Halo Infinite’s second major of the 2022 competitive season is set to kick off on April 29, giving us a weekend of exciting Halo action.
Taking place in Kansas City, we’ll see another packed event with possibly more games than anyone can handle. There are multiple stages, including an open round where anyone can participate, a large cash prize, and all-important Halo Championship Series circuit points on the line.
If you’re new to Halo or just want to brush up on your knowledge, make sure to check out our Halo betting guide – and let’s take a look at HCS Kansas in more detail.
Who’s Playing At HCS Major Kansas City?
The Kansas City major is split into two main stages – the championship and the open bracket. Any team can participate in the open bracket and if the last major is anything to go by, we’ll see well over 100 teams battling it out there. This includes high-level squads that barely missed out during the qualifiers all the way to amateur teams looking to have a bit of fun.
A full list of open bracket teams will be announced closer to the start of the event, but we can expect some top dogs like Fnatic, Oxygen Esports, Complexity Gaming and others to be there. It’s not all a mystery, though, as we do know some of the favorites who have already qualified through regional events.
Cloud9 headlines the event, coming in as the Sportsbook favorites after dominating the North American qualifier in Anaheim. They’re joined by top teams like FaZe Clan, Optic Gaming, G2 Esports, Acend, Na’Vi, Pittsburgh Knights and others who all earned spots by placing well at regional qualifiers. Currently, teams can qualify through events in North America, Latin America, Europe and the Australia-New Zealand region.
When it comes to the main event, we’ll be seeing a bit of a different format from the first major. The 16 teams that qualified through regional qualifiers will be joined by four squads from the open bracket and placed in four groups of five. All of these teams will advance to the playoffs, but will be seeded based on placements. The top two teams in each group advance to the upper bracket, while the rest are seeded in the lower bracket in different rounds based on results.
The playoffs, aka the championship bracket, will be played in a double-elimination format. The top four teams of the open bracket are seeded directly into the upper bracket of the playoffs and will face the winners of the group stage. Teams that start in the upper bracket essentially have two lives, with the first loss dropping them to the lower bracket and a loss in the lower bracket meaning elimination.
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Odds as of April 19 at Sportsbook
Cloud9 Looks To Continue Halo Infinite Dominance
Cloud9 has been the best team in Halo Infinite so far by a significant margin, taking home both the Raleigh major as well as the North American HCS Anaheim in dominant fashion.
The team started strong at both events, topping their group undefeated, before completing very convincing playoff runs. They have come close to defeat a couple of times, closing out series against both Fnatic and Optic 3-2, but other than that, no one seems to be able to match the North American powerhouse.
Coming in at -200, which signifies implied odds of 66.67 percent according to our Super Calculator, Cloud9 is the heavy favorite at this major and it’s not at all surprising to see. As mentioned, they’ve dominated so far and no one has been able to take them down in a series.
It’s very difficult to see anyone but Cloud9 taking home the trophy, especially as they’d need to lose multiple times to be eliminated, and this may just be a rare esports event where such a heavy favorite is more than justified.
Will Optic Gaming’s Legendary Roster Live Up To Expectations?
Optic Gaming was the team to watch coming into Halo Infinite's first competitive season, having put together a legendary roster that looked to be a touch above the rest.
APG and iGotUrPistola are both Halo legends with massively successful careers, while new signing FormaL comes from not only an impressive Halo history, but also success in Call of Duty. While they’ve been looking good so far, anything but trophies is seen as a failure for this kind of roster.
The biggest rivals for Optic at the moment are favorites Cloud9, who have stopped them multiple times at big events. Bringing in FormaL is an attempt to switch things up and finally get one over C9 – but will it be enough?
Can Any Region Challenge North America’s Grip On Halo?
Looking at the broader spectrum of the Halo competitive scene, it’s easy to see that North America is ahead of the rest. The last international event, the Raleigh major, saw NA dominate, with the top six teams all hailing from the region.
This largely comes down to regional preferences, with Halo always being most popular in America. With that being said, a proper competitive circuit with a regional structure has been laid down, which makes space for other regions to grow.
Europe is the most likely candidate to create successful teams, with the region being the most impressive in other FPS titles and having a wider pool of talent available than Latin America and Australia-New Zealand.
We’ve already seen a few teams like Natus Vincere, Acend and Quadrant make some noise and those seem like the most likely candidates to find international success. However, at the moment it does seem North America is still ahead of the rest, so while we may not see other regions challenge for titles just yet, it will be interesting to see how they can grow and make some upsets at this major and other events.