You Thought We Peaked Last Weekend? No Shot.

Last weekend there was a record breaking 406 teams registered in the first HCS Open Series. This weekend, competitors maxed out the bracket at 512 teams. (2,048 players!) Among them were the many returning grinders and professionals of Halo, AND what I hope to be a growing number of Call of Duty transplants.

Among those we saw Squad (Enable, Karma, KingJay, Abature) make their way to a round 5 loss against eUnited and surviving till the day’s end in Losers round 10 where they’ll start against Crowd Pleasers (Cratos, FilthyG, Svspector, Porky J) this afternoon. Formal joined up with Spacestation in place of Tusk as they proceeded to stomp through the winner’s bracket back to Round 7, where last week they fell to Sentinels. Today they’ll play against Oxygen Esports (previously ‘Infernal’ – Common, Haines, Swish, Its Name); they’re not as scary, but still proving formidable.

“This is the first time Formal competed in Halo in 5 years. Since he won the H2A!” – Alex ‘KnightyKnight’ Irwin

ChanceMaux and LlamaGod competed as well, announcing their official switch to Halo. They were knocked out in Losers Round 9, but Maux commented on the competitive viability of Infinite, which even after this short amount of time, I think the majority of us can agree with!

Again, the early stages of an Open this large lend themselves to lots of 2-0s, especially this time because the top squads were seeded with the previous Open to influence it. ‘The Watch Party’, an LVT Productions broadcast, followed Oxygen Esports in rounds 1-3 as they found their groove quickly and maintained it throughout the day.

All of the matches were a treat to watch, but one of my favorites had to be in Winners Round 6: Spacestation (Ace, Deciting, Formal, Tylenul) vs eUnited (Spartan, KingNick, Rayne, Ryanoob).

Game 1, Round 1 Recharge Oddball:
Ball time went back and forth between the two teams, each inching closer to victory until some critical slays and ball rotation from Spacestation steal the victory right from underneath eUnited.

Game 1, Round 2 Recharge Oddball: This was a much scarier rollercoaster of a match compared to round 1, and unfortunately for eUnited it ended in the same heartbreak. Spacestation make a 622 run to start; eUnited bring it back 5769, and get to 99 points before Formal makes a play to secure the game 1 victory for Spacestation.

Game 2 Live Fire Slayer: eUnited finish this one relatively convincingly 5040 as they lock down the map with a sniper in tower in the earlymid game and close it out despite some late power from Spacestation.

Game 3 Streets Strongholds: eUnited started off with an early lead, but Spacestation‘s rotations and clean coms take a 1 life from Rayne, Ryanoob, KingNick and Spartan, sending them down to the loser’s bracket.

Meanwhile, down in the loser’s bracket teams fight for their tournament lives. We were mainly tuned into the leg of the bracket where Antimatter (Saintly, Fantvsy, RealisedG, Neighbor) takes out Guardians (Queen, Baconblade, Fazel 2, Fazel 1) 2-1 in some hard-fought matches. Then Gutter Gang (Bunnies Waddles, Champion, Biscuit, Will Mannon) beat Antimatter in a very close Oddball game and 50-48 Slayer finish. Finally, SnakedandHeated (Posey, KontraBand, SickStory, emteekayy) beat Gutter Gang 2-1 and then maintain a 2 game winning streak, but not withone some struggle, beating FootFungas (Chilled, Azreral XI, Thrive, Squilly) 2 -1 in some back-and-forth games.

In Game 1 (Streets, Strongholds) FootFungas use the utilities to create some openings, but eventually lose out to good power weapon control of Snaked. In Game 2 (Bazaar Slayer) Snaked have better angle control and slayer coordination, but ultimately lose the same way they won game 1.. good power weapons control by FootFungas. In Game 3, Snaked tighten up, and exploit all of FootFungas’s mistakes.

This is only but a taste of what HCS, the competitors and the entire community has to offer, and I’ll probably sound like a broken record for the next couple of months when I say – We’re just getting started!

Make sure to be tuned into any competitors streaming their gameplay today starting at 2pm ET in the lower bracket on the NA side, the official HCS broadcast all day today with EU coverage (NA following this evening), LVT Productions YouTube for all the community broadcast VODS, and the r/CompetitiveHalo Reddit for all the extra discussions and content to keeping you up to date and informed on everything competitive Halo. See you there.

Taylor ‘Snow’ Feraco. LVT Productions