HCS NA Open 2 Finale Does Not Disappoint

If you thought this past weekend would play out exactly the same as the previous one.. well.. you’re not completely wrong, but the journey to get there is a bit fiercer!

Winners Quarter-Finals

Cloud9 (The Eco Smith, Pznguin, Renegade, Stellur) vs Inconceivable (Falcated, Bound, Snipedown, Bubu Dubu)

Inconceivable squared up against Cloud9 for the first time in Halo Infinite; Cloud9 placed 2nd last Sunday, and Inconceivable dropped out due to a double-booked event.

Aquarius CTF was a slug fest. Renegade went to town, going 32/15, helping Cloud9 secure the win 2-1 and out slaying Inconceivable 90 – 68, but the match felt so much closer than that. After the loss, Jessie ‘Bubu Dubu’ Moeller explains his frustration – “We have to take our time, get control of our flag and push back to our closet, otherwise we’re giving them free map control. All we had to do was kill a guy top Pink when I was running it P1”

In Game 2, Streets Slayer, Inconceivable go down quick at the start, but decide to slow it down, get rockets control and ‘three stack’ round the map looking for hiding Cloud9 members. They bring it back 42-43, though their downfall results from pushing too far and influencing a split spawn they couldn’t afford to die to. Cloud9 advance 2-0 to the Semi-Finals.

Sentinels (Snakebite, Frosty, Lethul, Royal2) vs Kansas City Pioneers (Druk, Manny, SoulSnipe, Taulek)

Manny steps in and replaces SuperCC on Kansas City Pioneers (KCP) –not a completely unheard-of roster switch for the trio Taulek, Druk and Soulsnipe – and it proves a very good decision as they as they stare down the barrels of some of biggest fish in the pond on Sentinels.

As a momentum-based team, KCP get a big 4-1 win off the rip with 91-75 kills in their favor and Taulek playing anchor sports a 27/15 K/D stat line on Aquarius. Sentinels were upset with their communication, but for the time being chalked it up to being terrible at that map and brushed off the loss. During Streets Slayer, Sentinels start off strong, then KCP mount a comeback, but Sentinels finally wizen up and snowball to an end game of 50-38.

With the series tied 1-1, naturally I’d have my money on Sentinels. In the last 4 seasons of H5 HCS, they went 13-7 against KCP and only lost one pro series matchup to them back in February… but this is a new title and KCP has proven to community and their fellow competitors that they’re here to stay!

Round 1 Recharge Oddball, Sentinels narrowly win it 100-95, but KCP take round 2! Sentinels do not prioritize ball quite enough and miss some key seconds, especially at the start of the game, despite some Icy Frosty kills.

Round 3, KCP has an amazing start, but Sentinels bring it back 73-73, and keep it neck and neck. Sentinels have the setup for the victory after KCP play ball in back spiral, but SoulSnipe gets the flank and takes out the Sentinels ball holder for the final seconds and the win! KCP send Sentinels to the Elimination Bracket.

Brief update on the other matches in winners, to no surprise: Spacestation Gaming (Ace, Deciting, Formal, Tylenul) take out Oxygen Esports (Common, Haines, Swish, Its Name) and Optic Gaming (Trippy, Ola, Lucid, APG) beat G2 Esports (Gilkey, Artic, Sabinater, Str8 Sick) both with 2-0 victories.

Elimination Round 12

Inconceivable (Falcated, Bound, Snipedown, Bubu Dubu) vs Falling Esports (Neuornical, GoldStarGBr, Piggy Saiyan, Sorell)

The elimination bracket… where weakness ends your weekend. Falling Esports dropped in Round 5 to Sentinels on Saturday, and today they fall 1-2 to Inconceivable in Round 12! Last week they were ended by Spacestation in Round 4, and ultimately in Losers Round 8 to Devote (Karmea, Simply Fear Me, Wensoar, Zurka), so I’d say that’s pretty solid improvement in one week!

Game 1 Falling wins 250-212 after a massive comeback and Neuornical slaying out at 24/16/10 K/D/A. (And that’s despite losing the camo x3 times to Bubu Dubu!)

Unfortunately for them, game 2 and 3 go to Inconceivable as one would expect. I hope this crew can keep building their waves in the coming weeks.

Sentinels (Snakebite, Frosty, Lethul, Royal2) vs eUnited (Spartan, KingNick, Rayne, Ryanoob)

Sentinels were sent here by KCP, eUnited by Spacestation.. Halo Infinite has somehow managed to level the playing field and bring out everyone’s best. Despite being down, these two last lifers duke it out in a ruthless fight that takes us to another game 3.

Recharge Strongholds is a close 250-229 Sentinels win – Frosty top fragging at 21/15 and showing us really how to use the mangler. Live Fire Slayer go in favor of eUnited, 50-42 and Frosty speaks up about taking better positions to avoid being averaged. Game 3 is Bazaar CTF, and it is all about the control. eUnited close it out 1-0 with excellent coms and that in-game leadership from Ryanoob as the clock winds down.

