Three takeaways from the HCS Summer League thus far

The third week of the HCS Summer League has ended, and the top three picture is starting to become clearer. These are three observations of the Summer Season before we enter the final week of competition.

 

Semantics Really Matter, Apparently

Fans who had tuned into the second day of Pro League week three play were met with an extended delay early-on. The match countdown timer had ended and instead replaced by a “We’ll be back” graphic. The series was set to feature teams Luminosity Gaming and OpTic Gaming, and likely would have drawn in a larger crowd. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins of Luminosity is a popular streamer on Twitch, and OpTic is the undisputed best team in Halo 5. Fans were eager to see how the new addition to Luminosity, Ryan “RyaNoob” Gettes, would perform in his second Pro League outing.

When the casters finally returned, some-30 minutes later, they explained to the audience that Luminosity would be forfeiting the match. The reason for the forfeit being that Luminosity had only requested a substitute player for one match, not two. The team is using the term “substitute” for RyaNoob, as he has yet to officially sign with Luminosity.

Ninja clarified his intentions on Twitter, which seem perfectly logical.

It’s disappointing, but surprising to see a match with the potential to bring in viewers be dealt with in such a way. OpTic probably would have won the series anyways, but that is beside the point. ESL have seen their fair share of criticism from the Halo community. Situations like this certainly do not help.

 

EnVyUs Should Avoid Game 5 Like the Plague

Team EnVyUs could be having a drastically different season right now. Currently at 2-3, EnVy is in a tough spot. They find themselves among two other capable teams in the throes of uncertain Pro League placement. It’s no question that EnVy is a better team than Evil Geniuses or Luminosity. But to an outsider, they may just seem like another average team taking up a middling spot in the top eight.

So just what happened, exactly?

In week one of Pro League play, EnVy squared off against OpTic gaming. EnVy had just embarrassed OG at HCS Atlanta, and was riding high. After jumping out to a 2-0 series lead, the series looked all but over for OpTic. Except it wasn’t.

OpTic caught fire, and stunned EnVy with three back-to-back wins, taking the series. EnVy had every opportunity to close the series, but couldn’t. The loss put EnVy in a hole early, and set the tone for OpTic to win four more consecutive Pro League series.

EnVy’s face-off against Splyce in week three painted a similar picture, just without the demoralizing reverse-sweep. The series went back-and-forth, with neither team claiming too much momentum. The two squads eventually arrived at game five, where Splyce would narrowly emerge victorious.

If EnVy were able to take each series, they’d be at a comfortable 4-1, and likely tied for the top spot. A placement that provides a much clearer demonstration of their true ability. Although this isn’t the case, there’s no reason why it can’t be. EnVy plays both Ronin Esports and Str8 Rippin next week, who are the 7th and 8th seeded teams. Two wins against these vulnerable squads may elevate EnVy into the top three.

 

The OpTic vs. Splyce Showdown is Going to Be Epic

OpTic Gaming is a team that needs no introduction. They’re the back-to-back World Champs and the most dominant force in Halo 5. The roster monopolizes the “Top 5 Players” discussion, and they belong to one of the biggest orgs in esports.

Bubu dubu of Splyce. Image by FantasyHCS.

 

Splyce, on the other hand, is a different story. After having their Pro League spot essentially stolen, Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller and crew made a grueling trek through the amateur Halo scene, wiping the floor with nearly every AM team as they went. Splyce went on to place top six at the Halo World Championship and secured their place in the big leagues.

Splyce only got better with the acquisition of power slayer Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, who helped them secure a top four finish at HCS Daytona. Since qualifying for the Summer Pro League, they have all but demolished the competition. Both a hyper-aggressive playstyle and slaying prowess have carried Splyce to five straight victories in the Pro League.

When these two teams meet up next week, it will surely be the most exciting Pro League series thus far. While it’s nearly impossible to predict an outcome for the series, Halo fans can be assured that it will be far from boring.

 

Featured Image by TeamBeyond.net

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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.

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.

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. 

Possible Roster Moves For EnVyUs and Team Liquid

Relegations are over, and EnVyUs and Team Liquid have earned their way back into the LCS. It wasn’t a domination by any means though. Both of these teams will need to make some changes for next split if they don’t want to finish bottom two again. Here are some possible roster moves I could see for both teams going into next split:

EnvYus

Courtesy: Riot Esports

EnVyUs began to pick up its play towards the end of the split. Their jungler Nam “Lira” Tae-yoo developed into one of the best junglers in NALCS. Team EnVyUs will need to build around their star jungler going forward. Where they can look to improve is in their solo laners. Top laner Shin “Seraph” Wu-Yeong and mid laner Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo looked close to mediocre in their roles last split. It’s questionable how Ninja is still worth an import slot at this point.

