OpTic Gaming, Splyce remain undefeated in first week of HCS Pro League

The HCS Pro League kicked off the Summer Season this week. The Summer league hosts eight weekly matchups between the top eight professional Halo teams. Week one featured several highly-anticipated matches, and yielded some surprising results. Only two teams remain undefeated after the first week: OpTic Gaming, and Splyce. This article will examine both teams’ matchups, and discuss some of the more unexpected results.

 

OpTic Bounces Back

Following a second place finish at HCS Daytona, OpTic seems to have regained some of the momentum that was lost at the event. OpTic finished the week 2-0, claiming victories over both Ronin Esports and Team EnVyUs.

OG bounced back after their loss at HCS Daytona. Image by Astro Gaming.

The first victory came as the headlining match of day one, against Carlos “Cratos” Ayala and the rest of Ronin Esports. OpTic started the series strong, taking a convincing game one on Plaza Strongholds 100-32. The two teams next battled on Eden Slayer, where OpTic prevailed yet again, by a score of 50-41. With their backs against the wall, Ronin attempted to hold off the Green Wall in Truth CTF, but couldn’t bring more than one flag back to their base. Despite holding OpTic to dual flag captures, Ronin were defeated 2-1, as OpTic completed the sweep.

The second match for OpTic pitted them against the HCS Atlanta Champions, Team EnVyUs. OpTic, seeking redemption for their performance at the event, started the series off poorly. The Green Wall fell into a two-game deficit after losses on Truth CTF and Plaza slayer. Facing a sweep, OpTic regained composure, and roared back with victories on Eden Strongholds and Fathom CTF. In game five Coliseum Slayer, OpTic’s momentum proved too strong for EnVy, as TJ “Lethul” Campbell and crew cruised to a dominant 50-38 victory. The reverse-sweep sends a clear message to OpTic doubters, and serves as a testament to the team’s resilience.

 

Splyce Proves They’re Here to Stay

After winning the Daytona Placement Cup, and a surprising top four finish at HCS Daytona, many began to wonder if Splyce would slow down as the Summer Season progressed. If the first week of the Pro League is any indication for the future, Splyce will be a force to be reckoned with. The young team, helmed by Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, finished the first week of Pro League at an impressive 2-0.

The first matchup placed Splyce up against a retooled Evil Geniuses roster. Following the retirement of Brett “Naded” Leonard, the community wondered how the team would stack up in the Pro League. The back and forth series began in Evil Geniuses’ favor, after a jarring win on Plaza Strongholds. Splyce bounced back with two wins, which included an incredibly dominant 50-18 victory on Eden Slayer.

Splyce looked dominant in Week 1 of the Pro League. Image by Halo eSportswikis

Evil Geniuses responded with a commanding win of their own, taking Rig Strongholds 100-22, and tying the series at two games apiece. Both teams battled their hearts out in game 5 Coliseum Slayer, but Splyce emerged victorious, as EG seemed to run out of steam.

The second matchup, much like OpTic, granted Splyce a chance at redemption against Team Liquid. Splyce were defeated in a seven-game series by Liquid in the Losers Bracket Semifinals at HCS Atlanta.

The matchup did not go the distance, however, as Splyce convincingly swept Liquid in their first meeting of the Summer League. The victory paints a new picture of Splyce as a possible top three contender, as they made short work of the usually-consistent Team Liquid roster.

 

Conclusion

With the first week of the Summer Pro League reaching its conclusion, several revelations can be made from the results. First, OpTic Gaming has the ability to shrug off a loss, and bounce back with force. Second, Splyce is only getting better with time. The acquisition of rising star Jonathan “Renegade” Willette will likely continue to benefit them, as they develop into a deadlier team over the course of the season.

Two teams surprisingly under-performed in the Pro League this week: Luminosity Gaming, and Str8 Rippin. Luminosity experienced two blowout losses at the hands of EnVyUs and Evil Geniuses, while Str8 lost a close series to Ronin Esports, and were edged out by Team Liquid. Both teams will need to come out swinging next week if they want to salvage their Pro League record, and avoid the risk of falling into an even deeper hole.

