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Halo Championship Series Pro League – Fall Season Finals Recap

[Photo via ESLGaming]

A lot of talent exists outside of the Halo Championship Series (HCS) Pro League.  The Fall Season relegation bracket showed the depth of teams vying for the handful of spots in the Pro League. Despite the amount of talent, OpTic Gaming and Team EnVyUs (nV) compete from a higher pedestal. Their dominance continued throughout HCS Pro League Fall Season until game seven in the second grand finals.

 

Team EnVyUs vs. Str8 Rippin | EnVyUs win 4-0

Str8 Rippin snuck into the playoffs during the last week of the HCS Pro League. And while their playoff spot puts them among the best Halo teams, EnVyUs outclasses them in the first series.

Up 2-0 headed into game three, nV continues rolling past Str8 Rippin. Eden – Strongholds stays close early on, but spirals out of control within a few seconds. Tied at 20, Camouflage and Overshield both go over to nV. As Huke pushes with the Overshield, Camouflage keeps Snip3down alive around the catwalk. His survival stalls Str8 Rippin’s attempt at map control, while the rest of nV slays around them.  EnVyUs wins 100-21 before sweeping the series 4-0.

 

OpTic Gaming vs. Team Liquid | OpTic wins 4-0

Unlike the relegation matches, the Pro League finals matches feel lopsided. Optic scores two flags in under a minute on Truth – Capture the Flag (CTF). Slow or fast starts often won’t decide the winner, but Liquid can’t recover from OpTic’s momentum. The first game of the series ends in three minutes. Twenty-four kills bury Liquid as they move into game two on Plaza – Slayer.

OpTic again evaporates Liquid early, leading 12-2 on Plaza. At first it looks like another blowout, but Liquid rallies to bring the deficit within single digits. When the OpTic lead shrinks to five, sniper rifles on Royal 2, Frosty and SnakeBite seals the second victory. The Slayer ends 50-38.

Down 0-3 in the series, Liquid finds themselves in the same situation as Str8 Rippin. OpTic scores a quick first flag on Fathom – CTF, but the action slows. Around the two-minute mark, OpTic wipes the Liquid team to score their second flag. As regulation time expires, a last ditch Liquid run stops halfway across the map. Optic wins 2-0 and sweeps the series.

 

Losers Bracket

Team Liquid vs. Str8 Rippin | Liquid wins 4-3

Both Liquid and Str8 Rippin head into the losers bracket disappointed. While no team ever wants to lose, sweeps leave little room for hope and optimism. After Str8 Rippin takes the first game of the series, Liquid searches for their first win of the tournament.

Less than two minutes into Plaza – Strongholds, Str8 Rippin tallies 38 points. Their Total Control of strongholds racks enough points for a 72-point run. When Liquid ends their spree, it doesn’t last long. They try to hold bottom middle as Spartan almost kills two, but he falls to the second player. His death turns over the bottom middle stronghold and Str8 Rippin wins 100-12.

Str8 Rippin wins three in a row, but Liquid comes back with three straight wins to force a game seven. The series ends on Rig – Slayer with Liquid spawning on the inside of the map. They opt to hold the bunker side, and so Rayne brings his sniper rifle to tower two.

Despite the positional and weapon advantage, Rayne pushes the barrel side and opens up the spawns behind him in bunker. Ace runs off spawn, kills two for Str8 Rippin and takes Rayne’s sniper. Liquid’s once eight-point lead shrinks because of one unnecessary push.

When Spartan takes the sniper back for Liquid, Eco picks up the fresh one off spawn. Str8 Rippin defends the outside as Penguin pinches from the barrel side. Ace, who stands on the large pipes near the back catwalk, jumps left and thrusts right. The thrust fools Penguin and he falls off the side of the map.

 

The rest of Liquid’s push succeeds and Spartan finds Eco’s sniper to combine the ammo for 17 shots. The lead grows with each of Spartan’s headshots. When he grabs the Camouflage, Spartan goes on a Killing Frenzy, falling a few kills short of a Running Riot. Liquid completes the reverse sweep and advance through the losers bracket. Str8 Rippin’s miracle run from last place to playoff team ends with fourth place.

 

Winners Bracket

Team EnVyUs vs. OpTic Gaming | OpTic wins 4-2

Both EnVyUs and OpTic swept their opponents in the first series, so one team’s winning streak must end. Minutes into game one on Plaza – Strongholds, two nV players search for their first kills. The lopsided slays help OpTic score 50 points before nV racked up 33 points of their own. The slow start dooms nV, and Optic wins 100-33.

