Four teams battled their way through the first two days of the Halo World Championship 2017 Finals to make it to Championship Sunday, but only one team would emerge as best in the world. OpTic Gaming, the same roster that took the 2016 World Champions under the CLG banner, were favorites to win after their dominant performance throughout qualifiers. Still, Team Liquid, Team EnVyUs, and Str8 Rippin came to the #HaloWC with just as much to prove, and they would not let OpTic walk way with an easy win.
Despite their impressive performance at Las Vegas Qualifiers, Team Liquid were considered underdogs heading into Worlds. In the first two days of competition, Liquid proved that they belong among the best in the world and they were ready to prove it by fighting to take the title of world championship title.
In the losers bracket, EnVy, the Fall 2016 Champions, were on an incredible 12-game winning streak after powering through the losers bracket. EnVy came to Day 3 of Worlds looking to continue their streak in their aggressive push for ultimate Halo glory. Also in the losers bracket, Str8 came back from a 4-0 loss to Liquid in Day 2 by pushing Splyce out of the competition after an intense Bo7 that came down to the last 10 seconds on Eden Slayer.
Before the day began, the main stage crowd bursted into screams and cheers at every mention of their teams’ names, and as the clock counted down to start the final day of competition the action was already off to an exciting start.
Str8 Rippin vs. Team EnVyUs
The first series of the day opened on Coliseum CTF, where Snip3down has proven that he is absolutely deadly. EnVy were calm and showed great communication as they capped three flags in a row to start the series. Going into Game 2, EnVy looked to continue their streak on Plaza Slayer where they came out strong in the first minute and took the lead. Str8 fought back until they closed the gap in the second half of the game to tie the score at 42-42 and continued to close any slim lead that EnVy managed to take. The score was 49-49 with less than two minutes on the clock when EnVy got the last shot and took Game 2 to bring the series to 2-0.
Heading into Game 3, EnVy were now on a 14-game win streak. Still, Str8 were not going to roll over. Renegade had a fantastic Game 2 for Str8 with over 53% accuracy, and EnVy knew that they would have to stay on top of Str8 in order to win the series. Though EnVy had previously said that Strongholds was one of their weaknesses, that wasn’t visible in Game 3 as EnVy took a 30 point lead in the middle of the game. Fans were incredulous as EnVy extended the lead to 60 points by the second half before closing out Game 3 at 100-36 to take the series to 3-0.
Str8 were looking good at the start of Game 4 on Truth CTF, landing two flags in the first few minutes of the game. Huke upped the pace with an Overkill as EnVy reached a tipping point and came back with two flag caps to tie up the game. With the game tied, Mikwen secured another Overkill for EnVy while Pistola capped the last flag to win the series against Str8 4-0. The Game 4 win opened the way for EnVy to face Liquid in the second losers bracket match of the day and brought them one step closer to Grand Finals.
Heading into the series against Liquid, EnVy were on a 16-game winning streak, but they needed to defeat Liquid in order to make it to the grand finals match. Despite coming off of a loss from OpTic at the end of Day 2, Liquid had pushed EnVy into the losers bracket and were looking to repeat the performance to advance on to face OpTic again.
Team Liquid vs. Team EnVyUs
Liquid started Game 1 on Rig Strongholds by taking a huge lead of over 40 points in the first half. EnVy began to close the gap in the second half, everyone in the audience could feel the sense of urgency coming from the EnVy side as Liquid remained calm and maintained the great teamwork and communication we saw from them all throughout the tournament. Liquid had more than a 20 point lead in the last few minutes of Game 1 when Snip3down had an amazing kill streak that tied the game at 99-99. Half the audience was on their feet as everything came down to the last few seconds of the game as Liquid took the last kill to end EnVy’s 16-game winning streak and lead the series 1-0.
At the start of Game 2 on Eden Slayer, EnVy took a slim lead in the first few minutes of the game before Liquid closed the gap and effectively prevented EnVy from getting into a good position to fight back. Despite Eco closing off the exits to the lobby, EnVy kept the game close by controlling the power weapons before eventually taking the lead. EnVy’s numbers were climbing as Huke got the Rocket Launcher. The crowd was in disbelief as EnVy took the win in Game 2 to bring the series to 1-1. Game 3 on Truth CTF Liquid was unstoppable as they tied the game 2-2 before Eco landed the ground pound to take Game 3.
