. This means that while Splyce may have greater success in one-on-one battles, EnVy reduces the chance of players being caught alone. EnVy will allow Splyce to be only as aggressive as EnVy wants them to be, setting up team shots, and playing the numbers game.

Another benefit for EnVy is their ability to stay calm under pressure. Rarely do the ever allow blowouts or snowball victories, and this doesn’t look to change any  time soon. If Splyce wants to hold on for a series win, they cannot get complacent. No series lead is safe against EnVyUs, and Splyce must remember that.

Key Matchup:

Snip3down leads EnVyUs with 27 Sniper Rifle kills in the Pro League, the highest kill count between both teams. Splyce must keep the power weapon out of his hands if they want to take this series. If not, expect Snip3down to continue slaying and creating openings for himself and the rest of EnVy.

Prediction: Team EnVyUs 3 – 2 Splyce

OpTic Gaming vs. Luminosity Gaming

OG: T.j. “Lethul” Campbell, Matt “Royal2” Fiorante, Paul “SnakeBite” Duarte, Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom

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

OpTic Gaming has been, and will continue to be, a force of nature in Halo 5. The roster leads the league in crucial stats, and they have dominated each matchup thus far. Luminosity, on the other hand, hasn’t had the greatest Pro League showing. At 1-2, LG desperately needs wins to turn their record around and become contenders. As mentioned in the Day 1 predictions article, this is a make-or-break week for the squad. A winless Week Three likely means roster turmoil, which could signal further losses as new players adjust.

If Luminosity wants to have any chance at victory, they must outclass OpTic with firepower. All four members of OpTic currently lead the league in damage output per game. Their ability to constantly apply pressure and keep the enemy shields chipped away greatly contributes to their success. LG’s current damage output is dismal in comparison, and their ability to step up will determine how quick this series ends.

One player that needs to specifically improve is Ninja. He currently leads the Pro League in Deaths Per Game and has the lowest K/D, accuracy and damage output on the team. If Ninja cannot improve in Week Three, he might find himself in hot water for a roster change.

Key Matchup: It’s OpTic Gaming, there really is no key matchup here. OpTic is too good at everything, and it will require a herculean effort by LG to keep up.

Prediction: OpTic Gaming 3 – Luminosity Gaming 0

Evil Geniuses vs. Str8 Rippin

EG: Justin “Roy” Brown, Jason “Lunchbox” Brown, Josbe “Tapping Buttons” Valadez, Michael “Falcated” Garcia

Str8: Richie “Heinz” Heinz, Tim “Rayne” Tinkler, Bradley “aPG” Laws, Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi

In an interesting move, Str8 Rippin acquired Rayne from Team Liquid, in exchange for Ace. While Rayne has proven to be a top objective player in Pro League, it’s questionable whether he brings the slaying power that Str8 needs. He leads the league in Flag Defense and Flag Return stats, but also has the fourth-highest deaths per game, joining teammate aPG. With Rayne playing as a CTF anchor, his defense may open opportunities for players like Danoxide to get crucial kills.

Rayne of Str8 Rippin. Image by Twitter.com/Str8Rippin

The matchup with EG will, however, show off Str8’s objective prowess against another OBJ-minded team. Both Str8 and EG are winless in Slayer game types in the Pro League. Handing EG their first Strongholds loss of the season will allow Str8 some confidence in their objective game. Such a victory may give them a clearer focus when it comes to improving slayer strategy and create a path to improve their abysmal 0-3 record.

For all intents and purposes, this week is all about Rayne. His performance and synergy with his new teammates will dictate whether or not Str8 Rippin can be saved this season. If Str8 finishes Week Three at 0-5, it is almost guaranteed that they will finish the Pro League in last place.

Key Matchup: Slayer, slayer, slayer. Neither EG or Str8 have claimed a victory in the game type through three weeks. The team that can capitalize during slayer games will win this series.

Prediction: Evil Geniuses 3 – 2 Str8 Rippin


Do you agree with these predictions? What are your thoughts on Rayne joining Str8 Rippin? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image by GameRevolution 

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Week 3: Day 1 HCS Pro League Predictions

Next Wednesday, Week 3 of the HCS Pro League Summer Season kicks off. After a short Week 2, and additional break period, the best Halo teams in the world will continue to battle for first place. This week features several new matchups, and Visal “eL TowN” Mohanan’s debut on Ronin Esports.

