Unwavering in the face of a long-term rival at this weekend’s online Halo Super, OpTic Gaming made its intentions clear in the winners semi-finals matchup against back-to-back tournament winners Cloud9. The OpTic roster was firing on all cylinders as they sent C9 to the losers bracket in a dominant 3-0 sweep and secured the top three at the tournament.
The series didn’t initially look to be in OpTic’s favor, with Strongholds in game one going down to the wire between the two teams. After exchanging the lead back and forth throughout, what looked to be C9’s victory lap at the 246-point mark, with two Strongholds in their possession, proved instead to be a momentum shift in OpTic’s favor. Equipped with the rockets in hand, aPG made an aggressive push toward the B Stronghold as his teammates pressed toward the other two. OpTic’s resounding success in the ensuing teamfight had the Greenwall stealing away a last-minute triple cap and shutting C9 out until the comeback was complete, and OpTic had won with only a four-point margin.
Seeing what had looked to be a comfortable victory slip out of their hands, C9 looked comparatively shaky in the final two games after the momentum swing. Whereas game one had been won by only a few clutch plays and OpTic’s late game control of the power weapons, Slayer on Live Fire in game two was won by OpTic’s total dominance of the map’s key positions and power weapons.
FormaL converted an early hold on the Heatwave and Sniper Rifle into a killing spree, allowing little room for C9 to breathe and compose a plan of attack to regain control. His teammates saw his performance too, and FormaL spent little time without one of the two weapons being pressed into his hands, helping to extend OpTic’s lead even further. By the time OpTic had secured 50 kills and the win, FormaL effortlessly topped every leaderboard with almost 5000 damage and 19 kills of his own against only eight deaths.
The writing was on the wall for C9 before game three had even begun. Yet it was FormaL and Trippy’s combined efforts in the Capture The Flag match, each finishing with over 7000 damage, finally sealed their fate. It became clear in the closing stages that the game would end with the timer rather than the five flag captures needed to win, but OpTic never let go of their slim lead in the scoreline despite the constant pressure from C9 pushes. With two minutes left on the clock, one of these pushes went as far as to guide OpTic’s flag back to C9’s base, but a massive overkill from Trippy wiped C9 from the map. OpTic’s ensuing counter capture dashed any hopes of a last-minute attempt to tie the game.
While OpTic’s current form and C9’s recent roster change, in the form of Bound replacing Renegade, had OpTic favored to win, nobody had predicted it to be in such a flawless fashion. It’s a promising sign for OpTic’s potential in the remainder of the tournament, as they continue to seek their first major win in the face of competition from C9 and Sentinels. The sweep against one of their main rivals here guarantees them top three and means they will be facing the winner of Sentinels vs. G1 later in the tournament.