14 September 2016 - 20:40
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HCS Pro League Fall Season Preview

Season 2 of the HCS Pro League starts this Wednesday. Here's a primer before kick-off.
Journalist for GAMURS
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Counter Logic Gaming was your 2016 Summer HCS Pro League champion, but after a busy offseason, there are seven other teams looking to dethrone one of the most successful Halo organizations this fall.

EDIT: And not only that, CLG isn't even CLG anymore, because OpTic have bought them out.

Luminosity Gaming is the only "new team" in the HCS, but even they will return some familiar faces from other squads. These eight teams will compete for over $250,000 in prize money during league play, at in-season events, and in the season end championship.

Here is a quick outlook of each of the teams for the HCS Fall Season:


 

OpTic Gaming

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Summer Record: 13-1 (1st), 40-9

Coach: Wes "Clutch" Price

Returning: Paul "SnakeBite" Duarte (Captain), Matthew "Royal 2" Fiorante, Bradley "Frosty" Bergstrom, TJ "Lethul" Campbell

Incoming: None

Preview:

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's the motto held by CLG as they continue to steamroll through the Halo 5 scene... But under a new name as OpTic

After finishing second in Aspen, CLG has gone on to win anything it touches, taking home over $1.1 million in the past four events. 

Only dropping one game last season to E6 and going 40-9 in all matches, CLG will look to continue their dominant streak by retaining all five of their players, plus their coach.

There is not much else to say about this side, except that they are the king of the mountain. They'll be looking to repeat as champs, and don't look to stop winning.

And as for OpTic, if you can't rebuild your team, just buy a good one!


Enigma6 Group

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Summer Record: 11-3 (2nd), 34-21

Coach: Nicholas "Showtime" Laskaras

Returning: Carlos "Cratos" Ayala, Jesse "bubu dubu" Moeller, 

Incoming: Ayden "Suspector" Hill, Braedeon "StelluR" Boettcher (???)

Preview:

This team is, quite literally, an enigma.

Why? Because just days before the fall season, StelluR posted on the team beyond forums that he left the team due to contract issues.

This team already seemed to lose some traction from last year, as they parted ways with wonderkid Huke during the transfer period.

Bringing in StelluR would have been a solid answer, as he floated above a 1 K/D and was in the top-three for perfects/game. That kind of accuracy would bring some punch to E6, but with the current payment situation and no official announcement, we are unsure who they will bring in for Week One.

However, they at least keep Cratos and bubu dubu around for some consistancy. And while the team figures out the StelluR situation, it's up to Suspector to come up big as the team's only stable free agent signing.

E6 isn't a household name, but if they can figure out their drama and bring down CLG with their roster, they can catapult themselves into fame.


Team EnVyUs

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Summer Record: 9-5 (3rd), 35-25

Coach: Marcus "Eluminate" Lovejoy

Returning:  Austin "Mikwen" McCleary, Justin "iGotUrPistola" Deese

Incoming: Eric "Snip3down" Wrona, Cuyler "Huke" Garland

Preview:

If CLG are the Cavaliers of Halo, EnVyUs just became the Golden State Warriors in terms of signing some key stars to boost an already great roster.

Playing the most matches in the summer season with 60, EnVyUs had a long summer with a lineup that boasted some steller talent.

They bring that back with their top-two KA/D guys in Mikwen and Pistola, but completely buff up their side with Snip3down and 16-year-old legend Huke, two players who led EG and E6 respectively in K/D.

With so much talent on this team, it's pretty much first or bust for EnVyUs, as if this superteam loses to CLG, then the rest of competitive Halo has basically run out of answers to taking down the giant.


Evil Geniuses

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Summer Record: 6-8 (5th), 22-25

Coach: Ryan "Towey" Towey

Returning: Justin "Roy" Brown and Jason "Lunchbox" Brown

Incoming: Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, Cameron "Victory X" Thorlakson, Tom "OGRE2" Ryan

Preview:

The twins are back again, but this time are without their top player from last year in Snip3down.