The outcomes of Week 3 may have larger ramifications than just a number added to a Win/Loss record. With the roster transfer period now open, teams in the lower half of the top 8 may use this week to determine necessary roster changes. This article will provide insight into each Day 1 matchup of Pro League Week 3, and predict the outcomes of each match.

 

Ronin Esports vs. Luminosity Gaming

RE: Tyler “Spartan” Ganza, Cory “Str8 Sick” Sloss, Ayden “Suspector” Hill, Visal “eL TowN” Mohanan

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

After a slow start to the season, Luminosity Gaming showed some muscle in their week 2 matchup against Team Liquid. Luminosity were convincingly defeated in game 1, but rallied back with three straight wins, handing Liquid their second loss of the season. Leading the pack was Saiyan, who posted an impressive 1.39 K/D with 61% accuracy. LG were able to rally behind Saiyan’s slaying power to secure a much-needed victory.

eL TowN of Ronin Esports. Image by Halo Esports wikis.

Week 3 is make-or-break for Luminosity. A win against an adjusting Ronin Esports roster will boost them to 2-2 and put them in a contending spot for top 4. With a matchup against OpTic Gaming looming, the last thing LG wants is to go completely winless in week 3.

Ronin Esports have also experienced their fair share of troubles this season. A 1-2 start prompted the release of Carlos “Cratos” Ayala, who has now been replaced by eL TowN. Although the team has struggled with slaying, the reunification of HWC 2016 runners-up Suspector and eL TowN may bring more cohesion to the team. In week 3, Ronin Esports will look to rebound from their week 2 steamrolling by OpTic and Splyce, while working out some kinks.

Key Matchup: Despite the league-high 6.50 Stronghold Captures Per Game by Victory X, Luminosity Gaming is 1-3 in Strongholds games. Ronin, however, is still winless in Strongholds matchups. Look for Luminosity Gaming to capitalize on Victory’s objective prowess to secure a win on the gametype.

Prediction: Luminosity Gaming 3 – 1 Ronin Esports

 

Splyce vs. Str8 Rippin

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

Str8: Richie “Heinz” Heinz, Aaron “Ace” Elam, Bradley “aPG” Laws, Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi

Splyce has been firing on all cylinders this season. They currently sit 3-0, and are tied for first place with OpTic Gaming. They are decimating the competition, and it is especially evident in their stats. Shotzzy, Renegade, and bubu dubu are all in the top 5 for Pro League K/D, and Shooter has the fourth-highest KDA in the league. The team also has players in the top 5 for Flag Captures, Flag Defends, and Stronghold Captures.

The slaying powerhouse is currently undefeated in both Slayer and Capture the Flag gametypes, but has a 2-2 record for Strongholds matches. This week, Splyce will look to tighten up their objective strategy, and come out unscathed against a winless Str8 Rippin squad.

On the opposite end of the spectrum sits Str8 Rippin. The team is desperately seeking their first Pro League victory, and will have to claim that victory from one of the hardest-slaying rosters in the league. This bodes poorly for Str8 and veteran aPG, who has the second-highest Deaths Per Game at 16. It is unlikely that Str8 will win this matchup, which may leave some scratching their heads at what Str8’s next move will be. If a roster change is on the horizon, Str8 will have to catch fire to have any hope of a top 4 finish.

Key Matchup: Splyce has yet to lose a Slayer game, and Str8 hasn’t won a single Slayer game. Str8 must go all-out in an attempt to catch Splyce off-guard in slayers, or this series is as good as over.

Prediction: Splyce 3 – 0 Str8 Rippin

 

EnVyUs vs. Team Liquid

nV: Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, Justin “Pistola” Deese, Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, Cuyler “Huke” Garland

TL: Kevin “Eco” Smith, Timothy “Rayne” Tinkler, Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher, Zane “SubZero” Hearon

Pistola of Team EnVyUs. Image by FantasyHCS

Despite a close series loss to OpTic Gaming in week 1, EnVy has performed well in the Pro League. The HCS Daytona Champions currently hold a 2-1 record, and will look to fight their way toward the top 2 this week. In their way stands Team Liquid, looking to rebound from a loss to Luminosity in week 2. These teams are no strangers, as they’ve met several times in tournament play. This familiarity, however, plays to the advantage of Team EnVyUs.

In their most recent matchup, Liquid were handed a 4-0 sweep in the Losers Bracket finals at HCS Daytona. To have a chance at defeating EnVy, Liquid must learn to stay alive when it counts. Both Rayne and SubZero are near the top of Deaths Per Game, which may explain Liquid’s winless Capture the Flag streak.

