Acend, Chiefs & Knights go four for four with Pro Series Week 1 wins

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The first tournament in Halo Infinite’s Pro Series took place yesterday as the top teams in Europe, Mexico and Oceania played in the first official games of 2022.

As well as a combined $3.500 prize pool and the crucial HCS Points, the top four teams in ANZ and Mexico as well as the top-eight in Europe also automatically qualifies for next week’s Pro Series tournament allowing the top teams to skip next weekend’s open qualifier.

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Europe

Starting in Europe, the 16 team tournament includes a number of teams that played at the recent Raleigh Major including NAVI which finished joint-seventh, and both Acend and Quadrant which finished joint-9th. Despite this, all three of the prior European regional tournaments had ended with Acend beating Quadrant in the grand-final while NAVI fell early, something the British majority roster was hoping to change this week.

The tournament began with the top eight invited teams showing exactly why they were invited as they took down the eight qualifier teams in both the first upper bracket games and the first two lower bracket rounds to become the final eight.

From here the big-name matches began with an upset almost occurring as the newly formed team of The Lads lost in a tight 1-2 to Acend to drop down to the lower bracket.

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From here Acend had little issue taking down their usual opponents as Quadrant fell 2-0 and NAVI lost 3-0 as the French squad reached their fourth grand-final and looked untouchable.

Over in the lower-bracket, The Lads continued to impress, most notably as they took down Mock-It in a straight 2-0 followed by 2-1 against Quadrant, both of which were off stream. This mixed British, Irish, and Dutch lineup then met NAVI for a spot in the grand-final.

Despite a nail-biting overtime on round two, NAVI took the initial Oddball game in straight sets before a top fragging Morguhh tied the game up on Slayer. Strongholds Live Fire while another NAVI win was a tough one as they fought back from behind only to get stuck at 249 points for almost a minute.

Finally, after a slow start, NAVI got two easy flag captures on Bazaar as KIMBO and Jimbo led the team to a 4-1 map win and 3-1 series win.

Starting on Strongholds, the classic aggressive French playstyle did give NAVI more ways in than they usually would get as they were managing to get on the board early despite being consistently out fragged with KIMBO in particular struggling with six kills to 19 deaths. By the latter half of the map, a number of triple caps gave Acend the win, 250-144.

Adding to their woes, NAVI then lost the subsequent Slayer game 38-40 which was a slight improvement on their 23-50 Slayer scoreline seen during their prior matchup but still well short of a win.

Finally, while momentum shifted their direction momentarily at the 2-minute mark, NAVI lost Capture the Flag on Bazaar 3-1 as Acend took the series in a straight 3-0.

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Despite their loss, this does mark a notable improvement from NAVI while this is about what we’ve come to expect from an online performance from Acend. At this point, it has been 15 months since the Acend lineup last lost an EU online cup, a record that’s unlikely to be broken anytime soon.

The biggest story here, however, was The Lads who very almost made it to the grand-final just a few days after completing their lineup making them a team to watch for next week.

  • 1st - Acend
  • 2nd - Natus Vincere
  • 3rd - The Lads
  • 4th - Quadrant
  • 5-6th - Mock-It Esports & HMCA
  • 7-8th - WhoKnows & Gambit n Friends
  • 9-12th - Bongo, eazY Team, Kitty Krew, & Almighty
  • 13-16th - Wake Up, HighStakes, SUUS, & Fantastic

Australia & New Zealand

Over in the ANZ region, the Chiefs Esports Club roster which finished just outside of the top-16 at the Raleigh Kick-Off Major had previously won both Open Series cups and the Major qualifier without losing a game.

Coming into this Series, however, they were playing with the substitute of FlexRainZ who competed in Raleigh as a stand-in for their main competitors of Divine Mind.

While this change didn’t seem to hurt them to begin with, they hit a wall in the upper-bracket final as Divine Mind gave them their first domestic fright of Halo Infinite. The 2-0 series included a 250-226 Recharge Strongholds game and an even closer 50-49 Slayer Street result as the Chiefs lost their very first domestic series since the game was released.

