Following a dramatic HCS LAN event, Cloud9 has been crowned the first Halo Infinite champion. At the ‘Kickoff Major’, held in Raleigh, North Carolina, Cloud9 dominated the table to walk away with a massive $140,000 prize and a huge allotment of HCS points. It effectively kick-started the Halo Championship Series, offering fans a tantalising taste of the high-octane action to come in 2022.
There were powerful teams facing off against one another in the Kickoff Major, but only one could walk away victorious. As the stage was set, the likes of OpTic Gaming, G2 Esports, FaZe Clan, Natus Vincere, and many more prepared to play. There was also a scattering of other, lower-tier teams – including some that were almost insincere – and as the series kicked off, the air was abuzz with excitement.
Let’s break the event down.
Welcome to the Halo Championship Series
If this opening event was anything to go by, the resurrection of the HCS will be a seriously welcome one. Throughout this two-day event, the energy was electrifying, especially considering this was the first top-tier Halo LAN event in more than two years. There has been a complete restructure to the Halo Championship Series, and it is now built to be more exciting, valuable, and longer-lasting than ever before. It also boasts the biggest prize pool in the history of Halo esports.
The Kickoff Major was split into three stages – the Open Bracket, the Pool Play section, and the Championship Bracket – or the ‘Playoffs’. As the format was almost completely open, some questionable teams made it through into the higher stages. For example, the absolutely unknown side of ‘Bing Chilling’, essentially a meme team, ended up losing in the Pool Play stage without securing one, single point.
As the teams were stripped down through the Playoffs stage, we were treated to a glimpse of the year ahead. For Halo betting fans, this event offered valuable insights into where the money can be made as we move into 2022.
The Best of the Best
For the teams in the Playoffs, a tense, double-elimination bracket was held. It ultimately boiled down to the world’s best Halo teams, with the likes of eUnited, Cloud9, OpTic, and FaZe Clan taking to the main stage. It was early on in the stage that huge upsets began occurring, with Spacestation knocking Natus Vincere down into the lower bracket, followed by FaZe Clan dishing out a 0 – 3 win to eliminate the side entirely.
FaZe Clan was experiencing a wild ride up until a grand loss was handed to them by eUnited. The North-American side had defeated XSET, G2, Natus Vincere, the KC Pioneers, and Sentinels, before eUnited sent the team packing. Ultimately, following a remarkable streak by Cloud9, it came down to an exhilarating grand final: Cloud9 vs. eUnited.
These world champion teams were set to play in a best-of-seven final, featuring a Bracket Reset mechanic. Cloud9 was in incredible form going into the final, riding high on a dominant streak. In an early match, Cloud9 has defeated XSET 250 – 0 in a round of Strongholds, and 3 – 0 in CTF. In the final stage, Cloud9 went 3 – 0 up over eUnited before the latter team could scrape back a single point. It ended with a scoreline of 4 – 1, with Cloud9 proving that it definitely is the team to watch as we go into the HCS in 2022.