Inferno: The hallmark of grand finals

PGL Major Kraków was a topsy turvy tournament, to say the least. A Gambit side led by Danylo ‘Zeus’ Teslenko took the victory in a thrilling final map on the historic Inferno. We saw an incredible clutch from Abay ‘HObbit’ Khasenov and consistent fragging from Dauren ‘AdreN’ Kystaubayev whilst the AWPing of Vito ‘kNg’ Giuseppe and the leadership of Lucas ‘steel’ Lopes tried to keep them in the game.

The map in question, Inferno, has hosted a number of grand final deciders. Despite only being reintroduced into the map pool this year, it has remained a popular choice among top teams. It is favored as a neutral playing field because most teams know all the basic strategies but the tempo can be changed between fast and slow. Its design also allows for clutch plays whether that be as a CT from pit defending the A bomb or as a terrorist running down banana.

For these reasons, we’ve been gifted many memorable finals thanks to Inferno. This article will pick out some of the best that you may be interested in re-watching.

SL-iLeague Starseries Season 3 Finals

FaZe Clan had been on the rise since picking up Bosnian superstar Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovač. They had recently formed a rivalry with the Danes of Astralis, who bested them in the final of Counter-Strikes famed ESL One Katowice.

However, there was more than just the rivalry at stake for FaZe. The team was out to prove what international teams can achieve. Not only that, Finn ‘karrigan’ Andersen craved revenge against his former team while Fabien ‘kioShiMa’ Fiey wanted to prove he wasn’t ‘The Problem’. With the grand final one a piece, was there a better way to end than in overtime on Inferno?

ESL One Cologne 2014

Over three years ago now, back when it was still a major, the grand final of ESL One Cologne 2014 was decided by Inferno. The perfect stage for the still ripe El Classico between Fnatic and NiP. The aforementioned beat the Ninjas in CSGO’s first ever major championship while the legendary team was still missing one from their trophy cabinet.

Facing one of the most dominant Inferno teams in Fnatic, it seemed as if all the odds were pitched against them. After going down early, an unforgettable ace from Adam ‘friberg’ Friberg instilled confidence in the Ninjas who would go on to win their only major in CSGO.

ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals

For this match, we head over to London to witness an intense best of five final. Luminosity, now known as SK Gaming, was fresh off the back of a major win at ESL One Cologne 2016. While challengers G2 Esports had struggled with consistency. It was on the astounding duo of Richard ‘shox’ Papillon and Adil ‘ScreaM’ Benrlitom to prove French CS was still at large.

The first four maps were nail-biting with every map ending with both teams in double figures. The last map Inferno did the entire series justice. The game went into overtime boasting incredible plays from Shox and Marcelo ‘coldzera’ David. If you are a newer viewer it’s one I’d definitely recommend watching.

ESL One Katowice 2015

After looking into Cologne 2014, you’ll probably get a sense of Déjà vu here. We’re back, map three, Inferno, NiP versus Fnatic. This time Fnatic demonstrated that dominance through utterly crushing the Ninjas on their CT side. In spite of that, NiP would make the game entertaining through a second half resurgence.

This game is a great example of how to play the CT side of Inferno. NiP making great use of crossfires on the A bombsite, meanwhile, Fnatic perfected the art of banana control. If learning some new tricks is your thing, many of these can still be used in the newest iteration of the map.

 

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Frostbite’s DreamHack Atlanta HCS Finals predictions

After seven weeks of competition and one full month of time to prepare for this moment, DreamHack Atlanta is here. Over the course of the next three days, we’ll see the best teams from North America and Europe go at it for their share of $200,000. Let’s take a look at some predictions for the top eight!

7th/8th: Ronin Esports

Roster: Visal “eL ToWn” Mohanan, Cory “Str8 SicK” Sloss, Tyler “Spartan” Ganza, Ayden “Suspector” Hill

Ronin, since the start of the season, has been constantly struggling. Their only win throughout this season was their first match against Str8 Rippin. Halfway through the season, Ronin looked to improve by swapping out Carlos “Cratos” Ayala for eL ToWn. This swap proved unfruitful, as Ronin didn’t win another match for the rest of the Pro League and ended their season by getting reverse-swept by EG.

