Delayed 2023 Halo Championship Series Starts With HCS Kickoff Major
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Delayed 2023 Halo Championship Series Starts With HCS Kickoff Major

Following a successful inaugural season, 343 Industries decided to bring back Halo Championship Series (HCS) for the second time, and this season will start with a bang. Welcoming some of the world’s top Halo esports players, the HCS Kickoff Major will serve as the opening event of the year and the first of three scheduled Majors of 2023 HCS.

HCS Kickoff Major 2023 Format & Schedule

The 2023 Halo Championship Series (HCS) season is set to commence on Friday, February 24, at Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, which will host HCS 2023 Kickoff Major Charlotte.

Starting with an open bracket, the Major will welcome both professional and amateur teams, giving aspiring players a chance to prove their worth on the big stage.

HCS Kickoff Major Charlotte 2023 | Teaser
  • Date: February 24 – 26
  • Venue: Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Where to Watch: Twitch

HCS Kickoff Major 2023 will have two stages, but the overall format is straightforward to follow, allowing it to run for just three days. And it will all start with the Open Bracket, welcoming 32 teams who will fight through a double-elimination bracket for a spot in the Pool Play.

The top two teams from the upper bracket will advance into Pool Play – pool C or D, while the top two teams from the lower bracket will proceed to pool A or B.

Pool Play

HCS Kickoff Major 2023 will kick off with the Pool Play stage, welcoming 16 teams who will be seeded into four groups of four. The pools will use a single round-robin best-of-five (Bo5) format to determine which teams will advance to the Championship Stage.

The top two teams from each group will proceed to Championship Upper Bracket round 1; the third-placed team will advance to Lower Bracker round 1, whereas the fourth-placed teams from each group will get eliminated.

The tournament organisers have already unveiled the seeding of 12 teams who qualified for the event via their respective regional qualifiers and HCS points.

  • Pool A: FaZe Clan, Shopify Rebellion, Natus Vincere
  • Pool B: OpTic Gaming, Sentinels, Quadrant
  • Pool C: Gamers First, BtH BtH, Luminosity Gaming
  • Pool D: Native Gaming Red, Spacestation Gaming, Divine Mind

Championship Bracket

The Championship Bracket will welcome 12 best-performing teams from the Pool Play, who will compete in a double-elimination bracket. All matches are best-of-five (bo5) except for the grand finals on February 26, which will be best-of-seven (Bo7) with a bracket reset.

A Two-Horse Race

HCS Kickoff Major 2023 will feature 16 teams in the first stage of the tournament, yet all the eyes will be on two rival North American esports organisations, FaZe Clan (2.20 at bet365) and OpTic Gaming (2.50 at bet365), who lead the outright betting markets as the main favourites to hoist the trophy.

Behind the leading two teams, we have Gamers First (10.00 at bet365), Native Gaming Red (11.00 at bet365), Sentinels (13.00 at bet365), and Spacestation Gaming (13.00 at bet365) as live outsiders.

The rest of the field consists of underdog teams in Bth Bth (23.00 at bet365), Shopify Rebellion (26.00 at bet365), Natus Vincere (41.00 at bet365), Quadrant (51.00 at bet365), Luminosity (101.00 at bet365), and Divine Mind (251.00 at bet365), who stand little chance to upset the top dogs.

HCS Kickoff Major 2023 Charlotte Betting Odds Comparison

Team / BookmakerBet365
FaZe Clan2.30
OpTic Gaming2.50
Gamers First10.00
Native Gaming Red11.00
Sentinels13.00
Spacestation Gaming13.00
Bth Bth23.00
Shopify Rebellion26.00
Natus Vincere41.00
Quadrant51.00
Luminosity101.00
Divine Mind251.00

FaZe Clan And OpTic Re-Ignite Their Rivalry

According to the latest Halo esports betting odds, FaZe Clan and OpTic Gaming are the leading favourites to win HCS Kickoff Major 2023, and that’s hardly surprising given the team’s success in 2022. Yet, it’s tough to pick which of the two teams has a better chance of going all the way.

OpTic Gaming, who are our reigning Halo world champions, haven’t made any roster changes ahead of the 2023 season, whereas FaZe completely restructured its squad, adding three new members, including Jonathan “Renegade” Willette and former Sentinels trio Paul “SnakeBite” Duarte, Mathew “Royal2” Fiorante, and Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom.

FaZe Clan already showcased the strength of its new-look lineup, winning Spartan Snowdown, Halo Championship Series 2023: Kickoff Major – North America Online Open and Halo Championship Series 2023: Kickoff Major – North America Main Qualifier, beating OpTic (4-2, 3-1, 3-2) in the finals of each event.

Whether FaZe Clan will manage to keep their impressive streak of head-to-head victories alive remains to be seen, but OpTic Gaming can feel confident travelling to Charlotte, where they’ll count on their LAN experience, which earned them the tag as the world’s best Halo team in 2022.

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