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OpTic Gaming dominate the Halo Championship Series: Pro League Fall 2017 Finals at DreamHack Denver

Jessica Paek
Editorial Assistant
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An amazing Halo Championship Series: Pro League Fall Season came to a close at DreamHack Denver, where eight Pro League teams fought for the title of Fall 2017 Season Champions and the lion’s share of a $200,000 prize pool. In switching from online play to the pressure of a tournament setting, anything could happen, and this weekend was full of surprises.

Team Infused made history after making it further than any European team in an international Halo tournament with a top six finish. Team Liquid came away from DreamHack Denver with a first of their own, sweeping Team EnVyUs in the Losers Finals match and making it to their first Grand Finals as a team.

To close out the weekend, OpTic Gaming effectively silenced anyone who had doubted their performance over the past few tournaments. Emerging from DreamHack Denver as the Fall 2017 Season Champions, OpTic proved once again that they are unstoppable when they’re playing at their best.

DAY 1: OPEN BRACKET

DreamHack Denver opened with 64 teams competing in open-bracket play. After a day of heated matches, only six teams moved on to face the Pro League teams in the Championship Bracket.

eRa Eternity swept Check 6, Str8 Rippin defeated Doze Esports 3-0, Vexed.eBuyer beat the Gosu Crew 3-1, and Radiant moved on in the bracket by taking down Hail Chapters 3-1. Check 6 and exceL both rose from the Losers Bracket to move into the Championship Bracket in Day 2.

DAY 2: CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET

After going all of Fall Season undefeated, Team EnVyUs powered through their matches against Check 6 3-0 and Team Infused 3-1, but then fell to the Losers Bracket after a 3-1 loss to Splyce. EnVy met Luminosity Gaming in the Losers Bracket for Round 4, where EnVy were forced into a heated Bo5 to make it to the Losers Semifinals.

Team Liquid were on a hot streak after sweeping their first two matches against Radiant and Evil Geniuses. Unfortunately, they hit a wall in the form of OpTic Gaming, who sent them to the Losers Bracket after a 3-1 loss.

In the Losers Bracket, Liquid came to face Team Infused, who had gained incredible momentum after being knocked from the Winners Bracket by EnVy in Round 2. Infused defeated both Vexed.eBuyer and Str8 Rippin 3-1 before taking on Liquid in the Losers Semifinals. Despite a fight from Infused, Liquid secured a hard fought 3-1 win against the EU team, allowing them to move on to the Losers Finals match on Day 3.

Everyone expected a huge performance from Splyce, the Summer 2017 Champions. However, the other top teams had been playing extremely well all season, and any of the top teams had a shot at the Championship.

Splyce had already dominated eRa Eternity 3-1 and Str8 Rippin 3-0 before defeating EnVyUs and then moved on to the Winners Finals match against OpTic. By the time OpTic and Splyce were set to meet in the Winners Finals match, OpTic had beaten exceL, Ronin Esports, and Team Liquid, only giving up a win to Liquid on Eden Slayer.

DAY 3: CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY

At the start of Day 3, only four teams remained in the running to be the Fall 2017 Season Champions: OpTic, EnVy, Liquid, and Splyce. These four top teams have dominated the Pro League and consistently been in contention for the top placings.

To start off the day, Splyce and OpTic engaged in a heated Winners Finals match to determine who would move on to the Grand Finals. OpTic won the first two games, but Splyce retaliated in Game 3. Both teams were aggressive in this crucial matchup as they traded wins. The series was decided in Game 6 on Coliseum CTF, where Splyce fought to stay alive, but Frosty took the last flag cap and secured a 3-1 win for OpTic.

The second match of the day was between Liquid and EnVy in the Losers Bracket Semifinals. In an intense series, EnVy and Liquid fought for their chance to enter the Losers Finals match to stay in the competition. Despite a fight from EnVy, Liquid showed incredible skill as they shut EnVy out and took a big 4-0 win.

After defeating EnVy, Liquid went on to sweep Splyce in the Losers Finals to meet OpTic in the Grand Finals match for the first time ever.

GRAND FINALS MATCH: OPTIC GAMING VS. TEAM LIQUID

In an epic start to the series, OpTic came out strong in Game 1 as they took a 3-0 win on Truth CTF. Liquid fought back in Game 2, but were unable to close the gap and fell short by just six points on Regret Slayer. In Game 3, OpTic were looking to clean house on Plaza Strongholds. Within six minutes, OpTic had defeated Liquid 100-18, bringing the series 3-0.

Liquid seemed to get a second win in Game 4, as the communication that they are so well known for made a comeback. Liquid had a 2-1 lead on Coliseum CTF as OpTic tried to push the game into OT. With just over a minute left on the clock, OpTic evened the score 2-2.

The clock ticked down in OT, eventually leading to a tie. While OpTic had avoided their first loss of the series, OpTic knew they had to play flawlessly in order to keep Liquid at bay. After a full replay, the score was tied once again as the clock ticked down to the last seconds. Liquid knew they couldn’t give OpTic the chance to go into OT again, and with just four seconds left on the clock, SubZero grabbed the flag. Just as the clock ran out, SubZero capped the flag, effectively preventing OT and winning the first game for Liquid in the series.

OpTic needed the Game 5 win to win the series and become the Fall 2017 Season Champions. In the first few minutes on Rig Slayer, OpTic quickly passed the halfway mark in points, more than tripling Liquid’s score. Liquid managed to put points on the board in the second half of the game, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the aggression coming from OpTic. Liquid had come to a halt at 31 points as OpTic’s continued to put up kills. The crowd was roaring as OpTic reached the 50 point mark, leaving the final score at 50-31 in favor of OpTic, the new Fall 2017 Season Champions.

Thanks to all who tuned in for the the Fall 2017 Finals! For additional HCS content from DreamHack Denver, check out the Halo Twitch Channel and the ESL Halo Twitter or Facebook.