Just a week out from the Halo Championship Series Major Kickoff Raleigh event, Sentinels were forced to forfeit the top seed after player Mathew ‘Royal2’ Fiorante was caught cheating, according to HCS.
Sentinels were one of the favorites entering the HCS Raleigh event as they won the qualifier, defeating OpTic Gaming in 2 best-of-5s and locked up the first seed.
However, after the event, multiple partner teams accused Sentinels of using “Geofiltering” which blocks out certain servers if the ping is too high.
This led to a full-on investigation by the HCS team in which they claim that Royal2 tampered with game files and “cheated.”
NA Official HCS Competitive Ruling: https://t.co/YPHTFMcbG4
— Halo Esports #HCS (@HCS) December 12, 2021
Sentinels lose first seed and Royal2 for first event
Sentinels will not be the first seed heading into Raleigh and will need to find a new fourth teammate as Royal2 has been suspended until January 28, 2022.
The HCS ruling states, “There was a direct modification of files giving Royal 2 an unfair competitive advantage during play.” This was a violation of the HCS official rules.
In Halo Infinite, there are seven servers located in the United States and the game assigns one for each match based on which will give everyone the best average ping. However, in Royal2’s game, his only had the “westus2” server.
This meant that all games he and Sentinels played would be on that server. Royal2 lives in Canada so there were reports that this gave him the best ping but still put his three teammates at a huge disadvantage.
The Halo team determined that this was an “unfair advantage” and penalized the squad accordingly, but they are not taking this lightly.
Sentinels players react to HCS ruling
Never seen a team “cheat” but intentionally put themselves at a disadvantage because of it. Nice job over there guys 👌
— SEN Frosty (@FrostyBB) December 12, 2021
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It’s safe to say that Sentienls’ players are not happy with the ruling. Frosty was quick to comment on the case stating that he’s never seen a team cheat but hurt themselves at the same time.
Head Coach Royal1 also said this was “completely awful” and that the team proved that “they did nothing wrong.”
The coach claimed that Sentinels were fully cooperative with the investigation and provided proof of everything but had it all “ignored.” Other teammates also chimed in that the Halo investigation team refused to take evidence that they were willing to give.
We are 100% not going
— Ricky Spanish (@LxthuL) December 12, 2021
Royal2 responds & FormaL steps in
Hours after the ruling was made public, Royal2 issued a response on Twitter.
After “experiencing extremely high ping” in Halo Infinite, he swapped settings to “use the west coast server” only. In doing so, he “failed to turn it off for the NA Kickoff Qualifier.
“I understand the issues my oversight caused,” he said. “I truly did not realize the impact this decision would have, and for that I am deeply sorry.”
On a serious note, this was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I appreciate the guys on SSG, it was fun to learn the game together, and I wish them the best of luck. I’ll be playing with SEN for Raleigh, should be a spicy weekend. I’m still #OpTicForever though.
— OpTic FormaL (@FormaL) December 13, 2021
With Royal2’s suspension lasting through January, Sentinels needed a new fourth. Despite early comments that the team would not attend, a veteran stepped up to join them at the final hour.
FormaL, previously attached to the Spacestation Gaming team, is now locked in for Sentinels. He will be competing alongside LethuL, SnakeBite, and Frosty at the first Halo Infinite LAN.