HCS Pro League: Week 1 Day 1 Recap
Enigma6 had new recruit StelluR take to the Team Beyond forums to voice his concerns about not being paid enough, but still played in his first match. The EU HCS had to be delayed a week due to technical issues. OpTic, an organization who survived the relegation tournament, dropped their entire team... And bought out Counter-Logic Gaming, the winningest franchise in Halo 5 history.
Welcome to week one of the North American Halo Championship Series.
If you could believe it, there were actually four matches tonight to kick off the HCS season. Here's a recap of each match, along with some highlights and stats that help explain what went down on day one.
Match 1: Luminosity vs. LOL (Ex-OpTic)
Setting the Scene:
When your entire team gets dropped by OpTic, you definitely have something to prove for organizations who can buy you out. Of course, LOL, or artists formerly known as OpTic, still has Nick “Maniac” Kershner, who despite announcing his retirement after 13 years, will have to play out the season before the next transfer window.
So consider this team the Los Angeles Lakers of the HCS; this team has a retiring star on a farewell tour, and hopes to at least make some bank while riding out the season.
Meanwhile, Luminosity has four players who all want a title, but could not get it done on their respective teams. The closest person to one from last season was Visal "eL TowN" Mohanan, as he consistantly placed second with nV last year.
LG also brought back Brett "Naded" Leonard, one of the greatest Halo players to never win a ring, out of his summer vacation after he helped OpTic (old, not new) qualify for the Summer League.
Needless to say, a loss to ex-OpTic would have been a pretty awful start for LG, as the organization enters its first year in the Halo esport.
Game 1: Strongholds - Plaza
LOL came out to an early lead, as 50 seconds into the match, they held two positions and went on a 6-2 kill run. However, LG fought back immediately afterwards, hitting a total control to gain the lead.
This was mostly thanks to the play of eL Town, who earned a triple kill while taking full map control, and following it up with a double kill in his next life. He ended the game with 18 kills (2.25 K/D), as well as three caps and three defends.
The ex-OpTic squad came within striking distance, but Luminosity's three triple caps, as well as a crucial late misplay by Richie "Heinz" Heinz (who, granted, did the most damage out of any player on offense), allowed the motley veteran crew to skate to their first victory of the night.
LG 100 - 70 LOL
LG 1-0 LOL
Game 2: Slayer - The Rig
This is the part where everyone started hyper-ventalating because eL Town missed some snipes, but he and the rest of LG did enough to make this a blowout.
LG played to their strengths, while the ex-OpTic team looked as it did in the Summer League. Slayer was not this team's strong point, and it showed through the semi-retired Maniac being the only player to go anything but negative.
Not much else to say besides LOL needs to get their Slayer game up if they want to stop being called ex-OpTic.
LG 50 - 35 LOL
LG 2-0 LOL
Game 3: CTF - Truth
After a blowout in Slayer, LOL proved that their CTF game was no laughing matter.
Specifically, Heinz shook off his first two games, and provided a fantastic objective performance, getting the first flag cap after two scoreless minutes and pestering the LG flag carriers.
On top of that, aPG lost his mind towards the end of the game, providing a triple kill on LG and a counter-cap for the dagger. He finished the game with a 1.88 K/D, 18 magnum kills, and two perfects.
This looked like a completely different team...
LOL 3 - 1 LG
LG 2-1 LOL
Game 4: Strongholds - The Rig
... But Luminosity came out as the better team in a close Strongholds match.
eL Town and Danoxide made solid plays by grabbing the Railgun spawn early, getting two kills a piece and hitting the quarter mark with a nine point lead.
What buried the ex-OpTic side though was a ridiculous 57-3 run by LG, as they held map control for the entire mid-game, and only gave up two holds during the waning minutes of the contest.
By that point, it was Luminosity's game to lose, and a team effort to get two positions locked in LG's first ever win in Halo.
LG 100 - LOL 37
Final: LG 3 - 1 LOL
Match 2: OpTic Gaming (Ex-CLG) vs. Enigma6
Setting the Scene:
If you can't beat them, buy them.
