The best four teams in North America collided this weekend at the ESL studios in Burbank, CA for their share of $150,000 and the bragging rights that come with the title of Halo Championship Series Fall Season winners. Team EnVyUs, originally formed with the intent of dethroning OpTic Gaming, ended the regular season as the best team in the standings with a 13-1 record while juggernauts OpTic Gaming finished the season in second place. With their original intentions in mind, nV managed to dethrone OpTic from their stronghold, taking the crown and the share of the prize pool. Let's retrace their journey.
Str8 Rippin vs. Team EnVyUs
Str8 Rippin looked to continue their Cinderella run against the top seeded Team EnVyUs in the first round of the tournament and showed that they were not a pushover in Game 1. Str8 Rippin challenged the number one team in a classic Halo gametype, but fell short with a final score of 3-2. Game 2 was not nearly as competitive as nV pulled away late on Coliseum Slayer 50-39, led by The Wizard Justin "Pistola" Deese with a 15-8 statline. The rest of the series followed suit with a 100-21 win on Eden Strongholds and a clean 3-0 win on Coliseum Capture The Flag.
Team Liquid vs. OpTic Gaming
Team Liquid drew Halo juggernauts OpTic Gaming in Round 1 of the winners' bracket and although their first encounter of the season went to Game 5, this meeting told a different story. OpTic flew out of the gates in Game 1 and won 3-0 in a staggering 2:43. Game 2 saw an equally impressive performance out of The Green Wall. OpTic won Plaza Slayer 50-38 behind the 21/5/10 statline from Snakebite. The rest of the series was filled with more calm methodical play from OpTic which led to a 100-29 win on Eden Strongholds, a 2-0 win on Fathom Capture The Flag, and ultimately, a 4-0 sweep.
Team Liquid vs. Str8 Rippin
Both sweeps set the stage for an elimination match between Team Liquid and Str8 Rippin. Both teams had fallen victim to sweeps and were looking for their first win of the tournament. Str8 outslayed Team Liquid on their way to a 100-12 win on Plaza Strongholds. Str8 won Game 2, Regret Slayer with a terrorizing run by Brad "APG" Laws 50-36. Str8 also won Coliseum Capture The Flag 3-2 to put Liquid against the ropes. Team Liquid showed signs of life on Empire Strongholds by winning 100-44 and a 50-45 win on Coliseum Slayer. Another win, this time 3-1 on Truth Capture The Flag, forced a winner-take-all Game 7. Team Liquid pulled off the seemingly impossible, not only extending the series to Game 7, but completing the reverse sweep to eliminate Str8 Rippin and advance to the losers' bracket finals.
OpTic vs nV
The two best teams in North America and likely the world. OpTic is undefeated on LAN; nV is undefeated against OpTic in Pro League matches. OpTic dominated Game 1, and Team EnVyUs put together a sniper highlight reel to tie the series 1-1. OpTic broke the tie on one of their best gametypes, Coliseum Capture The Flag and ran away with the series after that, sending Team EnVyUs to the losers' bracket to play Team Liquid. Team EnVyUs jumped to a quick 2-0 lead with wins on Fathom Capture The Flag and Plaza Slayer and finished off the series with a win on Eden Strongholds and Truth CTF to earn a rematch with OpTic Gaming.
For Team EnVyUs to be crowned Fall Season Champs, they would have to win two Best of 7s after losing to OpTic in the winners' bracket finals. nV started off on the right foot with a close win on Fathom Capture The Flag in overtime, and another win on Plaza Slayer for a 2-0 lead. Refusing to go quietly, OpTic won Game 3, The Rig Strongholds, 100-18 but nV quickly responded with another win. OpTic forced the series to go to Game 6 but fell, which meant that nV won the series 4-2 and were one series away from being crowned the champions.
OpTic Gaming opened the second series with a win on Plaza Strongholds and nV answered right back with a win on Regret Slayer to tie the series. In fitting fashion, nV and OpTic traded games all the way to a winner-take-all Game 7 on Truth. The game remained close until the halfway point when the young up-and-comer, Cuyler "Huke" Garland, made a play that swung momentum towards Team EnVyUs. The team never looked back. nV cruised to a 50-36 victory and were crowned the Fall Season Champions.