Ronin’s scrim scores also don’t show a lot of promise due to their inconsistency. They have managed to defeat EG and Splyce, but the next week they were 13-0’d by both Splyce and OpTic Gaming. This will be a tough fight for them, but with their firepower, they should be able to survive relegation.

7th/8th: Luminosity Gaming

Roster: Joe “TriPPPeY” Taylor, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson, Bradley “APG” Laws

Luminosity, while not having to fight through relegations like Ronin, does not seem to be playing their best Halo leading up to DreamHack. They ended their season 3-4, tied with EG, but due to having a low map win percentage, they only made 6th place. During the roster swap period, LG acquired APG from Str8 in order to bolster their slaying power. DreamHack will decide if this was a good decision or not.

In scrims, LG has at least been performing slightly better than Ronin. However, they have the same issue: inconsistency. Either way, against top four teams, LG hasn’t even had any particularly close scrims. They can snag top six however, assuming EG and OS are not in top shape.

5th/6th: Evil Geniuses

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

DreamHack

The key to EG’s success. Image by Josbe Valadez.

Tapping Buttons seems to be just what this squad needed. EG has been struggling since the start of 2016 and this is the best form we’ve seen the squad since since X-Games 2016. They started the Pro League with Brett “Naded” Leonard, but after Daytona, Naded departed and left EG scrambling. With the help of the greatest of all time, Tom “OGRE2” Ryan, the squad got Tapping Buttons. Since then, EG’s season has gone surprisingly well, despite having a 3-4 record. With the exception of getting swept by OpTic, EG’s other losses to Team EnVyUs, Team Liquid and Splyce were all in close five game series.

Scrims, as usual with EG, paint a different picture. This roster has always struggled online, but close games to amateur teams as well as a narrow loss to Str8 Rippin can leave even the most stalwart of fans worried. However, the Brown Twins have a reputation for being LAN gods for a reason and many expect them to remind competitive Halo fans why that is this weekend at DreamHack.

 

4th: Team Liquid

Roster: Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher, Zane “SubZero” Hearon, Aaron “Ace Elam, Kevin “Eco” Smith

DreamHack

Image by Halo Esports Wiki

Liquid had a surprisingly slow start to their Summer Season. They suffered losses to both Luminosity and Splyce, neither of which were close matches. During the mid-season roster transfer period, they surprised the community again by dropping Timothy “Rayne” Tinkler for Str8 Rippin’s Ace. Many questioned the decision, as SubZero had stated previously that he planned to always remain a duo with Rayne, and that this change could imbalance the team’s chemistry. In fact, it had the opposite effect. Liquid returned in the 3rd week to defeat Team EnVyUs 3-1 and were the only team to defeat OpTic all season. They ended their season with a 5-2 record.

Recent scrims show that Liquid’s only losses so far have been to Splyce and OpTic Gaming.

3rd: Splyce

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

If you told someone to put together a squad based solely on slaying ability that wasn’t nV, this is the squad you’d probably get. Even bubu dubu, the most objective-oriented player on this roster, has shown that he has talent in slaying. This squad took most teams by storm during the season and ended 6-1 with their only loss being to OpTic. This squad only narrowly lost to Liquid at Daytona and they’ve only gotten better since then.

Scrims look good for Splyce, with dominating wins over not only Ronin and Luminosity, but also nV. If Splyce and nV meet in the bracket, it could be a toss up, but nV’s experience as a team could be what propels them over Splyce.

2nd: Team EnVyUs

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

The HCS Daytona champions ended their season a bit shy of where they probably would have liked to have been. Their season ended 4-3, with losses to Liquid, Splyce and a reverse-sweep at the hands of a vengeful OpTic Gaming. However, this squad has remained consistent and it takes more than online victories to prove that Splyce or Liquid can take down nV. DreamHack will decide if this team is still OpTic’s biggest contender, or if they’ve fallen by the wayside.

