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The Halo World Championship Tour: Columbus recap

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Doug Cortez
Contributing Editor
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As sunset hit the city of Columbus, Ohio this Sunday evening, the Halo community finally knew the 16 teams that will take the stage in the Halo World Championship next month. The North American region was the last to hold their qualifiers, and after a weekend of upsets, bitter rivalries, and some of the greatest plays and players in the history of Halo, the final eight teams punched their tickets for the biggest Halo stage to date.

Here is how it all happened.

GROUP A

  • Allegiance
  • Triggers Pound
  • Optic Gaming
  • Dream Team

Allegiance entered the event with a number one seed and something to prove. They earned a bronze medal at the X Games and were looking not only for redemption, but also to solidify themselves as the best in North America. Naded and crew looked good throughout groups, and finished the stage with a 3-0 record, sending home crowd favorite Optic Gaming in the process. They drew Noble Esports in the first round of bracket play and won 3-1 before meeting breakout sensation Denial Esports in the semifinal. After an amazing series, Allegiance fell just short of their goal in Game 7 and lost, but managed to secure a top four seed for the Halo World Championship.

Entering the fray as the ninth seed, Triggers Pound took their loaded roster through the group stages and emerged as the second team to advance to bracket play. Unfortunately for them, they met Evil Geniuses in the first round of the bracket. They were swept in dominating fashion by EG, and although they did not make it past the first round of the bracket, they performed well enough to join the best teams in the world next month.

GROUP B

  • Counter Logic Gaming
  • Noble Esports
  • Team eLevate
  • Overdrive

Lauded by many as the best team in the world, Counter Logic Gaming made a statement after their Silver Medal performance at the X Games. CLG cruised through the group play with relative ease, only losing a single game to Noble Esports in the process. Their crusade of carnage continued well past the group stage, as CLG swept Renegades in the first round, and bitter rivals EG in the second round before meeting an unlikely foe in Denial Esports in the grand finals. They were unfazed, however, and took the series win 4-2.

The second team to make it out of this group was Noble Esports. The squad played with complete confidence, dropping one game outside of their series against CLG and earning their way out of group play to meet the juggernauts, Allegiance. Noble fell behind in the series 2-0 before fighting back and taking game 3. Noble Esports wasn’t able to complete the reverse sweep however, and lost the series 3-1. Their strong group play performance was enough to earn them a spot at Worlds, but not without learning a few things from Allegiance along the way.

GROUP C

  • Evil Geniuses
  • Denial Esports
  • Team EnVyUs
  • Winterfox

The group of death lived up to its name this weekend, and with it came the shocking elimination of two of the most prolific players in the Halo history. Team EnVyUs lost their first series in humbling fashion against EG. nV started with a close loss in Game 1 on Truth CTF, but the rest of the series was underwhelming. After a 3-0 sweep, nV would fall at the hands of Denial Esports 3-1, and were eliminated from the tournament. That means veterans Pistola and Ogre 2 are relegated to spectator status for the rest of the season.

Evil Geniuses, hot off their X Games win and top 4 finish at the final qualifier, picked up right where they left off. They swept Team EnVyUs and Winterfox before losing Coliseum CTF to Denial Esports. EG rattled off three wins in successive fashion after that loss, earning the top seed in their group and winning the series 3-1. EG then made quick work of Triggers Pound and met none other than CLG in the semifinals, which meant that for the first time since Season 2 of the Halo Championship Series, someone other than EG vs CLG would determine first place.

However, despite the longtime rivalry, EG was handed a humbling 4-0 sweep, breaking their record of six straight LAN event victories. But their first top four finish since January of 2015 was still good enough to advance to the Halo World Championship where this team will be looking for redemption.

Denial Esports had a weekend that will be remembered for years to come. Under the bright lights of the Halo World Championship Tour: Columbus, Denial rose to the occasion and shocked the world. Their weekend started off casually enough, taking their first series against Winterfox 3-0. Denial then dealt the first blow that would begin to draw attention to the Wolfpack. They beat nV 3-1 to make it into the bracket, then took a game from EG but ultimately lost the series 3-1.

Denial would not lose a series again until the Grand Finals.

Matched up against Team Liquid, who had not lost a game all weekend, Denial did not shy away from the pressure. The Wolfpack took the veteran crew of Team Liquid to a Game 5 before sending them home packing. Denial advanced to play the number one seed Allegiance in the semifinals, and this series would go the distance as well before Denial would eliminate yet another top team.

To the shock of the entire Halo community, Denial Esports made their way to the Grand Finals to face Counter Logic Gaming. With momentum behind them, and the brilliance of Elumnite as their coach, Denial stood toe to toe with CLG. Young bucks Huke and bubu dubu made their own highlight reel this weekend, but it was not enough to beat CLG. Denial lost the series 4-2 and earned the number two seed coming out of North America for Worlds.

GROUP D

  • Team Liquid
  • Renegades
  • Astral Authority
  • Soar Gaming

Team Liquid left much to be desired after their X Games performance a few weeks ago, but they did make a statement this weekend as the only team not to lose a single game throughout the entire group stage. Their path no prisoners, and rival squad Renegades was one of the victims. Liquid’s performance in the group stages would not carry on through to bracket play, however, and Liquid fell at the hands of the red hot Denial squad, 3-2, but not before qualifying for the Halo World Championships.

Rounding out the list of North American teams that will be competing at the Halo World Championship in March is Renegades. Following up their X Games success, Renegades kicked off their weekend with a 3-0 sweep of the recently signed Astral Authority. They then got a taste of their own medicine, and fell short in the highly anticipated matchup against rival squad Team Liquid.

With their season on the line, Renegades had to win the next series in order to advance on to both bracket play and Worlds. They rose to the challenge, including a 100-0 win on The Rig Strongholds, and swept Soar Gaming on their way to the bracket. Unfortunately, they met CLG, and were quickly sent packing.

The stage is now set for the best 16 teams in the world to battle for Halo esports glory, and with glory comes a lot of fortune as it was announced that the prize pool is now up to $2.5 million dollars. The way these teams prepare in the next three weeks will determine everything, and spectators will be in for a treat as these 16 teams will be looking to play the best Halo of their lives.

Stay tuned for more Halo World Championship news as the final details will be announced on March 4. Until then, follow along on Facebook and Twitter as we get closer to the Finals!