Barcode: Rough ride in Kansas City will only sharpen Chiefs in hunt for Halo glory

The star Aussie squad already has one eye fixed on Orlando.

Barcode drinks Red Bull on esports stage.
Photo via The Chiefs

No, the Chiefs did not have the greatest time in Kansas City, star Aleks “Barcode” Krsmanovic tells Dot Esports. The Australian Halo Infinite pro doesn’t beat around the bush⁠—the team’s 21-24th exit was “disappointing,” and (of course) very, very far from what they planned as they flew into Missouri last month.

But, their early Kansas City exit did give Chiefs something key: lessons.

“Of course it’s disappointing,” Barcode tells Dot a week after returning home from the international Halo Championship Series LAN event. “We know, deep down, that there’s so much more potential in all of us as players, so to have one of those events is always going to be very disappointing, for all of us.”

Chiefs struggled to make a dent in Group A in Kansas City, falling to a 0–4 record behind Spacestation Gaming, XSET, and Halo heavyweights Acend and Cloud9. The fifth-place group placement put them straight into the losers bracket, where Open Bracket qualifiers EasternMediaGG put paid to their Kansas City hopes. The series ended 3–1 and Chiefs watched the rest of the proceedings from the sidelines.

But Barcode, ever-cheery in the Discord call, still had high praise for the Halo team⁠—composed of himself, Madsy, Pipz, and January pickup Slayz⁠⁠—and their efforts against the 2021 title’s esports juggernauts.

“There were just so many little things that added up,” he explained.

“I know that we’re a very good team. There’s just these things. American teams have this way of adding all the little things together. They get more time to play together, more practice in-game, and [their] ability to ice up is incredible.”

Those little things become big lessons for Australia’s Halo heroes.

“The small things do amount to such a large pile,” Barcode said. “I wouldn’t say there’s anything I can point to in one moment that these teams do, but every time I saw these habits and niche plays, picks, movements, I put it away. The caliber of teams really shows you how the game can be played.

“I love it,” he added. “Kansas was that kind of event, but what it does is give us a lead-in to Orlando that we can work on. We’ll learn, yes, and we’re already adapting.”

There’s a long road for Barcode and the Chiefs to walk before they get another chance at the Halo top dogs in Orlando, however. The way the competitive Halo Infinite calendar is laid out means regional groupings break away into their own packs for the next few months to battle for domestic supremacy.

For Europe, that means $100,000 USD is up for grabs in Valencia in July. The title’s Latin American competitors will host a similar event in Mexico City. And for the Chiefs and their Oceanic rivals, Melbourne lies on the horizon.

Barcode could not be more excited for it⁠—DreamHack 2022.

“This is our first home event in what, four years? We’ve had so much time waiting. I’m definitely looking forward to Melbourne,” he said. “LAN events like these, they’re always a great time. 

He adds, “I’m just keen to see everyone.”

“We’re hoping there’s a lot of teams, a lot of players.” Halo in Australia has a clear top-two in Chiefs and Divine Mind, but Barcode is hoping we’ll see “a lot more show up.”

Photo via Halo Championship Series Press Pool

Between now and then, Barcode will continue honing his craft with Chiefs. There’s always the possibility a North American team comes knocking⁠—the Aussie Halo veteran turned heads in Kansas City already⁠—or the Chiefs core could even look to bootcamp across the Pacific, or make a more permanent move.

Right now, everything’s possible for Chiefs post-Kansas City.

For many, seeing Chiefs (and rivals Divine Mind) hit the North American Halo circuit would be a major victory. Proximity to other HCS teams would give the Oceanic representatives better scrims, training, and opportunities.

“We’ll see what happens,” Barcode tells Dot Esports when that option is raised. “The goal is definitely to end up over there, commit full-time. That’s the big dream, for me.”