Scrims for nV look relatively normal. Close losses to OpTic, one loss and victory over Splyce and dominant performances over most other teams. However, Snip3down has been having some hand issues, so if he hasn’t properly healed, it could affect the squad’s performance.

1st: OpTic Gaming

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

DreamHack

Image by Turtle Beach.

Is anyone really surprised that OpTic Gaming are the favorites to win? Since forming, they’ve only lost three events, all of which were in long, close series. Liquid may have beaten them online, but have only come remotely close to defeating these juggernauts once. EnVyUs has defeated them on LAN, but they have been inconsistent with their performances against OpTic and have also been blown out of the water several times by this squad.

Scrims are like usual for OpTic. Clean victories nearly across the board, with only a couple close defeats here and there. Make no mistake, OpTic are coming to win DreamHack and add to their already long list of victorious events, and they’re looking to be in perfect shape to do it.

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 @DS_Frostbite!

Header image by Halo Waypoint

 

Beyond the Sticks: Return of the Gauntlet

Earlier last week, Millennial Esports announced the return of a time-honored Halo tradition. Beyond the Sticks will allow Team EnVyUs and Oxygen Supremacy to have a pre-tournament boot camp, almost like in the legendary days of the LAN Network. Both teams will descend upon Las Vegas to compete in four, 13 game series to prepare for Dreamhack Atlanta. Let’s take a look at how Beyond the Sticks will play out.

Overview

Beyond the Sticks will start on July 1st with two, 13 game scrimmages. The next two matches will be on July 2nd. The full schedule can be found here. The event will be commentated by Tom “TSquared” Taylor and Ryan “Towey” Towey. With one of Halo’s most dominant players and one of it’s best coaches, these two will be able to provide valuable insight on what each of the teams is focusing on in each game. Speaking of the teams…

The Match-Up

Mikwen has easily been nV’s MVP lately, Image by Halo Esports Wikis.

Team EnVyUs is one of the most talented teams in Halo at the moment. Consisting of Justin “iGotUrPistola” Deese, Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, Cuyler “Huke” Garland, this squad took the title at UMG Daytona. With a mix of veterans as well as young blood, this squad has been one of the only teams that could contend with OpTic Gaming. They will absolutely be a threat going into the Summer Finals, as OpTic only narrowly defeated them when they met during the Pro League. Despite ending the league at 4-3, nV has shown that when it comes to LAN, they always show up.

Oxygen Supremacy is a team nobody saw coming. Ryan “RyaNoob” Geddes, Troy

Ryan and his legendary hair. Image by Halo Esports Wikis.

“DasTroyed” Dusman, Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski and Kyle “Nemassist” Kubina have stunned even some of the pro teams. At Daytona, this squad ended up in the top six after dominating teams like Luminosity Gaming and Str8 Rippin. They also came within one game of send EnVyUs home in the loser’s bracket finals, despite forming just before the event. Ryanoob once again has put together a squad that can contend with the “pros” and yet is not in the Pro League. OS has taken first in three out of four online qualifiers so far and it hasn’t been particularly close.

Scrims between these two teams tell a different story. The first scrim ended 5-8 in favor of nV, with 3-4 games being close toss-ups. The second scrim, however, was a blowout. Victory again went to nV, with a crushing 13-0 defeat of OS and all but one game were not even close. Events change circumstances, however. This will be a live event, so it’s reasonable to assume 343 will provide a closed server, which feels very close to LAN. In this environment, OS has shown that they’re more than capable of defeating the Daytona champs.

What’s the Big Deal?

These boot camps are pulled straight out of Halo’s history. These gauntlets allowed teams to put in the grueling hours of practice needed to perform well at events. They also allowed newer players to show their capabilities prior to events. Beyond the Sticks is hopefully the start of this kind of thing returning. It can be the start to grassroots, community-run LANs being a mainstay for competitive Halo once again.

Be sure to check out all 52 games of carnage at twitch.tv/millennialesports

 

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 @DS_Frostbite!

Header image by Millennial Esports.

