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The Halo World Championship Tour: Columbus snapshot

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Doug Cortez
Contributing Editor
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Europe, Asia, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand have all determined who their representatives will be among the best Halo teams in the world next month, and now North America will begin the weekend long gauntlet with 16 teams vying for a chance to play at the Halo World Championship.

There is plenty of history between these teams, and here is a snippet of it all to get to know them better.

GROUP A

Team: Allegiance

  • Naded
  • Cratos
  • Suspector
  • eL TowN

Led by one of the most prolific players in the history of Halo, Brett “Naded” Leonard, Allegiance arrives at the Columbus with the coveted number one seed. The organization’s first team has seen a great deal of success this season, placing top three in four of six HWC events while winning two of them. As one of the only teams that has had the same roster since the first online qualifier, cohesion and teamwork are one of the many attributes that can be accounted for in regards to their success. The talented roster worked through the X Games as a unit, with everyone having big games. Allegiance lost to EG in the semifinals, then swept Renegades in a group stage rematch to earn a bronze medal.

Intel: Naded has been playing Halo professionally since 2006, and is yet to win a major LAN event. His team has turned heads all season, but he underperformed with a -2.7 KDA when fighting to play for Gold. With a chance to redeem themselves, look for Allegiance and Naded to play some of their best Halo of the season.

Team: Dream Team

  • Prototype
  • TireIron
  • Aries
  • Jessepeace

Prior to being signed by the Dream Team organization before the third online qualifier, this team was known as “Let’s Get This Money”. The original roster, consisting of Prototype, TireIron, Posey xR and Juicyfruit, saw considerable success with this lineup. After the third online qualifier, a myriad of roster changes swept the scene, making room for Aries and Jesseepeace in place of Posey and Juicyfruit. However, their group draw at the X Games was less than favorable for the newly minted Dream Team as they finished third in their group and were eliminated from the tournament.

The new roster failed to find success in Aspen, and would not improve their performance on the qualifier circuit, either. The fourth and fifth qualifiers would result in early exits for the Dream Team. Much to their benefit, the team had acquired enough points throughout the circuit to net them a top 8 seed in the Halo World Championship Tour: Columbus.

Intel: Dream Team has had favorable brackets this season, with the exception of the X Games draw. In order for this team to make it into bracket play, they will have to beat two of the three teams they will face and although they hold the second highest seed in their group, they have a combined 0-2 (1-4) record against Allegiance and Triggers Pound, and they have not played Optic Gaming this season.

Team: Triggers Pound

  • Cloud
  • Assault
  • Hysteria
  • Danoxide

Triggers Pound is a team that came together the morning of the fifth and final online qualifier. Although they have only played one tournament together as a squad, each player has seen considerable success from the beginning of the season. Their individual accolades were punctuated in the final qualifier, when the team took their 10th seed and turned that into a top 8 placing.

Intel: Triggers Pound is an exciting and unpredictable team due to the brevity of their time together. The only two top teams they have played are CLG and dT, and Triggers Pound is in a great position to make it out of group play if they can replicate their success against Dream Team.

Team: Optic Gaming

  • Flamesword
  • Maniac
  • LifeStyle
  • Chaser

A mere five days before the first North American qualifier, Optic announced that Stellur would be their fourth and with a short time to prepare the team placed top 16, going down at the hands of Team Liquid. The roster stuck together in hopes of improving on their performance, but were met with underwhelming finishes and roster changes.

After four placements where the team was unable to move higher than top 16, Stellur and Assault decided to leave the team, and Optic would pick Chaser and Lifestyle to fight for the 16th seed at the Last Chance Qualifier. With their season on the line, Optic Gaming delivered one heck of a show by taking down Legendary and earning the final spot at the Halo World Championship Tour: Columbus.

Intel: Optic looked excellent in the LCQ, even with a new roster. They were highly criticized early on for not putting in the work to improve, but have been grinding in preparation for HWC Tour: Columbus. Optic has not played any of the teams in their group this season. Their road won’t be easy, but with their practice regimen, and the recent addition of BigTymer as coach, this team’s Cinderella story can be far from over.

