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

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

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

2016 Season

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

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

Courtesy of 3sUP.gg

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

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

 

2017 Season

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

Courtesy of Halotracker.com

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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Summer Season 2017 Roster Changes Preview

As usual, the end of a season in competitive Halo leads to a hurricane of team changes and roster swaps. While this pre-season has been quieter than most, there have still been some surprises. Most of these have been unconfirmed, but are looking more and more likely as roster lock approaches.

Evil Geniuses

EG, currently with Jason “Lunchbox” Brown and Justin “Roy” Brown, have been consistently scrimmaging with Brett

Naded. Courtesy of Brett Leonard.

Naded” Leonard and Michael “Falcated” Garcia. On paper, this change seems like neither an upgrade nor downgrade. The loss of Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski, whether he was dropped or left, filled a similar role as Falcated. Both open up areas around the map for their team and lay down damage.

Naded, on the other hand, has shown that he is a player capable of doing everything. Not only putting up big kills, but also aggressively pushing objectives like Lunchbox. Recent scrims show promise, with a close 5-8 loss to Team EnVyUs, and another 5-6 loss to Splyce. However, the next day, EG lost 2-11 to Crowd Pleasers. Whether this was just a bad day or not remains to be seen.

 

 

Luminosity Gaming

Luminosity has once again re-acquired Joe “TriPPPeY” Taylor and has shown vast improvement. TriPPPey, providing

Courtesy of Joe Taylor.

additional slaying power alongside Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson, has really pulled this squad together. With Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson handling the objectives, LG is looking strong. Scrims have reflected this improvement. This squad has split games with Splyce, Liquid, and even one with OpTic, while their only losses have been to EnVyUs. Many are already placing this squad in their top 4.

 

Splyce

Speaking of Splyce, the young guns have dropped Falcated for Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, the former star player of Str8 Rippin. Renegade will be joined by Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi, and Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro. This move seems to have provided a small boost for Splyce, as reflected in scrims. This squad has managed to beat Liquid, while also splitting games with LG. Their only losses have been to OpTic and EnVysUs.

 

Str8 Rippin

The loss of Renegade to Splyce was a big hit to Str8. He was their star player for a reason, constantly putting up huge slays, to the point of being nicknamed “Renegod” by the community. However, Str8 players have already virtually confirmed their new fourth.

Str8 Rippin will now presumably be Aaron “Ace” Elam, Bradley “APG” Laws, Richie “Heinz” Heinz, and Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi. Danoxide has proven himself as a capable slayer, but whether he can fill Renegade’s shoes is in doubt. Str8 often oriented and played around Renegade’s power slaying, and we haven’t seen Danoxide have that role to the same extent yet. The squad may not be able to play the same way they did around Renegade due to this change, which may jeopardize their ability to remain in the top 4.

We may still see a few more roster changes before HCS Daytona. However, the changes reviewed here appear to already be set in stone. With more and more teams rising to try to challenge OpTic, we could see at least a change in the top 4 very soon.

What do you think of these changes? Be sure to let me know!

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

Header Image courtesy of Halo Waypoint.

Full Timeline for HCS Open Circuit Revealed, Online Cups Make a Return

In an announcement Monday, the HCS revealed a full timeline for the North American HCS Open Circuit. The timeline features six online placement tournaments and two conclusive live events. With HCS Daytona quickly approaching, amateur players must soon face off online for seeding points. This article presents the timeline for the HCS Open Circuit and breaks down the format.

HCS/UMG Daytona

To seed for HCS Daytona, Millennial Esports will host two online Placement Cups. Each cup will operate a double elimination format, with best-of-5

Image by Twitter.com/UMGEvents

series played throughout. The first cup will use the newly-crafted “V2” settings. This will be the first official tournament in which these settings are used. For the second Placement Cup, Halo mentions potential use of “V3” settings.

 

These Placement Cups will be open to any team outside of the top 7, and will likely draw most of the top amateur talent. To raise the stakes, Halo states that the winner of Placement Cup #2 will ultimately bear the 8th seed overall at HCS Daytona.