Week 4 Day 1 HCS Pro League Predictions

As the Summer Season of the HCS Pro League enters its final stretch, Week 4 begins Wednesday night. This week has several make-or-break matches, the most important of which will likely decide the top dog going into DreamHack Atlanta: OpTic Gaming vs Splyce.

Str8 Rippin vs Luminosity Gaming

Saiyan has been the spine of LG thus far. Image by Tommy Wilson.

LG (Assumed): Bradley “APG” Laws, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Joe “TriPPPeY” Taylor, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson

Str8 (Assumed): Tim “Rayne” Tinkler, Hamza “Commonly” Abbaali, Richie “Heinz” Heinz, Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi

LG has done well to improve their standings recently with victories over Ronin and Liquid. Unfortunately, the team was disqualified due to a roster miscommunication last week against OpTic, but that was likely to be a 3-0 anyways. Going into Week 4, LG has a good chance to further improve their standings and tie their win/loss ratio at 3-3. Str8 Rippin has been struggling and the past roster changes may have only weakened them further.

Meanwhile, this is a must-win for Str8. They’re already nearly guaranteed to be at the bottom of the bracket going into Atlanta and they will need to put the pieces together fast to avoid relegation. Str8 currently sits at 0-5. They will need to beat both LG and EnVy in order to even have a chance at improving their standing. It doesn’t look good for them.

Prediction: Luminosity Gaming 3-1 Str8 Rippin

Fantasy Picks (Fantasy HCS): Saiyan, TriPPPey, APG

 

Team EnVyUs vs Ronin Esports

Mikwen has been leading his team through the season and is looking to close out strong. Image by Halo Esports Wiki.

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

RE: Visal “eL ToWn” Mohanan, Cory “Str8 SicK” Sloss, Tyler “Spartan” Ganza and Ayden “Suspector” Hill

For nV, the Pro League thus far has contained a few unexpected defeats. That said, they’re looking to rebound against Ronin in Week 4 and have a decent chance of doing so. Despite sitting at 2-3, tied with EG and LG, nV still sits in a good spot due to their win at Daytona. On top of that, their scrim results have been improving, with impressive victories not only over Team Liquid but OpTic Gaming as well.

Ronin, on the other hand, is in a bad spot. Despite picking up eL ToWn, they haven’t been looking particularly great. Being that they’re sitting at 1-4 in the league, that’s not a great sign. While scrims have shown a little promise, this squad has continued to get dominated. Along with Str8, they’re looking like an easy team to relegate.

Prediction: Team EnVyUs 3-0 Ronin Esports

Fantasy Picks (Fantasy HCS): Mikwen, Snip3down, Huke

 

Team Liquid vs Evil Geniuses

TL: Zane “SubZero” Hearon, Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher, Aaron “Ace” Elam,  Kevin “Eco” Smith

Justin “Roy” Brown. Image by Halo Esports Wiki.

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

Since trading Rayne for Ace, Liquid has seen some improvement. The team went 2-0 last week and improved their overall standing to 3-2. They currently are sitting in third, behind Splyce and OpTic. Scrims have shown a tie between Liquid and Oxygen Supremacy but the squad was dominated 2-9 by EnVy.

EG, on the other hand, is running into their usual problem: lack of practice. With nail-biting, game five losses to both Splyce and Team EnVyUs, the potential of this squad is apparent. This is the best EG has looked since X-Games 2016. Over the past week, they have shown a bit more consistency in scrims, despite both of their match-ups being losses. If the EG that nearly took down Splyce shows up, we could have a great series on our hands.

Prediction: Evil Geniuses 3-2 Team Liquid

Fantasy Picks (Fantasy HCS): StelluR, Eco, Tapping Buttons

 

Splyce vs OpTic Gaming

Shotzzy and Renegade have been the tip of the spear for Splyce. Image by Halo Waypoint.

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

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

This match is big. Both of these teams are tied for 1st place in the league with a 5-0 record. This match will likely decide which team takes the first seed into Atlanta.

Splyce has had a few close calls. They only narrowly beat out EnVy and EG but have shown that their firepower is not to be trifled with. However, Splyce hasn’t even scrimmaged over the past week. That lack of practice may not allow this series to be as close as many want.

