The Halo Championship Series: Pro League is just around the corner and the stage is being set with qualifiers throughout the month of May. Counter Logic Gaming and Evil Geniuses were the first two teams to qualify for the Pro League and this weekend eight additional teams will travel to Burbank, California to fight in the Summer Qualifier for four more available spots. All the action is leading up to the start of the Summer Season on June 2, so be sure to tune into the Halo Twitch channel on Sunday, May 8 to find out which of these teams will earn a seat amongst the pros!
- Bubu Dubu
At the online portion of the Summer Qualifier, Enigma 6 quickly dismissed Str8 Rippin before meeting eLevate in their group finals. E6 looked to be in trouble as they found themselves down 0-3 in the best-of-seven series before mounting a ferocious comeback. E6 completed the reverse sweep to punch their ticket to the ESL Studios this weekend.
Huke and Bubu Dubu took the Halo community by storm with a sensational performance at both the North American Regionals and the Halo World Championship. They are both younger players, with Bubu Dubu and Huke joining the competitive fray in Halo 4 and 5, respectively. Shooter and Cratos are both talented and more experienced players who have the potential to take down some of the best Halo teams in the world. E6 should not be taken lightly.
- Str8 Sick
The Halo community was floored at the PAX East Invitational when long time Halo veteran Mike “Flamesword” Chaves announced his retirement and transition to a coaching position. This was one of the moves that led to Optic Gaming’s current roster, which shows a lot of promise. Optic took down the revamped Renegades roster to make their way to Burbank, but making it out on top this weekend will be no easy task. Optic Gaming has been on the cusp of greatness on multiple occasions, and have a tall task before them to make it into the HCS Pro League.
- Victory X
The last time we saw Renegades, they were a silhouette of their true selves as they walked off the stage after a reverse sweep by Team Allegiance at the Halo World Championship. The team decided to make a few changes to their roster for the HCS Pro League and so far the results call for cautious optimism. They went 2-1 (9-4), which was enough to qualify for this weekend, but they will be truly tested at the Summer Qualifier and have to prove themselves as one of the best.
- Ogre 2
Rounding out Group A is Denial eSports. The organization has a completely different roster from what we saw at the Halo World Championship, and is headlined by someone who many consider to be the best to ever play Halo competitively in the history of the franchise, Ogre 2. Their road to this event was marked with adversity, as they lost their first series to God Tier 3-1 and were sent to the losers bracket where they defeated Ambush 4-0. They then exacted their revenge in a rematch against God Tier, 4-1. Denial went against the grain while making this new roster and chose to import the talented Daniel “Seduce” Franken from Australia. Denial will play E6 to kick off their weekend, and the last time Ogre 2 was knocked out of an event was at the hands of Huke and Bubu Dubu. Will Ogre 2 get his revenge?
This is not the Allegiance that we watched place second and win $500,000 at the Halo World Championship last season. This is a completely new roster that consists of players that both competed and coached at the HWC. Ryanoob coached Chosen Squad, Contra and PreDevonator made the move over from Denial eSports, and Goofy played for eLevate at the North American Regionals. Ryanoob has performed very well since his coaching stint and the rest of the team was not far behind. This squad may not be the most talked about, but they have the potential to be one of the best.
After undergoing a few roster changes of their own, Team Liquid has put together a formidable lineup. Liquid swept their first opponent, Sentinels, and then went on to beat the star-studded roster of Team EnVyUs and earn their way to the second leg of the Summer Qualifier. APG and Eco, formerly known as UnLegit, are the only two members of the TL roster that we saw place Top 8 at the Halo World Championship. As well as that roster performed, this one may mesh even better.
- eL Town
Although they did not walk away with a first-place finish, Team EnVyUs made a statement in their performance at the PAX East Invitational. They lost a close series to Evil Geniuses to start off their weekend and then went on a rampage through the losers bracket that led them right back to the Finals, facing off against EG yet again. The results were the same, but the potential that this squad showed was noted by everyone. nV punched their ticket to Burbank by sweeping Crowd Control then beating them again in the losers finals after a loss to Team Liquid. They will get another crack at Liquid early on in this weekend’s tournament.
- King Nick
Soul Red is comprised of both newcomers and veterans alike. They qualified for Burbank by knocking out both Str8 Rippin and eLevate in the losers bracket, and now look to continue their success in the Summer Qualifier. The veteran experience of both Gabriel and Munoz will help this squad face Allegiance in their first fight of the tournament.
After this weekend, only two spots will remain in the Halo Championship Series: Pro League. Follow all of the action from the ESL studios in Burbank, CA on Twitch starting off at 12PM PDT. Be sure to follow ESL Halo on Twitter and Facebook for live coverage of this weekend and all the updates on #HCS!