Monday, 28 January 2013

Confessions of an Infinity Challenge Winner

The Infinity Challenge is over and the dust has settled. Most of you reading this will have seen the dizzying scores amassed by those at the top of the leaderboards. I know some have suggested foul play; that no one could accrue such scores legitimately. Well, I reached out to some of the top players to find out how they did it. These stories of dedication and sacrifice made me realise why I only won some Mega Bloks.

Zero X Saya clocked up an eye-watering 1737 games of Spartan Ops during the final week, putting him on top of the leaderboards and securing himself an appearance in a future Halo game. 

Must Be a Noob was the highest scoring British player in the War Games challenge and came top of Tier 2. 

Private Y0shi played 1092 Spartan Ops games, which was the most of any British player. 

So guys, how did you do it? Did you have to take some time off of work to compete?

Private Y0shi: I actually got made redundant just before Christmas. I've been applying for apprenticeships and stuff, but so far I haven’t had any luck. However this did mean that I had a lot of free time on the finals week.
There were loads of players doing the same thing, so teammates weren't hard to come by. On the first day everyone established that the second chapter was the quickest. By Monday I had established a team that were committed to running games together and placing as high as possible. The players were KMKZ Perry, IFenderz and FEAROFTHESPOON.

With energy drinks and caffeine pills it can be done, but it really caused my body some damage. I’m still recovering now. 
- Zero X Saya
Must Be A Noob: The first day it started I had to wake up at 5am GMT and I played a total of 16 hours that day then slept for 8 hours. When the leaderboards updated and I saw I was sitting in first place it gave me motivation to try and keep first place throughout the whole tournament. I also had two friends playing in tier 2 who were in the top 10, so every time I got on I would always have someone to talk to while playing Halo 4 because the longer you played the more boring and repetitive the game got.

Zero X Saya: Well from the start I never expected to place very high or even go for the first place. I was hoping to place high enough for the Vanguard prize which I wanted to give to my girlfriend. I started playing the finals alone. I did the first mission, which seemed fast if I recall playing it before, but even with rockets on the map with infinite ammo, I failed the mission because my team mates did not help protect the objective. Eventually I tried chapter 5 mission 2 Nothing can go Wrong. I finished it around 7-8mins if I remember correctly. I played that mission again and partied up with a random person who was also doing the infinity challenge, we stuck together after that. We discussed that the Astral Mango guy who was high in the qualifier round of the tournament was beating the mission in less than 5mins. We began to map out our strategy how we could do the same. We eventually partied up with 2 more people. Thus our team was formed, which later became a team of six. when one person had to leave another would join. We all met by random chance

Did you have a process? How did you maximise your game completion rate? 

ZXS: We mapped out our strategy by giving everyone a role, from assassinating all the Knights as they spawned, to having everyone use the auto sentry, or having one person use the jet pack. This level was broken down and found out how to skip enemies spawns by pressing the switch exactly as it appeared in the middle of the map, which saved us some time. Later we discovered that if you could destroy the energy ball that come from the bottom middle to the top and it would skip the final spawns. This seemed random at first, sometimes it would open, sometimes it would not. Towards the end we figured out what made it work or not. I believe our record time was 3:39 with 4 people, 4:16 with only 3 people. This could only be done if everyone did their roles correctly. Eventually, others figured out the same thing, some early in the finals some late. The word spread, but many people did not have a full team to play with. When the first leader boards came out I saw that I wasn’t very far from 1st and 2nd place players, so I decided to go for it, to play none stop. I’ve been having problems sleeping for months now, this wasn’t as hard as it seems, at least for me. With energy drinks and caffeine pills it can be done, but it really caused my body some damage. I’m still recovering now. I couldn't have done it without my team mates. I was the underdog in this tournament, as everyone thought Astral Mango and Sog Spartan51 would win this they had the strategy from the start, and had the advantage.

The only challenge we struggled with was doing the same Spartan ops mission 1000 times without losing our sanity through crippling boredom. 
- Private Y0shi

MBAN: When I was playing the Infinity Challenge I never took any breaks for anything, if I needed to do something like eating I would do it during searching for games because it would sometimes take a while to find games. Since I never took breaks while playing the game I could spend more time sleeping and waking up fresh to start it all over again. It did get really boring doing it this way because I was constantly in and out of games but I would rather have had a lot of sleep than not a lot of sleep.
Because the Infinity Challenge was based on the score you got during the game, it didn't matter if you won or lost the game, so I started to play Halo 4 a lot different than I used to play it so I could maximise my score every game. I would always rush the other team, making sure I get a lot of kills before I would die so I would get a higher score and faster game times.