OpTic continues to avenge their Daytona loss through the league. They have appeared unstoppable, with only nV coming close to beating them. In fact, their only scrim loss was to nV and that can be chalked up to just a bad day.

However, if Splyce shows up and plays well, this series gets a lot closer, possibly even becoming a coin-toss.

Prediction: OpTic Gaming 3-1 Splyce

Fantasy Picks (Fantasy HCS): Anyone from OpTic. Maybe Renegade or Shotzzy.

Week 4 is huge for everyone, as seeds will begin to be set in stone. Do you disagree with any of the predictions? What matches do you think will be close and be the best to watch? Be sure to participate in the discussion!

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 @DS_Frostbite!

Header image by ESL Halo.

 

 

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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HCS mid-season roster changes

At the end of Week Two of the HCS Summer Season, the first of two transfer periods opened up. Before long, rumors were abound and the community sought for scraps of news. With the second transfer period coming up, let’s recap some of the roster changes that have happened as well as what we can expect.

Str8 Rippin

Str8 Rippin has had the most changes, with both Aaron “Ace” Elam and Bradley “APG” Laws reportedly departing the roster. In lieu of these two players, Str8 acquired Timothy “Rayne” Tinkler from Team Liquid and played their matches this week with Hamza “Commonly” Abbaali. The Str8 roster will now likely be Rayne, Commonly, Richie “Heinz” Heinz and Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi.

This change is somewhat confusing. Str8 has lost a lot of slaying power from APG as well as losing out on overall damage output and aggressiveness due to Ace leaving. Despite this, they have picked up two very objective-minded players. While Commonly is relatively similar to Ace in terms of objective plays and damage output, Rayne does not compensate for the slaying ability lost. Combined with Heinz already being another objective-focused player and that leaves Danoxide with more pressure to slay.

Team Liquid

Team Liquid has made a trade with Str8 Rippin, gaining Ace in return for Rayne. The Liquid roster is now Ace, Zane “Penguin” Hearon,  Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher and Kevin “Eco” Smith.

This roster change may not have necessarily improved or worsened Liquid to any significant extent. While Ace does perhaps bring some more damage output to the team on paper, he also lacks the chemistry that Rayne had with the roster. This will likely leave Liquid in a similar spot to what they would have been in if they had kept Rayne.

Ronin Esports

Ronin has dropped the most controversial player in the HCS, Carlos “Cratos” Ayala for Visal “eL ToWn” Mohanan. The roster is now eL ToWn, Cory “Str8 SicK” Sloss, Tyler “Spartan” Ganza and Ayden “Suspector” Hill.

Similarly to Str8, this seems like only a slight upgrade. eL ToWn does fill the same support role as Cratos did, with only slightly better slaying ability. However, eL ToWn still struggles in his individual gunfights. His strongest asset to the team will likely be his already well-developed chemistry with Spartan, but Ronin will likely remain at the bottom of the rankings for the duration of the season.

Luminosity Gaming

In a surprise move, it is expected that Luminosity will be dropping Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson in order to pick up APG. APG has already stated multiple times on stream that he intends to leave Str8 and the LG is looking to pick him up. The roster will now presumably be APG, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Joe “TriPPPeY” Taylor and Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson. All the while, rumors of retirement are swirling around Victory X.

This change could go either way. APG adds more slaying power to the team but now nobody on the roster is especially objective focused. If the squad can compensate for this by over-slaying and having the other players adapt, then this could help LG. If not, Luminosity could slip back down the ladder to join Ronin and Str8 Rippin. Victory X and Ninja also were a proven duo, so chemistry and play-style clashes could also come back to bite LG.

How do you feel about these changes? What teams do you think will improve? Which will worsen? Be sure to share your opinions!

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 @DS_Frostbite!

Header image by ESL Halo.

