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The North American Halo Championship Series: Pro League Summer Finals are this weekend at L.A. Live!

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Doug Cortez
Contributing Editor
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With seven weeks in the books, the regular season of the Halo Championship Series: Pro League has come to a close. In conjunction with KCON 2016, eight teams will converge in The Novo by Microsoft at L.A. Live this weekend, all with something to prove. For some, this tournament serves as a chance to join the HCS Pro League  Fall Season and for others it is a chance to prove that they are the very best. Counter Logic Gaming, Enigma 6 Group, Team EnVyUs and Cloud9 finished in the top four and will compete for the Summer Season Championship title along with their share of a $225,000 prize pool.

At the other end of the standings, Team Liquid and OpTic Gaming finished the season in seventh and eighth place, respectively, and will have to defend their spot in the HCS Pro League against the top two Open Circuit teams, eLevate and Denial. Both teams have consistently placed well in their events and have earned the chance to challenge for a spot among the best.

Tune in this weekend on the Halo Twitch channel starting at 12PM on Saturday, July 30 as the top four teams begin their Finals journey with the first two matches of the winners bracket. Then, two teams will secure their place in the Fall Season in the Relegation tournament. On Sunday, July 31, the Finals will continue and the first HCS Pro League champions will be crowned! You can join your favorite teams, players, and casters live in Los Angeles for the full weekend or a single day by purchasing tickets to the event.

RELEGATION

Team Liquid

Team Liquid made their way to the HCS Pro League at the beginning of the season through the Last Chance Qualifier. The first few weeks of their regular season was forgettable. They started off with an overall record of 0-6 and a map record of 5-18 before getting their first win in Week 4 against OpTic Gaming. Although their record is underwhelming, Team Liquid has shown signs of brilliance and promise throughout the season. In Week 3 they took Enigma 6, who enter the Summer Finals as the second best team in North America, to a Game 5. In Week 5 they challenged a revamped Team Allegiance to a Game 5 and then took Team EnVyUs to a Game 5 in Week 7. Their peak performance, although late in the season, came against Cloud9 and could not have come at a better time. They upset C9 3-1 and that win gave them the edge over OpTic Gaming, which enabled them to choose who they face first in the Relegation tournament. Since their win against C9, Team Liquid continued to perform well in scrims and will need that momentum to keep their spot in the HCS Pro League.

OpTic Gaming

OpTic Gaming’s season has been filled with obstacles. Long time Halo veteran Naded joined the roster and Ace returned to join Flamesword and Maniac. Their performance at the PAX East Invitational confirmed their competitive potential. They upset E6, but failed to win the event. Shortly after PAX East, Flamesword announced that he would be retiring and moving to a coaching role. Str8 Sick filled the vacant spot and the team would have had to grind through the Last Chance qualifier to make it into the HCS Pro League, which they did. Shortly after qualifying, Naded announced that he would be taking a break for the season, leaving OpTic without a full roster less than 48 hours from the start of the season. He was replaced by APG. They finished the season 2-12 with a map record of 11-39 and are currently on an eight series losing streak.

Team eLevate

Team eLevate was last seen at the Halo World Championships and impressively placed top four. The roster has had somewhat of a facelift since then, however, and now consists of Randa, Brain Strms, Nemassist, v t3ct9. They finished second in the final Open Circuit standings, and have been subject to their fair share of roster changes throughout the season. Both Danoxide and Heinz, previously members of Team eLevate, now compete for different teams in the HCS Pro League. Even while losing a number of talented players throughout the season, they still managed to qualify for Relegation.

Denial eSports

Previously known as French Toast Mafia, Denial eSports returns to the HCS stage with the first place ranking in the Open Circuit. Rammyy, a frequent substitute for HCS Pro League teams throughout the season, is joined by Cloud, Gabriel, and Falcated. Denial is a very talented roster that has the potential to take down some of the top professional teams. This organization also made an appearance at the Halo World Championships and placed top four, but the previous members have dispersed since.

THE SUMMER FINALS

Cloud9

Previously known as Renegades, the Cloud9 roster made their way into the Summer Season Finals by the skin of their teeth. They were consistently a top four team that almost saw their post-season hopes vanish in the final day of the regular season. With four matches left to play, C9 just had to defeat Team Liquid, who was 1-12 at the time, to secure their spot in the Summer Finals. Instead, they were upset 3-1 and were left to watch as Evil Geniuses took on Counter Logic Gaming for their chance to steal the final spot from C9. EG was swept 3-0, securing the final spot for C9. The roster consisting of Ninja, Commonly, Victory X, and Penguin has the tough task of taking on defending world champions CLG in the first round of the Summer Finals, which will be broadcast on Saturday, July 30.

Team EnVyUs

Team EnVyUs were the first team this season to show the world that CLG bleeds. In Week 4 nV took CLG to a Game 5, the deepest into a series that CLG had gone all season. They went on to lose the series, but made a statement that they are one of the better teams in North America. Powerful slaying duo Mikwen and Pistola are joined by eL TowN and Rayne to round out the squad that enters the Summer Finals as the third seed. nV is known for having a hard time closing out series. They have played more games than any other team in the HCS Pro league this season and have been a part of seven different series that have gone to Game 5. They take on Enigma 6 in the first round of the winner’s bracket.

Enigma 6

Enigma 6 made headlines by being the first team to take a series off of CLG since the X Games when EG defeated CLG in Game 7 for a Gold Medal. They enter the Summer Finals as the second seed with a 11-3 record with losses only to CLG, Team Allegiance, and Cloud9. Cratos, the outspoken leader of the team is joined by the dangerous duo of Huke and Bubu Dubu, along with Shooter. E6 has not had to stomach a loss since Week 3 against CLG, but got their revenge the following week and carry the longest winning streak of anyone else in the league.

Counter Logic Gaming

The kings of competitive Halo 5, Counter Logic Gaming, carry a single blemish on their record into the Summer Finals. Snakebite, Frosty, Royal 2, and Lethul are the defending world champions and have a 40-9 map record in their first season of the HCS Pro League. Their dominance has been well publicized, and rightfully so. They have defeated every team in the league twice with the exception of E6. Eight of their nine map losses have come since Week 4, which may mean that some of their gameplay may have been exposed that week. That being said, CLG is still by and large favored to win the event and tighten their hold on the competitive Halo 5 esports scene.

JOIN THE ACTION

The Summer Finals tournament will kick off this weekend, on Saturday, July 30 at 12 PM PDT. You can catch all the action live at the venue by picking up your tickets here or tuning into the Halo Twitch channel! Follow along on the ESL Halo Twitter and Facebook for any and all Halo esports news.