The biggest question on everyone's mind as the weekend began was a simple one, but one with historic implications.
Would the former OpTic Gaming roster, Tox, take home a third straight Halo World Championship during a year where they were tested like never before? Or would there be a changing of the guard? Would the young guns, Splyce, put the finishing touches on their heist of the Halo landscape?
In the end, Splyce would answer that question emphatically by only dropping one game to Tox in the winner's bracket finals and sweeping Tox in the grand final, to win the $500,000 prize.
Heading into the tournament, the general consensus was that Tox and Splyce would be the final two teams standing when all was said and done. The defending world champions, Tox, faced a different level of adversity this year, one that led to disappointing second-place finishes at both MLG Orlando and MLG Columbus -- to none other than Splyce. Even with these losses to Splyce, previous history suggests that it would be foolish to count out Paul "Snakebite" Duarte and the rest of Tox.
Splyce and Tox began their collision course in similar fashion: They both made quick work of their pool play opponents and entered bracket play with mirrored 3-0 records, then both effortlessly advanced to the second round, as Splyce defeated Team Infused 4-1 and Tox beat eLevate with the same score, eventually setting up a showdown in the winner's bracket finals with decisive semifinal wins. Finally, the question of whether Tox could handle the hot-handed Splyce would be answered.
Tox dealt the first blow in the highly-anticipated clash of titans with a narrow 100-99 win on Eden Strongholds. Things looked like they had gone back to normal. Tox was going to make it three championships in a row, right?
Tox would not win a single game against Splyce for the rest of the tournament.
Splyce went on to win the next four games: Coliseum Slayer, Truth Capture The Flag, Plaza Strongholds, and Regret Slayer, sending Tox off to the loser's bracket. In order to do make it back to the final, however, Tox would have to make it through "The Wizard" himself, Justin "Pistola" Deese, and the rest of Team EnVyUs that was coming off a Game 7 win against Reciprocity. NV gave Tox everything it could handle, and even had Tox against the ropes 3-2 with two shots to send it home. In poetic fashion, Tox had no intentions of leaving without a fight. Tox turned the series on it's head, and forced a Game 7 do-or-die with the winner advancing to the grand finals. In what seemed like an attempt to remove all doubt, Tox dominated nV, setting the stage for a rematch against Splyce.
If Tox was going to become the three-time world champion, it would have to beat Splyce in back-to-back best-of-seven series, thanks to the earlier loss in the winner's bracket finals. Much to its dismay, Tox showed little signs of life in the rematch.
It wasn't until Game 3 that Tox was able to keep it close, but still ended up losing 100-95 on Empire Strongholds. With its tournament lives on the line, Tox went into Fathom Capture the Flag searching for answers and, eventually, it did. Tox was down 2-0 before quickly responding and tying the game 2-2. Momentum had, if only for a moment, seemingly shifted in its favor. That momentum was too brief however, and Splyce was able to capture the final flag to dethrone Tox and take home the Halo World Championship, along with $500,000.
The future of Halo 5: Guardians is left to be determined, but for now, the young guns of Splyce sit atop the Halo world.