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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M Halo Infinite team finishes 3rd despite Ring Day forfeit

Photo courtesy of Sophie Villarreal

TAMU Halo, Cobra, defeats OU Halo, Eagle, in a Slayer match on Wednesday, March 16.

Texas A&M’s Halo team, or TAMU Halo, played a remarkable season in the Ultimate Gaming Championship, or UGC, Spring League, developing rivalries, navigating shifts in tournament rules and anticipating the growth of Halo within the Texas A&M Esports organization.
A&M finished No. 3 in the South 2 division league play for UGC Collegiate Spring-Halo Infinite. Kory Caballero, an environmental design sophomore and captain of TAMU Halo, said he entered the team into the UGC Spring League to create a solid foundation for the team to grow. TAMU Halo played with their starters for the majority of the season, and according to the UGC final standings, they finished with nine wins, five losses and 27 points.
Caballero said that, before beginning the UGC Spring League, he anticipated the first year of competition for TAMU Halo to be a learning year. The team was forced to forfeit their April 8 games because three starters received their Aggie rings and UGC would not allow the match to be rescheduled. TAMU Halo’s forfeit kept them from competing for the championship.
“I don’t think they expected us to join this year because we have our own university holidays to celebrate the students that UGC did not account for,” Caballero said.
Colton Brietzke, a material science and engineering senior, said he is proud of how far TAMU Halo has come within one Spring League season.
“I definitely would say we developed a good foundation this semester,” Brietzke said.
Joel Munoz, a mechanical engineering senior and team starter, said he is one of the primary streamers for TAMU Halo, streaming every game the team played this season on his Twitch, gyra1.
“It gives me a good opportunity to showcase our communication,” Munoz said. “I’m a very vocal player, and it gives the viewers more of an idea of what TAMU Halo wants to do as a team.”
Munoz said the team is big on communicating, and a big part of their dynamic is their ability to talk and tell teammates where the opponents are on the map.
Ahmad Raaiyan, a general engineering freshman, is the only underclassman on the Halo team. Raaiyan is also the only freshman on the TAMU Call of Duty team.
Raaiyan said his style of play is much more aggressive than his counterparts. During matches, he said he tries to push opponents into open play, get in their face and cause as much damage as possible to the opposing team.
Throughout the UGC Spring League, TAMU Halo played four variations of Halo and best-of-five games: Slayer, Strongholds, Capture the Flag and Oddball.
“Slayer is probably my favorite,” Raaiyan said. “Basically, it is two teams, and they have to eliminate 50 players before the other team does.”
Raaiyan said, during the UGC Spring League, a rivalry developed against the University of Oklahoma. During the first game of the season, TAMU Halo was forced to forfeit the last three games of the match due to a PC malfunction in the final game. According to UGC’s rulebook at the time, there was no allowance for a replay when a PC crashes.
“Esports has been shifting from console to PC more and has outdated rules from the console era still intact for current games that allow PCs to be used,” Raaiyan said.
After the upset, TAMU Halo went on to play OU again and defeated them a few weeks before the playoffs.
For many of the starters, they said the incentive to play collegiate Halo had to do with their childhood and gaming.
“Growing up, that was my very first game; Halo 3 was what got me into first-player shooter games,” Munoz said.
College play adds a new dimension to a familiar game, Raaiyan said.
“Most of us are having fun playing the games we used to play when we were little kids,” Raaiayan said. “It’s surreal playing when you play a game you’ve known since you were a kid and realize you’re representing your school. I know it is a really big deal to me and the other players on the team.”
Caballero said TAMU Halo is growing.
“There will be a tryout sooner than later,” Caballero said. “One of our starters is graduating this semester, so we are on the lookout for another starter. There has also been a demand for a second Halo team to develop for the university, and I am excited to see it.”

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