Team EnvyUs formed going into the Fall season with what many thought was the only roster that had a chance to contend with OpTic Gaming on LAN. Seasoned veterans Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, and Justin “Pistola” Deese joined rookie Cuyler “Huke” Garland. Throughout the Fall season, nV and OpTic went back and forth online. However, at Fall Finals, nV did what some thought was impossible: They took down OpTic Gaming on LAN. Since then, they have not been able to replicate this success, not even making the grand finals at UGC St. Louis in January. Were they a one hit wonder?
UGC St Louis
At UGC, most everyone predicted that the Grand Finals would be between OpTic and nV. However, nV never made it past the losers bracket finals. EnvyUs took OpTic to a Game 5 but were later sent home by Team Liquid. Liquid was playing very well, even taking OpTic to a Game 7 in the Grand Finals. It was obvious that the nV seen at UGC was a different team then at Fall Finals. Bad play calls were made, along with questionable pushes and engaging in one-on-one battles instead of assisting each other. During listen-ins, there was clear frustration in nV’s communication, and the team fell to almost complete silence between games. Despite not playing at their potential, nV took OpTic, Str8, and Liquid to full series.
Since losing at UGC, nV has picked up their scrim performance. The team had 13-0 and 12-1 victories over Evil Geniuses as well as another 13-0 over Team Allegiance. However, they have traded scrims with OpTic and Liquid, solidifying these teams as the top three.
The online qualifiers have showed similar issues. EnvyUs won the first qualifier with a 4-1 victory over Liquid. Unfortunately, nV couldn’t repeat, as they lost to Inconceivable in a Game 5, ending with a 5th-8th finish.
While online results should not carry a lot of weight, they effect seeds going into HWC Las Vegas. Due to their lower placing in the second qualifier, it will be a long climb for them to overtake Liquid in pro points and take the second seed going into Vegas.
When listening to nV’s communications in scrims and the online cups, bickering was common, often between Snip3down and Mikwen. This increases the frustration of the team and interrupts the flow of teamwork and communication. This leads to inconsistent solo-plays, which can provide opposing teams with easy kills. This lack of coordination is holding nV back and must be resolved. Mikwen has been very mature with the situation, understanding and acknowledging his part in nV’s lack of recent success.
I was an asshole for a month, during probably the hardest time of my life, but it's been a thing since this team formed.
— Austin Mikwen (@Mikwen) January 26, 2017
Mikwen’s frustration (outside of any events that may be occuring in his personal life) is understandable considering much of the community calls him the worst player on the team. This is entirely incorrect, as many just assume stats imply skill and do not see what Mikwen actually contributes to his team. This can be attributed to nV’s unusual setup, being comprised of four Slayers, but all players have stepped up to be excellent in whatever role they are needed.
While Mikwen’s frustration and bickering may have stopped the team from competing as well as they should have at UGC, they have continually began to improve, showing that only Liquid and OpTic can consistently contend with them in scrims. This team will be back in full force at UGC and will be hungrier than ever to regain victory and succeed at the 2017 Halo World Championship Finals.
So will nV fall apart? The short answer is no; nV seems to have fixed their issues and they are once again looking like a championship team.
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