In just a couple of days, eight teams will travel to southern California and face off against one another to try and bag themselves a share of a US$50,000 prize pool in the Halo Master Chief Collection Launch Invitational.
This week, the first round of matchups were released:
• The Agency vs. Optic Gaming
• Purple Rain vs. Believe The Hype
• STK vs. VWS
• TCM vs. STR8 Rippin
The Halo Master Chief Collection Launch Invitational is a double elimination event consisting of a number of different game types – Team Slayer, Neutral Bomb, 3 Flag CTF, 5 Flag CTF and King of the Hill – spread across three different maps, Shrine, Lockdown, and Warlord, with each round a best of three series until the best of five grand final.
Coming straight in as game one we have possibly one of the biggest matchups of the event – what better way to kick things off than with Optic Gaming taking on The Agency, the biggest names in Call Of Duty and Halo streaming respectively?
For the first time ever in Halo history, we see an Optic Gaming roster consisting of Flamesword, Pistola, Ace and Snipedown – the players on this team are all as well known as the organization they represent!
Interview with Optic Gaming’s Michael “Flamesword” Chaves
I caught up with team captain Michael “Flamesword” Chaves in the run-up to the event and asked him how it felt to be putting on the famous green shirt as a player for the first time as well as how he felt about his first match against The Agency.
Flamesword: “Mostly looking forward to representing the brand as whole – they have done so much for me since joining them and now I get to represent them with what I do best, and that’s competing in Halo at the highest competitive level. My loyalty as a player has shown in my career as I have only ever been under one other team name in the past (which was Status Quo), but now I get to put on new colours and show the new and old fans what our roster can bring to the table!
Even though H2A is a new game, it shares many similarities with classic Halo 2, and the team we are matched up against in the first round all had great careers during Halo 2 – I would know as I was just an amateur at home watching these guys compete at the highest level.
With that being said, I am excited to play them and face our first challenge of the event as well as let everyone know that the team I have assembled may have been young during those days but since then have packed on a tremendous amount of Halo knowledge and are ready for any team we get matched up with! Doesn’t matter the team we are playing – our roster has one thing on our minds and that’s winning, no matter who we have to go through!”
Interview with The Agency’s Tyler “Ninja” Blevins
Up against this stacked Green Wall Optic roster we have The Agency: Ninja, Hysteria, FearItself and VictoryX. When we talk about Halo 3’s ‘golden era’, we think about teams such as Triggers Down and Final Boss. Several key players made up these teams, and now Ninja has rounded them up to form a good old-fashioned god squad!
I spent some time with team captain Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and asked him how he felt about taking on the mighty #GreenWall in round one as well as how he came up with the correct team to deal with it.
Ninja: “I think the Optic lineup is definitely impressive: Pistola is great at every game he plays, Ace won the global championship, Flamesword has been around the gaming community for a while and Snipedown is well… Snipedown! I think that, like every player, they have their weaknesses – Eric (Snipedown) is amazing with the sniper, but without practice for angles I don’t think he will cause too much destruction. Pistola might be out of practice in general before the tournament, so unless he starts dusting off his sticks soon he can be dealt with. Flamesword has been the Optic’s coach for a while now and has not really been competing too much since Halo 4, and Ace is a great overall player. I think we will take the series 2-1: a practiced VictoryX and FearItself is a terrifying thing – Justin (FearItself) just cancelled his trip to Vegas to practice even more for this tournament.
Deciding my team was not really that difficult – I have been in touch with VictoryX ready to jump on a teaming opportunity the second that competitive Halo was resurrected and he was the first person I texted. He was one of the greatest teammates I’ve ever had in my gaming career and one of the best to grace the Halo scene. He immediately recommended FearItself and Hysteria as our third and fourth team members after their dominating performance at the last Master Chief Collection tournament. Overall I think we have one of the best squads attending the event – every single team has weapons that are going to need to be dealt with and respected. I think this is going to be one of the best tournaments Halo has ever had!”
It’s safe to say round one is going to be intense, and I can’t think of any better way to open the show. Personally I think the ball sits slightly more in the court of Optic Gaming, with three of the players already having teamed together on H2A and won PAX under the name of eX. That said, as Ninja mentioned a very practised VictoryX and FearItself combo is a dangerous weapon – no one can forget the famous three-peat from back in Halo 3 with FB! The Agency will need to watch out for the strategic and objectively tuned mind of captain Flamesword but Optic Gaming will also need to respect the loud and aggressive playstyle of Ninja.
Be sure to tune in over on the official Halo Twitch channel at http://www.twitch.tv/Halo on Saturday the 8th of November at 14:00 PST to catch all the action as it unfolds live with Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez and Andy “Bravo” Dudynsky!