Over the past three months, hundreds of teams have fought for the chance to appear at this weekend’s Halo World Championships in Seattle. Only sixteen have made it and come Sunday, only one will be left standing. Rosters have been set, groups have been seeded and the show is just getting started. Let’s take a look at some likely top 4 candidates for HWC 2018.
Roster: Jason “Lunchbox” Brown, Aaron “Ace” Elam, Bradley “aPG” Laws, Travis “Neptune” McCloud
The first roster to carry the Renegades banner since 2016 and the only roster to carry a single Brown twin into HWC 2018. This prediction specifically isn’t necessarily a confident one. Team Reciprocity, a squad with the services of Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, Zane “Penguin” Hearon and Tyler “Spartan” Ganza can knock Renegades out of the top 4. In fact, at both MLG Columbus and Orlando, Reciprocity was the squad to beat Renegades into that top 4 spot. In head to head scrims, Reciprocity has won out by a significant margin.
Here’s the catch: The Brown twins, even if it’s just one of them, always show up at live events to play and this team has Lunchbox, one of the smartest and most clutch players in Halo history. He’s also one of the most hungry players, especially after missing out on Worlds last year. HWC 2018 is his chance to turn things around. If Renegades isn’t overwhelmed by Reciprocity’s pure slaying power, they can take the win in a head-to-head series.
3rd: Team EnVyUs
Roster: Justin “iGotUrPistola” Deese, Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, Joey “TriPPPeY” Taylor, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson
A very different roster from the last time NV was at a World Championship event. Only one player from the original NV squad that was the first to defeat OpTic Gaming’s (now Tox’s) dominant roster, remains. Despite that, it seems this is the best group that has ever been mustered for NV. At both Orlando and Columbus this roster placed top four, with one of those finishes coming alongside a 3-0 of Tox. A decent record to have going into the HWC 2018 Finals.
Saiyan has proven to be an absolute monster of a Slayer, posting dominant stat lines even in team losses. Not just in kills, but in damage dealt, assists and accuracy as well. The guy can shoot, there’s no doubts about that. TriPPPeY helps shoulder plenty of that load as well, being an excellent mobile damage-dealer that helps his teammates get easy kills. Combined with bubu dubu’s smart, lurking playstyle and Ola’s experience and wizardry, this squad is dangerous.
Even with all of that, it’s unlikely that they’ll make it to the Grand Finals.
Roster: Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro, Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher and Kevin “Eco” Smith
To say this squad is red-hot doesn’t even begin to describe their romp throughout the HWC 2018 season. They don’t even scrim other teams. They don’t stream at all. But without a doubt, this team by far has more young talent than any other in all of competitive Halo. Even despite a lack of experience in comparison to the reigning World Champions, they’re dominating. This team won both MLG Orlando and Columbus. Not only that, they did so with relative ease.
Throughout those two events, they played the reigning champions in four separate series. They won three of them. The single loss was a day after one of Splyce’s players ended up in the hospital. The 3 wins? A 4-2, 4-1 and sweep. A few of the games weren’t even close. This squad is quite possibly the future of competitive Halo. That said, they’re missing one factor that always comes to outrank everything.
HWC 2018 Victors: Tox Gaming
Roster: Paul “SnakeBite” Duarte, Mathew “Royal2” Fiorante, Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom, and Tony “LethuL” Campbell, Jr.
There’s a great analogy for this squad considering the time of year. Ever watch the NBA’s Eastern Conference Playoffs over the last few years? One team in that conference has a player named LeBron James, or “The King.” He has a habit of flipping a switch when it really matters and playing astronomically better than his usual excellent play.
That is similar to Tox. Regardless of any drama regarding OpTic Gaming dropping the roster, the community should be quick to remember what this squad can do. At the 2016 Worlds season, they lost to Evil Geniuses at the X-Games Invitational. They then proceeded to effortlessly roll through the 2016 Finals with ease. Last year, both Team EnVyUs and Team Liquid took series to seven games against them in the events leading to the 2017 Finals. In the 2017 Finals, this squad swept both of them on their way to back-to-back World Championships. There’s little reason to believe they can’t do the same this year. This squad has been the end-all, be-all of Halo 5: Guardians up to this point. In scrims, they’ve played well, with only a handful of teams being capable of taking more than a couple of games from them. All that said, on LAN and specifically at World Championship events, they flip the switch.
To be the man, you have to beat the man and Splyce is yet to do so at the event that is by far the most important.
I believe Tox will win this weekend at HWC 2018 and will become back-to-back-to-back Halo World Champions.
Disagree with me, or have anything to add to the conversation? Catch me on Twitter and in the stream chats all weekend long!
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Header image by Halo Waypoint