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Closing out 2021 with a HIT! - HCS KICKOFF MAJOR RALEIGH, NC

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

North America HCS Kickoff Qualifier Series


First LAN in the books - Competitors show UP from Dec 17th - 19th, 2021


The HCS Kickoff Major took place in Raleigh, NC and comprised of three days of action-packed competition and entertainment. A 198 team Open Bracket and a 16 team Pool Play Session funneled into the best of the best 32 Team Championship Sunday playing for their share of $350,000 USD.


Unfortunately, there's no game footage of this bracket in 'the pit' as it's called, but it was bustling with matches and many formidable competitors including the likes of Sentinels who were dropped down here to play due to the Royal2 misconduct. They were seeded 9th below Mindfreak, Mockit Esports, G1, Team War, Complexity Aspyre.Astra, Red Wolves and Solaris, but did not struggle. They ended with the #1 spot out of the Open, without dropping a single game. The only other squad to do that was FootFungas792 (Batmayne, HeLLuVa, Squilly, CHILLED)

Frosty of Sentinels in the Open Bracket pit

It's still double elimination here, but it got heated with so many teams fighting for a top 16 finish to move on to Championship Sunday.

At the end of the day on Saturday, our Open Finalists are as follows - top 8 go to winners round 1 and the top 8 from the elimination side go to elimination round 1 of the Championship Bracket.

Pool Play

Running alongside the Open Bracket, best of 5 Pool Play games were underway for the following teams who earned it! Each team plays each other team in their pool once. The top two from each get a BYE in Championship Sunday, and the bottom two must play in Round 1 against the winning 8 teams from the Open Bracket.

SPOILERS!.. kinda... this seeding.. panned out almost exactly as expected with the only flip being between Faze and G2 Esports in Pool B - G2 beating them in a 3-0 shutout.

For a different way to browse these results, (and dive into them if you'd like) here's the running list of these teams including all of the opponents they lost to and the VOD timestamps to those matches as well as some of my notes and LVT interviews of some of my favorite matchups!

Match Record Game Record

1.Optic Gaming 3 - 0 9 - 0


2.eUnited 3 - 0 9 - 2


3.Cloud9 3 - 0 9 - 2


4.G2 Esports 3 - 0 9 - 2


5.Quadrant 2 - 1 6 - 3

Lost to: eUnited

L : OB Recharge(2-1) L : SLAY Live Fire(50-43) L : SH Recharge(250-140)


6.FaZe Clan 2 - 1 6 - 4

Lost to: G2 Esports

L : OB Recharge(2-0) L : SLAY Live Fire(50-36) L : SH Recharge(250-242)

This was A SERIES. I didn't really catch it though, because I was too busy filming the show...but..uh.. it went quick.


7.Kansas City Pioneers 2 - 1 6 - 4

Lost to: Optic Gaming

L: OB Recharge(2-0) L: SLAY Live Fire(50-48) L: SH Recharge(250-45)


8.NAVI 1 - 2 6 - 6

Lost to: G2 Esports

W: OB Streets(2-0) W: SLAY Bazaar(50-38) L: SH Live Fire(250-236) L: Aquarius CTF(3-2) L: SLAY Recharge(50-30)

NAVI look strong in game 1 after coming away with the rockets and an early lead with massive slays in their favor. Round 1 goes to time 72-48 and then Round 2 both teams trade it back and forth at C, but NAVI close it 100-58.

Game 2 the grapple and rockets are the MVP's and NAVI just control the sandbox better.

Of course, G2 then win the next three games starting with a feisty Strongholds win that is almost impossible to follow with the number of strongholds that transfer back and forth, especially at the end - Sab and Str8 come up clutch at the end in this one.

These teams were made for one another. The CTF goes back and forth for a while, neither team winning the tug of war until a 4 dead G2 give NAVI the first cap and then second one. But Sab backsmacks his way into the heart of NAVI and they tie up, with a 20 second remaining cap for the 3-2 win. And then the slayer is just easy. G2 feeling themselves in pool play today.

Lost to: FaZe Clan

L: SH Recharge(250-228) L: SLAY Live Fire(50-42) W: CTF Bazaar(2-0) L: OB Streets(2-1)


9.Oxygen Esports 1 - 2 5 - 6

Lost to: Quadrant

L: OB Streets(2-0) L: SLAY Bazaar(50-44) L: SH Live Fire(250-67)

Lost to: eUnited

L: SH Recharge(250-148) W: SLAY Live Fire(50-39) W: CTF Bazaar(3-0)

L: OB Streets(2-0) L: SLAY Aquarius(50-43)

Oxygen is the only team to take a couple of games off eUnited in pool play.


