Starting Wednesday September 14th, competitive Halo will be back on Twitch with the Halo Championship Series (HCS) Season 2 Pro League! The eight team North American (NA) Pro league is back after an off-season filled with rostermania, drama, and new organizations/players coming into the scene.
1) OpTic Gaming (formerly Counter Logic Gaming)
Roster: Frosty, Royal 2, Snakebite, Lethul
Previous season record: 13 -1
After dropping only one match all of Season 1 to second place Enigma 6, CLG is poised for another strong run through Pro league. CLG’s key to constant success throughout Halo 5 has been composed of a few different factors: calm yet informative comms and having the best skilled players in the game. Even with all of the advantages they possess, CLG is not infallible after dropping their first scrim in forever to the upstart squad Team Envyus 9 – 5 during the offseason and recently escaped a narrow victory against Liquid 8-6.
Edit: Mere hours before Season 2 starts, OpTic Gaming’s video show VISION revealed that they had dropped their roster featuring (Maniac, aPG, Heinz, and Ace) and at the very end revealed they had bought out Counter Logic Gaming’s roster.
Predictions: I still think that CLG will take the season record crown by virtue of being the most consistent team in recent years, but at Finals I can definitely see them being pushed to some Game 7s.
2) Enigma 6
Roster: Cratos, Bubu Dubu, Svspector, StelluR
Previous season record: 11- 3
Often times you hear people on the forums or on the streams doubt Cratos’ performance, but his ability to put together Top 4 teams in Halo 5 is unquestionable. After building the Allegiance roster for Worlds 2016 that took 2nd, Cratos went from the ground up recruiting the young gun duo of Bubu Dubu and Huke and Shooter to make the HCS Season 1 Enigma 6. After taking second place in both regular season and at finals, the Enigma 6 roster went into the offseason with a ton of potential. Unfortunately for the world’s most powerful organization, Huke and Shooter left for greener shores leaving Cratos in rebuild mode again.
For this season Cratos recruited former Allegiance teammate Svspector and former Liquid member StelluR to join Enigma 6. Recently, the team has been fueling the fires for drama within the community after the CEO reportedly changed salary amounts after the roster lock and made some unsavory comments which has led to Enigma 6 missing StelluR.
Predictions: Considering that their roster is a complete mess at the time of writing it is really hard to make any reasonable predictions. Bubu Dubu, Cratos, and Svspector are good players but without a solid fourth I cannot seem them placing higher than fifth at season’s end.
3) Team Envyus
Roster: Huke, Snip3down, Pistola, Mikwen.
Previous season record: 9 – 5
After a hot start to the season which included being the first in pro league to take CLG to a game five, Team Envyus started to lose their shine and finished 3rd at Finals. During the offseason, they acquired Eric “Snip3down” Wrona and Cuyler “Huke” Garland from EG and E6 respectively which led to them being dubbed a super squad by the community. A lot of fans are very excited for this roster and it is not hard to understand why. Snip3down is a Halo veteran who previously competed on Evil Geniuses who had a great Halo 2: Anniversary run. Huke started out in Call of Duty and moved on to Halo because he was too young to compete. After wowing the world at HWC on the Denial esports roster, Huke went to place second with Enigma Six in Pro league S1 and at the finals LAN.
One of the criticisms Team Envyus faced during Season 1 was their poor scrim performance compared to their pro league performance. While scrims are not pro league wins, they are a good indicator of where a team’s chemistry and playstyle are at. Envyus eventually scrimmed the never before beaten in scrims CLG and pulled the 9 – 5 upset starting a firestorm of questions. The team went on to torch every pro team at least once in scrims and led to even more hype for this talented roster.
Predictions: There is a LOT of hype for this team at the moment and I am right on that train. While the roster looks like a big improvement, it is very hard to bet against Lethul and co. The man is calculated. A close second and a new Halo el Classico could be in the future.
4) Team Liquid
Roster: Commonly, Penguin, Rayne, Spartan
Previous Season Record: 2 – 12 (Liquid); 7 -7 (Cloud 9)
After Team Liquid placed 7th in Season 1, they were forced to fight for their right to stay in at a relegation tournament. They didn’t drop a series. After relegation, the team decided to do a full rebuild around Spartan after StelluR and Svspector left which caused them to lose their 7th place spot. In response, the organization built a new team using Cloud 9’s fourth seed with the duo of Penguin and Commonly and former Envyus player Rayne.
