Top 5 This Week

Related Posts

Top Halo Pro Stops Playing In Protest Against Own Team [Update: He's Released]

Update, 5:20 p.m. ET, 7/27/2022: After months of stalemate, eUnited has officially released Ganza from contract. He’ll be going to FaZe, a massive esports organization that recently went public (and flopped, per Bloomberg). Confirming Dexterto’s reporting, he’s joined by Jonathan “Renegade” Willet, who recently departed Cloud 9, another top team. eUnited, meanwhile, signed X Games medalist Ayden “Spectator” Hill away from XSET. Expect more shaking and moving before the next major event, scheduled for the end of September in Orlando.

Incredible Halo Infinite Map Captures Iconic Toy Story Room In Its Full Glory

Share SubtitlesOffEnglishShare this VideoFacebookTwitterEmailRedditLinkview videoIncredible Halo Infinite Map Captures Iconic Toy Story Room In Its Full Glory

Original story follows.

Tyler “Spartan” Ganza, one of the best professional Halo Infinite players in the world, has voluntarily benched himself for the rest of the game’s scheduled season, alleging that his team, eUnited, is holding him to contract under conditions that are “unconscionable and oppressive.”

This story was originally published on May 16, 2022.

Following the rocky rollout of Halo Infinite’s second season earlier this month, Ganza was one of the more vocal critics among the game’s professional class. On social media, he skewered many of the update’s misfires—focusing on how the patch introduced a bug that caused guns to jam up—and did so with, um, colorful language. He was fined $2,500 by the Halo Championship Series (HCS) organization, who cited a violation of the code of conduct for pro players. eUnited followed that up by levying a fine of its own: $750.

But, he says, a $3,250 hit is not why he’s (temporarily) hanging up his hat.

“I’m officially on the bench. I’d like to make it clear that I have put myself here and it was no one else’s choice but my own,” Ganza wrote in a TwitLonger statement early Saturday morning, adding, “It has absolutely nothing to do with the fine debacle.”

Ganza’s choice to bench himself is rooted in soap-worthy drama dating back to the start of Halo Infinite’s professional season, which officially kicked off in December. At that month’s HCS Major in Raleigh, North Carolina, eUnited performed well, coming in second. (Cloud 9 nabbed gold.) Two months later, at the HCS Major in Anaheim, California, eUnited came in third. (Cloud 9 nabbed gold at that event too.)

The dip in performance could be attributed to any number of factors—performance of sports teams fluctuates all the time—but Ganza chalked it up to some insidious behind-the-scenes dealings on the part of eUnited. According to Ganza, his teammate Ryan “Ryanoob” Geddes lobbied to recruit seasoned Halo and Call of Duty pro Matt “Formal” Piper. As for who Piper would theoretically replace? Nick “KingNick” Panzella. (Panzella and Ganza are known as eUnited’s tight-knit player duo.)

Ultimately, eUnited never went through with any trades; Panzella is still on the starting roster, and Piper is currently on Optic Gaming’s Infinite lineup, having replaced longtime Halo pro Justin “Pistola” Deese. But the damage was done.

“Ever since then the entire dynamic of the team has taken a hit,” Ganza wrote. “We have little to no faith in each other. Trust is out the window.”

At last month’s HCS Major in Kansas City, the most recent pro event for Halo Infinite, eUnited finished in fourth place. Ganza said that, following the Kansas City event, he has since received interest from other Halo Infinite esports organizations, but did not specify which teams expressed interest. Nate Drexler, an attorney and a representative for Ganza, told Kotaku in a statement that Ganza held a phone meeting with eUnited last Wednesday and requested he be released from the contract. Reportedly, a member of the team’s management suite told Ganza, “I will not let you go anywhere. You are not tradable. You are not for sale, and I will not give in and let you go anywhere. You will only play for eUnited this season.”

In a statement Saturday afternoon, eUnited confirmed that it indeed fielded “interest”—from, presumably, other orgs—but has yet to receive a “formal buyout offer.” Ganza called the statement “laughable.”

“Tyler has made it clear that he won’t be forced to play,” Nate Drexler, an attorney and Ganza’s representative, told Kotaku in a statement. “We’ve seen this before from him. He doesn’t want to be silenced and he doesn’t want to be forced into playing. We hope to find a resolution that gives him the opportunity to play in a more favorable situation with another organization.”

In a tweet, Ganza said his demands amounted to Geddes getting booted off the starting roster. Geddes did not respond to Kotaku’s request for comment.

The entire situation has set off a bit of a public relations fire for eUnited, which has recently made inroads as one of the bigger Halo pro teams. Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeSpartan picked up steam on Twitter. (Some fans misinterpreted it as #FreeSparty, which: lol.) On Reddit, Halo esports fans seem to grasp the business motivations underpinning these decisions but largely say they’d prefer to see eUnited let Ganza go to another team. As noted by Dexetro’s Hayden Oberg, there’s even some cross-disciplinary support for Ganza: A handful of Counter Strike: Global Offensive pro players have publicly weighed in with support.

In the interest of “objectivity” and “fairness,” and those other journalistic “values,” it’s probably not my place to pass any judgment here. But if you ask me as just a person, yeah, based on the info that’s publicly out there, I guess I don’t see why eUnited can’t let him go. Dude’s clearly not happy at eUnited—and the team’s performance has steadily declined over the course of the season, seemingly as a direct result of clashing personalities. At this juncture, short of, say, contractual details getting revealed, this sure seems like a petty move, at best. And it’s not just Ganza who loses out here! He’s really fucking fun to watch in competition; ensuring he can’t play for the rest of the season means viewers lose out, too. Plus, letting him go to another org could give eUnited management a chance to create a roster with better synergy. (Deese, for what it’s worth, said he’s “grinding and staying in Halo shape for whatever opportunities come in the future.”)

Anyway, here’s Ganza and Drexler’s statement in full:

Drexler added that he’s spoken to eUnited, which is “still pursuing trades [or] buyouts that will be mutually beneficial to all parties.” Representatives for eUnited did not respond to Kotaku’s request for comment.

Popular Articles