Week 3 Day 2 HCS Pro League Predictions

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

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

Splyce vs. Team EnVyUs

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

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

Snip3down of Team EnVyUs. Image by EsportsWikis

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

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

Key Matchup:

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

Prediction: Team EnVyUs 3 – 2 Splyce

OpTic Gaming vs. Luminosity Gaming

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: OpTic Gaming 3 – Luminosity Gaming 0

Evil Geniuses vs. Str8 Rippin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: Evil Geniuses 3 – 2 Str8 Rippin


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

Featured Image by GameRevolution 

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!

Does Danoxide fit on Str8 Rippin?

Str8 Rippin ended their HWC 2017 season with a 4th place finish. They also ended their Fall Season in the same position. The trio of  Aaron “Ace” Elam, Bradley “APG” Laws and Richie “Heinz” Heinz have consistently fought to break into the top three since forming but have always fallen short. Going into the Summer 2017 Season, after the loss of Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, the squad picked up Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi. Unfortunately, they haven’t had the start they hoped for.

UMG Daytona

At UMG, Str8 had an inconsistent start. In their group, they fell 3-0 to Luminosity Gaming. Str8 swept EG and then had to face LG again. This series went all the way to game five, with Str8 narrowly edging out LG the second time around. Str8 then went on to sweep BtH in bracket play, only to be swept in return by a rampaging Oxygen Supremacy. In the loser’s bracket, Str8 did manage to defeat Ronin but was sent home by Team Liquid with a top six finish. This was the first time that Str8 had placed outside of the top four since forming.

Is Danoxide the Problem?

In the Fall Season, Str8 now sits at 0-3. The squad has lost to Ronin in game five, Liquid in game four and were

Danoxide needs to step up to bring this squad back. Image by r/Halo.

swept by a resurgent OpTic Gaming. Their game win percentage is sitting at only 25%, putting Danoxide’s new squad at the bottom of the league. Str8’s next match is against a very hot Splyce roster. Considering how well Splyce have been playing, it’s hard to have Str8 winning this.

Str8 has had several games be very close with Danoxide. This issue isn’t necessarily that Danoxide is a bad player however; While on Crowd Pleasers, he put up huge numbers at HWC 2017. Like many other team issues, it’s more a matter of play-style than individual skill. Danoxide’s skill is on par with Renegade but he is a different kind of player. Whereas Renegade was a much more focused power-slayer, Danoxide is a more aggressive damage-dealer.

Str8’s close games have shown that this squad has potential bu they are currently struggling to adjust from playing around Renegade, to coordinating and playing with Danoxide. The question isn’t whether Str8 can be good with Danoxide, it’s whether they want to put in the time to return to the top four.

Hurricane’d

With the mid-season transfer period currently open, Str8 may be looking to replace Danoxide. It is also sensible to think that they would be searching for players who are similar to Renegade. There are a few players that could fit this mold.

Tyler “Spartan” Ganza or Ayden “Suspector” Hill, both with Ronin as of now, are examples of players who could very well take this position. Str8 could also possible benefit from bringing back a former player in Ezekiel “Prototype” Martinez. A slightly more “out-of-left-field” pick would be Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson. Saiyan is similar to Danoxide in some respects but is also somewhat more well-rounded. Either way, Str8 already has not practiced for over a week. Regardless of their choices regarding their roster, they’ll need to start grinding again soon if they want to rebound in the league.


 

Do you think Str8 Rippin will drop Danoxide? If so, who will they replace him with? Leave your thoughts and opinions 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 @RattPackFrosty!

Header image by Str8 Rippin

A Series of Unfortunate Events – Maikelele

Maikel “Maikelele” Bill is a long-time professional Counter-Strike player. The storied pro comes from one of the Esport’s many homes in Sweden, and has recently joined rising stars and fellow countrymen on Red Reserve. For newer viewers unfamiliar with Maikelele, he has had a number of ups and downs throughout his career, finding himself in tough situations on multiple occasions. This article retells the Maikelele story.

NiP Era

After strong performances both offline and online with Team Orbit in early 2014, the Swede landed himself on the world-famous Ninjas in Pyjamas team. With the legendary lineup, he would open up with second place finishes at the major Dreamhack Winter as well as the X-Games. The team would go on to win their next event at ASUS Rog Winter before bombing out of the Pantamera Challenge. However, it came as a shock to many when Maikelele was cut from the team despite being a top performer at many of the events they attended.