To win this series, Liquid must out-manage EnVy for power weapon control. Any player on EnVy has the potential to go off when handed a power weapon. If left unchecked, EnVy will meticulously pick off opposing players, and snowball their way to a victory.

Key Matchup: Pistola currently leads the league in Flag Captures Per Game at 1.25. He will be facing-off against Rayne, who leads the league in both Flag Returns Per Game, and Flag Defense Per Game. If Liquid can shut down Pistola’s flag attempts, they greatly increase their chance of victory.

Prediction: EnVyUs 3 – 1 Team Liquid

 

OpTic Gaming vs. Evil Geniuses

OG: T.j. “Lethul” Campbell, Matt “Royal2” Fiorante, Paul “SnakeBite” Duarte, Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom

EG: Justin “Roy” Brown, Jason “Lunchbox” Brown, Josbe “Tapping Buttons” Valadez, Michael “Falcated” Garcia

Closing out Day 1 of Pro League Week 3 is a matchup between OpTic Gaming and Evil Geniuses. While OpTic hopes to remain undefeated going into their match with Splyce, EG will try to offset two straight Pro League losses. To achieve this feat the Roybox twins have their work cut out for them. Like Splyce, OpTic leads the league in key statistics. The top three spots for Kills Per Game, and Assists Per Game belong to OpTic, as do top stats for Damage Per Game, K/D, Stronghold Defense, and Flag Captures.

These stats paint a grim picture for the objective-oriented Evil Geniuses squad. Although they are 5-0 in Strongholds gametypes, EG has yet to win a slayer game. Tapping Buttons is the only EG player with a positive K/D, as the rest of the roster falls just short. EG must be able to exchange blows with OpTic in slayer matchups to have any chance at ending the night with a victory.

OpTic, meanwhile, just need to play their game to emerge on top of this series. Slayers SnakeBite and Royal2 are unmatched when it comes to controlling the pace of play. If OG can rely on the duo to relentlessly lead the attack and disorient EG, they will have no difficulty reaching 4-0.

Key Matchup: Falcated has been putting up impressive objective stats in the Pro League thus far. He is in the top 5 for Flag Returns, Flag Captures, Stronghold Captures, and Stronghold Defense. If EG can build their strategy around supporting Falcated, they have a chance at defeating OpTic.

Prediction: OpTic Gaming 3 – 1 Evil Geniuses

What is your most anticipated matchup of week 3? Do you agree with the predictions? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image by ESL 

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Frostbite’s HCS Daytona Predictions

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

 

Outside of the Top 8: Evil geniuses and Ronin Esports

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

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

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

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

 

7th – 8th: Oxygen Supremacy

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

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

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

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

 

7th – 8th: eRa Eternity

Ezekiel Martinez. Image by Halo Esports Wikis.

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

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

 

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

 

5th -6th: Str8 Rippin

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

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

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

 

5th – 6th: Luminosity Gaming

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

Saiyan during HWC 2017. Image by Halo Esports Wikis.

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

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

 

4th: Splyce

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

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

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

 

3rd: Team Liquid

Penguin needed a nap. Image by Zane Hearon.

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

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

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

 

2nd: Team EnVyUs

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

1st: OpTic Gaming

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

HCS Daytona Pro Group Predictions and Analysis

The first event of the Halo Championship Series Summer Season takes place this weekend in Daytona Beach, Florida. With several major roster shake-ups occurring since the Halo World Championship, pro teams are eager to display their new forms, and take their shots at the $75,000 prize pool.

Coming into the event, OpTic Gaming looks as strong as ever, not slowing down in performance since their dominant HWC performance. Rounding out the top 3 are EnVyUs and Team Liquid, maintaining their HWC Rosters. EnVy looks to build from their burgeoning late-season success last year, and finally topple OpTic. In their way stands Team Liquid, a squad of young-gun contenders, who have maintained consistency since forming.

The rest of the top 8 has undergone major changes since the Halo World Championship. HCS Daytona will serve as an opportunity for each team to establish their place in the rankings. In this article, I’ll analyze the Pro Groups, and make predictions for the Championship Bracket.

Top 8 Pro Rosters

Here are the teams and rosters making up the top 8. You can view the round-by-round gametypes here.