Envy’s bot lane was heavily underrated last split. Apollo “Apollo” Price and Nikolas “Hakuho” Surgent held their own against some of the best, and have shown they can compete at an LCS level. They also serve as valuable assets as they don’t take import slots.

Possible Roster Moves:

Looking at possible imports and challenger players available, they may look to the team that they had to defeat to get back into LCS. Gold Coin United’s solo laners may be adequate replacements. Mid laner Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun has has also proven to be a mechanically skilled mid laner that’s able to compete with some of the best in North America.

If Seraph doesn’t play next split, they could look to either Colin “Solo” Earnest or Eric “Licorice” Ritchie. Solo has been bouncing around the challenger scene for awhile now, but looked to hold his own during the promotion tournament. Licorice also had some impressive games during the promotion tournament that could see him being looked at for an LCS team soon.

Another notable import could be EU Giants’ Na “NighT” Gun-woo. NighT made quite the impact during his rookie split last season. He was a lone star on a struggling Giants roster this split. He has shown the ability to be able to play against some of the best mids in Europe.

Team Liquid

Courtesy: Riot Esports

Team Liquid has quite the dilemma going forward. With Yiliang “Doubelift” going back to TSM, they’ll need to decide whether they keep Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin at Mid or move him back to his former role. Piglet has quite a while to prepare to become a better mid laner for Summer, but whether he’ll want to come back is the question. Piglet may have reached his breaking point, having failed to bring Team Liquid to Worlds in multiple consecutive splits now.

Support Matt “Matt” Elento has struggled since his phenomenal rookie split. Matt said in interviews that the pressure was beginning to affect his play. With the announcement of Adrian “Adrian” Ma’s departure from the team, Matt will be the support going forward.

The only sure roster locks that I see Team Liquid keeping are top laner Samson “Lourlo” Jackson and jungler Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin. Lourlo was still inconsistent last split, but I don’t think he did bad enough to be benched, and still showed glimpses of a star top laner. Reignover certainly struggled last split, but he returned to star form near the end of the split.

The mid and ADC positions have the biggest question marks heading into Summer.

Possible Roster Moves:

Like team Envy, NighT is a definite option for them. Piglet wasn’t the worst mid laner, but you could tell he didn’t know his lane matchups quite well enough yet. NighT is an adequate option as he has experience communicating in English. Team Liquid has experience integrating Korean Imports into their lineup as well. NighT has shown that he can be a force in the mid lane. Bringing Piglet back to the ADC role would also not be the worst thing with recent patches making them much more powerful than before.

Looking at the ADC role, Eunited’s ADC Matthew “Deftly” Chen showed some good games in the promotion tournament. He had a tremendous score line in game one against TL. He’s an up and coming NA talent to watch after having a feature on his Scouting Grounds experience.

 

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NALCS: Grading the Newest Imports

This season, in particular, we got the chance to see some big names imported into the NALCS scene. With the split coming to a close soon, I thought I’d review some of the bigger pickups by teams. It will always be an ongoing debate of whether having an all English speaking team is better than having to integrate international players.

This was evident this split, as teams with big name imports, such as Dignitas, Echo Fox, and Immortals stumbled out of the gate. Their team synergy seemed off with top lane imports, especially when using teleport and team fighting.

Phoenix 1’s Arrow and RYu

Courtesy: Riot Esports

ADC No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon has stormed onto the NALCS scene. After playing the last few seasons on KT, Arrow made the move to North America with Phoenix1. Many questioned how much Arrow was being carried by a talented KT roster. Nobody really knew how well Arrow was going to perform, as he’d have to learn English for the first time.

Arrow has heavily exceeded expectations as he’s developed into one of the best ADC’s in North America. His skill shot accuracy on utility carries such as Varus and Jhin has made him one of P1’s most valuable players. He currently leads all ADC’s in KDA, DMG%, and DPM. All key stats for an ADC. He has undoubtedly taken the role of best ADC in North America.