PY: Over time we devised the quickest process to complete this chapter [Ep 5, Ch2]. We all had Autosentry turrets in our loadouts. Although turrets aren’t very good on their own, having four of them together is almost like having another player in your team. We each had our own task for each phase of the mission. For instance at the start two people would go up to top mid to kill the Knight and prevent any Watchers from spawning additional enemies up there. The other two would stand at the bottom on opposite ends of the map to put as many shots on the Watchers as possible as they flew down. Eventually we learned where the Knights spawned at each phase. We each assigned ourselves a Knight and back smacked them off spawn. This proved to be one of the most effective methods for reducing our game time. High ranking Promethean Knights on Legendary take a long time to kill, so taking them out as soon as they spawned shaved about minute off the mission time. Also there were ways in which to stop whole waves of enemies from spawning entirely! Towards the end of the mission you need to disable some Forerunner tech which allows the Prometheans to travel to your location. Firstly you need to press a button in order to expose the device. If the button is activated as soon as it becomes possible, it blocks an entire wave of enemies from spawning. The device is then released, it is protected by a metal sphere which separates into several pieces (much like the forerunner weapons when reloading) during this window of opportunity the device is vulnerable. A large group of Prometheans spawn very promptly after the device is released. However there is about a 50% chance that the sphere opens before they spawn. If you manage to destroy the device almost instantly, the enemies won’t spawn at all. The only weapons capable of achieving this were the shotgun and suppressor. If all went well, we completed in about 4 minutes 30 seconds. Our best time was 3:31. I would say that we averaged 4:20 each game. The players I mentioned above are all very talented, so mastering this process was not difficult for them in the slightest. The only challenge we struggled with was doing the same Spartan Ops mission 1000 times without losing our sanity through crippling boredom.

What do you think of the Infinity Challenge as a whole? 

PY: I thought the Infinity challenge was great as a whole. It sparked a huge interest in a lot of people. I thought that the idea of achieving the most points in matchmaking was a great way of setting individual players apart. But as much as I love Spartan Ops for continuing the Halo narrative weekly, it’s not something that I would play frequently. So the final week was very boring at times. However the sheer number of great and valuable prizes were a great motivation to play.

I started to play Halo 4 a lot different than I used to play it so I could maximise my score every game. I would always rush the other team, making sure I get a lot of kills before I would die so I would get a higher score and faster game times. 
- Must Be A Noob

MBAN: The Infinity Challenge was great and a challenge to go for first position in Tier 2, but I think it would have been a better experience if they had done the tournament after the next map pack was released so that we would have had a little bit more variety on maps.

ZXS: There was a lot of drama that went on in this tournament, many people using each other and betraying each other. This tournament was fun, it definitely encourage teamwork and strategy. As a whole the tournament was great, it gave everyone the chance to enter and win something.

Anything you really liked?

MBAN: I liked the challenge of trying to keep top 3 of tier 2 because at the beginning of the tournament the top 3 were so close to each other and further ahead of everyone else. I managed to only drop down to second place twice throughout the whole tournament and stayed first for the rest of the tournament which was a great accomplishment.

ZXS: The bottom line the person with the most spare time would place higher, but in the Spartan Ops challenge. It was also more about team work, strategy and dedication.

PY: The Halo 4 limited edition Tritton headset that I won looks amazing. Can't wait to get it. I will always compete in these tournaments if there are prizes like this. Another thing that I really liked about this tournament was that they were vigilant for cheaters.

Is there anything you'd like to see changed if they did it again?

PY: I would like to see the way people compete in these tournaments to change. So instead focus on quality of gameplay instead of quantity. For example in multiplayer I would like to see rankings based on win percentage rather than points. This would give people who don’t have as much time to play a chance at winning. Halotracker had a good system, you were only eligible for the win percentage leaderboard if you had played a minimum of 100 games. 

MBAN: I would like to see more maps in the game and to be able to play a variety of gametypes because playing Infinity Challenge Slayer for as long as I did and playing the same maps over and over again, it began to get boring and mentally challenging.

ZXS: If this tournament was done again I would suggest to make it so the qualifier and  finals would be shorter. I took two weeks off work for this. This was definitely a once in a life time thing for me. Shoutouts to my my awesome teammates Lethulspanish, cajunsuperjeff, aweelillad, tittledhalo, jerkstolemyname.

I hope you enjoyed reading through this as much as I did, there are still a couple of people I'm waiting to hear back from so I may update this in the next few days. I have a few more Infinity Challenge articles to come so if you have any thoughts you'd like to get off your chest feel free to contact me either in the comments section below, via email or through Twitter

- Cowboy Out.  