OpTic Gaming- Paul “SnakeBite” Duarte, T.J. “Lethul” Campbell, Matt “Royal2” Fiorante, Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom

Team EnVyUs- Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, Justin “iGotUrPistola” Deese, Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, Cuyler “Huke” Garland

Team Liquid- Tim “Rayne” Tinkler, Zane “Penguin” Hearon, Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher, Kevin “Eco” Smith

Str8 Rippin- Aaron “Ace” Elam, Bradley “APG” Laws, Richie “Heinz” Heinz, Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi

Luminosity Gaming- Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson, Joe “TriPPPeY” Taylor

Splyce- Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi, Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro, Jon “Renegade” Willette

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

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

Group A

Teams: OpTic Gaming, Evil Geniuses, Str8 Rippin, Luminosity Gaming

The first two matchups of Group A are between OpTic Gaming/EG, and Str8/Luminosity. Evil Geniuses has largely changed in the offseason, replacing Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski and Tom “Ogre2” Ryan with Naded and Falcated. The RoyBox twins adding a veteran in Naded will surely benefit the team, but they are too new to stand a chance against the behemoth that is OpTic Gaming. OpTic wins this series 3-0.

Danoxide has big shoes to fill on Str8 Rippin. Image by Halo EsportsWikis

Str8 Rippin lost Renegade to Splyce after worlds, and have added Danoxide in his place. They will face Luminosity Gaming, who has looked solid in scrimmages since the HWC. Although Danoxide is a powerful player, he can’t replace the pure firepower that Renegade brought to Str8. Luminosity Gaming takes the series 3-2.

The final Winners Bracket matchup of Group A will be between OpTic and Luminosity. While I think OG far outclass Luminosity in objective play, LG may scratch out a win in Game 2 Regret Slayer. OpTic Gaming wins this series 3-1, and secures first place in Group A.

Losers Bracket: Str8 Rippin 3-1 Evil Geniuses, Luminosity Gaming 3-1 Str8 Rippin

Final Group A Standings:

  1. OpTic Gaming
  2. Luminosity
  3. Str8 Rippin
  4. Evil Geniuses

 

Group B

Renegade and Splyce must perform at their best if they want to take Group B. Image by Splyce.gg

Teams: EnVyUs, Ronin Esports, Liquid, Splyce

Following their wins at HCS Las Vegas and the HCS Pro League Finals, EnVyUs struggled to reach the top. They came closest to reclaiming victory at HWC 2017, but were shut down by OpTic Gaming in the grand finals. Envy will want to come out of the gates hot at HCS Daytona, and their first victim will be Ronin Esports. Formerly known as Crowd Pleasers, Cratos and friends will have a very hard time handling the long-lasting expertise of a team like EnVyUs. This series will be a quick one, as EnVy takes it 3-0.

The second matchup in round one of Group B will be interesting, as Team Liquid faces Splyce. Following the acquisition of Renegade from Str8 Rippin, Splyce has performed incredibly online, winning the second online placement cup. This one may be too close to call, but I see Splyce catching Liquid off-guard, and taking the series 3-2.

In the final Winners Bracket matchup of Group B, Team EnVyUs will pit themselves against Splyce. Although Splyce has boosted their slaying ability with Renegade, Envy has the advantage of roster continuity and chemistry. As a result, they will operate like a well-oiled machine against the aggressive young-guns. Splyce may be able to pull out a win on Eden Strongholds in Game 3, but this matchup plays to Envy’s favor. Envy takes the series 3-1.

Losers Bracket: Team Liquid 3-2 Ronin Esports, Splyce 3-1 Team Liquid

Final Group B Standings:

  1. Team EnVyUs
  2. Splyce
  3. Team Liquid
  4. Ronin Esports

Conclusion

Featuring several new rosters, and brand new competitive settings, HCS Daytona will not be an event to skip over. Check out all the action this weekend live on twitch.tv/Halo.

Do you agree with the predictions? Do you think OpTic Gaming is poised for another win? Let me know in the comments!

Featured image by Twitter.com/HCS 

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Status’ Top 5 Moments from the 2017 Halo World Championship Finals

The 2017 Halo World Championship Finals has come and gone, but it brought some of the best moments to date in competitive Halo history. For the competitors, the event was the conclusion to several months of practice and competition. For spectators, it was wondering if anyone could topple OpTic’s Halo 5 reign. Sporting a one-million-dollar prize pool, an all-star casting crew, and some insane matches, the 2017 HWC Finals had no shortage of great moments. These are my top five.

