After months of anticipation, the first week of the North American Halo Championship Series: Pro League has finally arrived. These teams have been working since the Halo World Championship and the road to this point has been filled with upsets, dominating sweeps, last minute roster changes, and everything in between. Here are just a few things to keep an eye on as we enter the first week of play.
COUNTER LOGIC GAMING
The last time we saw CLG, they hoisted the World Championship trophy amidst a cloud of confetti and received a modest check of US$1 million. Due to their dominating performance, the reigning world champs automatically qualified for the HCS Pro League, which means that although they have been scrimming and playing together in other tournaments, they have not played in an HCS-sanctioned event since the end of March.
A break like this has different effects on different teams, and although they are no strangers to the bright lights, CLG cannot go into week one lackadaisically. Their first matchup of the season will be against OpTic Gaming, the winners of the final HCS Pro League spot, who have also had a tumultuous off-season.
NADED LEAVES OPTIC GAMING
Two days before the first week of the HCS Pro League, Naded announced that he would be leaving OpTic Gaming, leaving the world to wonder who will be the new fourth member of the team.
If you haven't heard, Naded has decided to take a break until Season 2. With that being the case, the guys are discussing possible fourths.— Michael Chaves (@OpTicFlamesword) May 31, 2016
There are a myriad of talented free agents, many of whom were fighting for that final spot during the Last Chance Qualifier that OpTic Gaming snagged. The Green Wall has already had to play a tournament with a new roster once this season, at PAX East, after Flamesword decided to step down and coach the team, and will have to do so again against none other than the powerhouse of CLG.
EVIL GENIUSES, ENIGMA 6 CHALLENGE FOR TOP SPOT
Evil Geniuses were the second team to make their way to the HCS Pro League by winning the PAX East Invitational and are a force to be reckoned with. They have been at and around the top of the Halo scene for many years, but have not been able to find a roster that meshes well since the departure of Lethul, causing a few changes in the lineup along the way. The roster they are taking into Week 1 of the HCS Pro League is brimming with talent, but EG has undergone much public scrutiny regarding their lack of practice. Only time will tell if this squad will be able to live up to their potential.
Enigma 6 is another talented team to keep close tabs on throughout the season. Bubu Dubu and Huke made names for themselves and seem even better now that they are playing alongside Cratos and Shooter. Their scrims against other top teams have gone well and after a close series scrim against CLG, some consider E6 to be one of the few teams that have a chance at beating them.
However, one series is not enough to decide a winner and although they had a chance to establish themselves among the top of the pack this past weekend, E6 was swept in the first round by Team EnVyUs at an online preview tournament. Enigma 6 will not have to wait long for their chance at revenge, as they meet nV in Week 1 of the HCS Pro League.
These are just a few of the teams to look out for during the very first week of HCS Pro League matches. You can catch all of the action yourself by tuning into the Halo Twitch channel on Thursday, June 2 and Friday, June 3 at 5:00 PM PDT. Can’t watch the stream live? Follow along on social media! We will be bringing you live updates on both Facebook and Twitter throughout the season.