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.

 

 

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.

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

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.

 

Halo 5’s Glitch: Skilled or Broken?

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

Halo 2: Glitch-Tacular

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

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

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

Halo 5’s Multi-Shot

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

Thoughts on the New EG

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

Evil Geniuses’ Revamp

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

Courtesy of Josbe Valdez.

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

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

The Solution?

The God Squad. Image by Ryan Towey.

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

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

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

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

Looking Forward

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

Tapping Buttons during an interview. Image by Gamelta.

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

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

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

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

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

Header image by Record.com

HCS Last Chance Qualifier Preview

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

 

ERA Eternity

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

BabyJ celebrating a victory. Image by Halo Esports Wiki.

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

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

 

Oxygen Supremacy

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

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

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

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

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

 

Splyce

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

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

Castro

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

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

Who do you think will take the final Pro League spot? Is there another team outside of these three that are realistically in the running? Let me know!

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

Header image by Splyce.

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.

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