With the kick-off of Halo Championship tournaments a few weeks ago, we also got a full look at the 2021-22 HCS calendar, which included all the big scheduled events over the next year.
Here’s a rundown on how the HCS format works and what each of the calendar events are.
Fundamentally, the HCS format is very simple. Following the Raleigh Kick-Off Major, there are two Majors in April and September (in red). To qualify for this Major, you need to either buy a team pass and play your way in at the event, or qualify for the tournament during one of the prior Regional LANs (blue), or Online “Supers” (green).
All of these tournaments, from weekly open cups to Majors, offer HCS Pro Points to the top players. The teams with the most points at the end of the year qualify for the Halo World Championship in October in Seattle.
For a more detailed breakdown, let’s start from the bottom of the pyramid.
As we saw over the last few weekends, Open Cups are, as the name suggests, open to everyone to play in and offer a small prize pool and a set amount of HCS Pro Points. These cups happen in NA, EU, Mexico, and Oceania. NA has $2,000 on the line, EU $1,500, and both MX and OCE have $1,000 prize pools.
With cups one and two already done, here’s the schedule for the next cups in Split 1:
- NA - Jan 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, Feb 20th, 27th, March 13th, and 20th
- EU - Jan 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th, Feb 6th, 20th, and 27th
- MX & OCE - Jan 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th, Feb 6th, 13th and 20th
HCS points earned in these tournaments help towards qualifying for the World Championship and can also either help teams qualify for upcoming regional tournaments, or work as a way to seed qualifiers.
The format is a best-of-three map double-elimination bracket, with a best-of-five bracket-reset grand final.
Pro cups are similar to the open cups, but only invite the top teams in each region. They offer an increased amount of prize money and HCS Pro Points, but exactly how much is yet to be confirmed. Here’s the schedule for these cups for Split 1:
- NA - Jan 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th
- EU - Jan 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th
- MX & OCE - Jan 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th
Online Supers and Regional Championships
Super and Regional events are effectively the same tournaments, with Supers being online and Regionals being in-person. They both act as qualifiers as the top teams progress into the Pool Play portion of the following Major and are guaranteed a spot in the Champions Bracket.
Across the year’s two splits, all four regions will have one Regional and one Super. NA has their Regional in Anaheim in February, while the Valencia, Mexico City, and Melbourne Regionals all take place in Split 2.
All of these events have the same format as the Majors with an open bracket, pool play, and Champions Bracket. They are also region-locked, meaning an American team cannot fly out to compete in the European qualifier for an easier bracket, for example.
The dates for these pre-regional/super open brackets are as follows:
- NA Qualifiers - Jan 29-30th and July 23-24th
- EU Qualifiers - March 12-13th and June 18-19th
- MX Qualifiers - Feb 19-20th and July 2nd
- OCE Qualifiers - Feb 19-20th and August 20-21st
The prize pools will vary depending on the region and can be increased via crowdfunding:
- NA - $125,000 up to $175,000
- EU - $100,000 up to $135,000
- MX & OCE - $50,000 up to $75,000
Each year usually includes two Major events at the end of each split with the Raleigh Kick-Off Major added for Year 1. This year, they’re taking place in Kansas City, Missouri and Orlando, Florida.
Each Major sees the top teams from that split’s Regional and Supers be flown in to compete in the Pool Play tournament, while a 256-team open bracket takes place in parallel for anyone to sign up.
The Majors have an even larger prize pool, with $250,000 (with a crowdfunding cap of $350,000) per Major on offer, alongside 210,000 HCS Pro Points.
And so finally, we have the Halo Infinite 2022 World Championships next October in Seattle, Washington. This is a return to the city after the last Halo World Championship in 2018 was also in Seattle. There, Splyce (now known as Cloud9) took the title in a straight 4-0 over TOX (now known as Sentinels).
This $1,000,000 prize pool (before crowdfunding) will invite the top teams from across the year by HCS Pro Points and will also include an open bracket.
Little else has been announced about this event as it’s still almost a year away.
Free For All
Mixed in with all these events are Free For All championships, which are individual player competitions that will take place online in each region and at every LAN event. They each offer both a monetary prize pool and a large HCS Pro Point pool up for grabs and allow upcoming talent to show their abilities, even if they don’t have a pro-tier team yet.
Finally, also taking place will be Grassroots tournaments. These are events that have partnered with 343 to run Halo Infinite tournaments and which will offer HCS Points to the top teams alongside large prize pools. Currently, none of these has been confirmed so far and they're not on the calendar, however, they're definitely something to keep a watch out for.
ForerunnerGG will be covering all these tournaments as they happen with news, stats and more. Be sure to check back to the site over the next year for further details as they come.