Who won each Halo games first open LAN?

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Credit: David Doran @DavidSsandman

Players are optimistic about their futures plus fans are excited to see fresh gameplay, and with HCS Raleigh nearly 2 years in the making, anticipation is incredibly high. Let's take a brief look back at the teams who won a games first LAN* event and explore how they performed after that initial victory.

(*No invitationals included, must be an open event or have online qualifiers)

The MLG Era

Table of Contents

Halo 1

Event: AGP 1

Date: November 23rd-24th, 2002

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Number of teams: 50

Prize Pool: $4,420

Event Winner: The Dream Team

Roster: Darkman, Chumpp, Dagel, Shizz

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The first-ever major 4v4 Halo tournament took place in Nashville, Tennessee, from November 23-24, 2002, and was hosted by the Associates of Gaming Professionals. AGP 1 featured 50 different 4v4 teams and had at the time an impressive prize pool of $4,420. The winner also received a case of Bawls energy drink and free entry into the Halo50k tournament that following spring.

Going into AGP 1 Darkman was already a favorite, having won the famed G4 Halo National Championships three months prior, and he delivered with a first-place finish for the “Dream Team”. Following the event, Darkman and Shizz decided to pick up Alex and Zyos in place of their current teammates. The new TDT roster would go on to win three of the next four major 4v4 tournaments. During this period Darkman would become one of the first players to sign a management contract with Major League Gaming.

After a disappointing 5th place performance at AGP 3, the team went their separate ways when Zyos and Shizz left the squad. Darkman would later defeat his former TDT teammates, Shizz and Zyos, in the Grand Finals of AGP 4. Shizz retired after the event and Darkman went on to have a great Halo 1 career, teaming with legendary names such as Tsquared, Saiyan, Clockwork, Strangepurple, and Nistic.

Halo 2

Event: MLG Washington, D.C. 2005

Date: January 29th-30th, 2005

Location: Washington, D.C.

Number of teams: 50

Prize Pool: $5,000

Event Winner: Shoot to Kill

Roster: Ogre 1, Ogre 2, Walshy, Saiyan

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Halo 2 was one of the most anticipated video games ever, selling over 2.4 million units in less than 24 hours. These numbers were unheard of at a time when most games were sold at brick and mortar retail stores, and not downloaded like today.

Everyone knows this team, they were truly the Final Boss of Halo esports given their dominance. They never failed to reach the grand finals during their reign. This team is so good you have to talk about their very few losses. At MLG Philadelphia 2005 they lost to Tsquared’s Str8 Rippin team in a Team Slayer only tournament that many considered an asterisk given the limited gametypes. They went on another dominant stretch before faltering late in the 2006 season, losing three straight grand finals to Team Carbon. Going into the 2007 season Saiyan was dropped for Strongside and the team didn’t lose a step, eventually winning the 2007 season Championships without dropping a single game

The core trio of Final Boss would start and finish Halo 2 strong, becoming the universally accepted best Halo team of all time in the process.

Halo 3

Event: MLG Meadowlands 2008

Date: April 11th-13th, 2008

Location: Secaucus, New Jersey

Number of teams: 250

Prize Pool: $56,000

Event Winner: Final Boss

Roster: Ogre 1, Ogre 2, Walshy, Strongside

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Halo 3 was the beginning of the end for Final Boss, a victory at MLG Meadowlands 2008 would mark the final time this roster would win together.

After Meadowlands 2008, the team saw back-to-back tournaments where Final Boss failed to even reach the Top 4, an unacceptable record for the once-mighty Final Boss. It was at this point Walshy was famously dropped and in his place, FB went with a young Neighbor.

Walshy had the last laugh, however, when he would go on to eliminate his former teammates at the next event, MLG Toronto 2008. His Instinct team beat Final Boss 3-1 in the Loser Bracket Grand Finals, sending Final Boss home with a bronze medal. Walshy would yet again eliminate his former FB squad at the 2008 season’s Championships, beating FB 3-1 in the tournaments Loser Bracket semifinals.

Going into the 2009 season Ogre 1 made the decision to retire and Ogre 2 was forced to completely rebuild Final Boss. The initial new Final Boss roster was Ogre 2, FeatItSelf, Victory X, and Mackeo, but the continuity didn’t last long, eventually swapping out various players at different points.

Walshy saw success in 2009 while his former team struggled to even make an impact, however, the tables would turn in 2010 when Ogre 2’s new look Final Boss featuring Pistola, FIS, and Victory X would go on to win Halo 3’s final three events.

Halo Reach

Event: MLG Dallas 2011

Date: April 1st-3rd, 2011

Location: Dallas, Texas

Number of teams: 178

Prize Pool: $56,000

Event Winner: Status Quo

Roster: Ace, Enable, Flamesword, Assault

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Despite Halo Reach releasing 6 months before the first event at MLG Dallas 2011, the 2010 MLG Season was already committed to Halo 3.

The roster of Flamesword, Ace, Enable, and Assault was one of Halo 3’s premier MLG teams in 2010 frequently making appearances in the Top 4. The SQ squad would end their Halo 3 runs with a second-place finish at the 2010 MLG Dallas Champs, Halo 3’s final MLG event.