Are you surprised by the Week One Pro League results? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image by ESL 

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Halo 5’s Glitch: Skilled or Broken?

Button combos and glitches have been a part of Halo for a long time. Since Halo: Combat Evolved, these glitches were used through several games in order to give skilled players an edge over those who were less knowledgeable of these glitches. Now in Halo 5, a similar glitch is sparking discussion. 343 Industries already stated that they intend to fix these glitches and that using them in competitive play will have severe consequences. Despite this, the community is somewhat split on whether they should be. Let’s take a look at the glitches and see if they deserve to be patched.

Halo 2: Glitch-Tacular

One argument that many use to justify leaving Halo 5′s glitches is that Halo 2 had them and they made the game more skillful. Legendary players such as Dave “Walshy” Walsh popularized these glitches in competitive play and they soon made their way to matchmaking.

Halo 2‘s most notorious glitch was the BXR and BXB. This glitch allowed players to near instantly kill a player in close quarters with the Battle Rifle (BR). The glitch became extremely well known, but at the time, certain players in the community wanted these combos removed, with others even stating that users of the combos were hackers.

Needless to say, the users weren’t hacking, but those who did not understand the glitch despised it. The other most well-known combo was the double or quad-shot. This combo allowed a player to very quickly fire several bursts from the BR without the usual delay between bursts. However, it did have a drawback. After using the combo, the BR would go through a glitched reload, whilst the weapon is unable to fire. This glitch is the most similar to the multi-shot we see in Halo 5, so we’ll use this as a comparison point.

Halo 5’s Multi-Shot

Over the past couple of weeks, just prior to the start of the Summer Pro League, players began to discover the multi-shot. This allows a player to very quickly fire any weapon in the game, with nearly no delay between trigger pulls.

 

This glitch, unlike Halo 2′s double-shot, has a few more constraints. The combo is somewhat more difficult to perform with default controllers and requires players to be mid-air for optimal results. However, this hasn’t stopped the glitch from being extremely effective. Here, community member “Vetoed” demonstrates just how lethal this combo is:

 

This glitch gives players the ability to kill an enemy far faster then even Halo 2‘s quad-shot. Add to this that this glitch can be done with any weapon in Halo 5‘s arsenal, including the Magnum. A skilled user can also virtually nullify the use of any power weapon, even the Sniper Rifle and Rockets. The combo also becomes significantly easier to do with professional controllers such as Scuf controllers. Due to their availability and how frequently this glitch can be abused, it should be removed. It has the capacity to absolutely overrun higher-level play, because much as Vetoed stated in his video, players can sit, wait, get a perfect kill and repeat.

What are your thoughts on the multi-shot glitch? Should it stay or go? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments and 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 @RattPackFrosty!

 

Thoughts on the New EG

Earlier this week, Evil Geniuses announced a flurry of team changes. Brett “Naded” Leonard and coach Ryan “Towey” Towey both retired. The Greatest of All Time, Tom “OGRE 2″ Ryan became the new coach. However, EG still needed a player to replace Naded. They turned to Josbe “Tapping Buttons” Valadez.

Evil Geniuses’ Revamp

Many questioned EG’s decision to take Tapping Buttons over other, more well-known NA free agents. However, the young,

Courtesy of Josbe Valdez.

Mexican phenom has already made some large strides and big impressions. OGRE 2 has often personally praised Tapping Buttons and even teamed with him during the 2017 Halo World Championships. He has become notorious in the Latin American scene for having near-perfect accuracy, with some players and fans poking fun at it and suggesting that he uses a keyboard instead of a controller. Josbe has also proven that he deserves the praise he receives as well.