OpTic now has one of the most dominate Halo teams to go alongside their powerful Gears of War and Call of Duty sides, and anything less than a 3-0 tonight would have been a crack in the #GreenWall.
Meanwhile, E6 treated this as the rematch of last season's finals championship game, and were ready to... connection lost
Game 1: static noise Strongholds - static Empire
Okay we are back and... Wait, OpTic takes game 1? No restart? Nothing?
Welp, OpTic wins by showing up.
OG 1 - 0 E6
Game 2: Slayer - Regret more static
Yep, more connectivity issues. This was just a bad week for Halo 5 server issues in the HCS scene. However, both teams were given a fair restart, and the former CLG side wound up dusting their Enigma counterparts.
Paul "SnakeBite" Duarte had two double kills, and only trailed kill leader Tony "Lethul" Campbell Jr. by one kill (11 to 10). Meanwhile, E6 had a nice double magnum kill by Jesse "bubu dubu" Moeller, but he finished 5 and 11 on the restart and suffered along with his team.
OG 2 - 0 E6
Game 3: punches server running on Windows 98 CTF - Coliseum
The game finally ran smoothly, but this game was anything but pretty.
After a long stalemate that saw teams trying to get their optimal sides and kicking each other out of hiding spots, it was Mathew "Royal2" Fiorante who came home with the first flag cap.
OG then opened the floodgates, with Bradley "Frosty" Bergstrom going on a killing frenzy to secure two flag caps and shutout Enigma6. In terms of flag running, Snakebite threw in those two caps to end off an already great night of play.
Welcome to the winning side of Halo, OpTic Gaming.
Final: OG 3 - 0 E6
Match 3: Evil Geniuses vs. Allegiance
Setting the Scene:
Two teams who barely avoided relegation enter, and only one team will leave with a win. Looking to shake off mediocre placements, both these teams rebuilt with parts from top teams from last year.
EG opted for Renegades refugees Tyler "Ninja" Blevinsa and Cameron "Victory X" Thorlakso, while Allegiance went with former nV player Ryan "Shooter" Sondhi and amateur standout Michael "Falcated" Garcia.
Oh, and EG brought back Tom "OGRE2" Ryan as an analyst, so they automatically get to win every game this season.
Game 1: Strongholds - Empire
The first game of the match started out with both teams fighting for position...
And then the extermination happened.
Up 30-14, Shooter crept up the stairs to red base, and began his streak with a quick hit in the back of Jason "Lunchbox" Brown. He jumped down towards the pit, and proceeded to get three more quick kills while helping to capture the point.
Shooter wound up finishing with a 21-9-11 scoreline (1.91 K/D), and carried the team in terms of slaying while the rest of EG played the objective.
This moment pretty much swung the momentum of the game, and gave Allegiance the 1-0 lead over EG.
ALG 100 - 50 EG
ALG 1 - 0 EG
Game 2: Slayer - Plaza
Sniper control was the name of the game on Plaza, and while both teams kept it close throughout, EG was able to get the bounce-back win.
After pulling away towards the 40 kill mark, Victory X was able to pick up the last sniper spawn of the game, and made his shots count with the third-to-last and the final headshot to end the game with a killing spree.
EG 50 - 42 ALG
EG 1 - 1 ALG
Game 3: CTF - Truth
You know it is a rough game when you lead the lobby in K/D, but still lose the contest with a late cap. Despite a ContrA literally carrying the team with two caps and a killing spree (thanks to a sword in spawn), ALG was not able to fend off the stingy Geniuses.
The culprit? Game one MVP Shooter. On high ground, he tried to get a ground pound kill with his sword in order to pull out the victory for Allegiance. However, he mistimed the jump, fell right into Ninja's sights, and had the EG flag returned for the 3-2 win.
EG 3 - 2 ALG
EG 2 - 1 ALG
Game 4: Strongholds - Plaza
Needless to say, Allegiance was pretty angry about losing that last game, so they decided to jump out to a 39-0 lead to start the Strongholds match.
