Hailing from the land down under is Australian powerhouse, Team Immunity. After winning the Halo World Championship Tour: Sydney, Immunity will make their way to Hollywood and compete against the best in the world at the Halo World Championship 2016 this weekend. With the biggest stage of their lives before them, we were able to touch base with team captain Aaron “Benno” Bennett to see how preparations were going.
ESL: First, thanks for taking the time to chat.
Benno: Thanks for having me. I'm stoked to be competing!
ESL: Benno, news broke just a few days ago that you'd be handling a roster change. Can you tell us what happened?
Benno: We finished off scrimming Wednesday night around about 11PM and were quite pleased with how we were playing. Then I got a call from our captain Heff at about 3AM explaining that he had injured his hand extremely badly and wouldn't be able to compete with us at Worlds.
ESL: That had to have been a rough phone call to field a few days before the biggest tournament of your lives.
Benno: Extremely hard. I've been friends with Heff for seven years now, and I know how badly he wanted this. It's heartbreaking for each one of us, especially Heff.
ESL: Have you seen this affect you, Seduce, or Voltage mentally?
Benno: We are trying to look ahead at the competition and trying to focus on what needs to be done. It's hard not to let it affect us, myself and Voltage have been teaming with Heff since Halo 3, so we've grown comfortable both in and out of the game with each other. Heff makes a lot of play calls and team decisions mid game as well, so it's noticeable not having him in game.
ESL: How about Junior? How, and why did your team decide on him? Those are big shoes to fill.
Benno: We felt Junior was the most suitable pickup as he is the most dedicated player in Australia currently. He's clocked the most hours in Australia and is very vocal in game. He is the best possible replacement we could get for Heff.
ESL: With just a few days before the big event, are you guys trying to fit Junior into the mold that was Immunity? Or is this roster change tweaking your identity and playstyle as a unit?
Benno: It's a bit of a mix currently. We had a pre-LAN in America before Halo 3 in Columbus and Halo: Reach in Anaheim. Both times we had to tweak our play style and adjust the way we played. We anticipate we will have to adjust our play style whilst we are in America as we are not punished as much for the mistakes we make in Australia. With that in mind we're trying to mold Junior to fit our play style, but have an open mind going into the Halo World Championship.
ESL: Is Immunity going to be able to travel stateside before the event to bootcamp?
Benno: Yes, we left Australia on the 10th of March, and we are staying in a house in LA and plan to scrim the top American teams as much as possible. Thanks to Immunity for making that possible.
ESL: Are there specific things your team will be focusing on as you bootcamp? Things you can share with us?
Benno: Really focusing on trying to cut out our solo pushes, making sure each push serves a purpose and being disciplined in our gameplay.
ESL: You're undefeated in Strongholds and 7-2 in CTF game types, while beating teams by a margin of 2.75 flags per game. How well do you see your team matching up against the rest of your group?
Benno: We've got some amazing players in our group, players such as Swift Kill and Calm of eLevate we've played in previous Halos, I've competed against Speed from fabE at the Halo 5 live event in Seattle, and of course bubu dubu who made a name for himself at NA regionals. Having said that, we are confident that we will be able to cause an upset and make it out of group play. I think Strongholds are Slayer are our stronger game types, CTF is something we will definitely have to revisit at our bootcamp in America.
ESL: Alright, Benno. A few lightning round questions. You ready?
ESL: Top three predictions?
Benno: Counter Logic Gaming, Evil Geniuses, Immunity.
ESL: Bold prediction for the weekend?
Benno: Three foreign teams will make bracket play.
ESL: Of the members of your team, who wanders off in Hollywood and gets lost first?
Benno: Seduce likes to go MIA.
ESL: We will make sure to keep an eye on him! Thanks so much for your time, Benno. Any shout outs, parting words?
Benno: Thanks for having me! Obviously biggest shout out goes to Heff, we are all devastated you won't be coming with us. We will do whatever it takes to place well and I can't wait until we are able to travel together again to compete. A huge thank you to Team Immunity for sending us over early to allow us to get us much practice as we can. Junior for being so flexible about the whole situation and dropping real life commitments with such short notice. To my teammates Seduce and Voltage, for understanding we have a job to do and not giving up. And of course thank you to my girlfriend Zoe, Heff’s girlfriend, Courtney, and Voltage’s girlfriend, Grace. It takes a lot of time and patience to be able to put up with us devoting countless hours into something we're so passionate about and it means a lot having your support. Thanks again!
ESL: Thanks again for your time, Benno!
All of Immunity’s hard work and time invested comes down to one final weekend, and with the world to gain, they hope to be at their best. You can learn more about Team Immunity right here, and make sure you tune in to catch all the action this wekeend at the Halo World Championship 2016, and follow along on Twitter and Facebook.