The Halo World Championship Finals begin in just two short days. So far, this regional preview series has covered the best North American and best European teams. Because both Australia and Latin America are sending one team each, this final installment will merge both regions. At the 2016 Halo World Championship, both regions failed to crack the top 8. Both teams have spent the better part of a year practicing for their chance to win big. Is 2017 the year an Australian or Latin American team will raise the HWC trophy, or will these regions fall short yet again?
Australia: Team Immunity
Roster: Aaron “Benno” Bennett, Teddy “Junior” Joe Jr., Daniel “Seduce” Franken, Matthew “Voltage” Barker
Led by Australian Halo veteran Benno, Team Immunity will attend the HWC Finals with a roster identical to their 2016 showing. The team faced a crisis last year, with an injury sidelining former player Matt “Heff” Hefren. Just days before the biggest Halo tournament in history, Team Immunity was scrambling for a fourth player. The Australian squad hoped for the best, quickly acquiring rookie player Junior, but it unfortunately wasn’t enough.
In the group stage, Immunity were swept by two red-hot North American teams, eLevate and Denial eSports. They failed to make bracket play, with their only win being a sweep over European team FAB Games eSports. Although disheartening given the circumstance, this shock lit a fire under Immunity for the 2017 HWC Finals. They were better than their placing, and they knew it.
Team Immunity’s road to the 2017 HWC Finals began in early 2017, with a series of online tournaments, concluding with an Online Regional Qualifier in Februrary. The eight-team qualifier featured the best Australian Halo teams, all fighting for one trip to the 2017 HWC Finals. With last years’ shortcomings on their minds, Immunity demolished all obstacles in their path.
The team swept their way into the Grand Final for a face-off with Gryffindor, but were not slowing down any time soon. A flawless 4-0 victory in the Grand Finals awarded Team Immunity with a ticket to the 2017 HWC Finals, and a massive weight off the shoulders of Benno and crew.
This weekend, Immunity seeks to build on their successes at home, and face the strongest competition in the world. Placed in Group C with North American titans Team EnVyUs, and LCQ Champs Splyce, it seems that they’ve got their work cut out for them. Look for Benno and the rest of Immunity to try catching these teams off-guard, as they battle for a spot in the Championship Bracket.
Latin America: SoaR Gaming
Roster: Irving “Drift” Ramírez, Atzin “Atzo” Pulido, Carlos “Bullet” Marlasca, Gilbert “MuNoZ” Muñoz
SoaR Gaming, formerly Shock the World, has had an interesting week. First, the team acquired Halo veteran MuNoZ after losing Josbe “Tapping Buttons” Valadez to visa issues. Then, the Shock the World roster was acquired by esports organization SoaR Gaming for the HWC Finals. Although MuNoZ brings leadership and experience to the team, can they adjust in enough time to perform well this weekend?
SoaR Gaming began their journey to the HWC Finals by competing at the Mexico City HWC 2017 Qualifier. After barely edging out MuNoZ former team, Aztek Gaming, in Winners Bracket Round 3, SoaR cruised into the Grand Final. A charged-up Synergy Gaming roster proved no match for SoaR, as they defeated the fellow Latin American squad 4-2.
The victory in Mexico City punched SoaR Gaming’s tickets to California, but has left more questions than answers. Will MuNoZ HWC experience be enough to keep team composure? Can SoaR overcome European powerhouse FAB Games, or NA veterans Str8 Rippin in Group D? Can the squad adjust without teammate, Tapping Buttons?
Chosen Squad, the 2016 HWC Latin American team, won only a single game in pool play. On the other hand, the 2017 Latin American team is an entirely new roster. SoaR gaming is well-aware that they are the underdogs heading into the 2017 HWC Finals. Look for the team to unite under MuNoZ as they try to make a miracle run this weekend.
This concludes the regional preview series for the 2017 Halo World Championship Finals! As we approach the beginning of the action, the teams are making their final preparations. Which teams will fall short of expectations, and which will rise to the occasion? Be sure to watch the action unfold this weekend at twitch.tv/halo.
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