Tapping reached the international stage during the 2017 HWC season. His squad attended the Gfinity Mexico City event without participating in the preceding online qualifiers. Once there, Josbe’s squad, Shock the World, upset all of the top seeded teams at the event despite forming soon before. In the Grand Finals, Shock the World defeated Synergy Gaming 4-2 to secure their place at the HWC 2017 Finals, despite being the 18th seed. Unfortunately, due to visa issues, Tapping Buttons was unable to attend and was replaced by Gilbert “MuNoZ” Muñoz for the end of the season.

The Solution?

The God Squad. Image by Ryan Towey.

It’s no secret that EG has been struggling since Tony “LethuL” Campbell left to join the OpTic Gaming roster. The twins Jason “Lunchbox” and Justin “Roy” Brown have been through several team iterations in an attempt to regain their spot at the top of the HCS, but to no success. Michael “Falcated” Garcia, despite having a bad event at Daytona has shown potential on this squad. However, with the loss of Naded, EG has lost both slaying power as well as some objective aggression.

Tapping Buttons has shown that he is more than capable of making up for the lost slaying power, perhaps even surpassing Naded’s contribution in this field. However, more pressure will be put on Lunchbox for objective modes and another player may have to step up in order to make up for this.

Despite being just a coach, Towey carried a large impact for the Brown twins, being their coach consistently since 2010. This built-up chemistry is not easily replaced. Despite this, OGRE 2 may be the perfect alternative, as he teamed with the twins previously and has a good relationship with them.

Their difference in coaching styles may serve to benefit EG even more. Towey was often very active as a coach, making frequent play calls and call-outs for the team. While this worked in slower games like Halo 3 and Halo: Reach, Halo 5’s faster pace caused problems. Towey’s enthusiasm and activity crowded up the communications, leading to disarray. OGRE 2 takes a different approach. He only calls out spawn timers and critical game calls. This leads to communication being less crowded, with OGRE 2 often driving his team to make smart, crucial game decisions as in where to push and when. Through the last few nights of scrims, the team also seems to react much better to Tom’s coaching then Towey’s.

Looking Forward

Speaking of scrims, EG has done surprisingly well since picking up Tapping Buttons. Their first scrim was against

Tapping Buttons during an interview. Image by Gamelta.

Luminosity Gaming, and it ended with an 8-5 LG victory. Despite this, several of EG’s losses were close while some of their wins were dominant. Their second scrim was against the Daytona Champions, Team EnVyUs. The scrim ended with an 11-2 nV victory.

Despite the ending score, it should be taken with a grain of salt. Five of EG’s losses are what is referred to as “coin-toss” situations. These are instances in which the outcome of an encounter is 50/50. It just so happens that many of these situations fell in the favor of nV. As OGRE 2 stated at the end of the scrim, EG also choked a couple of games. This squad has can perform and if they put in the time, they can improve to likely hovering just outside of the top four.

What do you think of EG’s new squad? Will they be able to keep their spot, improve or will they be relegated at DreamHack Atlanta? 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!

I’d like to personally thank both Naded and Towey and wish them the best. Naded is a community legend and very obviously is still an able competitor. Towey was a huge part of the reason I began competing myself, as the Instinct squad he coached were what finally pushed me to attend an event. I hope you both accomplish any and all goals you have outside of Halo!

Header image by Record.com

Halo Caster Mark “Onset” Hatcher makes a compelling case for LAN in Halo 6

In a video posted to YouTube Friday, European Halo caster Mark “Onset” Hatcher explains his thoughts about LAN and its importance to the Halo franchise. Simply put, LAN, or Local Area Network, is the process of connecting multiple devices together within a limited area. For competitive Halo, LAN has been the preferred method of tournament organizers for years. The low latency provided smoother gameplay and legitimized competitive results.

This all changed with the release of the Xbox One, which seemingly ditched LAN support for more of an “always-online” approach. As a result, competitions for Halo 2: Anniversary and Halo 5 must utilize online gameplay, even for live events. Problems with online services have provided a host of problems at these tournaments, most noticeably being the frequent game resets and long down times between matches.

With Halo 6 approaching, Onset presents a convincing argument for LAN support and its benefits. This article will break down his biggest points.