GROUP B

Team: Counter Logic Gaming

  • Snakebite
  • Royal 2
  • Lethul
  • Frosty

Counter Logic Gaming has been ranked in the top 8 for the entire season. With an original lineup of Ogre 2, who many consider to be the greatest Halo player of all time, the CLG squad was a force to be reckoned with. Averaging a top 4 finish was not enough for the organization, however, and a move was made that would send ripples across the entire community.

Fresh off of a top 4 finish, and with X Games right around the corner, CLG decided that they would be better off by dropping Ogre 2 and replacing him with none other than Lethul, a member of Evil Geniuses. This set off a vicious chain reaction of roster moves, and rekindled the rivalry between EG and CLG.

Intel: Even with a loss to EG at the X Games, CLG is still considered as one of the best teams in the world. Their seeding provided them an immensely favorable group, and if all top seeds make it out of their groups, CLG and EG would not meet until the finals, assuming they both make it. Much is made of the rivalry between Lethul and Snip3down, but Frosty is the man to watch on the CLG squad this weekend. He amassed 113 kills in the X Games Grand Finals, averaging 16.14 kills per game and 2282.9 damage per game.

Team: Noble Esports

  • Calm Mentality
  • Swift Kill
  • Penguin
  • Rayne

With an initial roster of ContrA, Rayne, Penguin, and PreDevoNatoR, Noble fought their way to the Quarterfinals of the first qualifier, losing 2-1 to what would become the Dream Team. Unsatisfied with their performance, ContrA and PreDevoNatoR left the team afterwards, making room for Swift Kill and Calm Mentality. The next two qualifiers proved to be a step in the wrong direction for the squad, as they lost both in the round of 16.

However, they returned to form in the final online qualifier, beating Team eLevate in the round of 16 before being swept by Allegiance in the quarterfinals. The team’s consistency throughout the season earned them enough points to take seventh seed for Columbus, and a strong chance to make it to the bracket stage at the tournament.

Intel: In order for Noble to make it to worlds, they have to finish top two in their group. The team will be hard pressed to take the series from CLG, but they have a winning record against eLevate. However, the real question mark for this team will be against the new Overdrive roster. Will Noble be able to use their experience against a newly formed roster?

Team: eLevate

  • Goofy
  • MuNoZ
  • Nemassist
  • Str8 Sick

Fortunately for Team eLevate, they got all of the roster swaps out of their system early. The team initially consisted of Randa, Suspector, Frosty, and UnLegit, but the organization would have a completely new roster before the first qualifier. UnLegit left to play for Team Liquid, Frosty left for CLG, Suspector left to join the ranks of Allegiance, and Randa would eventually head to Winterfox. The current roster, who rode a rollercoaster of placements throughout the season, earned enough points to qualify as the 10th seed among North America’s best.

Intel: Team eLevate excels at Slayer gametypes, winning three of their last four by an average margin of 21 kills. Objective gametypes on the other hand, have been less than kind to them. They carry a 1-4 record in such gametypes since the start of the fourth qualifier. If eLevate wants to advance to the bracket stage, and worlds, they will need to find a way to convert kills into objective execution.

Team: Overdrive

  • Vetoed
  • Levy
  • Kephrii
  • Monstcr

After making a name for himself before the season began by creating content for the community, John “Vetoed” Lambeau would play alongside King Nick, Kephrii, and Marbelize under the name Overdrive. As the #114th seed, Overdrive roared through the 512 team bracket in unexpected fashion, shocking Team Liquid to place in the top 4. The team hit a bit of a funk after the first qualifier and never truly recovered. After mixed results and a top 32 finish at the fourth qualifier, Overdrive was on the verge of not making it into the final top 15 standings and having to play in the relentless Last Chance Qualifier. Vetoed responded by dropping a bomb on the community.

He would change his mind, however, and with everything at stake Overdrive made another roster change in an attempt to fight their way into the top 15. The two original members of the squad, Vetoed and Marbelize, teamed up with Levy and previous teammate Kephrii. Overdrive was swept and eliminated, but had acquired enough points to avoid the LCQ and claim the 15th seed.

Intel: Vetoed has publicly stated that the team has not practiced much.. A roster change earlier this week brings Monstcr in for Marbelize, and we’ll see if the new lineup can compete with both Noble and eLevate.