All four of these players are extremely talented and displayed their talent both in scrims and at the HCS season finals. Many consider this roster to be a sleeper team for Top 4 and possibly challenge OpTic.
Predictions: I do not think it will turn heads if I say that Liquid will place Top 3 going into finals without a roster change. With the amount of raw talent on this roster, Liquid could challenge for first and cause a Hurricane to brew.
5) Evil Geniuses
Roster: Roy, Lunchbox, Ninja, Victory X
Previous Season Record: 6 – 8
Once a top team during Halo 2: Anniversary with the fabled roster of Roy, Lunchbox, Snip3down, and Lethul, Evil Geniuses took a tumble in Halo 5 when Lethul left days before the Halo World Championship roster lock. While Evil Genius has won events since “Hurricane Lethul” (X-games and HCS Pro League Invitational) they disappointed by not making the finals in Season 1.
During the offseason, longtime partner in crime Snip3down left for Envy which surprised many (including me) as many theorized that twins Roy and Lunchbox would retire after leading such decorated careers in Halo. After Svspector left for E6, the twins picked up longtime players Ninja and Victory X to create a solid roster.
Predictions: This Evil Genius team is brimming with experience ranging from the oldest pro in pro league (Victory X) to one of the best shots in the game (Roy), but what really completes this team is their coach Towey. I could see Evil Geniuses making Top 4 if Towey does not run off to go casting again.
Roster: ContrA, Predevonator, Falcated, Shooter
Previous season record: 6 – 8
After making waves as both an org and as a team at Halo World Championship 2016, the Allegiance roster parted ways and are looking to shock the Halo community again in Season 2. After starting the first season poorly, Allegiance made a run in the second half to nearly qualify for the finals. Looking to build off that momentum, the team picked up two red hot players in Shooter and Falcated to compliment ContrA and Predevonator.
Predictions: This team is a very hard one to rate. Besides the duo of ContrA and Predev, this team has not spent a lot of time together compared to some of the top teams and feels slayer heavy. If the young talent really shines in pro league, the uphill climb might turn into a Saturday jog.
7) Luminosity Gaming
Roster: Naded, eL ToWn, Eco, Danoxide
Previous season record: 2-12
Featuring half of the Allegiance World’s team that placed second and half of the Liquid that finished 7th in pro league, Luminosity Gaming is a very interesting team to analyze. Brett “Naded” Leonard despite placing second at World’s was named MVP after an inspiring performance. After the World’s Allegiance roster broke up, Naded participated on OpTic Gaming and helped them make their way into Pro league. Shortly after qualifying Naded announced that he was retiring for the season merely days before Pro league. Now, he is back with a lot of questions left to be answered for the “objective god” and an organization new to Halo.
Predictions: While a lot of people are picking Liquid to be the dark horse for Pro League, my eye is on LG. Naded and eL ToWn are known objective players while Dan and Eco are competent slayers. With a balanced roster this team could fare very well when it comes down to the wire.
8) No Org or name (Formerly OpTic Gaming)
Roster: Maniac, Ace, aPG, Heinz
Previous Season Record: 2 – 12
The 8th placed team of last season’s pro league that formerly represented OpTic no longer has their blessing. Shortly before Pro League began, OpTic owner Hector “Hecz” Rodriguez made a mutual decision with Maniac to drop their current roster in favor of acquiring the Counter Logic Gaming roster.
With that decision longtime pro Nick “Maniac” Kershner announced his retirement on OpTic Vision. In the announcement, Maniac announced that he will play with the team until roster lock so that they can find a replacement for the rest of the season.
Orgless and Captainless, former OpTic (temporarily called LOL) is actually in a really good position to capitalize on both the E6 roster drama and on finding a new high profile org. Even with that potential, this team has the biggest hurdles to overcome in Pro League after an uninspiring Season 1 attempt.
Prediction: If OpTic can at least maintain a .500 win ratio before Maniac’s last game then they have a chance for at least 6th (guaranteed pro league spot). If the team is able to find a new coach, org, and slayer then they could be a dangerous squad especially in the upcoming LANs.