A Rivalry for the Ages
It’s been explicitly stated time and time again: EnVyUs is made to take down OpTic Gaming. But after failing to replicate the success they had at the HCS Fall 2016 Finals, many wondered if OpTic had become unbeatable. Following an embarrassing performance in the Grand Finals at the Halo World Championship, Team EnVyUs sought to regroup for HCS Daytona. The focus for this event: Beat OpTic Gaming, and demolish anyone else who dared to step in their way.
Of the three times the two teams met last weekend, Envy conquered OpTic twice, both times when it mattered most.
The first clash between OpTic and Envy occurred in the Winner’s Bracket Finals. Despite a close series against Team Liquid, the Green Wall appeared dominant. EnVyUs had just closed out a reverse-sweep against Ryan “RyaNoob” Gettes’ white-hot Oxygen Supremacy squad.
As fate would have it, the World Champions and HWC Runners-up crossed paths once more. This time, with a spot in the Grand Finals on the line.
The series did not go as expected for EnVyUs, as OpTic rallied to a 4-2 series victory. Although guaranteed a top 3 finish, EnVy was not satisfied. While OpTic waited comfortably in the Grand Finals, Envy met Team Liquid in the Loser’s Bracket Finals. EnVy’s resiliency prevailed, as they dominated Liquid with a 4-0 sweep. The win catapulted Envy into the Grand Finals, granting a second chance at taking down OpTic Gaming.
A Grueling Grand Finals
The first series of the Grand Finals started off strongly in EnvVy’s favor, putting up dominant performances on Empire Strongholds and Truth CTF to take a 3-0 lead. The threat of a bracket reset must have created a sense of urgency with OpTic gaming, as they retaliated with three straight wins to tie the series.
In Game 7, Regret Slayer, the teams exchanged blows for most of the game. Through superior map control, EnVy was able to create some distance late in the game. After trapping OpTic in their base, Envy edged out a win 50-47, and forced a bracket reset.
The second series of the Grand Finals began much like the first, with Team EnVyUs jumping out to a 3-1 lead. Facing their first tournament loss since the Fall 2016 Pro League finals, OpTic stormed back with consecutive wins on Plaza Slayer and Rig Strongholds. With the series tied 3-3, a deciding game 7 would determine which team takes home a majority of the $75,000 prize, and the title of best Halo team.
The early stage of Game 7 Truth Slayer favored OpTic, as they established map control to lead by a few kills. With the help of Justin “Pistola” Deese and Cuyler “Huke” Garland, EnVyUs reclaimed control of the game through the midway point.
OpTic gaming was not finished, however, and took the lead through 35 kills with the help of some sneaky support plays by Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom. As a response, EnVy slowed down the pace of the game, closing the kill gap into the final moments of play. Following an epic triple kill by Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, EnVyUs again took the lead. Mikwen’s triple allowed Eric “Snip3down” Wrona to grab the Active Camo, who then closed the game with a triple of his own, winning the tournament.
Both teams put on a thrilling show throughout the grueling 14-game Grand Finals. In the end, the will of Team EnVyUs to win proved strongest, as they defeated OpTic Gaming. While the victory may not be total redemption for the Halo World Championship, it serves as a reminder that OpTic Gaming is human after all. Although incredibly dominant, the Green Wall is not free from some cracks in their foundation. At HCS Daytona, Team EnVyUs exposed these faults and had the skill to capitalize.
Will EnVyUs hold on to the crown? Let us know in the comments!
Featured image by HaloWaypoint
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