This weekend invites sixteen global teams to Century Link Field Event Center in Seattle, Washington for the third Halo World Championship. North American fans are abuzz with the major storyline of Splyce versus Tox, two teams looking for respective threepeats. Tox, the defending World Champions, are looking to win their third straight under a third team name (previously under organizations Counter Logic Gaming and OpTic Gaming). Splyce are looking to continue their recent dominance and win their third consecutive event in 2018.
Other stories wait to be told from the players outside the favored Finals spotlight.
From the Australia / New Zealand region, one storyline dominated their region this year. After two consecutive Worlds appearances with the roster of Benno, Voltage, Junior, and Seduce, Team Immunity split into two parties, with the latter pair joining Mindfreak alongside Madsy and BZIIRK and emerging as the region’s top team at ESL Sydney in March.
The two teams may be here for the World Championship, but the pairs will most definitely also be looking to prove they were the more valuable pair of the region’s previous dynasty.
Sad news emerged Thursday morning to add an extra weight to the Australian storyline as Immunity’s Voltage announced the 2018 Halo World Championships would be his final tournament as a professional Halo player, capping off a career spanning multiple years, including a trip stateside in 2011 to compete in Halo Reach at MLG Anaheim, where he finished 23rd. Win or lose, Voltage will be leaving everything on the line in Seattle.
As much as I’ve loved doin this the last 9 years, this will be my final event I attend. I’ve been privileged to be able to do this for so many years and I wouldn’t change a thing. Been a incredible journey but onwards and upwards towards bigger things in life, I love you all ❤️
— Matthew Barker (@iM_Voltage) April 12, 2018
The Latin American region looks to redeem itself after an unfortunate bit of bureaucracy caused a last minute roster change to dampen their hopes. While Tapping Buttons, the player whose visa issues prevented him from attending Worlds, ultimately ended up being the spotlight player from Shock the World / SoaR Gaming last year and found his way onto NA pro team Evil Geniuses, Atzo and Drift have found themselves in their second consecutive World Championship representing the region. This year, they are joined by 2017 regional runners-up Magico and Pelu.
European player Ramirez finds himself in his third appearance at the Halo World Championships, a feat only matched by TuFoxy, Jimbo, and Lunny. This will mark Ramirez’s 10th appearance on North American soil for a tournament, and history has not been kind to his placings stateside.
Ramirez earned 9 EU tournament victories spanning Halo Reach through Halo 2 Anniversary, proving himself as a top talent in the region. However, when venturing to the states, he has only seen the top 8 on two occasions, both of which featured only 8 teams. He comes to Seattle with an opportunity to prove his mettle and write off his history as mere strokes of bad luck and to show off the skill that allowed him to conquer Europe in the past.
Veterans are slowly trickling out of Halo, and this World Championship comes with a meager supply of those who saw successful placings with the peak of competitive Halo in Halo 3. Event winners Pistola, Snipedown, D3MON D, and Lunchbox are joined by other top 8 finishers and Halo 3 breakouts Snakebite, Ace, APG, and Gilkey.
This is Ace and APG’s third Worlds appearance together, but first without Richie Heinz, Jr. However, they have replaced him with a player known for a similar objective and teamwork-oriented playstyle in Lunchbox. With their core trio still in tact, they seek to continue another trend of their past two Worlds rosters: competing alongside a rookie talent on the rise. Their past fourths, Kevin “Eco” Smith (formerly Unlegit) and Jonathan “Renegade” Willette have now found their way onto the powerhouse Splyce who have won the two most recent events.
Neptune is a player who rose to prominence in the Halo 5 amateur scene in the recent Fall season, upon joining eRa Eternity alongside Cratos, Musa, and Str8 Sick. After the off-season following Dreamhack Denver, he found his way into the graces of Ace, APG, and Lunchbox with an opportunity to prove himself and has seen consistent top 8 finishes with the trio. His next mountain to climb is to match that of Ace and APG’s past teammates and onto the gold medal pedestal.
Finally, a story impossible to overlook, even if he’s making a camo play on the main stage and breaking all of CLG’s ankles, is the one of Bubu Dubu. He comes into Seattle with his third entirely different roster in three years. In 2016, he was joined by Contra, preDevonator, and Huke. In 2017, he just barely missed a top 4 finish with Shooter, Falcated, and Shotzzy. In 2018 he eyeballs a similar trajectory with veteran Pistola and rookies Trippey and Saiyan.
For the third consecutive year, Bubu Dubu finds himself alongside a teammate best described as the year’s top rising star. 2016 saw Huke pull a reverse-Formal as he translated his CoD success into Halo success. 2017 saw Shotzzy demonstrate age limits were cloaking some of the scene’s best talent as he spring jumped his way to the top. This year, Saiyan has been repeatedly impressing online and on LAN with consistently brilliant playmaking ability and an uncanny sense of how to best play the cards he’s dealt.
Will Bubu Dubu’s amoebic roster identity be a blessing or a curse at Worlds 2018? Only time will tell.
Either way, this Worlds proves to be one of the best yet with a team finally able to dethrone the dynasty built by Snakebite, Royal 2, Lethul, and Frosty. Regardless of whether you tune in for the results, tune in to see each of these Halo players put their hearts on the line for their share of the $1,000,000 prize pool.