 

Important Open Circuit Dates

The Open Circuit format is as follows:

  • Placement Cup #1 – April 29-30
  • Placement Cup #2 – May 6-7
  • UMG/HCS Daytona – May 12-14
  • Cup #1 – May 27-28
  • Cup #2 – June 3-4
  • Cup #3 – June 24-25
  • Cup #4 – July 8-9
  • Dreamhack Atlanta – July 21-23

Details are still scarce surrounding the four online cups preceding Dreamhack Atlanta. It can be assumed that the cups will be used for seeding the amateur bracket. Four online cups will allow amateur teams to further solidify their status without placing too much weight on one single tournament

Image by ESLgaming.com

With the announcement, Halo reiterates their dedication to amateur players who want to fight for pro status. Although there will be several opportunities for amateurs to ascend the ranks, the heavy reliance on online play may leave a bitter taste in the mouths of players. Online tournaments drew criticism last season from pro and amateur players alike, due to their sometimes-unreliable nature. Hopefully, these tournaments will not be plagued with connectivity issues.

Despite players hoping for a more event-oriented Open Circuit, the improved structure will be a refreshing characteristic for most. Nevertheless, this summer will deliver more spectacular Halo matches, and prove who has best mastered the new competitive settings.

Are you competing in the upcoming Halo 5 Open circuit? Let us know in the comments!

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Player Feedback Noted as HCS Releases Version 2 Competitive Settings

Quickly following up on their promise to listen to the players, the HCS has adjusted the new competitive settings. The new settings, dubbed “Version 1” were released last week, receiving praise from many competitive players. The update, aptly named “Version 2” continues to tweak in-game properties and better balance the game. Due to the speed in which these settings are updated, it is possible that the settings used at HCS Daytona will have progressed to Version 3 or Version 4.

This piece will break down each change, and briefly discuss their impact on the game.

Battle Rifle Added to Carbine Two on Truth

Pink Tower has always been a power position, no matter which iteration of Midship is being played. In Halo 5, however, the presence of a Battle Rifle on Pink 2 created a very skewed balance of map positioning. To place better emphasis on the Carbine side of the map, a Battle Rifle has replaced the Carbine Rifle on Carbine 2.

Car 2 will now be a more contestable position. Courtesy of Youtube.com

 

The addition of a Battle Rifle will help players fighting on that side of the map, and make it a more viable position to defend. It will also eliminate much of the cross-mapping imbalance from Pink Tower, as players will have an equal precision rifle to fight back with.

 

Increased Magnum Ammo

The removal of the Assault Rifle as a starting weapon left the magnum as the lone tool for post-respawn play. Although this change was beneficial, the absence of a second weapon caused players to run out of ammo quickly. Players who were caught without magnum ammo were an easy target, and the default amount just wasn’t enough. To combat this occurrence, magnum ammo has increased to 60.

This change has effectively doubled the carrying capacity of the magnum, and will certainly reduce, if not eliminate situations in which players find themselves without a round to shoot.

 

Tactical Magnums in Fathom Treehouses

The TacMag creates stealthy precision. Courtesy of Reddit.com

343i cites pro player feedback as the primary influence behind this implementation. Previously, silenced Assault Rifles appeared in each treehouse. With automatics now phased out of Halo 5 competitive play, the stealthy tactical magnum will appear in its place. The tactical magnum is equipped with a silencer, thus allowing for stealthier plays.

The silenced magnum will help players put precision shots on opponents without appearing on the new radar. For this reason, it will be primarily useful when flanking. A player effectively utilizing the tactical magnum will sneakily stop a flag run, and buy time for teammates to counter-capture.

 

Plasma Pistol in Security on Eden Slayer

In the Version 1 settings, an Overshield was placed outside on Eden Slayer. The lack of an Overshield counter created a significant advantage for the team to reach the Overshield first. Resulting was a mad-dash to the Overshield at the beginning of games. To better balance the equation, a Plasma Pistol has been added to Security Tower.

The addition will allow players to feel more comfortable when utilizing a more balanced push at the start of each game. With a charged shot, the plasma pistol can remove an entire Overshield upon contact. Accordingly, players with the Overshield must now play more cautious to keep their precious powerup.

What are your thoughts on these changes? Are there any more you’d like to see? Let us know in the comments!

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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. 

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!

 

The HCS Summer Preview Playlist is a Step in the Right Direction

Following the announcement of new HCS settings earlier this week, Halo has added a ranked preview playlist to Halo 5. The playlist offers players the opportunity to test the new HCS settings, and provide feedback. The feedback will be used to help decide further tweaks to the settings. The final settings will be used for both HCS Daytona and the Summer Season of the HCS Pro League.

