The team entered the tournament as the top seed, but their season didn’t start the way they wanted it to as Justin “iGotUrPistola” Deese suffered a fractured pinky on his right hand in an accident in December, leading to surgery and a three-month recovery period. Evil Geniuses had just placed second at the Iron Games Columbus event on Dec. 14.
The veteran team, featuring stars Justin “Roy” Brown, Jason “Lunchbox” Brown, and captain Eric “Snipedown” Wrona turned to a relative rookie compared to Deese or any of their eight-year careers, Tony “Lethul” Campbell. And it worked.
At UGC St. Louis in January, the tournament leading into the HCS final, Evil Geniuses only placed third behind Denial and Counter Logic Gaming. But at PAX East this weekend, they were nigh unstoppable.
The team revenged themselves upon Counter Logic Gaming in the semifinals and later in the finals with a 3-0 sweep to secure the HCS title and $50,000. Second-place Counter Logic Gaming survived one of the most ridiculous series in Halo history to get there, needing five maps and four extra overtimes to get past Noble Black.
Dark horse Noble Black entered the tournament with the last seed but made waves by reaching the semifinal. They took a 2-0 lead against Counter Logic Gaming before the CLG team, lead by Halo’s biggest legend Tom “OGRE2” Ryan, stormed back to take the series to a fifth game on Team Slayer. But just as it seemed Counter Logic Gaming secured the two-kill lead they needed to see them to the finals, Noble stormed back and tied the map. That led to a whirlwind of five-minute overtime rounds that saw teams trade kills left and right to end four separate rounds before Counter Logic Gaming finally had the extra kill they needed.
It was an impressive series, but Counter Logic Gaming seemed tired as they fell to Evil Geniuses in the final.
Here’s how things stood at the end of the weekend:
1) Evil Geniuses ($50,000)
2) Counter Logic Gaming ($20,000)
3) Noble Black ($10,000)
4) Cloud 9 ($8,000)
5) Denial eSports ($4,000)
6) Str8 Rippin ($4,000)
7) eLeveate ($2,000)
8) OpTic Gaming ($2,000)
The second season of the HCS kicks off with the Iron Gaming event on April 17-19, and promises to be even bigger than the first.