It was a game of complete total controls though, as both teams held four triple caps a piece during this contest, but Allegiance barely had more capture time to secure the win and bring the series to game five.
ALG 100 - 87 EG
ALG 2 - 1 EG
Game 5: Slayer - The Rig
Welcome to the first game five of the season. While the opening minutes made this seem like a close contest, EG went on a 10-2 run to make ALG play catch-up throughout the entire game.
This was mostly thanks to some sharp shooting by Ninja, who had a triple kill via two no-scopes and a headshot. He could have had an overkill, but he decided to stay back with low health, and wound up sticking around for one more kill in that life. He finished with a 13/3/13 scoreline.
The actual MVP for EG this game was Justin "Roy" Brown, who had a dirty killing spree to start off the game, and a nice double kill plus one in the mid-game.
Devon "PreDevoNatoR" Layton had some handy sniper work as well in this game, racking up three kills total with the sniper that helped him get a killing spree, but he and Shooter could not pull up the rest of ALG.
EG took the first game five of the season, but not before a meaty 6-0 comeback from ALG, as a grenade found Cody "ContrA" Szczodrowski.
EG 50 - 42 ALG
Final: EG 3 - 2 ALG
Match 4: Team EnVyUs vs. Team Liquid
Setting the Scene:
Liquid had an interesting track into the HCS, by wheeling and dealing spots and teams to get back into play. They technically had a brand new roster, save for Tyler "Spartan" Ganza, which also included a former nV starter in Timothy "Rayne" Tinkler.
Going into this game, nV looked like the "God Squad" that would possibly bring down CLG (now OpTic), but Liquid had other plans in mind.
Life tip: Never give a Spartan a railgun.
Why? Because Mr. Ganza racked up six kills, including a clutch rejection of Huke to hold down a late point, with the railgun in this game. He ended up with a 16/4/8 statline slaying.
Oh and while you are at it, giving a Penguin a battle rifle is a bad idea too, because Zane "Penguin" Hearon gave Huke almost half of his deaths from that weapon. He was an instrumental part of TL's objective play, securing eight captures along with former nV OBJ Rayne.
This was not a fun one for nV
TL 100 - 46 nV
TL 1 - 0 nV
Game 2: Slayer - Eden
All nV had to do in this bounce-back game was fend off Team Liquid, and bring this series to at least four games.
They looked to nail down TL early, with a solid two-for-one rocket shot by Justin "iGotUrPistola" Deese and a killing spree from Huke, and at one point led by as much as 16.
Instead, they were the victim of a brutal 16 point comeback, thanks to a loss of focus on power weapons and incredible play from TL.
Fans could have predicted a comeback after Spartan hit a beautiful snipe through grenade smoke. All it took after that was a Rayne (remember me nV???) killing spree and Hamza "Commonly" Abaalli working the sniper to bring nV down 2-0.
TL 50 - 47 nV
TL 2 - 0 nV
Game 3: CTF - Stasis x2
After a demoralizing comeback loss, nV was unable to shake off the noise and let Team Liquid come back again for a sweep.
Granted, Snip3down did get the first flag cap of the game, and nV looked to bring back one game against TL. But, like Game 2, Team Liquid showed resilience, and made a last-second flag run to tie it up at one all and send it into OT... Where they ended the game after trading another set of flag caps.
That brought the contest to ANOTHER CTF Stasis match, where nV, the team notorious for long games last year, was unable to fend off a raging Penguin. Penguin earned a triple kill with the help of some rockets, as well as a return to break the 1-1 tie in favor of Team Liquid. Then, all it took was a standoff on another nV attempt to level the game, before Commonly put an end to the "God Squad" on day one.
So Halo Championship Series... WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW???
TL 2 - nV 2, 1st game / TL 3 - 1 nV, 2nd game
Final: TL 3 - 0 nV
And that will do it from day one! What's your initial reaction from the first day of matches? And do you like the new way of recapping HCS matches?
Let us know in the comments below and for all your Halo and esports updates, make sure you are following us on Twitter, @GAMURScom.
(Image Credit: Halo Waypoint)