When the dust settles from a big tournament, we are often left with “What If?”
What if Team Allegiance, hot off of their reverse sweep of Renegades, stepped into the ring against Counter Logic Gaming at the Halo World Championship 2016 and accomplished what many considered to be the impossible? What if they were the ones to hoist the trophy, taking with them both the fortune and the glory? What sort of rivalry could there have been? How would have rosters been affected? And would this team still be together? The bittersweet thing about sports is that we are often left to muse on these “What If”’s.
In reality, CLG established their dominance on Halo’s global stage with a 4-0 sweep of Allegiance and were given the title of the World Champions. Many were left wondering what would happen with the Allegiance roster as rumors circled the community afterwards. Would Naded retire? Would Allegiance stick together? Second place is nothing to scoff at. Yet, amidst their impressive season, and in light of becoming X Games Medalists, winning $500,000, and securing a guaranteed spot a in the inaugural Halo Championship Series: Pro League, Allegiance decided to part ways.
“...I’ve never been a part of such a good team that didn’t care.”- Carlos “Cratos” Ayala
Cratos, well known for his tendency to speak his mind, left Allegiance and joined Enigma 6 alongside Shooter and the talented duo of Huke and BubuDubu. “Even if we won [Worlds] we had zero percent chance of sticking [together]” said Cratos. Although the idea to leave came about before the final event of the year, it wasn't until after worlds that E6 was formed. The roster marks the premiere of E6 in the Halo scene, and E6 joining the fray fits perfectly since Huke played for E6 during his time as a Call of Duty player. The departure, for more than just Cratos, was due to the arguing and head-butting that tormented the squad.
“The fighting and always wanting to be right made me want to leave right after Worlds.”- Sal “eL ToWn” Mohanan
Strong personalities and a drive for something more played a crucial role in the disbanding of the squad towards the end of the season. “I loved the team and at the beginning we grinded very hard together and it seemed like everything clicked perfectly” said Ayden “Suspector” Hill. “Well usually when we call each other out for bad plays or what they should have done, instead we took it in as positive feedback and it was only because we wanted to get better” added eL ToWn. “For some reason towards the end of the season, people couldn't take feedback or just had a bad attitude." According to Cratos, it wasn’t until after Allegiance’s appearance at the X Games that things began to take a turn for the worst.
eL ToWn: “I don't really remember the turning point of us changing attitude-wise, but towards the end of the season Cratos and Naded argued a lot”. I would obviously try and cool the situation down sometimes. To be honest the very last practice we had before Worlds they had a big argument that made us all wonder if it would mess us up." We reached out to Naded for his perspective on the situation, but he refused to comment.
It wasn’t all bad for these four players. Some still keep in touch and are close friends. “We all loved each other outside the game. Like I said before, we always joked around and laughed most of the time. When it was tournament time we put any differences aside and went for the win.” shared eL ToWn. Suspector added “Me and eL ToWn are still basically best friends and me and Brett are on good terms”. Even in light of the clashing personalities between Cratos and Naded, Cratos was quick to say “I love the guy, just never met someone so not confident that's competing for first."
The way these four teams came together sets the scene for what will take place at the PAX East this weekend. Team EnVyUs was left with a hard look in the mirror after failing to qualify for the Halo World Championship in March. eL ToWn was the perfect fit for the roster. “Well originally Mikwen asked me and Ayden to run games. We were going to run with him and a few others until Ayden left for EG. Soon after that I made a team with Spartan, Unlegit and Stellur. I realized very shortly, that team would not work so I left and immediately hit up Mikwen and Pistola. They were a team of three with Rayne so I just ran games and it felt natural so we made it official a few days after running games."
Enigma 6 also neatly came together in preparation for the PAX East Invitational. “Before worlds I asked Shooter to team. Then we were gonna try to find two and we knew it would be a matter of time until Denial split and I could team with BubuDubu and Huke” added Cratos.
Evil Geniuses decided to part ways with Commonly, which made room for the talented Suspector. “I decided to leave because after getting an offer from EG I realized there was no way I could turn down that opportunity,” said Suspector.
Fan favorite Optic Gaming also underwent notable roster changes which landed Naded on the Green Wall.
In a perfect storm, these four players on their new rosters will clash with a spot in the Pro League up for grabs. When asked what their thoughts were heading into the event, few deviated from the confident run-of-the-mill response such as Suspector who said “My thought going into PAX is that we are all good teams, but I believe we will win the whole thing and it will be just as satisfying as beating any other pro teams,” or eL ToWn who quipped, “Don't really want to beat one of them more than the other. I just want to beat all of them obviously and win the event."
Cratos also responded, saying, “It will be the same as winning against anyone else. I don't care who I play. It’s gonna be a weird event barely being together and all coming from different teams. But I'm more than confident my team will take it. I think we are currently the 2nd best team in the game, but it being a one day event, whoever is playing better will win." Rest assured, their time playing together will not be far from memory when they meet face to face.
You can catch all the action live on Twitch when the four teams fight over the next spot in the HCS Pro League at PAX East on Sunday, April 24th starting at 11:30 AM EST, and follow along on Facebook and Twitter!