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The waters are warm.. and full of monsters - HCS Open - Week 3

North America HCS Pro Series

Week #3 of 4: Sun.Jan.16 & Thurs.Jan20

'Get in here!" says the apex predators.


This week, the same crew is waiting in Thursday's Bracket as was last (Cloud9, OpTic Gaming, FaZe Clan, XSET, Built By Gamers, eUnited, Kansas City Pioneers, Spacestation). The only change is XSET in place of G2 Esports.

Our journey this Sunday to produce the 8 that get to face them starts in Round 5.

Unsigned Talent vs Reality Check (Winners Round 5)

These two teams have a of personality and skills - Reality Check are for certain the underdogs, seeding in at 25th compared to Unsigned at 8th, but both have made a roster change! Unsigned field Brainstrm for tonisun and Reality Check take SmokeYaDig for MuDShot.

Reality Check give a good fight, but Unsigned Talent just have too much slaying power in Game 1 Aquarius CTF, and Brainstorm makes some plays to tip the scales in the slayer.

...Unfortunately, the push comes in and Unsigned Talent are more than ready for it. A 50 - 44 finish for Unsigned Talent. Reality Check make a massive comeback in this game, but the weakness in the early game and missteps in late game are likely where their areas of improvement should be focused moving forward.

Complexity vs Duuragactivity (Winners Round 5)

Over on the other side, it's a similar story. Both played well last week finishing at 15th and 26 respectively, but Complexity makes quick work of their lower seeded opponents. Every one of these Complexity players speaks their truths with their plays.

Such a great start from Complexity, and they finish the series cleanly, 2 - 0.

AND NOW. Complexity vs Unsigned Talent (Winners Round 6)

This matchup gives us what we really want! A game 3!

Game 1 goes to Complexity in a 2-0 fashion.

Game 2, Unsigned Talent look insanely strong with their slaying prowess like we saw in Round 5 and win it 50-38.

And game 3, Unsigned Talent combine their slays with objective efficiency for the victory! 3-1. Complexity are down.. for now..

Ultimately Unsigned Talent end up falling to Sentinels in the qualifying match in Winners Round 7. We don't bother to tune into that one (though Unsigned Talent do take a game off them). Instead we take a look at a closer skilled matchup.

Winners Round 7 - Qualifying Round - Best of 5


Gamers 1st (Sqyallaye, Ali, Karmea, PreDevoNatoR) vs Oxygen Esports(Common, Haines, Swish 5s, Its Name) keeps us happy with another run to a full game count. These are both top contenders that are consistently placing top 16.

Game 1 sets the stage as Oxygen look in complete control, but then G1 bring it right back and almost steal it away.

Game 2 starts to look seriously in favor of G1 off the rip, but Oxygen finds the fuel and the stamina to take it 50-46.

Then game 3 CTF starts off hot with some quick caps, but ultimately both teams hunker down and play it defensive, and Gamers 1st are able to squeeze out that one. 2-1.

Game 4 is an oddball 2-1 victory as well, this one also barely scraping by.

But finally in game 5, Oxygen barely close it out with their last breath as the script from game 1 & 2 repeats. Oxygen are in control, then they lose it to G1, until they finally shut the door, again 50-46.

Gamers 1st, this time, do not make it! They get sent home in Elimination Round 12 against Four ata time(Filthy G, Huss, Life Alert Wanwerd) 3-1. Remember Huss and Life Alert playing on the formidable OmiT back in the open last week and FilthyG's been around stirring up the pot from his start back in Open #1 on Crowd Pleasers with some of the XSET roster and PorkyJ.

Down to Elimination

Down here's where the real party starts.. it just take a little bit to get going! Similar to in the Winners side, things start a little slow. We meet Strife Scenario(Beastjsh, CheeKs4MeeKs, asunnyshadow, yaddy t) and Fatal Ambition(Stan Paradigm, Hative, Vator, Claytron) as they give us the longest purgatory Bazaar CTF game of our lives. I believe it was 32 minutes and 28 seconds long...

...which in retrospect must have been a sign, because while the Halo Infinite meta is evolving fast.. this evening did not. IMMEDIATELY AFTER this slugfest ends, the Halo servers go down for a couple of hours and we're stuck wondering if/when they'll come back. Thankfully we had plenty of replays of our 'live' coverage, and the comfort of everyone in chat keeping us entertained through the long pause....


<3 Ya'll are the true heroes in this tale today. <3


Anyway, after everything gets rolling again, we find ourselves with FNATIC(Juziro, Sceptify, SuperCC, Envore) - the recently signed squad that was signed with Team War and playing under 'Business' before that. They were sent here by Notorious (eU Kenny, Llama2God, Parzeli, Precision) in a 2-1 up in Winners Round 5 and have been waiting ever since.

They run through Fatal Ambition and then Fierce(Galaxy, Knoxxd, Krehxy, Neuronical)

pretty quickly, which start to get their juices flowing, but then they find themselves facing Complexity who have just been wading in the waters... keeping them warm all this time... FNATIC are simply not ready for the destruction and controlled chaos that ensue...

Complexity are on one today! Vetra, Rob the Turtle, Hysteria, and Triton just melt through the rest. They 2-0 Unintrium(Hunter JJX, Conspiracy, Fantasy, Neighbor) -remember Hunter JJX an old member of complexity - and then slow and steady wins the race in the final matchup against We Love Anime(Rammy, BoamX, Eli Elite, Kuhlect). They drop game 1 and then build up the waves to drown them in the final three.

Sentinels, Oxygen Esports, G2 Esports and ANIME(aka Solaris) qualify for Thursday from upper bracket and Complexity, Angry Birds, Four ata time and Unsigned Talent from Elimination.


Thursday's Pro Bracket Snippet

Unfortunately, here's where the waters run cold for protagonists of Sunday.. Complexity end up getting DFR'd by FaZe in the upper bracket and Oxygen Esports in the lower.

From the open, the two teams to make their push into top 8 are G2 esports - who send KCP and Optic Gaming downstairs before falling to FaZe and then in the rematch vs KCP- & Sentinels who beat Spacestation Gaming and fall to Cloud9 in winners and then fall to KCP down in losers.

We followed the Kansas City Pioneers again through the broadcast on Thursday and they improved their positioning from 7th, up to 4th! The Dark Horses stand to rise again! and in general there's a lot of movement in this 4th-12th range where anyone can step it up and make a move.

You can check out the VOD here.

Of course, Cloud9 win it all, 3-0 in Grand Finals against OpTic Gaming, no questions asked. I'm starting to think, they're not just on another level, but in another atmosphere...


I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but if you are not coming to hang out with us on Sundays and Thursdays really ANYTIME we're live, you're missing out! We have a blast watching as much of the action as we can get our hands on!

Today, this afternoon we resume coverage again picking up with some hot teams with our Watch Party Coverage, again picking things up around Winners Round 4/5.

See you there!

-- Taylor 'Snow' Feraco. LVT Productions

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