After a grueling month of close games, upsets, and some of the best Halo the ANZ region has ever seen, the top six teams from Australia and New Zealand will convene this weekend for a chance to punch their ticket to the Halo World Championship.
Once the dust settles this weekend, two teams will be on their way to compete against the best Halo teams from around the world and a shot at the $2,000,000 prize pool, and a chance to be a part of Halo history. The Halo World Championship: Sydney will provide an avenue to the biggest Halo tournament in the history of esports, and spectators are in for a treat.
Here are the six teams that have qualified and their respective rosters:
The teams will fight through a vicious best-of-3 group stage, where the top two teams from each group advance to a single elimination, best-of-7 4 team bracket. In preparation for the tournament this weekend, let's take a closer look at each team that will be vying for the two coveted HWC spots:
Qualified: January 16th, 2016
Team Authority entered the fray by winning the third ANZ online qualifier. Heading into the tournament as the #12 seed, Authority tore through the bracket, only dropping a single game to Team Exile5 who will also be at the regional tournament. Authority are 10-1, and carry one of the best records going into the regional event.
That single loss to Exlie5 was a Slayer game, and they lost it a close on Plaza 50-45. Overall, this is a team that simply wins a lot. Their average margin of victory on Slayer games is a whopping 19.6 kills. Average margin of victory on Strongholds? 75 points. Capture the Flag tells a similar story, as the average margin of victory is 2.67 caps. The data shows that not only does this team win, but they win by a considerable amount. D4ZZST4R will be a player to watch in objective games. He averages 15.8 kills per game in those, with CTF being his strongest.
Intel: The greatest unknown is that the tournament sample size of this team’s performance is limited. Will they be consistent enough to replicate their success?
Team: Citadel Gaming
Qualified: January 2nd, 2016
Citadel Gaming was the very first team to qualify for the regional tournament, besting Team Immunity in a nail-biting Grand Finals that went to a tense game five Coliseum Slayer. Citadel Gaming and Team Immunity were neck and neck, but Citadel pulled away late and won the game 50-45 on the back of an impressive 18 kills and 1.69 KA/D by Bradlllzzz.
Citadel carries with them a 10-4 record heading into the Regional, but their strength is found in their CTF prowess. They boast a 3-0 record, averaging a mere 5:25 per game and beating their opponents by an average margin of 2.3 caps. Strongholds, on the other hand, is their weakest. They have an underwhelming 1-2 record, losing by an average of 52 points. The only qualified team they have a history against is Team Immunity, and they are in opposite groups, which makes Citadel something of a wildcard. Game types may prove to be the determining factor for this team, as they show dominance on certain maps such as Coliseum (3-0 overall record).
Intel: Since Citadel Gaming was the first team to qualify for this event, they’ve had the least amount of time competing against other top teams. Will the time off prove to be detrimental?
Qualified: January 23rd, 2016
Prime enters the Regional on the heels of a commanding victory in the fourth online qualifier. Having only dropped a single game in that event, they look like a strong candidate to make it out of group stage and into bracket play.
They have met both Team Immunity and Team Exile5, but both teams will be in the other group and won’t meet until the brackets. Team Prime excels in Strongholds, holding a 5-1 record throughout the season. A portion of their prominence in this game type is due to the strong objective play by Zed. Not only does he have a career 1.77 KA/D, but he averages 5.2 stronghold captures per game. As a team, the unit does well in Slayer as well, where they are 6-3, having dropped a Slayer game on Coliseum, Eden and Truth.
Intel: Can Prime capitalize on their CTF games? They are 3-3 in CTF games and two of their three losses have come on Fathom. Look to see if they can turn that around and steal a game on Fathom CTF.
Team: Team Exile5
Qualified: January 23rd, 2016
Team Exile5 should be the freshest team headed into the Regional, as they just won AvT Auckland last week. As far as overall records go, x5 is one of the strongest in the tournament. They hold a staggering 37-5 record, and are heavily favored to make it the bracket. Although playing out of their group may be a bit more difficult, as they have a losing record against Prime, who is also favored to advance.
They share a group with Team Reign, and have a 2-0 (7-0) record against them. They have performed well in all gametypes this season, and Zerk has fit the role of main slayer well. x5 has a 10-1 record and Zerk averages 14.5 kills per game in Strongholds. That average is even more impressive considering that x5’s average game time for Strongholds is 6:22.
Intel: Their numbers are impressive, and the amount of wins this team has amassed cannot be denied. Most of their games, however, were played at AvT with Team Reign being their only opponent from that event who is attending regionals. They need to be able to perform at the same level against more opponents of this caliber to make it to the finals.
Team: Team Immunity
Qualified: January 9th, 2016
Team Immunity qualified for the ANZ Regional by running the gauntlet in the second online qualifier. They didn’t drop a single game the entire tournament, and you have to go back as far as the very first online qualifier to find their last loss. They went the distance against Citadel Gaming in the first OQ, and swept Prime in the second OQ finals to make it here.
iM should make it out of groups, and will have a close match against x5 that could go either way. Strongholds is historically their strongest, holding a 4-0 record and beating teams by an average margin of 59 points. CTF is not a weakness by any means, as they are 4-1 here, having lost their only game by a final score of 3-2. iM beats teams on CTF by an average margin of 2.75, and should continue to perform well in objective games this weekend.
Benno will be a player to keep a close eye on. He has a career KA/D of 2.46, and tends to be more objective minded when playing Strongholds. This team has the potential to make it deep into the tournament.
Intel: Team Immunity is a team that likes to play fast and win fast. How will they fare if a team manages to slow down and control the pace of play against them?
Team: Team Reign
Qualified: January 31st, 2016
Team Reign made an appearance at the third online qualifier and had their tournament ended at the hands of Grudge Gaming in the quarterfinals. They finished that tournament 2-2 after outperforming their first round counterparts by a notable margin.
AvT Auckland proved to be a better tournament for Reign, as they finished with a 5-1 (13-5) record in the group stage. They were able to replicate success in day two of the tournament, beating Arise 3-0 and Get Gud 3-1 before meeting Team Exile5 in the finals, where x5 got the best of them with a 4-0 sweep.
Team Reign and x5 are in the same group, which could prove to be the determining factor of when their tournament will end, as Reign is winless against x5. What does work to their advantage however, is the fact that of the six teams that will be at the Regional, Reign has only played one of them. They are a very strong unit and each member on the team has the potential to go on a run and carry the team which makes them a dangerous team to play against.
Intel: Reign can beat anybody at this tournament if they get into a rhythm. They will have to find it early in group stage if they want to make a run at a spot for the World Championship.
The Halo World Championship Tour: Sydney will have an awesome amount of competition, as each of these teams has the strength to make a deep run into bracket play.
You can tune into the event on Twitch at 2PM Pacific Time this Saturday, February 6, which is actually 9AM on Sunday, February 7, due to the international date line and our friends known as time zones. So set your clocks because you will want to catch all the action unfold live in Sydney, Australia. Follow ESL Halo on Facebook and Twitter and use #halowc for all the lastest Halo World Championship news.