 

LAN as a Community Builder

In the video, Onset fondly recounts his experiences with friends at college. For example, he hilariously details how his friends would run ethernet cables through dorm room windows to play Halo together. This would result in other friends joining in on the fun, eventually purchasing their own consoles and copies of Halo. Onset describes how these types of sessions facilitate interest in the game, which can eventually grow into a local community.

Image by Kotaku

Onset notes that from there, the community becomes a tight-knit group with a shared interest in Halo. Some players may display an interest in competition, choosing to attend tournaments or compete online. Such interactions help both the casual and competitive side of the Halo community. Several old-school Halo players can affectionately point to similar experiences as a catalyst in growing their passion for the game.

These happenings are lost with Halo 5. The game offers no split-screen play, and the Xbox One lacks LAN support. Because online is the only avenue for interaction, the community has become a breeding ground for toxicity.

LAN Benefits Live Tournaments

In addition to the communal effect of LAN availability, Onset also discusses the burden of Halo 5 on tournament organizers. For Halo titles on the previous Xbox consoles, hosting a tournament was as simple as connecting consoles together. The ease of access resulted in booming local Halo scenes and increased capacity at national events. LAN also provided the best gameplay experience, where players could decidedly prove their skill.

Local events are made much easier with LAN Support. Image by The LAN Network

The Halo Championship Series events don’t offer this kind of environment, though. To help the online gameplay be smooth as possible, servers are flown out to each event. Different play stations have different servers, which can each provide different gameplay experiences.

Although he doesn’t explicitly say it, Onset alludes to a problem with competitive legitimacy because of the online nature of the tournaments. He suggests that a LAN-equipped Halo 6 can quell many of these difficulties, and provide a more sustainable tournament atmosphere at both the local and national level. Such a format can help players who cannot attend every national event and may also develop the more potent storylines that competitive Halo desperately needs.

Conclusion

Onset makes several strong points in his video and provides some nostalgia about what set Halo apart from other titles. The emotional connection to both the game and the community are what built the Halo scene. A core facet of building the community is LAN availability. Whether it be for late nights split-screening at a friend’s house or a lag-free national tournament, LAN is crucial for the longevity of Halo.

Featured image by twitch.tv/OnsetHalo

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HCS Last Chance Qualifier Preview

With HCS Daytona wrapped up and OpTic losing for the first time since Fall Finals, the Halo community is now looking forward to the Pro League. However, one spot still remains in the league and there’s more than a few teams in the running to snatch it. Let’s take a look at the three most notable contenders that will be competing this weekend in the Last Chance Qualifier.

 

ERA Eternity

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

BabyJ celebrating a victory. Image by Halo Esports Wiki.

Commonly was a player that most of the community assumed would end up on a team with a Pro seed. Instead, he ended up teaming with Prototype, BabyJ and Randa. Prototype has been an excellent main slayer since the days of Halo: Reach and continues to lay down consistent damage. BabyJ, on the other hand, has risen through the ranks since the release of Halo 5. These two players together challenged multiple pro teams such as EG and Splyce as Team Cryptik last season. This season, they’re joined by Commonly. Commonly is often seen as one of the best objective players in the league and continues his role on this squad. He always aggressively pushes flags and strongholds, forcing enemies to return to their base in order to force Commonly out.

At Daytona, ERa finished 9th-12th. Meeting EG in the first round of the Champ Bracket, ERa fell 3-1. This is reason for worry, as EG are likely only a top 8 team. Dropping to the loser’s bracket, ERa was knocked out by Str8 with a crushing 3-0 defeat. Again, Str8 is only a top 6 team, so ERa’s chances against the other two squads on this list are not particularly good. They’ll have to pull together and have a miracle run to take the Last Chance Qualifier.

 

Oxygen Supremacy

Nemassist played extremely well at Daytona. Can he keep it up? Image by Kyle Kubina.