Elimination Round 13 & 14

On the other side of the bracket, G2 (Gilkey, Artic, Sabinater, Str8 Sick) and G1 (GulV Shot Predevonator, Sargoth, Squallaye), both sent here by the GOATs on Optic, face off AGAIN. Last week G2 took it 2-1, this week it’s G1 taking it 2-0. G1 then immediately fall to KCP 2-0, but not without solid consistency. These are another two squads that have the potential to break hard and fast into top placements if they continue the hard work.

On this side of the bracket, a pumped up eUnited take Inconceivable in a 2-1 victory. Then, following along from my favorite match from Saturday when Spacestation sent eUnited down to the losers bracket, we stumble upon a rematch!

Spacestation Gaming (Ace, Deciting, Formal, Tylenul) vs eUnited (Spartan, KingNick, Rayne, Ryanoob)

Aquarius CTF was a snappy give-&-take as eUnited score first which leads to a string of counter caps on counter caps bringing it to 3-3. Eventually eUnited take the lead 4-3, scraping by with some last-minute pulls and saves, but then Tylenul smartly runs a flag round the back of their base to tie it 4-4. However; overtime begins and eUnited quicky close it out , 5 – 4, shutting down Spacestation in the slaying department 19-9.

Spacestation focus up and clutch up in Bazaar Slayer 50-46 for Game 2 in part due to some wise words from Ace at the start.
Game 3, Live Fire Oddball Round 1 started a bit off for eUnited, but they eventually take it 2 rounds to zero: 200 – 111. KingNick has an outstanding performance for them, striking back with deadly blows on yesterday’s victors, eliminating Spacestation from the race.
Winners Finals
Back up in the winner’s bracket we find another rematch from last weekend’s insane Grand Finals taking place, and both teams remind us just how powerful they both are.

Optic Gaming (Trippy, Ola, Lucid, APG) vs Cloud9 (The Eco Smith, Pznguin, Renegade, Stellur)

Streets Oddball is back and forth, remaining true to the nature of last weekend and slowly burning this rivalry into the history books; Round 1 goes in the hand of Optic followed by a Round 2 Cloud9 win. Round 3 there are some massive triple kills on the side of Optic to help them take the game 1, which at this point, I’d expect nothing less.

Game 2, Recharge Slayer starts very solid for Cloud9 and both teams utilize the tools of the map and create openings for themselves. In the end, a 21/9 finish for Lucid help take the win 50-48. Optic is clearly the best team competing right now, but the closeness of these games shows us that many are worthy and by no means infallible.

Elimination Finals

Kansas City Pioneers defeat eUnited 2-1 in the Elimination Semi-Finals, again proving that they’re a force to be reckoned with to now fight against the recently defeated Cloud9.

Cloud9 (The Eco Smith, Pznguin, Renegade, Stellur) vs Kansas City Pioneers (Druk, Manny, SoulSnipe, Taulek)

KCP showed up to play today. Streets Oddball go in their favor 2-0. Reminiscent of what we saw earlier against Sentinels, KCP know how to play ball.

Unfortunately for KCP, pure Slayer has never been one of their strongest suits, and Cloud9 take game 2 easily, 50-37 on Live Fire, spreading the love across the entire team with a 12,13,13,12 kill spread among themselves.

Game 3 Recharge Strongholds starts off very strong for C9 with a 78-0 run. KCP mount somewhat of a comeback but with multiple triple caps in the mid game, Cloud9 run away with it for a 250 – 137 finish.

Grand Finals

Optic Gaming (Trippy, Ola, Lucid, APG) vs Cloud9 (The Eco Smith, Pznguin, Renegade, Stellur)

Bazaar CTF was in control of Optic. They had clear setups and plans of attack for the first 2 flag caps, running the flag first through bar, then the second through tree. Cloud9 was not without signs of life though as they fought hard and had some pivotal wins and cleaver utility flag grabs. Despite that Optic still win it 4-2.

Game 2 was Aquarius Slayer where Optic wins it 50 – 42. Trippy goes 16/6, Ola 14/11 with 10 assists, and overall Optic’s movement is just more precise as they capitalize on the movement potential of this map just a little bit better.

Oddball Recharge is where Cloud9 begin to make their stand and take it 272-207. Over 10,000 damage for each of the players, they focus up and put in the work. Is this the confidence booster that Cloud9 need to clutch it up though?

Live Fire Strongholds goes neck and neck the whole way through, until finally Optic come out big and win it 250-233, taking home their second HCS Open Series 1st place finish! I’ll let these highlights speak for themselves as we’ve learned to expect these matches to come down to the wire more often than not for some of the best Halo I’ve ever watched.

Two opens completed and it seems the competition is only just heating up! Optic finish this one strong, but you know Cloud9 and many of the others are posed to be on their tail soon enough!

Tomorrow! Wednesday, December 1st at 12pm ET the NA Kickoff Qualifier will begin (and likely bleed into Thursday) where more HCS points can be earned for qualification into pool play and specifically the 4 tomorrow will get travel and lodging covered for the Raleigh Kickoff Major in Raleigh, NC December 17th – 19th.

At the time of finishing writing this, 142 teams have signed up already… so you know it’s serious when people are playing high tier Halo on a Wednesday afternoon. See you there! (and if you can’t be there, we’ll have a recap for you right here!)

Taylor ‘Snow’ Feraco. LVT Productions