GROUP C

Team: Evil Geniuses

  • Snip3down
  • Roy
  • Lunchbox
  • Commonly

Evil Geniuses were the first to be impacted by the roster swap heard around the world when Snip3down announced on January 21st that Lethul had opted to leave the team for rival CLG. EG would pick up rising star Commonly, and in almost poetic fashion, lose game five in the semifinals of the fifth qualifier against none other than CLG. This set the stage for a clash that would take place at the X Games.

In the snowy mountains of Aspen, Colorado. Evil Geniuses and Counter Logic Gaming shared group B, ensuring that spectators would not have to wait long to see the two rivals meet again. CLG won the group series 3-0, putting the boys in blue on the ropes right out of the gates. But EG took care of business the rest of the way, and advanced all the way to the Gold Medal match to play CLG once more. Both squads traded games back and forth, and in fitting fashion the series would go to a Game 7 where EG’s pace was too much for CLG, and EG won both the series and X Games Gold.

Intel: EG plays their best at live events, having won six straight heading into Columbus. Three of EG’s four players have years of experience under their belt, while Commonly has only played in three live events. He performed very well at Aspen, and needs to continue to shine on the big stage for Evil Geniuses to win their 7th live event in a row.

Team: EnVy

  • iGotUrPistola
  • Ogre 2
  • Mikwen
  • Arkanum

EnVy Us announced their entrance into the Halo scene by signing of Heinz, iGotUrPistola, APG, and Mikwen in November of 2015. The stacked roster looked like a force to be reckoned with after the first qualifier, making their way to the Grand Finals without dropping a single game. But after being rocked 3-0 by EG and poor placements afterwards, APG and Heinz decided to leave the team to join Team Liquid. This made room for Hysteria and Cloud, and the team showed immediate improvement, placing top 8 after losing to EG in the fourth qualifier, their best performance since the beginning of the season.

The ripples of Lethul leaving EG for CLG reached nV’s squad, and after CLG dropped Ogre 2, Pistola and Mikwen quickly snatched him up. Both Heinz and Cloud left the team to join Triggers Pound, and nV signed Arkanum as their fourth. nV played in the fifth qualifier with these new faces, and due to a lack of playing together, they stumbled early on and would only finish in the top 32. But that gave them enough points to get the 6th seed and a chance to make it out of group play.

Intel: Pistola has often been the x factor for teams he has played on. His raw skill and understanding of the game have catapulted him to be one of the top players in the history of Halo, but he has yet to show that in Halo 5. He and Ogre 2 have an impressive track record when teaming, and with a few weeks off to improve, nV should be able to upset a few teams along the way.

Team: Denial Esports

  • ContrA
  • PreDevoNatoR
  • bubu dubu
  • Huke

ContrA and PreDevoNatoR have been playing together since the beginning of Halo 5, and have spent time with a few different teams. Initially playing under the Noble banner with Rayne and Penguin, the duo lost to what would become Dream Team and then decided to part ways and explore options elsewhere. They would play the next three qualifiers under the name Disobey and place 9th, 7th, and 11th before joining Denial Esports with Huke and bubu dubu for the fifth and final qualifier.

Huke, well known for his raw talent among the COD community, played in the first qualifier alongside Halo veterans FearitSelf, Victory X, and Aries under the name The Agency. He placed top 32 and would then leave The Agency and join up with bubu dubu for Karma Police and place 11th. The duo moved on, placing as low as 17th before meeting up with ContrA and PreDevoNatoR for Denial.

Intel: Huke is one of the most promising young players in the league. This will be his biggest Halo LAN to date and is poised to take the Halo scene by storm, much like he has with Call of Duty. Group C is the most competitive of the groups, and if Denial gets going they can take the second spot.

Team: Winterfox

  • Ryanoob
  • Shoooter
  • Randa
  • Domey

As one of the organizations that has been around the Halo scene since before H5, Winterfox rounds out the “group of death” as the 14th seed. They have seen their fair share of roster swaps after the fourth qualifier, with Randa and Domey officially joining the organization within three days of each other right after the fifth qualifier. The roster changes didn’t cause an improvement in their placings, however, as they repeated a top 16 finish. But that allowed them to secure the 14th seed.