The playlist is a step in the right direction for 343 Industries, listening to the Halo player base. While it has yet to be seen how the decision-making process will reflect player feedback, it is refreshing to see eyes and ears turn toward the Halo community.

This piece will preview some of the more specific mechanical changes, and discuss the importance of 343i’s new move to the competitive community.

 

Map and Gametype Changes

For all competitive maps, 343i has removed all traces of automatic weapons. Silenced Assault Rifles, SMGs, Brute Plasma Rifles, and Storm Rifles have all gotten the axe. The removal of such weapons will likely satisfy the community, who has sought their removal for some time. Splinter Grenades have also been removed, as 343i follows up on their promise given last week.

Also changed are the respawn timers for Tier 1 and Tier 2 weapons. Battle Rifles, Carbines, DMRs, Light Rifles, and Boltshots will now respawn every 40 seconds. The Plasma Pistol, Shotgun, Scattershot, Hydra, and Needler will see respawn timers of 20 seconds. The change will hopefully reduce the ubiquity of each weapon, and disallow snowballing during gameplay.

The SPNKr will now be the standard Rocket Launcher. Courtesy of Gamepur.

Another interesting change is the switch on Coliseum from the default Rocket Launcher to the SPNKr Rocket Launcher. Additionally, pad formerly featuring the SPNKr Rocket Launcher on Eden will now host an Overshield for Slayer games. It seems 343 Industries is making the SPNKr the standard Rocket Launcher, and alleviating some of the power weapon reliance in Slayer gametypes.

Also specified are the initial radar changes. The Motion Sensor Inner range has been changed to 60%, and the radar will no longer pick up players traveling at base movement speed. Because of the controversy surrounding the radar, it will be interesting to see how these settings are tweaked over the next few weeks.

 

Everyone Has a Voice

The HaloWaypoint forums will be the place to provide feedback. Courtesy of Accessify.

In the announcement, 343i revealed that the Multiplayer team met with top HCS players to discuss feedback. The players brainstormed several ideas for the settings, and had a heavy influence on what is now being called “Version 1” of the HCS Summer Season settings. This is reminiscent of the MLG days, where pro players were surveyed periodically for updates to competitive gametypes. Pro player preferences often reflect the opinions of the community at-large, so many players trust they will help keep the gameplay fresh and balanced.

Pro players are not the only group providing feedback, however. An official forum thread now exists for any community members to share opinions on the settings. This feedback will be used as a consensus to sway decisions regarding tweaks to the Version 1 settings. As players continue to test the new settings, look for more changes to be made accordingly over the next few weeks.

Conclusion

343 Industries placing their trust in the community is a fantastic move. They have finally moved away from keeping competitive play as “vanilla” as possible, and now allow the players to craft the settings that they want. This will keep players engaged with the game, and hopefully point the competitive meta in a new, better direction.

The one question that many have is, “Why now?” Halo 5 is in its final year, with two World Championships already under its belt. While the changes are certainly the correct move, is 343i offering too little, too late? Is this a move to appease a community growing in resentment for the developer? Or conversely, is it the start of a long-term plan to be more involved with the players? We must wait and see if the involvement continues into Halo 6. But for now, the changes are undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

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!

 

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!

Changes Are Coming to Halo 5 Competitive Settings. Here’s What They Mean for the Meta.

Last Friday, Halo announced that changes will soon come to competitive gametypes in the HCS. The changes follow several accusations from the Halo community about the competitive viability of Halo 5. In a heated debate, community members made clear that the longevity of competitive Halo 5 was at stake if their voices were not heard.

These changes seem to be a response from 343 Industries, who affirm that they will be working with pro players to implement additional updates. Shaking up the Halo 5 meta is a welcomed change to a game in which competition is beginning to stagnate. The hope of the community is that 343 Industries will continue to be receptive of such criticism as Halo 5 enters its final year of competitive play.

This article breaks down each of the changes, and explains their implications in changing the Halo 5 competitive meta.

Energy Sword Removal

When explaining the removal of the energy sword, 343 notes that the increased movement speed imbalances Capture the Flag (CTF) games on Truth. When combined with Halo 5’s enhanced movement mechanics, a player with the sword equipped can run a flag across the map incredibly quick. The utility of the weapon is consequently exploited in competitive play, allowing for very imbalanced games. 343 claims to be working on a change to the weapon, and say that it may be re-instituted later.

