Following another Open Series qualifier on Sunday, Tuesday saw the second Pro Series tournament take part in Oceania and Mexico while Wednesday saw Europe take place.
Acend once again was the top team in Europe, however, they finally were challenged in this position after breezing through the tournament last week.
After losing 3-0 in the grand-final during the first Pro Series tournament, this week Natus Vincere managed to almost complete a full reverse sweep against Acend with a close 2-1 Bazaar CtF result followed by 250-238 on Live Fire Strongholds. Unfortunately, they couldn’t close it out as Aquarius Slayer was a fairly one-sided 50-37 scoreline to the French-majority favourites.
This result knocked the team down to the losers’ bracket where rather than pushing straight back for the rematch as we saw last week, NAVI was given a walloping by the mixed-European roster of The Lads.
Last week these two teams also met in the losers’ bracket where NAVI won 3-1. Now with The Lads winning a 3-1 of their own, this puts them in their first grand-final of Halo Infinite while NAVI can still be somewhat happy with their earlier performance against Acend.
The grand-final itself was the Snipedrone show for the second week running. After a strong 5-1 Aquarius CtF result in which Snipedrone secured a 2.0 kill-death ratio (14-7), almost got more assists than all his teammates combined (12 against 15) and brought home three of the five flag captures, he then went 14-7 once again in map two leading to a 50-27 Slayer result.
As they looked to lockout yet another 3-0 grand-final result, The Lads then fought back on Streets Strongholds as they countered Acend’s hyper-aggressive playstyle well by playing into it and simply winning the engagements leading them to be trip-capping for most of the map. While all of Acend ended with a negative kill spread, Lqgend and Shaady’s 7-20 kill-death counts in particular is something we rarely see from the European titans.
As talks of a possible reverse sweep started brewing, Acend recovered well to end the game with a 2-0 on Oddball in which Snipedrone returned to his fragging ways at 22-10.
While Acend keeps their untouched tournament record going strong, NAVI and The Lads have definitely seen improvements compared to their pre-Raleigh results. On the other hand, Quadrant has virtually dropped out of the equation with a fourth and now fifth-place finish after reaching three grand-finals in a row before Raleigh.
- 1st - Acend
- 2nd - The Lads
- 3rd - Natus Vincere
- 4th - Mock-it Esports
- 5-6th - Quadrant & HMCA
- 7-8th - WeKnowTheSecret & Fantastic
- 9-12th - Team Twisted, WhoKnows, TYSK, & Bongo
- 13-16th - Switch, Frequent Flyers, Wake Up, & Scandi Vikings
While the grand-final in the Australia and New Zealand region once again saw a Chiefs Esports Club vs Divine Mind rematch for the fourth grand-final across the five regional HCS tournaments, all attention was on a newcomer to the tournament in Team Immunity.
As well as including one of Halo’s all-time greatest players in Daniel "OGRE1" Ryan, his teammates all previously led the region during Halo 5. Now nine years after the same four players finished just outside of the top-eight at MLG Dallas on Halo 4, Team Immunity is back adding a very promising wildcard to the mix as we near the ANZ Regional in March and Kansas City Major in April.
After smashing their opponents during the open tournament, Immunity managed to take down both Mindfreak, Dire Wolves, and another newly formed roster of Frxgrs which includes ex-Mindfreak and Chiefs players before losing to the top two teams of Chiefs and Divine Mind to exit the tournament in third place.
As for the grand-final itself, while Divine Mind did take down Chiefs last week in what was Chiefs’ very first domestic loss in Halo Infinite, that was while playing with a substitute. This week Madison "Madsy" Stone was back while their ex-stand-in and coach of Kadir "FlexRainZ" Yeles moved over to the previously mentioned Frxgrs lineup.
This change meant that after initially taking Divine Mind down 3-0 in the winners’ final, they then retained their title with a 3-1 win in the grand final. This included a 4-1 Bazaar CtF result to end the series while their lone defeat came on a 39-50 result on Aquarius Slayer in which Dannte secured 20 kills to just eight deaths.
Yet another one-two from Chiefs and Divine Mind has become very predictable in the Oceanic region but with both Immunity and Frxgrs joining the fray this week, it’s possible this can be challenged in the coming month as the two rosters get more playtime as a squad under their belt.
Regardless for Immunity, a top-three finish after so long away from competitive Halo for these players is an impressive result and should mean we’ll get to see OGRE1 competing at the Kansas City Major should they keep this up.
- 1st - Chiefs Esports Club
- 2nd - Divine Mind
- 3rd - Team Immunity
- 4th - Dire Wolves
- 5-6th - Frxgrs & Mindfreak
- 7-8th - 1620 Kings & BBR
Finally, we have Mexico. After losing their 100% map win record against domestic opponents last week, the Knights once again lost a map against Timbers Esports, this time in the winners’ finals rather than the grand-final making it a bit more nerve-wracking for the reigning champions.
This map loss came during the first map of the series on Recharge Strongholds where Timbers were able to consistently out-frag all four members of the Knights roster leading to multiple triple-caps from Timbers throughout the game. With a final score of 250-130 this looked like somewhat of a statement from Timbers as they hoped to continue this fragging prowess onto Bazaar.
Unfortunately, whether it was simply a bad day or a weak map, Recharge was behind them here as a 50-31 tied up the game. On Aquarius CtF, Jager locked in the first frag capture for Timbers before the Knights responded with four captures in the following few minutes before finally the 3-1 ended with a return to Streets where a straight 2-0 on Oddball sent them to yet another grand-final.
After winning two maps off of the Knights in two weeks, Timbers now had to win six to take the title. A close to impossible task.
Not only did Timbers not manage to achieve this but they went down in straight maps. Another 2-0 on Oddball, a closer than previous 50-40 Slayer scoreline, and a 250-99 statement of their own on their return to Strongholds on Streets closed out the series and tournament.
After we were unable to see the Knights compete at the Raliegh Major, the team’s consistent performance regionally is making their almost-certain Kansas City Major appearance in April one to look forward as they look unbreakable in Mexico.
- 1st - Pittsburgh Knights
- 2nd - Timbers Esports
- 3rd - Fire N Ice Esports
- 4th - Altar Esports
- 5-6th - Dream Conspiracy & Team Cruelty
- 7-8th - Ignis Esports & Rebel
The final week two Pro Series games will take place tomorrow as the North American teams take centre 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.