Fortunately for the Brown brothers, they scrap up the best of last season's Renegades team, bringing in Ninja and Victory X. Furthermore, they coaxed OGRE2 out of retirement, and into a role as the team's remote analyst.

Bringing a veteran into your corner definitely does not hurt your team's chances, but it will be interesting to see how EG ends up in a league that has a clear pre-season top-three.

Yes, they do have the best twins in the league, but will a new analyst, as well as two former Renegades, bring this team over the top?


Team Allegiance

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Summer Record: 6-8 (6th), 25-29

Coach: Phillip "Coach Phil" Jones

Returning: Cody "ContrA" Szczodrowski and Devon "PreDevoNatoR" Layton

Incoming: Ryan "Shooter" Sondhi and Michael "Falcated" Garcia

Preview:

The good news for Allegiance is that they kept their top two players from last year and added a member of second place EnVyUs (Shooter) and an amateur with a chip on his shoulder (Falcated).

Not only that, but ContrA has one of the deadliest shots in the league, ranking first for perfects/game by being the only player to average one per game.

The bad news is that it will be a struggle to crack the top-four with a lineup that, on average, had a below 1 K/D among all three of its summer league participants.

Nevertheless, this is a definite team to watch, solely for the purpose of Falcated, as he tries to bring in some new blood to a couple of hardened players from last season.

 


Luminosity Gaming

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Roster: Kevin "Eco" Smith, Daniel "Danoxide" Terlizzi, Brett "Naded" Leonard and Visal "eL TowN" Mohanan

Preview:

Ladies and gentlemen, the return of Naded.

Luminosity will have its first stint in Halo esports thanks to an all-around fearsome group of veterans. eL TowN has made quality finishes with EnVyUs, while Danoxide and Eco, while on a lacklusted Team Liquid, still led that team and won them games.

Naded comes back into Halo after taking a summer break, but joins a squad filled with winning talent. This team could easily be boom or bust, but in terms of a resume, Luminosity is coming in as a top-four side.

And one thing to note: Be sure to have the Week One Luminosity vs. OpTic game circled on your calendar, as some feels may be had between Naded and his would have been summer league side.


Team Liquid

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Summer Record: 2-12 (7th), 17-37

Coach: Kory "Symbolic" Arruda

Roster: Tyler "Spartan" Ganza, Hamza "Commonly" Abaalli, Zane "Penguin" Hearon, and Timothy "Rayne" Tinkler

Preview:

Liquid sold its spot, then bought one back to be here in the fall, so it is no surprise that Spartan is the only "returning" member from that summer team.

However, this is technically a brand new team, filled with a mix of former Renegades players, as well as an EnVyUs starter.

Spartan is one of those players who is responsible for clean-up duty in-game, and bringing him on with some familiar faces are sure to spark Team Liquid through some chemistry.

Nevetheless, this team will most likely fight for its right in the league, as an entire facelift may not be enough to keep TL out of the relegation tournament.


OpTic Gaming... Or not



Summer Record: 2-12, 11-39

Coach: Michael "FlamesworD" Chaves

Returning: Nick "MaNiaC" Kershner, Aaron "Ace" Elam, Bradley "APG" Laws

Incoming: Richie "Heinz" Heinz

Preview:

Heinz last year was third in the league for perfects per game, and was first on Allegiance for damage per life. Other than that, you can't help but think that OpTic settled during the offseason.

But of course, they didn't, and bought up CLG. So this team, dubbed as LOL, is basically the Barcelona B team of HCS.

With very little change from last year, this team has a lot to prove before Halo fans discount this team as anything but ex-OpTic.

But for now, this team is going to be out in the ocean during this season; a team that may get crushed and tossed around, but ride the waves out and stick around in the league for another season.


How do you think your team will stack up this fall? Will this season bring the end to CLG's dominance now that they are under the OpTic banner? Let us know in the comments below and for all your Halo and esports updates, make sure you are following us on Twitter, @GAMURScom.

James Mattone is a journalist for GAMURS and can be contacted by email at jamestmattone@gmail.com or on Twitter -@TheJamesMattone.

(Image Credit: Halo Waypoint)

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