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

Yet again, RyaNoob returns to cause chaos among pro and amateur teams alike. With DasTroyed, Nemassist and ContrA going huge in the slaying department, RyaNoob is left to make his crazy objective-oriented plays. The other most notable player on this squad is ContrA. Formerly of EG, ContrA also gave up a guaranteed Pro League spot in order to compete with this squad.

OS also competed at Daytona and after fighting through the open bracket was still able to go home with a top 6 finish. The first round in the Champ Bracket saw OS go head-to-head with Luminosity Gaming. In a move that shocked many, Luminosity lost 3-0 and was swept into the loser’s bracket. Meanwhile, OS went on to challenge Str8. Str8 also fell to the lower bracket with a 3-1 loss and later finished 5th/6th. Oxygen Supremacy went on to face Team EnVyUs, the squad that ended up winning Daytona. In a thrilling series, OS was defeated 2-3.

For being a squad for such a short amount of time, this was a huge accomplishment. Once in the loser’s bracket, OS seemed to run out of gas and fell 0-3 to Splyce. If Oxygen Supremacy can work on their endurance, they are the only likely squad that can challenge the next roster on the list for the final Pro League spot.

 

Splyce

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

Renegade may have been the key to this squad finally pushing into the top 4. Image by Splyce.

Castro

To nobody’s surprise, Splyce is the most likely candidate to win the Last Chance Qualifier. Renegade and Shotzzy have proven themselves as two of the deadliest snipers in Halo 5. The slaying numbers that they can put up if they both have good games is jaw-dropping. Both bubu dubu and Shooter have also shown that they are no slouches in the slaying department either. However, both also are consistently making smart support and objective plays, despite Shooter specifically making some questionable decisions every now and then.

At Daytona, Splyce proved that picking up Renegade was the right call. Their overwhelming slaying ability and individual play led them to a top 4 finish. Splyce fell to the loser’s bracket early with a 2-3 loss at the hands of Liquid, although the series was very close. Splyce had managed to beat Liquid in the groups stage, however. Once in the loser’s bracket, Splyce managed to send both Luminosity and Oxygen Supremacy home with decisive victories. In the LB semi-final, Splyce was within inches of defeated Liquid and making it into the top 3, but fell short in the end. They lost the series in game 7, 3-4. With Renegade still a new member of the squad, more time together will only benefit them. They are the most likely to take the Last Chance Qualifier, with their only apparent challenge coming from Oxygen Supremacy.

Who do you think will take the final Pro League spot? Is there another team outside of these three that are realistically in the running? 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 by Splyce.

Team EnVyUs claims victory at HCS Daytona after a thrilling Grand Finals

A Rivalry for the Ages

It’s been explicitly stated time and time again: EnVyUs is made to take down OpTic Gaming. But after failing to replicate the success they had at the HCS Fall 2016 Finals, many wondered if OpTic had become unbeatable. Following an embarrassing performance in the Grand Finals at the Halo World Championship, Team EnVyUs sought to regroup for HCS Daytona. The focus for this event: Beat OpTic Gaming, and demolish anyone else who dared to step in their way.

Of the three times the two teams met last weekend, Envy conquered OpTic twice, both times when it mattered most.

Image by HaloWaypoint

The first clash between OpTic and Envy occurred in the Winner’s Bracket Finals. Despite a close series against Team Liquid, the Green Wall appeared dominant. EnVyUs had just closed out a reverse-sweep against Ryan “RyaNoob” Gettes’ white-hot Oxygen Supremacy squad.

As fate would have it, the World Champions and HWC Runners-up crossed paths once more. This time, with a spot in the Grand Finals on the line.

The series did not go as expected for EnVyUs, as OpTic rallied to a 4-2 series victory. Although guaranteed a top 3 finish, EnVy was not satisfied. While OpTic waited comfortably in the Grand Finals, Envy met Team Liquid in the Loser’s Bracket Finals. EnVy’s resiliency prevailed, as they dominated Liquid with a 4-0 sweep. The win catapulted Envy into the Grand Finals, granting a second chance at taking down OpTic Gaming.

