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The first LAN tournament for the Halo Championship Series marks the beginning of the competitive revamp for Halo. More than 400 teams will compete in the open bracket and five have started turning heads with their performances online.

These five teams came close to making it into the group stage at the event but fell short right before the finish line. Now, with their eyes set on the prize, they make their way to North Carolina to make their stand. Their path to victory will be much steeper than what the pool teams face, but they have a chance all the same.

Open bracket Halo teams to watch in Raleigh

“Having a massive open bracket means players can make a name for themselves again, and those players can have a chance to play against the pros,” said HCS caster Sean “Spaceman” Rogers. “It encourages competition, participation, and it fuels the ecosystem moving forward.”

Catch the action from Dec. 17-19 on the official Twitch Halo channel.

Halo Championship Series Kickoff Major
Raleigh is the first in-person event of many | Provided by Halo Championship Series

Gamers First

Gamers First has not turned heads at many events that they’ve been a part of, but were able to finish above Status Quo at the Kickoff Qualifier. Outside of the qualifier the team has had mediocre placements and would be considered middle of the pack.

Their core is currently composed of Matthew “GuN ShoT” Kimbrell, Devon “PreDevoNatoR” Layton, Casey “Sargoth” Current and Nathan “Squallaye” Kostal. The group has been competing in Halo for several years and are now all coming together under Gamers First to compete at Raleigh.

The team did impress at the Twitch Rivals tournament on Dec. 13, placing second. We’ll see if they can shine in Raleigh.

Halo Infinite mutliplayer preview
Halo Infinite is all about teamwork. Squads that have been together longer could have an edge. | Provided by 343 Industries

Status Quo

Status Quo could be contenders at the upcoming Raleigh Kickoff Major, even if they begin in the open bracket. With long-time Halo legend Michael “Flamesword” Chaves back on the roster for the Halo Infinite season, the team is sure to do well. They placed tenth at the Kickoff Qualifier behind Gamers First, putting them into the lower bracket for the major.

Additionally, the team just placed third at the Philly Esports Holiday Bash, the last tournament they would play in before Raleigh. Game knowledge from Flamesword, alongside Chris “Blaze” Chapon and Oguz “Burton” Ustuntas, gives the squad a fantastic core that could place high in Raleigh.


Strainers have slowly started making themselves known in the Halo Infinite scene. They had the lowest placement at the Kickoff Qualifier for Raleigh at thirteenth place. However, they still are noteworthy opponents against those in the open bracket of the event.

The team currently has Kyle “Nemassist” Kubina, KingJay, Minds and Dillon “Nebula” Myslinski. As one of the newer rosters on this list, the team aims to bring their new perspective to the game. They will be one of the many teams competing at Raleigh for the chance to prove themselves and hopefully get signed by an organization by the end of the tournament.

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