5. Two Halo Legends Talk Competitions Past

Tom “TSquared” Taylor and Dave “Walshy” Walsh. Both legends of their respective craft, and monsters of Halo 2. Amidst the trash talk and in-game shenanigans at the HWC Finals, they took a break to reminisce of some vintage trash talk of the Halo 2 era. Referencing this clip, TSquared spoke of an embarrassing time when Walshy went after him with dual-needlers at an MLG tournament. At the time, Walshy was competing with legendary team Final Boss. In a time before fines and player discipline, trash talk was on another level. It was great to see these two talk about times past, and their passion for Halo competition.

 

4. Mikwen’s Epic Overkill vs. Str8 Rippin

When you are Str8 Rippin, and your backs are against the wall, the last thing you want is a red-hot Austin “Mikwen” McCleary on the opposing team. After going down 0-3 against Team EnVyUs, Str8 Rippin looked to bounce back in Fathom CTF. Their chances were bleak, but Str8’s resiliency had been on display all weekend.

The game started strongly in Str8’s favor, and the overkills flew as Envy eventually tied the game up. Going for the win, Envy’s Justin “IGotUrPistola” Deese grabbed the final flag, and headed for his base. Mikwen provided a perfect escort, and killed the entire Str8 Rippin team, clearing the way for the winning flag capture. The play perfectly underscored the lethality of Team EnVyUs, and ended a flawless series to progress them further in the bracket.

 

3. The Entire Str8 Rippin vs. TMMT Crowd Pleasers Series

When Str8 Rippin and Crowd Pleasers met in Round 1 of bracket play, everyone knew sparks would fly. Crowd Pleasers contained notorious trash-talkers Carlos “Cratos” Ayala, Brett “Naded” Leonard, and pterodactyl impersonator Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi. These players were eager to knock Halo veteran Aaron “ACE” Elam and the rest of Str8 into the losers bracket early.

The series started heavily in favor of Str8, as they quickly jumped to a 3-0 lead. Crowd Pleasers were not content with a sweep, however. Cratos and crew answered with 3 straight wins, and forced a Game 7 against a stunned Str8 Rippin. As the crowd cheered in disbelief, the entire team gave Str8 the look of doom right before the deciding match.

In game 7 Regret Slayer, each team traded blows until Str8 capitalized on an overshield spawn, and pulled away. Upon victory, ACE was so excited that he hopped his way across the stage to shake the hands of Crowd Pleasers. This entire series was a back-and-forth battle, with a very satisfying end. The passion and personality clash between the teams is unmatched.

 

2. Frosty’s Disrespect

In Game 4 of OpTic Gaming’s Grand Finals sweep over EnVyUs, Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom decided to have a little fun. His team was well on their way to defending their world title, and he wanted to show OpTic’s dominance to the world.

Love it or hate it, disrespect and competitive Halo have been inseparable since the beginning. At the end of the day, the players are friends, and what happens in-game, stays in-game. The showmanship exhibited by Frosty adds a layer of personality and excitement to the narrative, and is welcome in my opinion.

 

1. Snip3down Finds a Glitch

This was hands-down the best moment of the tournament for me. When tied 2-2 in a series between championship contenders, a glitch is the last thing on the mind. For Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, however, a rendering glitch allowed him to see through a wall, and set up a critical snipe on Tim “Rayne” Tinkler.

The greatest aspect is the reactions from both Snip3down himself, and the casters. Snip3down is so confused that he throws his hands up in disbelief mid-game. The casters are caught off-guard and lose their train of thought. Meanwhile the crowd is going crazy. The irony of a glitch making its debut during a million-dollar tournament is lost on nobody, and is incredibly hilarious as a result.

clips courtesy of twitch.tv/halo

These are my top-five moments from the 2017 HWC Finals! Did I miss anything amazing? Let me 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!

How Does OpTic Keep Winning?

OpTic Gaming have already proved to be one of the greatest rosters in the history of competitive Halo. Comprised of Tony “Lethul” Campbell, Paul “SnakeBite” Duarte, Mathew “Royal2” Fiorante, Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom, no squad has shown dominance in Halo 5 like they have. Being the first ever Halo World Champions, to winning the Summer Pro League, to qualifying for 2017 World Championships with ease, this roster has only lost twice on LAN. Aside from those two occasions, one being only days after forming, nobody has consistently come close.

So just what is it that allows these guys to win consistently?

