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    OpTic crush Cloud9 to win FaZe Clan Halo Infinite Invitational



    OpTic Gaming turned heads in February following a narrow defeat to current Halo kings Cloud9 at HCS Anaheim. Less than a week after the tournament, Halo legend iGotUrPistola was on the bench, replaced by Call of Duty hometown hero FormaL.

    But in a $75,000 Halo Infinite Invitational hosted by FaZe Clan this weekend, it was clear to see why the change was made. OpTic swept C9 3-0 in the winners bracket finals and then dealt them a crushing 4-1 defeat when they bounced back into the grand finals to claim the title. Halo Infinite esports potentially has a new king, and FormaL was the final piece of the puzzle.

    Even before the grand finals had begun, OpTic had amassed an intimidating flawless map win record throughout the tournament. The 3-0 sweeps that sent C9 and other rosters down to the losers bracket came in no small part thanks to FormaL, the newest addition to OpTic’s roster, who led the winners bracket finals set with the most kills and the most damage dealt. While OpTic were still a top-three team in Halo Infinite with Pistola, his impact on a series was not equivalent to FormaL’s capabilities here against the current best roster.

    C9 came into game one of the grand finals on CTF Aquarius with a lot of momentum, securing a first flag cap early on off the back of a 10-4 start for StelluR. Momentum was essential since the FaZe Invitational operated on a unique set of rules compared to standard HCS tournaments, with OpTic granted a free map win in the single best-of-seven series rather than C9 having to win two best-of-sevens to lift the trophy.

    Yet despite that early momentum and trading flag runs back and forth, OpTic slowly began to outslay their opponent, leading to a final flag capture with 40 seconds remaining to put the Green Wall up 3-2 and take the map. Every member of the OpTic roster ended the game with over 21 kills, while FormaL was the only one of them to end it with a negative K/D. The equivalent slaying power of all four players was a running theme throughout the grand finals and was fundamental to OpTic’s success.

    The dramatic difference in damage and slaying output that OpTic had over C9 was even more apparent in game two, where they returned to Aquarius but for a Slayer match. C9 were under threat of losing with a shocking 20-kill deficit, seemingly unable to control the pace or the power weapons of the game at any point. Eco was the main victim of this lack of control, finishing the game with a 4-12 K/D ratio and only five assists to his name as OpTic won 50-35. Kills and assists were once again very similar across all of OpTic’s players, each taking 12 or 13 of the 50 kills while Trippy and Lucid achieved assists in the double digits.

    Factoring in OpTic’s free map win after beating C9 in the winners bracket finals earlier that evening, C9 were now facing down a 3-0 deficit in the series and one final map to keep their tournament hopes alive. But Strongholds on Live Fire proved to be an act of defiance against OpTic’s dominance at the invitational. C9 exploited their experience as a team in comparison to the much newer OpTic roster when it came to a map and game type combination that relies heavily on objective efficiency. Despite FormaL topping the lobby with 24 kills, five more than C9’s best player in the form of StelluR, the well-oiled machine of C9 took the map with a confident 250-111 victory.

    While FormaL’s attempts to carry his side to victory in the previous game proved fruitless, it was essential to OpTic’s success in Oddball on Live Fire for the next map. With only one round completed in OpTic’s favor, FormaL was already sitting at a 19-8 K/D and additionally had the most objective time on his team as well. By the time that OpTic had taken the second round, the match, and the series victory, FormaL’s statistics had improved to a 35-14 K/D ratio and a 24 KDA. In the Oddball match alone, he had secured 14 more kills than the second-best slaying performance from StelluR on C9 with 21 kills.

    With the next HCS Major later this month in Kansas City, OpTic and FormaL’s performance was a statement of intent in what has previously been C9’s playground. This was C9’s first tournament defeat since they began their dominant streak in HCS Raleigh last December. FormaL also had nearly 20 kills more than any other player in the grand finals and helped his squad take home the trophy with a 40.66 KDA, according to data provided by ForerunnerGG.

    Success in online tournaments doesn’t always translate to a LAN environment. But OpTic’s narrow defeat to C9 at HCS Anaheim while Pistola was still on the roster suggests that an invigorated OpTic, now equipped with FormaL, can replicate the results of this FaZe Invitational on the big stage.

    OpTic’s victory here could be giving us a taste of the next unstoppable force to sit atop the throne of Halo Infinite esports. But C9 won’t be giving up their crown so easily. HCS Kansas City is set to take place from April 29 to May 1.



    As seen on Dot Esports

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