With the series 2-1 in favor of Liquid, EnVy sought to tie the series in Game 4 on Plaza Strongholds. Liquid started the game by taking a commanding lead in the first few minutes before EnVy turned around and doubled Liquid’s points to secure their second victory of the series. With the series tied 2-2, the crowd was hyped going into Game 5 on Rig Slayer. EnVy started with the lead as Liquid slowly tried to close the gap as the action slowed down in the first half. EnVy regained the lead before Liquid started coming back to try and take it back. Even though Penguin was doing damage with the Sniper Rifle, EnVy managed to hold it down until ended the game Huke by securing the last kill to get the win.
The series was 3-2 with EnVy in the lead going into Game 6. EnVy made an aggressive push to start the game, making it clear to Liquid that they planned to end the series. Pistola landed the first flag right out the gate and then executing a sneaky play to cap the second. Liquid pushed back as Snip3down pulled the last flag before being forced to abandon it. Snip3down ground pounded the last flag to take the series 4-2 for EnVy and move on to the next round.
Team OpTic vs. Team EnVyUs
The crowd was divided going into the series between OpTic and EnVy and the excitement and intensity was palpable at the start of Game 1 on Coliseum CTF. EnVy capped their first two flags at the start of the game. Both sides were already making so many kills when SnakeBite landed the first flag for OpTic, who were looking to take the lead from EnVy. Royal 2 planted the second flag to step up the intensity for the second half of the first game. EnVy tried to fight back as Lethul grabbed the last flag before Mikwen stopped him in his tracks. Both sides managed to hold each other off with the score at 2-2 until the clock ran out and Game 1 went into overtime. Going into OT, it could have been anyone’s game, but Frosty capped the flag in the first minute of OT to get the first win of the series.
Both teams started strong in Game 2 on Plaza Slayer, but it was OpTic who took the lead right from the start. You could feel the sense of urgency coming from EnVy as they fought to tie the series and keep from falling behind in the series. Up until this point, EnVy had been controlling the Power Weapons in their previous matchups, but OpTic was formidable in their strategy and level of play. Both teams traded slim leads until OpTic took the last two kills with less than two minutes left on the clock to steal their second win against EnVy. EnVy was looking so good throughout Finals, and even to this point, but OpTic was playing so well together and making such aggressive plays that EnVy wasn’t able to overtake them.
EnVy looked like they might take the win at Game 3 on Rig Strongholds as they picked up kill after kill at the start of the game. The score was 48-0 in favor of EnVy before OpTic even began to score, but everything clicked for OpTic in the second half as they came out of their point deficit to take the lead. SnakeBite and Frosty were absolutely deadly, suppressing a comeback from EnVy to end the game 100-63 to lock in their third win of the series.
The room was practically shaking going into Game 4 CTF as OpTic mounted a vicious offense on EnVy, absolutely denying them any chance to pull the flag. OpTic denied EnVy the chance to regroup and make the necessary offensive plays to take control of the game. Everything came down to the last few minutes until SnakeBite capped the first flag for OpTic with less than four minutes on the clock. Now with the lead, OpTic played the last few minutes of the game as if the score was tied, and successfully kept EnVy from even touching their flag as the time on the clock ran out. The room exploded with a standing ovation as OpTic took the series win after an incredible four victories to become the undisputed Halo champions of the world.
OpTic Gaming are the 2017 Halo World Champions!
After an incredible run through the Halo World Championship 2017 Finals, the championship roster of OpTic Gaming showed yet again why they are the best Halo team in the world. Before the champions went home for the day, Lethul answered a few questions to give some insight on what was going through their mind as OpTic headed into the grand finals match.
ESL: Team EnVy was so hungry and still coming off their amazing win streak from before their match with Team Liquid, how did it feel going to face EnVy in the grand finals?
Lethul: “The EnVy roster, starting yesterday, after their slow start, they looked like they were on a mission. But we knew, don’t listen to the hype everyone’s giving them just for beating other teams, because they’re just that, they’re other teams. We know they’re not as good as us when we’re playing well, so we just came in with a game plan, we know how they play, and we just executed.”
ESL: At what point in Game 4 did you know you guys had it?
Lethul: “I don’t know about anybody else, but I was still trying, going really hard, when I looked at the clock and I saw that there were four seconds left. And I said, "Oh, we won," so I would say at about four seconds left. It was a really close game there at our base lot, we played good defense and kept it calm, so really, it didn’t even feel like the end of the game to me.”
ESL: And now after winning the grand finals, how do you feel right now?
Lethul: “I feel relieved. I feel kind of tired, I want to get some fresh air, but mainly, I’m just glad we won back-to-back. It’s just really good to prove people wrong when they try to discredit you and say that so-and-so is going to beat you.”