 

Play-Styles and Team Chemistry

OpTic likely has four out of the top five players as it sounds. The best part of it is that all of these players can do everything.

Frosty, OpTic’s in-game leader. Courtesy of Bradley Bergstrom.

When OpTic needs to slay, every player can be a strong slayer. If a player needs to overextend to prevent a flag capture, any player is able to do it. This ability of having extreme flexibility allows OpTic to play extremely fast, and any team that is used to playing a slower, more rigid play-style will struggle. They are completely adaptable and no team is really able to match that.

Royal 2’s slaying power is second to none when he is able to set up with a sniper rifle. OpTic can play around him and be able to run two back-to-back flags because of his prowess with it. That said, Frosty is the cream of the crop when it comes to aggressive sniping. This man has consistently hit shots that are about as close to impossible as you can get. Combine that with Lethul and Snakebite’s consistent slaying power, and with that alone, this team is a top contender.

OpTic is also likely the most calm team competing right now. While listening to their communication during scrims, they never panic and rarely even raise their voices, even after making jaw-dropping plays. This allows very concise call-outs, allowing Chris “Royal 1” Fiorante, OpTic’s coach, to give the best instruction to allow the team to gain map and power control. Alongside the in-game leadership of Frosty and Snakebite, OpTic again dominates this category, being far and away better communicators than any other team.

 

Intangibles: “Glue” and the “Clutch Factor”

Some things that set teams apart can’t be seen on the stat sheet. They are involved with the personality of the players

Snakebite of OpTic Gaming. Courtesy of Halo EsportsWikis.

and the decisions made by players in certain situations. One of these is that players can act as a “glue” for a team. Their personality holds them together and drives them forward. For OpTic, this is Lethul. Since joining, he has often been able to keep the team relaxed and focused. Other examples of “glue” players would be Richie “Heinz” Heinz and Carlos “Cratos” Ayala.

The other intangible is the “clutch factor.” The ability to make a play at a crucial moment that turns the tide of a game or even a series. Snakebite has consistently been called the most clutch player in the game, and it is for good reason. He never makes a bad play, but always does whatever is absolutely necessary to bring home a win. This is what allows OpTic to consistently win, time and time again. They are able to just barely eek out the opposing team in the last moments to win. No team has matched OpTic’s ability to do this, and it may be awhile before any roster can truly match them.

 

 

As it stands now, while the gap between every other team is closing, the gap between OpTic and everyone else is growing. They are in prime position to become back-to-back Halo World Champions.

What are your thoughts on OpTic Gaming? Do you thing any team can match them in these categories? Sound off!

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

Frostbite’s HWC Las Vegas Top 6 Predictions

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

 

5-6th Place: Evil Geniuses

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

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

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

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

 

5-6th: Team Allegiance

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

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

 

4th: Splyce

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

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

Castro

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

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

 

3rd: Team Liquid

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

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

 

2nd: Team EnvyUs

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

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

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

 

1st: Optic Gaming

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

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

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

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

 

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

The Importance of Play-Styles in Halo: Slayers

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

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

 

Main Slayers

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

Roy of Evil Geniuses. Courtesy of ESL.

 

Examples of Main Slayers:

Aaron “Ace” Elam (Str8 Rippin)

Justin “Roy” Brown (Evil Geniuses)

Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi (Free Agent)

Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi (Inconceivable)

Paul “Snakebite” Duarte (OpTic Gaming)

Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher (Team Liquid)

 

 

Power Slayers

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

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

Snip3down. Courtesy of Eric Wrona.

 

Examples of Power Slayers:

Kevin “Eco” Smith (Team Liquid)

Zane “Penguin” Hearon (Team Liquid)

Mathew “Royal2” Fiorante (OpTic Gaming)

Eric Snip3down Wrona (Team EnvyUs)

Tyler “Spartan” Ganza (Team Allegiance)

Cuyler “Huke” Garland (Team EnvyUs)

 

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

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

Liquid, Str8, Inconceivable: New Contenders

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

 

Narrowing the Gap

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

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

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

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

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

 

Long Term Analysis

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

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

 

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

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

HWC UGC St. Louis 2017 Championship Sunday Recap

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

 

Top 16

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

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

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

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

 

Top 8

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

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

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

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

Top 4

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

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

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

Here comes the upsets.

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

 

Grand Finals

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

 

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

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

FrankieFourShot, here’s your chance for fame!

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