The mighty have fallen in the Halo Championship Series.
Competitive Halo has been relatively quiet since HCS Anaheim a few months back. Cloud9 continued its dominance at that event after picking up its second consecutive LAN victory. Fans and experts alike were beginning to suspect a dynasty until a reinvented OpTic Gaming roster entered the equation.
The Greenwall saw Pistola leave the team as OpTic decided it would not allow Formal to sit on the sidelines further (https://estnn.com/halo-formal-replaces-pistola-on-optic/). Since then, many wondered how this new roster could stack up against the titans known as Cloud9. That question was finally answered to round out this weekend’s $75K FaZe Clan Invitational.
Tale of the Tape: OpTic Gaming vs. Cloud9
Cloud9 entered the tournament as favorites, which has been the case since HCS Raleigh last year. The roster has looked unstoppable online and offline. OpTic displayed signs of challenging the kings but failed to deliver in every instance. The addition of Formal certainly gave them a much-needed boost.
OpTic and Cloud9 each escaped their respective pools unscathed against some worthy adversaries. Their positioning in the bracket meant the two squads would meet in the Winner's Finals. OpTic went a perfect 3-0 in the upper side, besting XSET, Pioneers and Cloud9. C9 handled business against Sentinels in the elimination bracket finals, setting up a redemption opportunity.
OpTic Dethrones C9 in Stunning Fashion
OpTic’s dominant 3-0 victory in the winner’s finals might not have told the entire story. Cloud9 had yet to see the full force of OpTic Gaming with Formal in a tournament of this caliber. The two-time LAN champions took their licks and would have a chance to rebound in the Grand Finals.
Game one saw OpTic narrowly win CTF on Aquarius by a 3-2 despite not striking first. OpTic secured two captures in the final two minutes behind a 25-kill performance from Lucid. Cloud9 looked to retaliate in game two, Slayer on Aquarius, but OpTic had other plans.
The match remained close until the 20-kill mark before OpTic pulled away. All four players surpassed double-digit kills en route to a convincing game two victory. Cloud9 needed a spark with their unprecedented tournament streak in jeopardy. They had a chance in game three — Strongholds on Live Fire.
Cloud9 found its footing in the third match, and OpTic had no answer. C9 quickly surpassed the 200-point mark as their opponents struggled to adapt. StelluR’s 19-kill effort helped their cause and brought them closer to tying the series.
OpTic Wins, Trippy Wins the Nissan MVP Award
Cloud9 needed to keep its momentum heading into game five, but OpTic would not be denied. Game four saw the teams square off for the final time in Oddball on Live Fire. Cloud9 took round one before Formal arrived in round two of the last match, collecting more than a minute of ball time and 19 kills. He followed that up with 16 more kills and another minute of ball time in round two.
It was an excellent performance top-to-bottom out of OpTic, who happily ended Cloud9’s run at the top. Tournament officials awarded Trippy the Nissan MVP award for his contributions. According to Halo Data Hive, Trippy finished with a 1.23 K/D ratio—the third-highest behind teammate Lucid and FaZe Clan’s Falcated.
- 1st: OpTic Gaming ($40,000)
- 2nd: Cloud9 ($20,000)
- 3rd: Sentinels ($10,000)
- 4th: FaZe Clan ($2,500)
- 5th-8th: eUnited, Pioneers, Complexity, XSET ($1,250 each)
- 9th-12th: Spacestation Gaming, Incognito, G2 Esports, Built By Gamers
- 13th-16th: PIT Knights, Oxygen Esports, Gamers First, Fnatic
This focus now shifts to HCS Kansas City, only 11 days away. We’ll have to see if OpTic can replicate its success in a high-stakes LAN—an environment where Cloud9 has looked unbeatable.
Stay tuned for more news and updates about the Halo Championship Series.