  1. Kinda sad really. No offence.

  2. Brace for haters.

  3. I placed 66th in Tier 1 under War Games. Everyone above me had friends to give them ordinance drops and let them have all the kills. If I would have known that I was aloud to get 52 kills with a beam rifle, I would have placed higher... I'm still waiting to see where I actually placed and what was aloud.

    1. I didn't realize this sparked such a discussion. I just came here to say I placed 58th after the cheaters were removed.

  4. "every time I got on I would always have someone to talk to while playing Halo 4 because the longer you played the more boring and repetitive the game got."
    -me after playing 10 games of Halo 4

  5. working towards something like being in the next halo game, is not sad at all. goes to show you can be in you're favorite Video game. How many of us can say hey, i have a 2min appearance in halo 5. It will be for ever. better than a truck that will cost you thousands for tax's,and eats gas like no tomorrow, and will eventually break down. That is dedication right there major props to the winners.

    1. Not to mention I would be afraid to drive the thing, it would have to be garage kept for me. All it would take is one idiot on their phone to rear end you, and yeahhh, there goes your custom truck. I dont know what GAS does if this does happen, if they can replace or repaint the parts, but that would seriously suck to have a one of a kind truck, wrecked. And yes, most people dont think about the taxes and all of the other hidden costs that come with a "free" vehicle. I would much rather have had the appearance too. That cant be rear ended lol

  6. I'm sorry, but of the top two players in SpOps one admitted to passing the controller and the other was caught passing the controller (forgot the mic was still on). Can't remember which specific instance goes to which, but same thing either way.


    The Wach

  7. i think if i were to have been in charge of the contest, i would of made it so that for spartan ops, you had to complete a certain # of missions, then when you make it, you're in random pool drawing.

    so like.. make 1000 sparton ops, and you get to be in a drawing for the grand prize.. 500 sparton ops, and you get to be in the next tier of prizes.. and 100 ops next tier..

    for the wargrames main prize, i would have made it that you you would have had to play slayer, but ungroupped and you'd have a hidden ranking system, then have the tiers for the ranks be like.. rank 50 (random draw for truck), 49-40 (next random drawing for vangaurds) and so on so that way you couldn't have teammates helping you.

    i'm not really sure why it's so difficult for companies to create a system that is fair for everyone playing.

  8. People call MLG players no lives...

    and then they condone behavior like this.

    You people are retarded.

  9. Cross-posted from:

    This innocuous little blog post of disinformation just caused me a meltdown which I cannot describe fittingly with words that this hypocritical forum won't censor, nevermind that we should all be well above 18 to rightfully play this game if content ratings mean anything to anyone. I am straining, really straining, to not start swearing anyway just to convey how much irritation the existence of this blog post has incurred on me.

    Let me start from the beginning, which was about 25 minutes ago.

    I get a message from I Draxus I (who is the legitimate #2 Tier 1 Spartan Ops player, in case you didn't know) which reads as such:

    "ask mango to see the link i sent him on fb...we need to flame this blog asap!"

    Translation: Ask Astral Mango (the legitimate Tier 1 Winner of the Spartan Ops Infinity Challenge) to see the link I sent him on Facebook... we need to write angry comments on this blog ASAP!

    Astral Mango was in the party with me, as he is wont to be, and after the current Spartan Ops mission we were playing ended, I relayed this information to him and he promptly goes and checks Facebook on the laptop next to him. Once I begin to hear him hyperventilating over the mic, I ask him to send me the blog link so I could check it myself.

    Checking it myself involved leaning over to turn on my nearby computer, disconnecting and reconnecting my keyboard to the computer, switching my monitor from the Xbox input to the PC input, dealing with a mouse that had suddenly decided to malfunction (involving further physical reconnects and snapping the button on and off), and waiting for my computer to perform the normal processes necessary for me to boot Firefox and load a webpage.

    All while I hear Mango complaining about everything written by the joint account cheater credited on your insipid blog, which I hadn't gotten to read yet, and Mango making up his own false hyperbole over ZERO X SAYA having written an "acceptance speech" and giving the impression that this blog had perpetuated a lie of some consequence in a place where anyone cared. Fortunately, it seems not many people here care, but since this thread is still on the front page I can't do any harm by bumping it.

    And then Mango gets bored in the game chat waiting for me to overcome my present technical difficulties, and starts reciting random names he's sent invites out to, and starts pleading ORWELL COME BACK TO THE GAME LET'S DO BIG TEAM LET'S START IT COME ON LET'S START IT OH YOU HAVE TO SWITCH YOUR MONITOR HUH I JUST HAVE A TV AND ANOTHER TV AND MY LAPTOP ALL NEXT TO ME WHY DON'T YOU JUST FORGET IT AND START THE GAME ALREADY C'MON LET'S PLAY HALO.

