The LAN curse is broken in style.
The fairytale ending to OpTic Gaming’s run at the HCS Orlando Major has been realized in front of an electric crowd, with the Greenwall putting on a dominant performance against Cloud9 to lift their first trophy of the year. They wasted little time dispatching C9, taking a confident 4-1 series victory in the grand finals off the back of highlight plays from all four players.
The first two games of the series looked to set up what could have been a sweep on OpTic’s part, quickly cutting off C9’s momentum from their lower bracket run with complete map and sandbox control. OpTic’s teamshot was the difference maker throughout the finals; all four players finishing map one with assists in the double digits was proof of that. C9 was heavily out-slayed with FormaL in particular in the spotlight after accruing an 18.3 KDA with 29 kills on that first map.
If FormaL was the standout performer for map one, it was Lucid who took the reins for OpTic in map two’s Live Fire Slayer win. The final 50-41 score paints a much more competitive picture than the game often was in reality, as OpTic’s control of sandbox elementslike the Overshield and Heatwaveonce again handed them a key advantage in fights over C9. Lucid’s use of the Plasma Pistol netted him an impressive 16 kills with only eight deaths to his name, while aPG provided support in the form of 15 assists by the end of the match.
It was when the grand finals moved to King of the Hill on Recharge that it began to look like C9 had more in the tank. Considering it’s the newest game type in Halo Infinite, OpTic’s inexperience in King of the Hill was palpable in the difficulties they had maintaining a setup against C9. With how fast-paced the rest of the map and mode combinations were in the series, the more static nature here seemed to trip up OpTic’s well-oiled machine. It was a map to forget for aPG in particular, who finished with a brutal 8-20 statline as C9 locked down the 3-0 win and put themselves on the board.
Unfortunately for C9, it would be both the first and last time they managed to close out a game in the grand finals. A nail-biting game four on Streets Strongholds almost looked to be swinging in C9’s favor at one point, until a late teamfight win by OpTic while at a man disadvantage gave them a chance to take two Strongholds and map control. A game that had been tied up at 230 points fell away from C9, who could only watch as those two Stronghold captures converted into a 250-230 win for OpTic.
After bouncing back in such a way and with momentum now on their side, the fateful game five of Catalyst Slayer appeared to be in OpTic’s hands from the first 30 seconds onwards. FormaL put on a show to close out OpTic’s first LAN victory, dropping only four deaths with his 15 kills acquired throughout the match.
There were contrasting fortunes for the side of C9, as both Bound and Pznguin struggled to leave an impact and closed out the finals with 7-15 and 8-14 K/D tallies respectively. OpTic showed a brilliant ability to control the pace of Catalyst to win the game, forcing C9 into starting engagements only to collapse in on the push and put the entire roster in the respawn screen. That pace control resulted in a four-kill lead at the halfway mark, which turned into a 16-kill lead by the end of the 50-34 win.
Such a dominant win at a LAN was a far-off dream for OpTic not long ago, especially following the devastating third place exit in Kansas City back in May. Despite consistent victories in every online tournament, it seemed that a LAN trophy was out of reach for the Greenwall until now. But the work to get there is something its players have always been open about. “We worked real hard for this,” FormaL said afterward. “I couldnt be more proud of how far weve come and the resilience we showed all weekend.”
Their sights will now be set on the Halo World Championship in Seattle, which takes place next month starting Oct. 21. Securing a win at a Major event was one key wish for the OpTic Halo roster, but winning it all at Worlds will no doubt be the ultimate goal to cap off their impressive competitive season.