By Official HCS -
With the rest of the world’s regional finals all in the books, eyes turn back towards North America where the final pieces to the puzzle will fall into place. Just nine spots remain for this year’s Halo World Championship, and they’ll all be claimed this weekend, March 23-25 at the HaloWC 2018 Columbus Finals in the MLG Arena.
For in-depth information on event details, travel, and more, make sure to head over to the official Event Hub at halo.gg/Columbus2018. Note that the event and spectator passes are SOLD OUT (and within 48 hours no less!). Additionally, note that spectators are only allowed at the venue on Saturday and Sunday (further details on Friday activities below).
2188 Citygate Dr
HOW TO WATCH
This broadcast will focus on the action taking place on the Main Stage, but will also feature live check-ins to other featured stations, red-zone style, providing viewers at home with more robust coverage of the most important matches happening at that moment. The Main Stream will also feature a world-class lineup of broadcast talent, showcasing some of the finest casters and analysts in the sport.
The Gameplay Stream (Bravo Stream) will focus on a dedicated featured station, providing viewers with an additional avenue to take in top-level tournament action all weekend long. Matches showcased on the Gameplay Stream will be broadcast with a streamlined presentation, focusing completely on the action in-game.
EVENT & BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Friday: 1PM PT / 4PM ET
Saturday: 9AM PT / 12PM ET
Sunday: 9AM PT / 12PM ET
FRIDAY VIEWING PARTY @ MS STORE
As previously mentioned, on Friday, March 23, entrance to the MLG Arena will be limited to team and competitors as the venue floor will be filled with tournament stations to ensure a smooth tournament schedule. Any fans in the area will be treated to a free official viewing party hosted in the nearby Microsoft Store location at Easton Town Center.
At the official Columbus Finals Friday Viewing Party, fans can not only enjoy the live broadcast all throughout the store, but there will also be numerous gift cards up for raffle, MLG swag giveaways, 343-signed goodies, and staff from both 343 Industries and MLG on-site to hang out, chat with, and share in the festivities.
Friday March 23, 4 – 10pm ET
Microsoft Store, Easton Town Center
160 Easton Square Pl
For more details on the Friday Launch Party, check out our official announcement blog HERE.
The NA HaloWC 2018 Columbus Finals is an invitational event, with the top 16 teams in points having earned their spot in the tournament. The 16 teams will be divided in four groups of four – the last place team in each group will be eliminated, the third-place team in each group will face off in a single elimination wild card match, and the top two teams from each group will duke it out in an 8-team double elimination bracket. The 4v4 tournament will qualify the top nine teams for the HaloWC 2018 Finals in Seattle, Washington.
Heading into Columbus, it’s tough to choose a clear-cut favorite, but it would be hard to argue against giving the nod to Splyce. The talented young quartet of Shotzzy, Renegade, Eco, and Stellur have ridden a relatively dominating performance so far between online 2k tournament wins and their eye-opening victory at the HaloWC 2018 Orlando Open in February. In some ways, it’s their tournament to lose in Columbus, but with the level of competition between the top four so close, a win is not remotely guaranteed – the young guns will need to remain at the top of their game to hold off the sharp end of the field.
If Splyce represents a newer, more aggressive generation of play, the perennial powerhouse of Snakebite, Lethul, Royal 2, and Frosty represents a bastion of experience. The defending champs come into Columbus amidst a flurry of uncertainties – none of them however, being their potential to take home the hardware. Seeded second next to Splyce, all eyes will be on the mainstays to see if they can maintain their course on the quest to win a third straight Halo World Championship.
When you’re trying to win at the top level of anything sometimes it takes a little magic – and for that, you need a wizard. Justin “Pistola” Deese looks to lead the fan-beloved Team EnVyUs in their attempt to finish one step higher than last year’s World Championship chase. With bubudubu, Tripppey, and Saiyan at his side, they might just have what it takes – but Columbus is the next step on their journey.
Rounding out the top four is the clementine-clad quartet atTeam Reciprocity. HaloWC 2017 runners-up Mikwen and Snipedown are joined by Spartan and Pznguin, all looking not just to finish on the podium, but atop it. The HaloWC 2018 Columbus Finals give the squad an invaluable opportunity to make a statement. Many fans feel that Reciprocity has underperformed given the level of top talent on their roster, but the players themselves remain confident in their ability to perform at the right time.
Just outside the four favorites sits a squad that might just play more than a dark horse role at Columbus. Renegades’ lineup of Ace, Lunchbox, APG, and Neptune surprised more than a few folks tuning in for the Orlando Open with their solid performance. It’s the kind of play that will make it less of a surprise if Renegades finishes the HaloWC 2018 Columbus Finals even higher.
Falling short of the Top 9 seeded teams, Wise Gaming (D3mon D, Gilkey, Commonly, and Nebuula) is hot on the heels of the frontrunners and gunning to qualify for HaloWC 2018 Finals. With National Champion D3mon D, X-Games Gold medalist Commonly, and long-time competitor Gilkey, this roster brings a great deal of skill, knowledge, and success. WG has defeated a few of the top-seeded teams in online scrimmages, and fans should look for this squad to turn some heads this weekend.
With eL Town and Suspector having made it to the Grand Finals at HaloWC 2016 this roster at Fyra Gaming looks to contend for another shot at the Halo World Championship 2018 Finals. eL Town has mentioned that he's felt at times underestimated this past year wants to prove that he and his team deserve to be at the top. This weekend, they’ll certainly get their chance.
Str8 Rippin have continued to build chemistry with their current roster since Orlando. Being fairly new to the competitive scene, Musa in particular fuels a fire in this squad with his hard work ethic and willingness to learn from his teammates. This squad has an immense amount of individual skill but will need to keep their communication and teamwork up to par this coming weekend.
Oxygen Supremacy have been focused and on a consistent practice regimen leading up to this event – practicing nearly every day next to the defending world champs and defeating teams such as Str8 Rippin and Renegades in recent scrims. If these players can stay consistent during Columbus, we could be in for a potential upset or two in the latter half of the tournament.
Despite recently acquired top Mexican player TappingButtons, the Oceanic roster continues to struggle in online scrims with their limited amount of practice. Only winning 3 out of their 10 scrims this past month, they will need to figure out a way to turn things around quickly if they hope to finish strong this weekend.
The forecast for Columbus may call for extreme cold, but the action inside will be quite the opposite – we can’t wait for it all to begin! For all the latest on the Halo Championship Series and the Halo World Championship, keep it locked to Halo.gg and follow @HCS and @MLG on Twitter.