    The sort of superball energy that wins week-long insomniac contests in the guise of a videogame. Legitimately.

  10. How do I know Astral Mango is the legitimate winner of the Spartan Ops contest? I was there, that's why. And moreover, here's some pictures to discredit the current false second-place cheater as well. LOOK, INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE:

    Those are unfakable photographs, as they had to be, which is why they were taken on a glorious CRT television as to exhibit all the authentic defects of the display. That is what xSOGx Spartan51 said, and that is the incontrovertible evidence that he as well as his brother cheated. Of course, it had more to do with them *passing the controller on the same account* than circumventing a loophole regarding "ONE PRIZE PER HOUSEHOLD", but that goes without saying don't it?

    So what about the current "winner", ZERO X SAYA, as honored on your blog? Well, what about him? Do I personally know he cheated, as I do with the second-place cheater? Unfortunately, I do not. All I have is the hearsay of Mango whom insists that he's heard testimony of "everyone who has played in his [Zero's] party" that several members of his family pass the controller, and they've been careless enough to talk on the mic while doing so. But I don't know that. What I do know is that I doubt a single person could replay one level for an entire week straight without ever signing out, without ever sleeping, without dying somehow in the process. Astral Mango, in comparison, had two hours of sleep per day on average.

    And he was always on the mic, and it was always his voice, and I know this because I was there much of the time and because I know him.

    So about your blog? Your illiterate, poorly-scribbled blog that doesn't even acknowledge the possibility that maybe-just-maybe the "winner" could've been a joint account cheater? Not the slightest interest enough to do some investigation or asking those who know (hello!) what they know? (Here you go!)

    The interview is piffle, the English is inexcusable, and there's no legitimate reason for it to exist in the first place, just the same as there is no legitimate reason for the illegitimate players to be acknowledged as anything but.

  11. OddOneLovesElzar29 January 2013 at 04:21

    What a bunch of losers... This was a tournament based on how long you can grind, not skill. All you proved was that being anti-social hermits who suffer from insomnia and get hopped up on caffeine can play something over and over for two weeks.

  12. Zero X Saya is actually on my friends list. lol

  13. DJ Orwell, email me. I do have another two Infinity Challenge stories coming soon, would be good to have your input.

    With regards to poor English I tried to keep these guys' statements as close to their interviews as possible.

  14. I replied to you here.

    If you want to message me in private, my email is

    1. The leaderboards have been updated and the cheaters have been removed and guess what? zero and sog didn't get removed.Time to face the facts. your fuck buddy astral didn't win. deal with it. You have no real proof to do any disqualification of the top players. now go hyperventilate over xbox live with ur gay lover astral.

  15. I would have to agree with the fact that the current leader of the spartan ops section of the challenge ZERO X SAYA has to have used some kind of underhanded tactics with the case and point being that others have indeed admitted to passing the controller along to keep their game count rising and having similar times/game completions.

    Another point to bring up is the response you received from said individual which is a very clear indication of a lack of dedication/resolve that just seems off, as many others would be ecstatic or in awe of the fact that they have won the competition, this individual on the other hand seems to be just a little to passive and again off. He himself even contradicts himself several times within his responses/statements, and even brings up the fact of people using/betraying others by himself. I personally find this odd and would also like to hear more from the people with whom he played with to hear their side of the story as well. (hint hint I would look into that... p.s. its called good journalism, gotta get all the facts and sides of the story straight)

    Another topic worth noting is that I personally have known/played with ZERO X SAYA for quite some time and he is not in any way shape or form how this blog makes him out to be. He is a rather rude individual and childish at best. A perfect example of this being that whenever me and my friends would play with him and his buddies he would get very angry at my friends and I if we were out-performing him in-game, to the point were he would either betray us outright our spend the whole game trying to get us killed by lowering our shields etc. Which eventually got to the point where we had to stop playing with him and his friends because of his poor behavior/attitude (he would also get everyone of his buddies in his party to participate in this so that he could get one of them the option to boot you from the game/lobby). So I really wouldn't put it past him to use any underhanded tactics he had available to him (stat-padding/objective holding), which he was also known to do in-game prior to this competition. I even know for a fact that he may even be in possession of a modded xbox because of the fact that he would pirate games prior to their release date to play them. In fact he did this with Halo Reach, he even came right out and told my friends and I and stated that he "didn't give a fuck" when one of my buddies said that what he was doing was wrong and he could get in trouble/banned. After which he hid offline for the entire duration leading up to the actual release date of Reach in order to avoid detection/bans.

