Sentinels forfeit top seed for Halo Infinite Raleigh after Royal2 suspended for “cheating”

Jaret Kappelman

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.”

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.

Halo Infinite multiplayer screenshot showing an orange Spartan
Sentinels were found to be cheating in the qualifier for Raleigh.

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 

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.

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.”

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.