They rode that momentum into a new game at MLG Dallas 2011 where the team claimed Halo Reach’s first major 4v4 LAN title. Two months later at MLG Columbus Status Quo would struggle, placing third in their pool, they were given an unfavorable seed and were eventually sent home by Str8 Rippin with a 7th overall placing. SQ would rebound at Anaheim with a grand finals loss but this would be the last time this 4 man roster reached that far in a tournament.

After failing to reach the finals at the next three events, the team would eventually split up. Flamesword and Enable teamed with Snakebite and Royal 2 to win back-to-back events late in the game's lifecycle, even defeating their former teammate Assault at AGL 1.

The AGL Era

Halo 4

Event: MLG Dallas 2012

Date: November 2nd-4th, 2012

Location: Dallas, Texas

Number of teams: 221

Prize Pool: $40,000

Event Winner: Warriors

Roster: Legit, RyaNoob, Ninja, Goofy

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Warriors claimed victory at the “last” MLG Halo event, MLG Dallas 2012, an open pre-release tournament for Halo 4. The event was unfortunately marred in controversy because certain teams got to play Halo 4 early, a Top 8 placement by Reality Check a testament to the event's illegitimacy.

Warriors were one of the best teams in a weird period for Halo, where the player and fan interest were at their lowest in over 10 years. They reached three straight tournament grand finals, winning one in the process, before eventually replacing RyaNoob with aPG at AGL 7.

In a trend frequently seen in Halo esports, RyaNoob would eliminate his former teammates at the next two major tournaments. In the end, Legit and Ninja would have their revenge. The Duo defeated RyaNoob and another former teammate Goofy at AGL 8 in the grand finals, marking the last time all four teammates would compete with or against each other in Halo 4.


Halo 2 Anniversary

Event: Iron Games Columbus 2014

Date: December 12th-14th, 2012

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Number of teams: 41

Prize Pool: $15,000

Event Winner: Counter Logic Gaming

Roster: Ogre 2, Snakebite, Royal 2, Heinz

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Halo esports saw second life with the announcement of the Halo Championship Series and the release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection 2014. The first open Halo 2: Anniversary event took place in December 2014, just a month after MCC’s famously bad release.

Counter logic gaming would defeat Evil Geniuses in a five-game grand finals series, winning Iron Games Columbus 2014 and claiming H2A’s first open LAN title. Their reign as the game's best team was short-lived however, at the next event, UGC St Louis 2015 they would lose a grand finals reset to Denial games. Starting a trend of second-place finishes that would nearly last H2A’s entire lifespan. Their main adversary would be an Evil Geniuses roster consisting of Lunchbox, Roy, Lethul, and Snip3down. CLG owe four of their five 2nd place finishes to EG, a team that consistently had their number in this one-sided rivalry.

Following the Season 1 Finals, Heinz was dropped in place of Cloud, and yet again a dropped player would go on to outperform their former team. Heinz would place second at Iron Games Atlanta 2015 as a member of Denial Esports, his former CLG teammates would finish in fifth place, suffering a defeat to underdogs “Winterfox” in the losers bracket quarterfinals. CLG struck back at the next event, PGL Indianapolis 2015, defeating Denial in a close-fought five games in the loser bracket finals. CLG would yet again eliminate Denial Esports and lose to Evil Geniuses in the grand finals of HCS Season 2, concluding Halo 2 anniversary time as the main HCS title.

Halo 5

Event: MLG Columbus 2016

Date: February 19th-21st, 2016

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Number of teams: 16

Prize Pool: $50,000

Event Winner: Counter Logic Gaming

Roster: Lethul, Snakebite, Royal 2, Frosty

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Between H2A and the start of Halo 5, counter logic gaming would see historically significant roster changes. Cloud was replaced with Frosty, and Ogre 2 would be dropped for Lethul of evil geniuses. Forming what is now the longest-tenured and highest-earning Halo team of all time, still teammates nearly 6 years later, they currently play under the Sentinels banner.

This new look roster would lose Halo 5’s first tournament, the X-Games Invitational to Evil Geniuses, but from that point on they essentially were the Final Bosses of Halo 5. From 2016-2017 they would win eight out of eleven tournaments and rack up two halo world championship rings along the way. In 2018 they struggled versus against a formidable Splyce roster with standout names like Shotzzy, Renegade, Eco, and Stellur. A strong team that still exists today as Cloud9 with Penguin in place of Shotzzy.

The former CLG roster, now representing TOX Gaming would finish Halo 5 strong after losing the 2018 Halo World Championships, claiming victory in two of three final events.

Now we finally have a new game in Halo Infinite, it’s first LAN taking place at a familiar Halo esports destination Raleigh, NC. This tournament is nearly two years in the making, and Halo esports is arguably in the best position it’s ever been with a Free to Play cross-platform title and the guidance of Esports Engine. With record-breaking viewership expected all eyes are on Halo esports once again. Given all the hype, the winner of HCS Raleigh 2021 will most certainly be remembered, and so will their legacy.