Week 4 of the North American Halo Championship Series: Pro League marked the end of a two week break, and some teams picked up right where they left off. Multiple team changes were made throughout the break with five of the eight teams deciding that a shake up was necessary for their team to succeed. While some teams benefitted greatly from the changes, others are still struggling to climb the standings. Here is a recap of everything that went down during the return of the North American Halo Championship Series: Pro League.
Confident in their lineup, OpTic Gaming did not make a change during the roster transfer period, understandably so, considering they have not placed outside of the top two at any LAN since forming, and have only finished in second place once. Luminosity, on the other hand, made a change for Victory X in place of Eco. Luminosity put their new roster up against OpTic Gaming and for the majority of the series, traded games. Luminosity were able to steal away Fathom Capture The Flag and The Rig Strongholds while OpTic took Regret Slayer and Truth Capture The Flag. With the series tied 2-2, both teams met on The Rig Slayer and kept the score close until the very end of the game. Naded had a Sniper Rifle at his disposal and was in good position to win the game, but a timely spawn from OpTic led to a loss of power weapons for LG, and OpTic took the series win.
LOL vs. Enigma 6 Group
LOL went into the break with a 2-0 sweep in Week 3 against Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid, yet still decided to make a change to their lineup and picked up Eco in place of Renegade. E6 also made a change, adding Shooter, formerly of Team Allegiance, in place of Stellur. Enigma 6 continued to dominate on Coliseum with a 3-2 win on Capture The Flag. The rest of the series was dominated by LOL who went on to win the series 3-1. LOL took Game 2, Plaza Slayer, 50-45 and Game 3, Empire Strongholds, 100-71. With a 2-1 lead, LOL shut out the series with a commanding 3-0 win on Fathom Capture The Flag to give them a three match winning streak.
Along with four other teams, Evil Geniuses decided that a change in their roster would set them up best for a chance at victory, which led to them parting ways with Victory X in exchange for Stellur during the roster transfer period. Team Liquid did not make a change, confident that their roster was what they needed to make a run at the end of the season. Doing so requires separation from the middle of the pack and Team Liquid were able to do just that. Team Liquid outslayed their way to a 1-0 lead after a 3-0 win on Truth Capture The Flag, and after dropping Game 2 earned a 2-1 lead by winning Game 3, Empire Strongholds. Game 4, Fathom Capture The Flag, started off slowly with neither team able to establish much control. Team Liquid were the first to score and they never looked back, winning the game and the series, 3-1.
Coming off of a loss to OpTic Gaming at HCS Orange County, Team EnVyUs went up against the newly altered Team Allegiance squad. nV outslayed and controlled the first map to secure a quick 3-0 win. Game 2, Regret Slayer, was not nearly as close as the final score may have suggested. nV dominated for the majority of the game and at one point had a 40-26 lead that eventually fizzled to a final score of 50-40. In Game 3, The Rig Strongholds, Snipedown managed to pull off a Killing Frenzy and post 21 kills to cap off the sweep of Team Allegiance, 3-0.
Luminosity vs. Team Allegiance
Luminosity came one game away from beating OpTic Gaming in Day 1 of Week 4, but were not able to close the deal. LG could have come into their series against Team Allegiance sluggish after their loss, but they played to make a statement instead. Luminosity roared out of the gates in Game 1, The Rig Strongholds, and rolled to a 100-65 win. Game 2, Regret Slayer, was yet another commanding win for LG, which led to Game 3, Fathom Capture The Flag, where Luminosity managed to pull away to secure the 3-0 sweep.
Team EnVyUs vs. LOL
LOL have arguably had the hottest hand out of any team in the HCS Pro League, and they started off their series against the number one team in the standings with little regard for their opponent. LOL continued their impressive run in Game 1, Eden Strongholds, 100-77 and nV countered with two commanding wins of their own on Plaza Slayer and Truth Capture The Flag. Game 4, Empire Strongholds, went down to the wire and included an incredible comeback from the cinderella LOL squad that forced a Game 5 on The Rig Slayer. Snip3down put on a highlight reel with 17 kills on the way to a 50-40 win and a 3-2 series victory in favor of Team EnVyUs.
Team Liquid vs Enigma 6 Group
The third match of Day 2 consisted of two teams in the middle of the pack that are both on the verge of either sinking to the bottom of the standings or setting themselves apart from the group. The series was very important for both rosters, and Team Liquid rose to the occasion in both Game 1 and Game 2. Game 1 went 100-77 on Empire Strongholds, and Game 2 was a slaughter on Plaza Slayer, ending with a score of 50-28. With the series on the line, E6 fought their way to a close Game 3 on Truth Capture The Flag. The score was tied 2-2 toward the end of the game, but timely slaying from Liquid was all it took to secure the last flag along with a series win.
Evil Geniuses vs OpTic Gaming
The first time these two teams met, Evil Geniuses handed OpTic Gaming their first loss of the season in Week 1. This time around, the Evil Geniuses roster looked a little different without Victory X - the only member missing from the earlier iteration of the lineup. Although the roster was different, the results were not. EG pulled of a brutal 100-7 victory in Game 1 Empire Strongholds. OpTic were not able to bounce back in Game 2 and EG took Plaza Slayer 50-40. EG had OpTic on the verge of a sweep in Game 3, Truth Capture The Flag, but were not able to close out the series. OpTic extended the contest by winning Game 3 by a score of 3-1. Determined not to take a loss, the Green Wall forced a Game 5 by crushing Eden Strongholds 100-15. OpTic completed the reverse sweep on The Rig Slayer with a score of 50-30.
The return of the NA HCS Pro League left little to be desired, and we are officially past the halfway point of the season. There is a close race for the top four spots that will be invited to the HCS Fall 2016 Season Finals and teams will be looking to create separation in the standings in order to survive. No team seems to be safe, which should make for an excellent close to the season. Keep up with all HCS news and updates on Twitter and Facebook!