Competitive Halo is buzzing ahead of the $250K USD Raleigh Kick-Off Major.
The hype surrounding Halo Infinite is not an exaggeration. Players worldwide have enjoyed what 343 Industries has brought to the table, with a ranked playlist on day one and fluid gameplay. The competitive scene, in particular, has responded positively to the game thus far. Last weekend's season-opening Halo Championship Series (HCS) Open Series tournament drew 406 teams, despite no prize pool.
The competition came down to two premier organizations — OpTic Gaming and Cloud9 — who squared off in a ten-game thriller. OpTic Gaming triumphed in the end. Still, the entire competitive Halo scene saw it as a collective win. The HCS week one final pulled astronomical viewership numbers and entrants. However, week two set the bar even higher than anyone could have imagined.
From 406 Teams to 512 in One Week
Today's NA @HCS Raleigh Open Qualifier has reached max capacity!
512 #HaloInfinite teams
— Halo Esports (@HCS) November 27, 2021
One week after 406 teams registered for the first HCS Online Open, week two shattered that record with 512 total sign-ups—the most in competitive Halo history. This statistic dates back to 2004 and speaks to the level of anticipation behind this HCS season. It's unclear what caused such a significant influx of registered teams from week one to week two. Perhaps last weekend's showdown between OpTic and Cloud9 piqued the interest of those on the fence about competing.
Added Incentive for Top Teams
Teams that earn pool play spots & travel coverage in the Kickoff Qualifier on Dec. 1st / 2nd by region:
NA: Top 4 in placing + next 4 in total points (8)
EU: Top 2 in placing + next 2 in total points (4)
MX: Top 2 in placing + next 1 in total points (3)
ANZ: Top 1 in placing (1) https://t.co/vaZROpCN4h
— Richie Heinz (@RichieHeinz) November 27, 2021
Whatever the case may be, HCS embraces all who strive to compete in Halo Infinite. Less than one month remains until the highly-anticipated Raleigh Kick-Off Major. The tournament currently sports a $250K USD prize pool before potential crowd-funding comes into play. What's more, the HCS team has added additional incentives for those that perform well in the second HCS Online Open.
Former professional player and current HCS Competition Coordinator — Richie “Heinz” Heinz — took to Twitter with raised stakes for those competing.
“The top 4 teams from next week's kickoff Qualifier will secure Pool Play (+ expenses paid) for Raleigh. The next 4 Pool Play slots (+ expenses) will go to the top 4 teams with the most HCS points from all previous qualifiers.”
Heinz added that the top two Open teams in each region would have their travel expenses to Raleigh covered. It's another bonus for players looking to break through on the HCS circuit this season.
The road to Raleigh continues throughout this weekend, as the world's top teams such as FaZe Clan, Cloud9, OpTic Gaming and Sentinels jockey for seeding and amateurs sought to rise through the ranks.
Be sure to check back with ESTNN for a complete recap of the second HCS Online Open tournament of the HCS season!
Feature Image: HCS