By Official HCS -
Open to teams in Australia and New Zealand, the HaloWC 2018 Sydney Finals featured a fantastic display of top Halo talent from the best teams in the region, all hoping to battle their way to a spot into the final two to earn a trip to Seattle. The event showcased outstanding team and individual performances alike, and proved that the rest of the world shouldn’t underestimate the potential danger posed by an Australian squad on a mission.
Friday kicked off the action strong with up-and-coming teams like Break Even and Arcane making big statements as they tried to take their place among the top contenders, while the heavy hitting ANZ teams Mindfreak and Team Immunity defended their positions in the winner's bracket.
On Saturday, fans saw top teams begin to truly separate themselves from the rest of the field – some in dominant fashion, and some only by virtue of late-series clutch performances. One such clutch performance saved Rivalry Esports, who narrowly avoided a cataclysmic reverse-sweep at the hands of the Monza-led – and ironically named – squad at In Reverse.
Sydney-native Monza helped lead In Reverse to an impressive tournament showing.
When the sun rose on Championship Sunday, four squads remained. Top ANZ squads Mindfreak, Immunity, Authority, and Rivalry Esports looked to finish out the Sydney Finals with a victory, regional bragging rights, a nice cash prize – oh, and a berth in the Halo World Championship Finals in Seattle.
Rivalry’s luck would run out at the hands of a strong showing by Authority, who themselves weren’t done with impressing fans and spectators. Authority went into their Elimination Bracket Finals match against Team Immunity as obvious underdogs, scripted to simply be a temporary hurdle in the way of Immunity’s path to the Grand Finals. Authority however, would not go quietly into the night. The upstarts shocked onlookers by building up a commanding 3-1 series lead and looked to provide fans with the upset of the tournament. Team Immunity though, would live up to their own namesake, turning in their best performance when they needed it the most. Clawing their way back, Immunity rattled off three straight map wins – including a Game 7 Slayer comeback victory - to take the best-of-seven series 4-3 and, more importantly, clinched a spot in the Halo World Championship Finals in Seattle.
The win also earned Immunity a date with heated rivals – and two former squadmates – with Mindfreak, who barreled into the Grand Finals undefeated and with a chip on their shoulder. Team Immunity would prove no match, with Mindfreak rolling to the tune of yet another series sweep. The talented lineup of Madsy, BZIIRK, Junior, and Seduce now head into the Halo World Championship Finals having won all four online ANZ 2k tournaments and finishing the HaloWC 2018 Sydney Finals undefeated – a 17-0 map record.
While all pundits’ eyes might be focused on usual suspects Splyce, Team Infused, and other top squads around the world, Mindfreak’s performance should perhaps serve as a warning to the rest of the world that Australia’s best might be just as dangerous.
The Sydney Finals FFA tournament brought us another talented field of Outback slayers, with a $5,000 prize pool at stake for the top lone wolf as well as automatic qualification for the FFA Finals in Seattle. As if helping lead Mindfreak to an undefeated tournament run wasn’t enough, Junior added another medal to his trophy cabinet by taking the ANZ FFA title in Sydney, and the first player on the world tour to win both the 4v4 and FFA events.
Up next on the tour is the HaloWC 2018 Mexico City Finals next weekend, March 17-18, where the best teams in Latin America will battle to earn their spot in the World Championship Finals in Seattle.
We can’t thank the ANZ Halo community enough for the way they put their passion on full display this weekend. The community and our friends at ESL Australia combined to make the HaloWC 2018 Sydney Finals another event to remember and helped showcase the region’s love for competitive Halo.