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Divine Mind themselves were playing with just two players in common with their Raleigh showing where they failed to win a single map. Now after a 2-0 against both Mindfreak and the Chiefs, they were likely confident in their chances as they met the Chiefs once again in the best-of-five bracket-reset grand-final.

Starting off in this game was Aquarius CtF, a map and game mode that was set to be game three during their prior meeting that wasn’t played. The 4-0 from the Chiefs here showed their domination that translated into a closer-than-it-sounds 3-0 first series for the reigning champions.

A 50-45 Slayer Bazaar and 2-1 on Oddball Recharge were very close wins from the Chiefs, both of which were led by standout performances from Barcode.

The second BO5 of this final also began on CtF, however, this was a much closer game. The map took until the one minute mark for the Chiefs to take a real lead at 2-1 despite a valiant return attempt where Barcode once again top-fragged.

Next up, after prior scorelines of 49-50 and 50-45, Chiefs won this slayer in a real strong 50-30 result as Pipz secured a Running Riot medal. Finally, their sixth map win a row completed the reverse sweep as Oddball Live Fire ended 2-0 o

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While Chiefs lost their unbeaten record, this marks their fourth win in four domestic tournaments. Even with a substitute, a 6-0 grand-final shows they’re unmatched in their region.

  • 1st - Chiefs Esports Club
  • 2nd - Divine Mind
  • 3rd - Dethruptor fans
  • 4th - Malicious
  • 5-6th - Mindfreak & Nuke and Pave
  • 7-8th - Dire Wolves & 1620 Kings

Mexico

Somewhat similarly to Chiefs, over in Mexico the Pittsburgh Knights aren’t just undefeated but have yet to lose a single map in domestic tournaments. Unfortunately, none of the Mexican teams were able to travel to the Raleigh Major meaning we have another six months before they play at a higher tier of games.

For their debut Pro Series tournament, the Knights unsurprisingly ran through their opponents with little to no opposition all the way to the grand final.

Elsewhere, arguably the second-best team in the region of Fire N Ice fell against the newly acquired Timbers Esports lineup in a 2-0 result. The two Timbers players of Noble and Magico used to compete on the Fire N Ice roster last year and fell in four successive Halo 5 Pro Series tournaments against the Knights lineup showing that they’ve been trying to crack the Knight’s shell for years already.

They had another chance in the upper bracket final where the best-of-five ended in a straight 3-0 (2-0, 50-36, 4-1). Timbers then won their lower-bracket game 3-0 to meet them once again in the grand-final.

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Pittsburgh Knights had never lost a single map against Mexican opponents in Halo Infinite and now Timbers had to win six across two best-of-fives to take the title, a monumental task.

After a 5-0 Aquarius CtF stomp from the Knights, Timbers surprised everyone with a somewhat one-sided win of their pwn on Bazaar Slayer. Here 19 kills to eight deaths from Magico helped Timbers take the game 50-37 as both iDrift and Gambino hit just seven kills to 13 and 14 deaths respectively.

At 1-1 now, map three saw Timbers gain just 61 seconds of Oddball time across the two rounds before, finally, map four saw Tapping Buttons completely lock out Timbers with a 21-4 kill-death performance.

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Once again, while Knight’s flawless record was breached, they remain the standout team in Mexico, a record the organization has held for over a year now.

  • 1st - Pittsburgh Knights
  • 2nd - Timbers Esports
  • 3rd - Team Cruelty
  • 4th - Enchiladas
  • 5-6th - Fire N Ice Esports & Rebel
  • 7-8th - Altar Esports & CN Singularity

North America

The final week one Pro Series games will take place tomorrow as the North American teams take center stage with the broadcast starting at 6pm est. Be sure to tune in on the main Halo Twitch channel while ForerunnerGG will be sure to give news and stats coverage throughout.