Mid laner Ryu “Ryu” Sang-wook, on the other hand, had the advantage of playing in Europe. With his experience on H2K, he’d become accustomed to communicating in English. Ryu hasn’t skipped a beat since coming to NA. He is a solid mid laner for his team and is definitely able to keep up with the talent in the region. He currently has the fourth highest KDA and CSD@10.

Phoenix1 has been able to surge from being a relegation team last split, to title contenders. Ryu and Arrow have been key pickups, and Phoenx1 deserve praise for being able to integrate these two talented imports.

Grade: A+

Echo Fox’s Looper

 

Courtesy: Riot Esports

Former World champion Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok was brought into Echo Fox after a last place finish in Summer. Looper was brought in as someone who knew what it took to win a championship. Some say he benefited from having a world class shot caller in support Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong.

Looper’s tank play has been disjointed from his team at times. His teleport plays may seem a bit off, but it may also be Echo Fox as a team being a bit indecisive. He still has pretty strong laning as he’s fourth in CSD@10, but is near the bottom in KDA.

Looper hasn’t necessarily been a weakness on this team, but he’s certainly not one of the main carries either. Echo Fox as a whole has struggled with mid game shot calling. Their early game is pretty decent, but they usually have no idea how to translate it into a victory.

Grade: B-

Dignitas’ Ssumday and Chaser

Courtesy: Riot Esports

Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho was arguably one of the biggest names to enter the NALCS in recent history. From his time with KT, he had become heralded as one of the best top laners in the world. Dignitas as a team struggled out of the gate making plays as a team. Bringing in former Apex coach David “Cop” Roberson has seemed to help immensely.

Ssumday individually has played quite well. He has had a few games where he just straight up carried Dignitas on a high skill champion, such as Fiora. With the meta shifting somewhat off of tanks, we may see Ssumday start to do more work. He currently leads the league in CSD@10 and is tied for first in DMG%.

Dignitas’ jungler Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyun maybe wasn’t as hyped up as Ssumday, but was still expected to do well. Chaser struggled in his first few weeks of LCS. In a carry jungle meta, he wasn’t making the sort of impact his team needed. Dignitas seemed to struggle with pulling the trigger on engages, but have gotten much better.

Chaser has stepped up most recently. He currently holds the second highest kill participation and had a dominant series in a crucial win over Team Liquid this week.

With Dignitas beginning to look like the possible fourth best team, Ssumday and Chaser have been key contributors. Individually, Chaser may have struggled to start out the split, but he has been getting better each week.

Grade: A

Immortals’ Flame and Olleh

Courtesy: Riot Esports

Top laner Lee “Flame” Ho-jong came onto Immortals with high expectations. After spending time as a sub in China, he came to North America looking to takeover the North American scene. Many questioned if he’d be able to work with jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett. Both players were infamous for having attitude issues on previous teams.

As with most of the teams that had imports, Flame struggled out of the gate. His teleport plays always seemed way out of sync with the rest of his team. He would often times get caught out split pushing or engaging without the help of his team. In recent weeks, Immortals have fixed some of the issues plaguing them, and look to be contenders for a playoff spot. Flame is second in CSD@10, but still holds one of the worst KDA’s among top laners.

Support Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung was a lesser known import to most spectators. He had spent some time on Brazil’s Pain Gaming and LMS’ Hong Kong Esports. Olleh hasn’t necessarily stuck out as a big play-maker support, but that could be due to playing with a rookie ADC in Cody Sun. He’s currently middle of the pack in KDA, but does lead the league in Wards per minute.

Immortals haven’t necessarily been winning off their imports’ play. It’s mostly been heavily reliant on how well jungler Dardoch plays. If he doesn’t do well, there usually isn’t someone else left to help carry the game.

 

Grade: C

Team Envyus’ Lira

Courtesy: Riot Esports

Despite not playing the first week due to visa issues, jungler Nam “Lira” Tae-yoo has looked like a good player on a bad team. Often times when Envyus gets upset wins, it is due to the early activity of Lira. He currently has the fourth best first blood percentage and KDA among junglers.

It’s hard to grade Lira due to where Envyus is in the standings. Without him, they might be winless and headed for relegation. With him, though, I don’t see them losing their LCS spot, especially with the junglers currently playing the Challenger Series.

I’d love to see how he does with a better mid laner, perhaps. Lira has definitely been one of the more effective imports. It seems like Envyus could do well if they got a better player at mid. Other teams may look to seek his services in the off season as he seems to be adapting well.

Grade: B+

 

 

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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!

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