 

A Grueling Grand Finals

The first series of the Grand Finals started off strongly in EnvVy’s favor, putting up dominant performances on Empire Strongholds and Truth CTF to take a 3-0 lead. The threat of a bracket reset must have created a sense of urgency with OpTic gaming, as they retaliated with three straight wins to tie the series.

In Game 7, Regret Slayer, the teams exchanged blows for most of the game. Through superior map control, EnVy was able to create some distance late in the game. After trapping OpTic in their base, Envy edged out a win 50-47, and forced a bracket reset.

Image by TeamBeyond.net

The second series of the Grand Finals began much like the first, with Team EnVyUs jumping out to a 3-1 lead. Facing their first tournament loss since the Fall 2016 Pro League finals, OpTic stormed back with consecutive wins on Plaza Slayer and Rig Strongholds. With the series tied 3-3, a deciding game 7 would determine which team takes home a majority of the $75,000 prize, and the title of best Halo team.

The early stage of Game 7 Truth Slayer favored OpTic, as they established map control to lead by a few kills. With the help of Justin “Pistola” Deese and Cuyler “Huke” Garland, EnVyUs reclaimed control of the game through the midway point.

OpTic gaming was not finished, however, and took the lead through 35 kills with the help of some sneaky support plays by Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom. As a response, EnVy slowed down the pace of the game, closing the kill gap into the final moments of play. Following an epic triple kill by Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, EnVyUs again took the lead. Mikwen’s triple allowed Eric “Snip3down” Wrona to grab the Active Camo, who then closed the game with a triple of his own, winning the tournament.

Conclusion

Both teams put on a thrilling show throughout the grueling 14-game Grand Finals. In the end, the will of Team EnVyUs to win proved strongest, as they defeated OpTic Gaming. While the victory may not be total redemption for the Halo World Championship, it serves as a reminder that OpTic Gaming is human after all. Although incredibly dominant, the Green Wall is not free from some cracks in their foundation. At HCS Daytona, Team EnVyUs exposed these faults and had the skill to capitalize.

Will EnVyUs hold on to the crown? Let us know in the comments!


Featured image by HaloWaypoint

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!

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 

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!

HCS Summer Roster Changes

The summer roster lock has come and gone, and the groups for HCS Daytona have been decided.

The top eight teams that have made roster changes are Evil Geniuses, Str8 Rippin, Splyce, Ronin Esports, and Luminosity Gaming. That said, let’s take a look at the results of rostermania!

Evil Geniuses

The Evil Geniuses have now acquired Brett “Naded” Leonard and Micheal “Falcated” Garcia. Alongside Jason and Justin

The Brown twins and coach Towey Image by Ryan “Towey” Towey.

Brown, or “Lunchbox” and “Roy” respectively, this squad is looking to put EG back into the top four conversation.

Naded can bring more aggressive objective play, similar to Lunchbox. Having both of these players fly at you and your flag could be a very terrifying experience. Meanwhile, Roy will continue to be an aggressive damage dealer, while Falcated will be a more passive slayer in order to pick up kills. Overall, EG has come out of the HWC season looking somewhat better with their new roster. While dropping Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski could come back to bite the Brown twins, Falcated is definitely capable of filling his shoes.

 

Str8 Rippin and Splyce

Str8 has lost their star player. Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, affectionately labeled “Renegod” departed the team to join Splyce. Since then, Str8 has acquired Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi as a replacement. This was one of the earliest changes to occur after the conclusion of HWC 2017. To get more thoughts and details on this swap, check it out here.

 

Ronin Esports

Suspector during his time on Allegiance. Image by Josh Billy.

Formerly the TMMT Crowd Pleasers, Ronin has made a few changes. The two players who will be joining Carlos “Cratos” Ayala and Cory “Str8 SicK” Sloss going forward will be Tyler “Spartan” Ganza and Ayden “Suspector” Hill. These two additions just work to further stack Ronin’s slaying power.

