A gaming classic is returning to the esports spotlight, with Halo Infinite kicking off its competitive circuit on December 17 with the Halo Championship Series (HCS) Kickoff Major.

This event will be the first major in the all-new competitive circuit for Halo, marking the beginning of a likely very popular esport. Halo already has a rich history within gaming and esports, so seeing it make a comeback with a new title is not at all surprising. Of course, it brings with it a new betting market and although this is the first event, we can already start placing some wagers.

Before we dive into the event, make sure to catch up with our guide on all things Halo Infinite, so you don’t go in betting blindly, and let’s take a look at the game’s first major in detail.

How Does The HCS Kickoff Major Work?

As this is the first big event of Halo Infinite, it’s important to talk about how the game’s events work. For the Kickoff Major, we’ll see three different stages. There are already 16 teams qualified and 16 more will join them through the first stage.

The 16 qualified teams come from across the globe, having earned their spots through regional or country-specific qualifiers. Of these, there are seven North American teams, four European squads, three Mexican teams and one Oceanic squad.

First is the open bracket. In this stage, any team is able to sign up and compete at the event, with a double-elimination bracket deciding 16 teams that will advance to the third stage, known as the championship bracket.

Meanwhile, the second stage is more about deciding seeding and features the 16 teams that originally qualified for the major. The teams will play in four groups of four in a round-robin format, with the top two in each group advancing directly to round 2 of the championship bracket, while the bottom two start in round 1.

Last but not least comes the championship bracket. This is the big one, featuring 32 teams and deciding the eventual winner of the major. It’s played in a double-elimination format with all teams starting in the upper bracket. As such, each team has two lives at the event; if they lose two series, they’re out, and the last team standing is crowned the champion. All matches in the tournament are played as best-of-fives.

Who’s Playing At The Halo Kickoff Major?

So far, we know 15 of the 16 qualified teams for Halo Infinite’s first major and the list features some impressive names. Optic Gaming headlines the event, bringing a legendary Halo lineup including some of the game’s biggest names like Apg and Igoturpistola.

They’re joined by even more Halo veterans now representing some of the biggest teams in the world, with the likes of Sentinels, Cloud9, G2, Na’Vi and eUnited all picking up teams ahead of the major.

With the game still being very new, it’s difficult to tell exactly which team will come out on top, but we do see some early odds and if you know your Halo history, you may have an advantage if you plan to place some bets on this event.

Odds to Win Halo Infinite Kickoff Major
Team Odds
Optic +220
Sentinels +280
Cloud9 +425
eUnited +700
Inconceivable +1000
G2 +1250
Kansas City Pioneers +1500
Oxygen Esports +1700
Cartel +2100
Pittsburgh Knights +2600
NutriBullet +3600
OEX +5200
Natus Vincere +6900
Firn N Ice +8400
LeaveNoWitnesses +10500
HMDA +15900

Odds as of December 13 at Betway

Old Legends Look To Start Strong In Halo Infinite

This event is filled to the brim with some of the biggest names in Halo history. Players like Igoturpistola and Snip3down stand out the most as arguably two of the best Halo players of all time and come in representing Optic and Inconceivable respectively.

We also see a wave of extremely high-level players with a strong history, such as Spartan, Str8 Sick, Stellur, Jimbo, Snipedrone and many more continuing to compete, all backed by the biggest organizations.

For all of these players, this will be one of the biggest tournaments they’ve played in some time and starting well will be crucial to their future in Halo Infinite.

Should We Expect The Unexpected At The Kickoff Major?

It’s always difficult to judge the first few tournaments for new esport games. Sure, Halo Infinite doesn’t differ wildly from the previous iterations of the series, but it’s still a new game and it likely has more players than ever.

As such, despite the fact that we see a few favorites already and have some of the biggest names in Halo competing, we should still be prepared for surprises. There may be some incredible new tactics being discovered and prepared for this event, or some young guns with mind-blowing talent may take the stage and breeze through the competition.

There’s always going to be an element of the unknown at events like these, which is somewhat highlighted by the hefty odds we see, even for the favorites. As such, this may be a great opportunity to back an underdog, especially if there’s a team you really believe in.

What Makes Optic The Favorite?

Optic is definitely the scariest lineup coming into the Kickoff Major. The entire roster is made up of Halo veterans, including Igoturpistola, who is considered to be one of the best to ever play the game, as well as Apg, a player who likely sits in the top 10 of all time.

The team also has Lucid and Trippey, two very successful players who have played at multiple world championships and finals. Last but not least, they’re also backed by Lunchbox and Elamite as coaches, who were also previously considered some of the best in the world and know Halo better than almost anyone.

All in all, the team is brimming with experience and star power, making them a threat to just about anyone. There is, of course, still a question of how they’ll perform, especially given that they’ll be facing young up-and-coming stars, and age can be a performance factor, especially in fast-paced titles like Halo.

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