Kinguin Era

Kinguin earned top 8 at ESL One Cologne. [Source: ESL]

Maikelele had nowhere to go. With the other top Swedish side Fnatic starting to garner results, it looked as if it was back to square one, but he had other ideas.

Teaming up with fellow castaway Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom of Belgium, the two decided to form one of CS:GO’s first memorable international teams. Backed by the organization Kinguin, the team originally acquired Alexander “SKYTTEN” Carlsson, Ricardo “fox” Pacheco and Håvard “rain” Nygaard. Before quickly switching out SKYTTEN in favor of Dennis “Dennis” Edman for added firepower. The team saw instant results and earned legend status by reaching the quarter-finals of ESL One Cologne 2015.

Following the achievement, they won a tournament called Gaming Paradise. The irony is that the event turned out to be a total disaster. Plagued with player illnesses, delays and lack of funds to pay winning players. However, despite that, the international team still made a statement beating out Natus Vincere in the final. It was saddening for Maikelele that the win was rarely recognized due to the overshadowing issues.

 G2/FaZe Era

During their time together, the squad had accumulated a large following. This had caught the attention of the G2 owner who subsequently decided to pick the team up. They played the Dreamhack Cluj-Napoca major and had perhaps their best ever performance. The team was just a few rounds short of defeating eventual winners Team EnVyUs in the semi-finals. A heart-breaking loss but nonetheless a tournament to remember.

The continued rise to success attracted further attention, this time by Call of Duty titans FaZe Clan. It is rumored that the group of YouTubers paid big bucks for the CSGO team. The initial results weren’t great with the team finishing joint last at both IEM Katowice and MLG Columbus. This led to Maikelele’s second removal, this time from the team he had created from the ground up.

NiP/Dignitas

With his future uncertain, Maikelele decided to help out his former team NiP during their fifth, Jacob “pyth” Mourujärvi, absence. During this time the Ninjas gave Maikelele what they never could before. A premiere tournament win, they beat the French iteration of G2 convincingly in the grand final. He played three more events with the team and earned one more top four finish. However, the spot was only temporary and Pyth returned a month later.

After becoming a free agent again, Maikelele again created an international lineup, this time under Team Dignitas. Joining him for the second time would be Fox and Joakim “jkaem” Myrbostad, alongside former NiP coach Faruk “Pita” Pita, and North player Ruben “RUBINO” Villarroel. But thunder would strike twice. After just five competitive matches together, the team would drop him and Pita from the squad.

Current Stance

This brings us to the current moment in which Maikelele has found himself on up and coming Swedish lineup Red Reserve. The organization recently made its foray into esports with a European Call of Duty team. Originally signed as a substitute, Maikelele quickly improved results, winning them a small online tournament and helping them take second place at the GeForce Cup. Following the results, the team decided to sign him permanently.

Maikelele has had such a tumultuous career, however, I believe that he plays his best Counter-Strike when he’s having fun. Back in the loose style of NiP, he had the freedom to take the shots he wanted to play. He had fun making top eight at a major with the first successful international lineup in CSGO. And now he’ll have fun nurturing young Swedish stars.

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles. Feature image courtesy of Dreamhack.

Week Two HCS Pro League Predictions

With the first two matches of the Summer Pro League wrapped up, let’s look ahead to Week Two and the third set of matches. Week Two is also going to give us a bit of a grudge match, as we will see Jess “bubu dubu” Moeller and Carlos “Cratos” Ayala face off once again.

Week 2, Match 1: Evil Geniuses vs. Team EnVyUs

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

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

Tapping Buttons led EG to their first victory, Image by Gamelta.

