Ayden “Svspector” Hill is ready to slay on XSET in Halo Infinite this year.
Halo pro player Ayden “Suspector” Hill sat down with us to talk about his plans for competing, how he feels about the state of Halo, and how he plans on shaping his legacy in 2022.
Suspector the Halo kid
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Xbox and Halo, the Halo Championship Series (HCS) put together a list of the top 25 Halo players of all time. Of those 25, ten are still actively competing in Halo Infinite while several others are coaching, competing in Call of Duty, or are watching the game from the sidelines. Suspector is currently not on Halo’s top 25 list, but he got his start in Halo a LOT later than everyone else.
Starting his career in Halo 2 Anniversary, Suspector impressed his longtime duo and current teammate Carlos “Cratos” Ayala by winning local tournaments. The duo stuck together the majority of Halo 2 Anniversary and chose to team with each other in Halo 5: Guardians.
I’ve been teaming with Carlos for so long to where we both know exactly how we play. We both know our goals and its been really good to team with him.Suspector
343 industries wanted Halo 5 to stand out as an esports console title and announced a $2.5 million Halo World Championship in 2016. Suspector’s squad (Team Allegiance) consistently played well in the online qualifiers shocking many and setting high expectations for the upcoming Tour events. Placing 3rd at X Games Aspen and top 4 in the North American regionals, Allegiance had proven themselves on and offline as a squad to be reckoned with.
Allegiance made a legendary run through the single-elimination bracket, finishing second and winning $500,000. Suspector made a name for himself as a great team player who could play alongside slayer dominant teammates. His reputation led him to his next team, Evil Geniuses consisting of Snipedown (#6 all-time), Roy (#7), and Lunchbox (#9).
His stay on EG was not long, but his experience led to a respectable career in Halo 5 and The Master Chief Collection. Halo esports were stuck in limbo after Halo 3 replaced Halo 5 as the official game for competition due to Infinite being delayed a whole year after a poor reception at E3.
This delay caused a change in plans for the Halo players still competing, but ultimately everyone returned for HCS Raleigh.
XSET in Halo Infinite
So far, XSET has performed at about expectations in the HCS. They started strong with a statement win over Spacestation Gaming but had trouble playing against Cloud9 (tournament champs) and Acend (top 2 EU team) during the rest of pool play.
First events are hardly a barometer for how the rest of the season will play out, and Suspector is excited to grind out the rest of the season as a member of XSET. Part of Suspector’s brand is being goal-oriented, and one of his goals is (obviously) to win a championship with his team, but he really stressed that he wants to avoid the rostermania of Halo’s prior.
Sticking out with my team is another goal. I want to get through the season on the same team and see the potential that we have. I for sure want to win an event at least and consistently place top 3.Suspector
Halo has certainly come a long way as an esport both from the publisher and player sides. Tier 1 organizations like OpTic Gaming, FaZe Clan, Cloud9, and Fnatic (among others) bought into the HCS Partner program thanks to 343i listening to fan, player, and org feedback while building Infinite. Weapon skins, player models, and other in-game activations allowed 343 to add an extra $100,000 to the prize pool of HCS Raleigh.
For the players and orgs, the stakes have been raised regarding salaries, professionalism, and potential for careers in the title. When asked about the potential for post-event rostermania (massive amounts of roster turnover in a short amount of time), Suspector felt that the scene had changed because of the investment from orgs and 343.
XSET is currently not in the HCS Partner program, but that can change as soon as next year! Tashi announced that they would be expanding the program with a “transparent and open process” from February – April of next year as the scene looks to keep expanding its stable of partners in the scene.
343 to expand HCS team partnership program in 2022
343 Industries are looking for eligible teams to expand the HCS Partnership Program. Which teams do you think will enter Halo esports?
Building a Legacy in and out of Halo
Esports has become more than just competing in video games. Whether its the business or social side, organizations, players, and fans have updated their expectations to match. Former Halo professional player Tyler “Ninja” Blevins was a forerunner in building a brand outside of being “another Halo pro” leading to his eventual stardom.
For Ayden, he wants to, “be one of the best to ever do it,” but he freely admits he has yet to reach his potential. Reaching your potential in console esports like Halo and Call of Duty is often hard because each year can bring new maps/game modes (Halo) or entirely new games (CoD) to learn and master which can take away your competitive advantage.
One of the reasons Team Allegiance made the run that they did in the first Halo 5 World Championship was the presence of Breakout a round by round elimination gametype. The mode was criticized by many older Halo pros for being too CoD like and eventually was removed in favor of Oddball changing the equation for how teams evaluated certain players.
Halo Infinite is charting a new path as an esport, but the game can also be used as a launching point outside of the game to build a marketable brand. Aydan was quick to highlight how he takes care of himself (going outdoors, working out, eating properly, sleeping well) to prepare mentally for Halo’s launch.
Aydan and the rest of XSET will look to compete at the next big event HCS Anaheim as the Halo pro circuit continues. For Power Rankings, news, and features on the Halo Championship Series, keep coming back to Esports.gg.
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