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Team Liquid and OpTic Gaming join the HCS Pro League!

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Doug Cortez
Contributing Editor
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Counter Logic Gaming were the first team to qualify for the Halo Championship Series: Pro League back in March and now, after two months of nail-biting action in the qualifying matches, the final two teams have joined the fray. After fighting their way to the top in the Last Chance Qualifier, Team Liquid and OpTic Gaming will join the North American HCS Pro League lineup. Both teams battled through this weekend’s sixteen-team tournament and earned their spots among the best Halo teams in North America.

TEAM LIQUID

Team Liquid’s path to the HCS Pro League has been far from ideal. Clete “Assault” LoRusso filled APG’s spot after he decided to step down and heal from recent injuries. Team Liquid was left with an uncertain future, but Assault’s performance was better than anyone could have asked for. The squad took care of Catastrophe in their first match with a series score of 4-1 before dismantling OpTic Gaming in the next round. The entire series was clean, and with the exception of the first game, the set was not close.

Team Liquid earned a spot in the winners bracket finals and went up against eLevate, who struggled early on. Liquid took Game 1 of Strongholds on Empire 100-33 and Game 2 Plaza Slayer was no different.

Game 3 Truth CTF went into overtime and with less than 30 seconds left and eLevate pulled through to win their first round. They built on that momentum in Game 4 Strongholds on The Rig and gained a 44-0 lead early on in the match. Team Liquid pulled off an incredible comeback with a final score of 100-82 to take a 3-1 series lead. Although eLevate was able to take Game 5 of Slayer on Regret, the Liquid roster was far too strong for them to handle. With the series score at 3-2 Team Liquid dominated Game 6, Capture The Flag on Coliseum, and earned one of the last two spots in the HCS Pro League.

OPTIC GAMING

In what is becoming typical for the Green Wall, OpTic Gaming came out on top after fighting through the gauntlet of the losers bracket. They kicked off their weekend with a strong performance against Clown Fiesta, taking their first series 4-1 and advancing to a semifinal match against Team Liquid. Game 1 of Fathom Capture The Flag went down to the wire and required overtime to determine a victor. It was Liquid who drew blood first in the series, setting the tone for the rest of the match.

Team Liquid went on to sweep OpTic Gaming 4-0, sending them to fight for their lives in the daunting losers bracket. Their first opponent was French Toast Mafia and the series kicked off in a similar way to that of their match against Team Liquid. FTM took Game 1 of Strongholds on The Rig 100-43 and OpTic looked like they were in trouble. Fan favorite Brett “Naded” Leonard refused to go down without a fight and had an incredible Game 2 performance on Regret Slayer to spark life into the reeling OpTic squad.

FTM struck again in Game 4, but OpTic came through to win the series 4-2. They then won Game 1 of the losers bracket semifinals against Clown Fiesta, and went on to win Games 2, 3, and 4, sweeping Clown Fiesta and advancing to the losers bracket finals.

Only eLevate, who had just lost the winners bracket finals to Team Liquid, was standing in the way of OpTic and their spot in the HCS Pro League. Optic won Game 1 of Strongholds on Empire with an impressive 100-19 performance, but eLevate struck back and took Game 2 of Plaza Slayer. OpTic Gaming then blazed on to win the series 4-2 and clinch the eighth and final HCS Pro League position.

Now that the HCS Pro League lineup is complete, the first week of the North American schedule is available!

Tune into the Halo Twitch channel on June 2 and 3 at 5PM PDT for the first week of the HCS Pro League and be sure to follow ESL Halo on Facebook and Twitter for all the updates.