EG came out during Week One to show that they were once again looking to be a reckoning force. They lost a close series to Splyce, falling 2-3, but rebounded in their 2nd match against Luminosity. This series showed that acquiring Tapping Buttons was a good call, as EG took the match 3-1, with only one close game. Week Two, however, will show how they compete with the top caliber.

nV started their season against Luminosity as well and picked up an easy 3-0 victory with LG not putting up much of a fight. nV’s second match however, was not so simple. In a re-match of the Daytona Grand Finals, nV was put up against OpTic Gaming. After going up 2-0 against OpTic, nV was reverse-swept and left with a 2-3 defeat.

It’s hard to bet against nV, especially when EG is yet to be proven against the top two. Despite close games with Splyce, showing their potential, they haven’t had the experience together to be able to contend here for a win.

Prediction: Team EnVyUs 3-0 Evil Geniuses

Fantasy Picks (Fantasy HCS): Mikwen, Huke

Week 2, Match 2: Luminosity Gaming vs. Team Liquid

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

SubZero struggled during Week 1. Will he recover this week? Image by Fantasy HCS.

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

LG has had a very rough start to the season. Despite many believing that the squad could break into the top four, they have so far fallen short, both at Daytona and during Week One. A blowout loss against nV followed by another distant loss to EG has put them at the bottom of the standings at the conclusion of the first week. Unfortunately for them, Week Two will not be getting any easier.

Liquid, surprisingly, also fell short of many people’s expectations. In their first match of the season, Splyce sent them packing 0-3, despite having several back-and-forth series at Daytona. Liquid was able to recover going into their 2nd match, defeating Str8 Rippin 3-1, despite two very close games.

Things just don’t seem to be going in the favor of LG. Liquid was able to rebound from their loss while LG lost both of their matches. It is also possible, even somewhat likely, that Liquid just had a bad week, especially when considering their past performances.

Prediction: Team Liquid 3-1 Luminosity Gaming

Fantasy Picks (Fantasy HCS): Saiyan, StelluR, Eco

Week 2, Match 3: Str8 Rippin vs. OpTic Gaming

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

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

Str8, similarly to LG, started off this season 0-2. A heartbreaking 2-3 loss to Ronin put them in a bad position going into their second match against Liquid. Against TL, Str8 did manage to put up some close games but fell short with a 1-3 loss. Week Two will only worsen their standings, as beating OpTic takes a miracle for all but the very best.

Speaking of OpTic, they’re riding high going into Week Two. Their season started with a 3-0 victory over Ronin, although Ronin did put up a good fight in game three. Their second match was the eClassico, OpTic Gaming vs Team EnVyUs. Despite starting the series 0-2, OG rallied back to take the win.

With the OpTic squad only being more hungry and driven after their loss at Daytona, they’ve already shown they’re playing at their best. With Str8 faltering, the won’t be much of an entertaining series.

Prediction: OpTic Gaming 3-0 Str8 Rippin

Fantasy Picks (Fantasy HCS): SnakeBite, Royal2, Frosty

Week 2, Match 4: Ronin Esports vs. Splyce

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

This man will likely be looking for some revenge. Image by Halo Esports Wikis.

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

Ronin opened up their season with a quick 0-3 defeat at the hands of OpTic Gaming. The roster was able to recover

though and eked out a narrow 3-2 victory over Str8. Herein lies the issue. Ronin was dominated in their first match, granted it was by the #1 team. However, their second match, despite being a win, was not at all convincing. Splyce is a tier above Str8, so Ronin has their work cut out for them.

Splyce has started their season quite well. Despite a close 3-2 victory over EG, Splyce only returned stronger for their second match and took down Liquid with a resounding 3-0. This squad’s slaying talent is through the roof, arguably in the same tier as that of nV.

Ronin has not yet shown that they have the ability to contend with any of the top four teams. Even at Daytona, they struggled to make the top eight, despite having a relatively easy bracket. Once again, this one likely won’t be close.

Prediction: Splyce 3-0 Ronin Esports

Fantasy Picks (Fantasy HCS): Shotzzy, Renegade, bubu dubu

This week looks to be full of some pretty clear-cut victories. Do you disagree with any of the predictions? What matches do you think will be close and be the best to watch? Be sure to participate in the discussion!

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 ESL Halo.

 

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