During the Halo World Championship, we announced the imminent launch of the Halo Championship Series: Pro League – the next evolution of Halo esports. The HCS Pro League will celebrate the world’s top players and teams as they compete on weekly scheduled match days, and will also be accompanied by a robust open series that fosters the best up-and-coming talent as they fight to battle their way into HCS Pro League at the end of each season. Throughout the season, we’ll look forward to watching key matchups as top amateur teams rise to the top, and prepare for an epic season finals where both new talent and new champions will emerge.
Today, we’re sharing new details about the HCS Pro League, including qualification format, what to expect from the league itself, a first look at the qualification and league schedule, and more. To start, let’s talk about qualification format for the HCS Pro League. For now, the details below are focused on North America and we will be releasing additional info for the European HCS Pro League in the near future.
HCS Pro Teams and Qualification
One team has already been directly invited into the HCS Pro League based on prior performance as well as their placing at the 2016 Halo World Championship: Counter-Logic Gaming. We look forward to seeing the talented CLG squad defend their title once league play officially begins – for now, they can comfortably sit on the sidelines and watch as teams fight for one of the coveted seven remaining HCS Pro League spots. To ensure that we deliver a quality experience for players and fans alike, we’ll be kicking off the HCS Pro League 2016 year with 8 North American teams and 6 European teams, and evaluate expanding league size moving forward.
Here’s an overview of the Pro League qualification process for the Summer 2016 Season:
Here are the components of HCS Pro League qualification in North America:
- PAX East LAN Qualifier – April 24: 4 invited teams, with the top team advancing into Pro League (read more details about this tournament here)
- Invite Online Qualifier – April 30: 16 teams will be invited based on Halo World Championship placings as well as historical HCS performance. The top 8 teams from this qualifier will advance to the May 8 LAN tournament.
- Qualification LAN Tournament – May 8: The top 8 teams from the online qualifier will battle it out for the next 4 spots in the HCS Pro League. The top 4 teams from this LAN secure their HCS Pro League spots.
- Open Qualifiers – May 14 & 15: These tournaments will be open to all competitors, and will identify the top teams who will advance to the Last Chance Qualifier.
- Last Chance Qualifier – May 21-22: This multi-stage online tournament will be the last chance for teams to qualify for HCS Pro League, and winners from the Open Qualifiers 1 & 2 will duke it out against the bottom 12 teams from the Invitational Qualifier. The LCQ will award the last two spots in the HCS Pro League.
Note: All qualification will take place on the same map / game type rotation as the Halo World Championship 2016 Finals.
Read on for more specifics on roadmap and Summer 2016 Season Details.
North America Schedule and Roadmap
We recognize the importance of laying out a roadmap for players and viewers to prepare for the season ahead. See below for a schedule of events in HCS Pro League Summer Season.
Summer 2016 Season Details
The HCS Pro League will see the top 8 teams in North America competing against each other with two matches and broadcast days per week, with the entire season schedule laid out at the beginning of the season. This will allow teams and fans to prepare for the matches ahead, and look forward to the biggest matchups of the season. All teams will play each other twice during the regular season, and the top 4 will advance to the Summer 2016 Finals. While the teams that finish in 5th and 6th place will not make it to the Finals, they will still have their spot guaranteed in the following Fall 2016 Season. The 7th and 8th ranked teams, however, will have to battle against the top teams from the HCS Open Circuit during relegation, potentially forfeiting their spot to hungry up-and-coming teams.
We’ll have more details and specific on not only HCS Pro League events in the coming weeks, but also the HCS Open Circuit as well. The Open Circuit will act as a challenger component, and feature an active tournament scene that will allow players to form rosters, compete on a regular basis, and climb the standings for a chance to advance to the HCS Pro League relegation matches at the end of each season. We’re expecting to see fierce competition in the battle to fight for a chance at a HCS Pro League spot.
Additionally, 343 Industries’ HCS team is working with ESL on bracket formats, options for a picks and bans system, a newly updated focus and feedback group in the form of the HCS Council (including working with this group on updates to maps, game types, formats, and more), as well as exciting new opportunities such as in-game esports skins. There’s lots more in the works, so stay tuned.
The Summer 2016 Season of the HCS Pro League will be here before you know it – best get to practicing now…