HCS Anaheim 2022: Cloud9, OpTic expected to compete in final round
Day two of the first Halo Infinite LAN championship in 2022 laid the setting for a showdown of powers on Championship Sunday, with OpTic Gaming, Cloud9, Pioneers, eUnited, G2 Esports, and Sentinels all in contention for the title.
The first day of bracket play at HCS Anaheim would narrow the pool from 16 to a final top six. Many of the outcomes corresponded to forecasts made prior to the weekend’s start. However, early departures for favorites such as FaZe Clan provided an opportunity for a few surprising teams to shine.
Anticipated rivalry between C9, OpTic
OpTic and Cloud9 have had a battle from the inaugural Halo Infinite online tournaments, with OpTic dominating until the first HCS Major in Raleigh. Since then, C9’s winning streak has been unrivaled, while teams such as eUnited and FaZe have overcome OpTic to consistently occupy the remaining podium slots. HCS Anaheim’s OpTic, on the other hand, is back in action and poised to reclaim the top spot.
OpTic have been trying to recapture their crown despite their domination in the early months of Halo Infinite’s lifespan. An unanticipated top-six finish at HCS Raleigh would signal the start of a difficult month for the team. They were expected to win the event, however, they were defeated in the elimination stage by Sentinels.
Their performance at HCS Anaheim showcased a reinvigorated OpTic team, with a faultless set of wins in pool play on day one and victory over eUnited and Sentinels on day two to earn the winners’ finals. The vengeance on Sentinels is particularly satisfying since they defeated the now-full-strength lineup (with Royal2 returning from suspension) in a grueling 3-2 series.
Throughout Friday and Saturday, Lucid was a notable performer, keeping a K/D above 1.3 in every crucial series versus their matched opponents.
Meanwhile, since the early days of Infinite, C9 hasn’t dropped a single set of Halo. Their success in Raleigh carried over to the HCS Pro Series, and they exhibit no signs of stopping at HCS Anaheim.
Despite reaching the winners’ finals against OpTic, their tournament outcomes haven’t been as seamless as one would anticipate from the current kings. Fnatic has struggled to make it into the top eight during their tournament history, yet they still defeated C9 in five games.
C9 overcame them 3-2, and despite a decisive 3-1 win against Pioneers in the winners’ semifinals, it remains to be seen how formidable the C9 lineup will be against OpTic’s rising rivals.
With another championship on the line, C9’s fortitude could be crucial in determining who takes it all. Unexpected map defeats on Friday and Saturday may cast doubt, but the C9 that competes on Championship Sunday is a totally different beast.
Cloud9 and OpTic will compete in the winners’ round to determine which team advances to the grand finals. Whichever team qualifies will have a strong benefit over the team that advances through the elimination bracket, which will have to outdo their grand finals counterpart in two sets in order to win the title. Pioneers and eUnited will square off again in the elimination bracket for the top four, while Sentinels will face off against G2.