Although nV comeback and takes game two, OpTic regroups. Game three of Coliseum – CTF falls apart for nV. A 2-1 flag lead and power weapon control doesn’t stop OpTic from scoring. SnakeBite pushes the nV cave, snipes his own teammate, yet they still pull the flag. The teamkill and flag run ends the game at 3-2.

OpTic takes the series 4-1 and head into the winners bracket finals. EnVyUs, who swept Liquid to advance in the bracket, face them once again.

 

Losers Bracket

Team EnVyUs vs. Team Liquid | EnVyUs wins 4-0

The losers bracket finals ends without any reverse sweeps or exciting comebacks. Despite the poor performance against OpTic, nV sweeps Liquid for the second time on the day. A 19-point loss on Plaza – Slayer and shutout on Fathom – CTF shows the divide of skill among the four playoff teams. The Str8 Rippin and Liquid series went seven games, yet neither team took a game against OpTic and nV. EnVyUs moves on and Liquid finishes third in the HCS Fall Season finals.

 

Grand Finals

OpTic Gaming vs. TeamEnVyUs | Matchup 1 | EnVyUs wins 4-2

The first series between OpTic and EnVyUs replicated the results throughout the last year of competitive Halo 5. Since EnVyUs plays from the losers bracket, they need to beat OpTic in two straight series to take home the trophy. Although we saw the OpTic roster lose back at X-Games, OpTic never lost twice in a single lan tournament.

OpTic drops the first two games, then rebound on Rig – Strongholds. They pressure the nV spawners early, which limits nV opportunities to break through. Even after OpTic pushes for Total Control, which resets the spawns behind them, nV can’t overcome the pressure. Royal 2’s Killing Frenzy helps OpTic to a 78-point run. They take game three 100-18 on the back of Royal 2’s 15-1 performance.

The two straight losses ends up handcuffing OpTic the rest of the series. EnVyUs leads the series 3-2 going into game six on Plaza – Strongholds. Both teams trade stronghold points to start, but nV survives longer for 52 points. Down 20, OpTic retake bottom middle and yard for the eventual capture of both nest and map control. SnakeBite’s Camouflage helps OpTic gain Total Control as the rest of the team rotates around him. When the score ties at 88, Snip3down’s Camouflage grab ends the series. EnVyUs capture bottom middle and the game ends 100-88.

 

OpTic Gaming vs. Team EnVyUs | Matchup 2 | EnVyUs wins 4-3

OpTic and EnVyUs tie the score at one to begin the second matchup. The series heads to game three on Coliseum – CTF – OpTic’s strongest gametype. In the first best of seven, OpTic beat nV on Coliseum. When OpTic scores two easy flags, the game looks over once again. After ten minutes of slaying, nV goes on a flag scoring spree.

EnVyUs scores their first flag, yet both teams grab each other’s flag. EnVyUs plays from the higher ground and stop the OpTic flag run below the rocket launcher spawn. The flag stands out in the open, so Huke jumps on it for the return. EnVyUs ties the game with 40 seconds remaining. In overtime, the OpTic spawners sprint from the other side of the map to cut off the last flag, but Lethul can’t kill two in time. EnVyUs wins 3-2 and exact their Coliseum revenge.

The even matchup of these two teams pushes the series to game seven on Truth – Slayer – a map OpTic hasn’t played in a tournament in months. Kills trade up until the 19-kill mark, right before a huge turning point in the game. OpTic catches Huke in the open near the front of the base and drop down for the double team. Frosty trails his teammate who falls, so he switches to the Fuel Rod is his back pocket. When he shoots, the Fuel Rod doesn’t fire. Frosty takes out his Carbine and misses a couple of shots. The time to switch weapons allows Huke to turn the fight around and take down Frosty.

Before the Frosty-Huke engagement, Frosty reloaded the Fuel Rod. As he reloaded, he switched to his primary weapon during the animation. The ammo counter refills, yet the Fuel Rod stays empty. Some players refer to the situation as the “reload glitch.” Players claim the glitch sometimes empties reloaded weapons. Little evidence exists to prove the “reload glitch,” so an animation cancel better explains the empty weapon. Players switch weapons near the tail end of animations to quicken the reload time. In Frosty’s instance, he switched a millisecond too early.

The game swings when Frosty dies. Huke grab’s Frosty’s Fuel Rod and a fresh Camouflage to extend the score to 33-24. The score grows too large and too fast for an OpTic comeback. Huke finishes 17-5 and helps EnVyUs complete their run through the losers bracket. For the first time in Halo 5, OpTic loses two games in one day. Team EnVyUs wins the HCS Fall Season Championship along with $75,000.