    Point I am trying to make is that if these claims, which really shouldn't be taken lightly of him cheating, are being made by even the people with whom he was partied up with/playing with, then maybe this needs to be looked into a little further. I would at least try and get in contact with Lethulspanish, cajunsuperjeff, aweelillad, tittledhalo, jerkstolemyname and try to hear their sides of the story before anything after these claims being made.

    Again these statements I am making are not to be taken lightly and all of them hold credible proof that I can provide.

  16. Umm Anonymous, I also know zero and I know who you are!!! shame on you sore loser lol.
    Fellow gamers, I do not wish to STAY Anonymous, so you can all check my legitimacy of what i'm about to say.... my tag is SG NAMLOCO formally NAMLOCO SBG, I am a 35 year old father and gaming geek. I was the community leader of SBG Gaming and friend to Bungie staff and players. My game room was also featured in the Halo 3 Bonus disk. Again not saying this to gloat, just to show i am not a hacker or a cheater or a under handed friend of Zero. if you search SBG VS BUNGIE humpday on YouTube you will find me in that video with Bungie. Now that's out of the way... I am here to speak on the behalf of Zero. I know for a fact that Zero accomplished this achievement as much to my knowledge as I stayed in contact with him everyday through the duration. There was no IP address sharing or multiple xbox's involved (go ahead and check 343, easy for you and xbox live to do)
    Listen ppl, there are always gonna be ppl that are sore losers and jealousy when it comes to prizes. can we prove strongside passed the controller off to one of his pro buddies while he slept or ate for the stats and leader board??? NO!!! we can not. that is one factor we cant prove with the leader of ops or war games. ALL we have is what xbox live can check and that will have to be good enough like it or not.
    I know Zero and played with him for years...we both get called cheats for being ...not pro..but decent players with a decent positive k/d over all the halo games...I'm a fan, and so is he, just like all of you are to care so much about this topic.
    as for Mr. know who you ARE but refuse to drag you in the Mud as you are trying to do here with Zero.
    Anyhow...I just wanted to clear the air and counter this sore egocentric Anonymous poster. What you are doing is not right and you should be ashamed of yourself!


    1. "There was no IP address sharing or multiple xbox's involved (go ahead and check 343, easy for you and xbox live to do)"

      I think you've entirely missed the point. All the points. As many as there are stars in the sky.

      Yes, we're sure he didn't murder anyone as well. This has nothing to do with what he's being accused of.

  17. WASN'T addressing,you DJ just the previous poster. Tho your response shows your passion and ability to tongue lash any who oppose your position.

    1. It didn't seem like you were addressing him, either, since he wisely said nothing about "IP address sharing" or "multiple xbox's involved", as those allegations have nothing to do with anything.

  18. "Listen ppl, there are always gonna be ppl that are sore losers and jealousy when it comes to prizes. can we prove strongside passed the controller off to one of his pro buddies while he slept or ate for the stats and leader board??? NO!!! we can not. that is one factor we cant prove with the leader of ops or war games. ALL we have is what xbox live can check and that will have to be good enough like it or not."

    The thought of this man being responsible for a child's development in basic literacy is, in itself, a compelling argument to abolish the legal family unit wholesale.

  19. I can see your a child and will not back and forth with you DJ. Have fun blowing a vein lol to the rest of you..apologies if I offended anyone or mis spelled or missed a period while posting from my phone. lmbo


  20. im curious as well and have to kind of agree with DJ Orwell and others in that this needs looking into :) love you DJ Orwell :) maybe get astral to comment too :) also HALO 2 = SKILL BXR AND 4SHOTS DAY :) thinking about making a new tag and calling it callofhalobattfielddutyinsertotherfpshere thoughts? :)

  21. I really should disable Anonymous comments..

    1. Eh, there's no point. Anyone could pick a random name anyway.

  22. To all the haters and cry babies in this blog. I won deal with it. Astral mango my #1 hater. Even your teammate xsogx spartan 51 congratulated me and explained how he thought u were his friend in the beginning and then once it was clear that you were losing you booted him off the team. You clearly never deserved to win the grand prize. As for the anonymous poster. shame on you. i never liked you and nor did my friends. They noticed what a loser and bad teammate you were for themselves. Your a spoiled child yet you call me childish. Ill enjoy my trip to Washington and ill make sure too tell 343 staff the silly cry babies i had to deal with during the tournament. see me in halo 5!

  23. i was of of the winners in the weekly challenge and i have never received an email from them probably wont receive the prizes either :( UNDEAD UNCLE