Halo 5’s Midship remake, Truth. Courtesy of HaloWaypoint

Meta Implications: Removal of the sword will balance out CTF games, and allow for more structured play. This benefits teams that can control power positions and set up for spawn-trapping on Truth. Without the energy sword, the frequency of back-to-back flag captures will greatly decrease as well. If the sword returns in the future, it will likely be with a movement speed nerf to preserve its lethality as a close-range power weapon.

 

SPLINTER GRENADE REMOVAL

Splinter grenades were intended to be used as a strategic tool for area denial. Closing off flag routes, or removing the possibility of a flank would assist teams that utilized splinters wisely. In the current meta, however, splinter grenades have become more of a tool for close-range instant kills. Throwing a splinter grenade at an opponent’s feet requires little skill, and 343 has thus removed them. These grenades may make their return later, following a balance tune.

Meta Implications: Splinter grenades have become a big problem in the Halo 5 meta. More often than not, they are used as an easy-out for players who are disadvantaged in a battle. Players must now rely on better frag grenade placement, and accurate plasma grenade sticks. Additionally, because a prime method of area denial is now gone, players will be expected to tighten up positioning to win games.

Assault Rifle Removal

The AR had unprecedented power, but no reward for accuracy. Courtesy of HaloWaypoint

Citing similar outcomes during battles between players of separate skill levels, 343 Industries determined that the Assault Rifle was unqualified for competition. In the current meta, the assault rifle can be used to easily kill an opponent close-range, or benefit those who camp with the radar. Criticisms about the assault rifle had been leveled against 343 Industries for most of Halo 5’s tenure, as many players questioned its place in competitive play. 343 states that they are seeking to better tune the weapon for the future.

Meta Implications: Gone are the days of camping with the AR and the radar. The gun rewarded spray and pray use, and seemed fairly random in terms of accuracy. Players will now be required to have a better grasp of the magnum at all ranges. This will separate those with an incredible shot from others who used the AR as a last-ditch effort to take down opponents.

 

Brute Plasma Rifle Removal

The brute plasma rifle allows players to obtain lightning-fast close range kills because of its sheer power. The rifle quickly eats away at shields, and players can swiftly finish off their opponent with a subsequent melee. The lopsided nature of the brute plasma rifle prompted closer examination by 343, who then opted for its removal. The absence of the rifle reinforces the notion that automatics serve as a detriment to competitive play.

Meta Implications: Although the gun lacks lethality from a distance, it is incredibly overpowered up-close. As automatic rifles are phased out of competitive play, the focus will shift back to precision. Keeping a steady aim will put players in the driver’s seat to control a game.

 

Weapon Respawn Timer Adjustment

Addressing the snowball-like nature of the current Halo 5 meta, 343 announced changes to the frequency of power weapon respawns. These changes will affect precision rifles like the Battle Rifle and Carbine, and close-range weapons like the Shotgun and Storm Rifle. 343 adds that the changes will not impact weapons on Weapon Pads.

Meta Implications: Placing the precision rifles and close range weapons to a timer that is more consistent with the high tier power weapons has two large implications. First, teams will need to prioritize which power weapons to pursue, given their strategy and map placement. Additionally, the change will create a more level situation when teams fight for fresh power weapons. This will put more of an emphasis on teamwork and strategy, rather than one team steamrolling another.

 

Radar Fixes

Halo 5’s in-game radar has been arguably the most hotly-debated aspect of competitive play for some time. Several players have called for its complete removal, as no other Halo game applied radar to competitive play. Conversely, other players claim that disabling radar will make gameplay too chaotic, given Halo 5’s movement mechanics.

The new radar will decrease spartan ability exploitation. Courtesy of IGN.

343 was reluctant to present a decisive judgment, but will instead work with pro players and the community to determine the best method going forward. Most recently, a new radar has been tested online in the Proving Grounds playlist. The radar compromises between each camp of thought, featuring an increased range, but only detecting non-silenced weapon fire, and spartan ability usage. The new radar allows players to control when they appear on the motion tracker, and better controls for exploitation of spartan abilities.

 

Conclusion

The changes to Halo 5’s competitive settings have been met with a mostly positive reception from the Halo community. Continued support from 343 Industries will hopefully give players the voice they’ve been yearning for. With pro player feedback as the driving force, Halo competition likely seems to be forging a better path forward.

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