News

The brand-new Halo Championship Series Season 1 is here - are you ready?

Timo Karamustafa's picture
Timo Karamustafa
Product Manager
Share this article:
Mark your calendars, Halo fans - Season 1 of the brand-new Halo Championship Series (HCS) kicks off this weekend as 343 Industries joins forces with ESL and Twitch once more to deliver the ultimate competitive Halo experience!

In recent weeks, HCS Pre-Season Cups have provided a competitive platform for hundreds of players in preparation for the upcoming season. World-renowned teams such as CLG, Cloud 9 and Optic Gaming have already staked their claims in battle. However, although the competition has been nothing short of extraordinary, this is only the beginning. Be sure to keep with all the action at the ESL HCS homepage and Halo Waypoint!



December 7th’s HCS Cup will be the first installment of the Halo Championship Series and will set the bar for the remainder of the season. We are ecstatic to experience the future of competitive Halo with each of you, and we greatly appreciate the influx of positive feedback and support we have received thus far. We hope to address any questions or concerns that you may have below! For the full details check out the ESL ruleset and the official HCS handbook.

Registration and teams

The Halo Championship is FREE for players in North America (the United States, Canada, or Mexico). Players must be at least 16 years old (and have permission from a parent or guardian if under 18 years of age), own Halo: The Master Chief Collection and have an active account on Xbox Live. Think you have what it takes? Make your way to the ESL registration page and register an account for the upcoming season!

A team of four is needed to compete, so grab your friends and get ready to put yourself against some of the best Halo players in North America! You can also recruit a “stand-in” in case one of your players is unable to make the tournament, but remember that as with any other teammate your stand-in can only be part of one HCS team (more information on this below). If you’re ready, you can create your team for this weekend’s tournament right now.

If you’re on the hunt for a team or free agent, be sure to check out the team recruitment section on the official ESL Halo forums.

Please note that you also need to sign up for the registration cup in order to participate. Once your team has been approved by the admins, you can sign up for each cup you want to participate in individually.

Roster changes and roster locks

During the first season of the Halo Championship Series, teams will have two opportunities to make changes to their rosters. Below is a breakdown on how the process will work for Season 1:

Season 1 has two transfer periods
  • Transfer period one is between the end of the HCS Cup #1 (December 7th 2014) and the beginning of the HCS Cup #2 (December 21st 2014)
  • Transfer period two is between the end of the HCS Cup #5 (February 1st 2015) and the beginning of the HCS Cup #6 (February 8th 2015)
  • As long as a team has only four members, a stand-in can be added at any point in time up until the conclusion of the second transfer period (the beginning of HCS Cup #6). If a team already has a stand-in and they want to replace them, this will count as a roster change and must be done during the designated transfer periods
  • All Halo Championship Series ranking points (AKA ‘HCS points’ or simply ‘points’) are associated with team IDs and not individual team members
  • Any team changes must be submitted to an ESL admin via a support ticket for approval. Team changes must be requested at least 24 hours before a cup begins

Season structure

The Halo Championship Series online portion will take place on Sundays from early December 2014 to early March 2015, with the Halo Championship Series Finals taking place in March 2015. Below are the dates for the online portion and LAN events to earn points for the first season of the HCS:
  • December 7th 2014 - HCS Cup #1
  • December 12th-14th 2014 - Iron Games Columbus (LAN event)
  • December 21st 2014 - HCS Cup #2
  • December 28th 2014 - HCS Cup #3
  • January 2nd-4th 2015 - UGC St. Louis (LAN event)
Halo 5: Guardians beta mid-season break
  • January 25th 2015 - HCS Cup #4
  • February 1st 2015 - HCS Cup #5
  • February 8th 2015 - HCS Cup #6
  • February 15th 2015 - HCS Cup #7 (HCS Season 1 finalists announced)
  • February 22nd 2015 - Open Cup #1
  • March 1st 2015 - Open Cup #2
  • March 2015 – HCS Season 1 Finals
Please note that additional LAN events may be announced. For more details and the latest HCS updates, keep an eye on esl.gg/haloesports.

Point system and HCS prizing

Each HCS online cup and LAN event will award points that go towards the ranking in the first season of the Halo Championship Series. Below is a breakdown of the cash prizing and point distribution:

HCS by ESL online cups
  • First place: $750
  • Second place: $250
HCS point distribution


Click to enlarge

Game and game types

The Halo Championship Series will be using Halo 2: Anniversary (part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One). The following game types will be used for the first season:


Click to enlarge

As of now, Capture the Flag won’t be used, with our friends at 343 Industries currently hard at work ensuring that issues regarding flag juggling and dropping are resolved, and that the game type is ready for competition. We’ll have an announcement regarding this game type soon.

You can download the game types from the Xbox Live gamertag Official HCS, plus each week we will release the map rotation for the upcoming cup on the ESL HCS website.

Be sure to follow us at @ESLHalo and like the official ESL Halo Facebook page to ensure you stay up to date. We are happy to answer any questions regarding the Halo Championship Series. Best of luck to everyone competing in the first season!