Suspector is viewed to be on par with Danoxide, while Spartan is seen as a better slayer then Naded, but lacking the objective presence. However, Spartan is similar to Naded in that both players are very emotional. If the squad is doing well, both players will get loud and only begin to improve. However, the opposite is also true. If the roster starts to tilt, their chances of success will only slip further.

 

Luminosity Gaming

Luminosity will now be Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson and Joe

Saiyan during HWC 2017. Image by Halo Esports Wikis.

TriPPPeY” Taylor. Ninja and Victory have already proven to be a capable duo, with one providing high amounts of kills while the other does whatever objective work needs to be done. With Saiyan and TriPPPeY joining the squad, Ninja’s slaying ability and his inconsistencies will be balanced out for. While he can usually top the scoreboard in kills, sometimes he would end up having the most deaths in the game. Saiyan and TriPPPeY can help combat this while Victory X continues to be one of the best objective players in the league.

 

What do you think of the new pro rosters? How do you think it will all play out at Daytona? Be sure to leave your opinion and remember to check back here on Friday to see HCS Daytona Predictions!


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.

 

The New Halo 5 Matchmaking Update Won’t Punish You for Bad Teammates

In a community update yesterday, 343 Industries’ Josh Menke shared details of new matchmaking updates coming to Halo 5. These recent updates make life a little easier for players in ranked playlists when teammates decide to quit. Additionally, ranked playlists will see some balance tweaks to competitive skill rating (CSR) and matching times. This article breaks down the latest changes, and explains their importance to ranked Halo 5.

The “Soft Forfeit”

In his update, Menke introduces the concept of a Soft Forfeit for ranked matchmaking games. The premise of the Soft Forfeit is to not punish players for leaving matches if someone has already quit out of the game. Previously, quitting a ranked match under any circumstance automatically decreased CSR, and put the player at risk for a matchmaking ban. These bans ranged in time due to the frequency at which players left ranked games.

Players will no longer be banned for quitting after teammates. Image by Youtube.com

The new system will still net players a standard CSR loss for losing the game, but will not ban players who leave ranked games after someone has already quit. Menke explains that while leavers will always lose CSR, players will not be unnecessarily punished for unsporting teammates. The first player to leave a ranked game, however, will be subject to extra CSR loss, and a potential ban.

This update will surely have ranked playlist-goers rejoicing, as many felt punished for having teammates that don’t stick around. Halo 5 as a team-oriented arena shooter needs balance to operate correctly. An advantage in numbers almost always throws games askew, and now players won’t be forced to finish those games.

 

CSR Economy and Wait Times

In addition to the soft forfeit feature, Menke details some troubles with high-skilled players in matchmaking. Previously in ranked playlists, high-CSR players sometimes received matchmaking ratios (MMR) that are a little too high for their actual skill. These inflated MMRs created a wider gap between players, resulting in greatly increased wait times when searching ranked matchmaking. Menke explains that while these adjustments improve search times, players won’t be placed in extremely uneven matches.

Image by Halowaypoint.com

To combat ranked playlist inflation, the update will tighten up CSR boundaries. The pool of Onyx-ranked players will now be more exclusive, and the elusive “Champion” rank even harder to achieve. These changes will place competitors into ranks that better represent their skill level, while also lowering incentives for smurf accounts.

To represent just how drastic the CSR adjustments are, a comparison between seasons for Champion-ranked players is necessary. Prior seasons required players to earn CSR scores of 3,000 or higher to reach Champion. Currently, the top-ranked champion player only has 1,874 CSR. This score, If applied to prior seasons, would place players in the low-middle tier of Onyx.

 

Conclusion

Although the wait for fair matchmaking treatment has been lengthy, players can now relax a little more when trying to rank up. The changes are another step in 343 Industries’ process to prove to players that feedback is certainly being heard. Rather than being punished for jerk teammates, players can now leave an uneven game without fear of excessive penalties. As a result, players can hop back into more even ranked games, and have a healthier, less rage-inducing matchmaking session.

Featured image by Halowaypoint.com

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!

 

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