Halo Announcement - Confidence Aplenty
After a solid 5th-6th placing in April’s 2018 Halo World Championship, the Detroit Renegades Halo squad today announce roster changes for the upcoming 2018 season opener event at MLG New Orleans.
We farewell Jason “Lunchbox” Brown and Aaron “Ace” Elam, who from February 2018 worked hard to see RNG through MLG Orlando and MLG Columbus before their top six finish at HWC in April, including a thrilling 3-4 set against Team EnVyUs in the playoffs winner bracket. Once a Renegade, always a Renegade - best of luck gents!
Joining remaining RNG members Travis "Neptune" McCloud and Bradley "aPG" Laws are Zane "Penguin" Hearon & Austin "Mikwen" McCleary. We welcome back Penguin who competed under RNG’s 2016 Halo iteration that qualified for ESL Burbank after a strong finish to the HCS Pro League. Formerly competing with Team Reciprocity, Penguin & Mikwen combine to bring over ten years of Halo experience to the Renegades core.
With the new lineup RNG has also acquired the coaching services of Emanuel "Hoaxer" Lovejoy, formerly of Team EnVyUs. The Renegades caught up with Hoaxer ahead of the squad’s first 2K event under the maroon & gold banner this weekend to discuss his past with Halo and his thoughts on the current state of the scene.
“I grew up following the game, I knew about professional Halo players around the Halo 2 era but I didn’t go to my first MLG event until 2009 for Halo 3. That was the Halo golden age – it was incredible for me. It was a huge culture shock, I was super nervous and jittery but it was an amazing experience. That’s when I first started competitively, where I began going to major tournaments.”
Esports as a whole is still rising meteorically and shows no sign of stopping, particularly for Halo. Just under a million views were recorded for the Halo World Championship in April with over 90,000 tuning in to watch Splyce take out the title and the $500,000 winner’s purse against TOX Gaming.
And while the scene has developed far beyond anything that could have been imagined in 2009, it’s done so in a way different to that of the current major esport scenes like League of Legends or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, proving that a newly published game every so often is still marketable to both the players and the viewerbase as a successful esport.
“You can’t compare the Halo 3 days to today’s scene – it’s kind of impossible to get that nostalgic feeling back - but you can certainly bring elements from that era forward. Currently Halo’s a really up and down scene; we don’t really know what comes down the pipeline in six months’ time, but to me that’s the most thrilling aspect; while I envy the lifespan of other esports like Dota or CS:GO, having a solid three or so years before introducing a new game and meta and seeing the players adapt in such a short time, that’s the most thrilling thing for me.
“It’s incredible that we have the opportunity to compete for these insane prize pools – I mean $250,000 for New Orleans is just insane. For Halo to be up with the larger esports for prize pools, we’re very fortunate to have those opportunities today.”
Hoaxer had linked up with Penguin and Mikwen following their departure from Reciprocity and the three had discussed options going forward before deciding on aPG and Neptune - the best combo in their eyes at developing a style to counter that of the very top of the Halo scene.
“This team composition and the playstyle we will aim to develop we think will challenge the top two sides, aiming to counter the unique aggressive playstyles of Splyce and TOX with our own. Early signs are great - we’ve had some great scrims and the team is gelling well together.
“I hadn’t had much experience with Neptune, he had been quite an anomaly compared to the other team members with which I had a lot of experience playing with or coaching with or against over the past years. He’s young but he’s very talented – he’s like a sponge, always looking to improve over time. Now with the wisdom and veteranship [sic] from the new core I’m really looking for him to improve even faster.”
HCS New Orleans begins July 13 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, with teams travelling far and wide to compete for the lion’s share of $250,000. It’s not just a strong showing that Hoaxer is hoping for RNG at the event - he believes the boys have a great shot at the title.
“We’ve got a few online 2K’s that are important [over the coming weeks] but the big event will be HCS New Orleans, we’re really pushing hard to place well. We definitely think we’ll be pushing for the finals for certain. We’re confident to say the least.”
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Detroit Renegades - Halo
Coach: Emanuel “Hoaxer” Lovejoy
Article & Interview by Nicholas “Taffy” Taifalos