Intel: Winterfox is nothing if not consistent. The squad has placed well in online tournaments outside of the qualifier series, and the return of Randa should play to their favor. But nobody envies their group, and they’re going to have to shock some teams in order to make it out. Domey has made a name for himself as an incredibly skilled FFA player. With time to grind and a strong roster around him, Winterfox should not be overlooked.

GROUP D

Team: Liquid

  • Ace
  • APG
  • Heinz
  • UnLegit

Liquid began the season with a taste of disappointment. With a loaded roster that consisted of Ace, Chig, Ninja, and UnLegit, TL cruised through the first qualifier before being exposed by the relatively unknown Overdrive. Chig assumed a management role after their top 8 placement, and Hysteria filled his place. Ninja would be released for APG and Heinz, and Hysteria was released after the third qualifier.

Liquid has yet to see outside of the top 8 since the beginning of the season, despite the many players that have donned a Team Liquid jersey. They had an underwhelming performance at the X Games and failed to make it out of a group that consisted of Allegiance, Renegades, and EMEA powerhouse Epsilon Esports.

Intel: Although coming up short in Aspen, Team Liquid bounced back and worked their way to a top 3 finish at the final qualifier. The Liquid roster is one of the most underrated of the bunch and if seeds play out into the bracket stages, this squad has a shot at winning it all.

Team: Renegades

  • Spartan
  • Ninja
  • Stellur
  • Victory X

For the majority of the season, Renegades was known as Leftovers. Renegades gave truth to rumor when their acquisition of the Leftovers roster went public before the X Games. The newly backed squad performed well, making it out of group play but losing to Silver medalist CLG in the semifinals. Renegades played just as well in the final qualifier, placing 5th after losing to EG in the final game of the series. Stellur was the most recent addition to the team, and has been a better fit with Renegades than he was with his previous team, Optic Gaming.

Intel: The team’s name is fitting for the roster, as they carry a certain edge about them and play with something to prove. Ninja in particular has found himself on the sour end of roster changes on more than one occasion, and totes a 2-0 (5-0) record against Liquid since he was let go. They meet on the mainstage on the first day of the competition, and it should be a great series as they fight for the top seed out of group play.

Team: Soar Gaming

  • Hunter Jjx
  • Winntur
  • SneakEBeaver
  • Juicyfruit

Soar did not venture into the Halo scene until after the second qualifier, when they picked up three players from the Money Matches roster. With SneakEBeaver as their fourth, Soar Gaming made a top 32 finish in their Halo debut. They kept the same roster in the fourth qualifier and improved, this time finishing in the top 16. After their best performance of the season, Turley left the roster and Juicyfruit took his place. With minimal practice and a new lineup, Soar improved yet again, this time finishing in the top 8 and earning themselves the 12th seed at Columbus.

Intel: Soar has made steady improvements every step of the way. The addition of Juicyfruit was instrumental for the team, but they face a tall task in making it out of this group. Their success will come down to how much work they’ve put in since the fifth qualifier.

Team: Astral Authority

  • Gabriel
  • Hoaxer
  • Mr Blakerz
  • King Nick

Astral Authority joined the fray just a few days ago, acquiring the Severance roster before HWC: Columbus. Under the name Severance, Astral was poised to earn a good seed for regionals. Although facing their fair share of roster changes, this squad didn’t place outside of the top 32, making a statement with a top 16 finish in the final qualifier. The roster consists of players who are on the cusp of breaking into the upper tier of talent, and they will look to do so this weekend.

Intel: King Nick played the series of his life in the first qualifier when he and his previous team, Overdrive, upset Team Liquid. Although the TL roster has seen some changes, rest assured that Nick has not forgotten that series. The man has shown what he is capable of and will look to repeat that performance this weekend.

Once the weekend is over, the stage will be completely set for the Halo World Championship. Make sure you head over to the Halo Twitch channel today at 2PM Pacific Time / 5PM Eastern to watch all the North American action live. These teams will be bringing you some of the best Halo action in the world, and you won’t want to miss it. #HaloWC