10.Spacestation Gaming 1 - 2 5 - 6

Lost to: Cloud9

L: CTF Aquarius(5-0) W: SLAY Recharge(50-45) L: OB Live Fire(2-0) L: SH Streets(250-17)

Lost to: XSET

W: SH Live Fire(250-41) L: SLAY Aquarius(50-40) L: CTF Bazaar(2-1) L: OB Recharge(2-1)

This was quite the series to watch. This main stage fight lasted quite a while due to multiple technical difficulties, and it worked for XSET's momentum. After a game 1 slap in the face, of constant, unrelentless pressure and a game 2, 46-46 Slayer that got reset, XSET find their groove. They then take the next three games, though not easily. In the slayer Svepector finishes 15-10, but not after a real even split of kills between the others in the mid game despite some shaky camo control. In CTF, XSET are slaying out, but SSG hold on until a sneaky pull of the flag through Bulldog set things in motion, and then into overtime as Porky J clutches up with some great grapple utility. Spacestation seem to have some little communication and coordination issues that choked them up, and with Formal playing on Sentinels, (which, by the way, is what happened once Royal2 got the boot), they were forced to change their roster and bring back Tusk.

11.XSET 1 - 2 5 - 7

Lost to: Acend

W: OB Streets(2-1) L: SLAY Bazaar(50-43) L: SH Live Fire(250-129) W: CTF Aquarius(5-4)

L: SLAY Recharge

Lost to: Cloud9

L: SH Recharge(250-0) L: SLAY Live Fire(50-39) L: CTF Bazaar(3-0)


12.The Chiefs 1 - 2 4 - 6

Lost to: Optic Gaming

L: CTF Aquarius(5-0) L: SLAY Recharge(50-38) L: OB Live Fire(2-0)

Lost to: Kansas City Pioneers:

W: CTF Bazaar(4-1) L: SLAY Recharge(50-42) L: OB Live Fire() L: SH Streets(250-43)


13.Acend 1 - 2 4 - 8

Lost to: Cloud9

L: OB Recharge(2-1) L: SLAY Live Fire(50-42) W: SH Recharge(250-213)

L: CTF Aquarius(4-2)

Lost to: Spacestation Gaming

L: CTF Bazaar(1-0) L: SLAY Recharge(50-41) L: OB Live Fire(2-1)


14.Bing Chilling 0 - 3 0 - 9

Lost to: Kansas City Pioneers

L: OB Streets(2-0) L: SLAY Bazaar(50-30) L: SH Live Fire(250-246)

I forgot how fast KCP play sometimes. Druk is hunting, now Taulek is stalking - Bing is the prey and they just can't catch a break. Balls are constantly rotated, KCP seems to get every first shot in Slayer and the strongholds is the only one that Bing seem to stand a chance on... but again, those rotations allow KCP to sneak away with a 3-0.

Lost to: Optic Gaming

L: SH Recharge(250-71) L: SLAY Live Fire(50-29) L: CTF Bazaar(3-0)

Lost to: The Chiefs

L: SH Live Fire(250-248) L: SLAY Aquarius(50-46) L: CTF Bazaar(3-1)


15.The Boys 0 - 3 0 - 9

Lost to: eUnited

L: CTF Aquarius(5-0) L: SLAY Recharge(50-36) L: OB Live Fire(2-0)

Lost to: Oxygen Esports

L: SH Live Fire(250-51) L: SLAY Aquarius(50-41) L: CTF Bazaar(3-0)

Lost to: Quadrant

L: CTF Bazaar(3-0) L: SLAY Recharge(50-38) L: OB Live Fire(2-0)


16.DIVINE MIND 0 - 3 0 - 9

Lost to: FaZe Clan

L: CTF Aquarius(5-1) L: SLAY Recharge(50-35) L: OB Live Fire(2-0)

Lost to: NAVI

L: SH Live Fire(250-30) L: SLAY Aquarius(50-28) L: CTF Bazaar(5-0)

Lost to: G2 Esports

L: CTF Bazaar(4-0) L: SLAY Recharge(50-33) L: OB Live Fire(2-0)


One overarching note to take away from these results - while we didn't see a large number of 'upsets', the average losing Slayer score was 39, and that's where the underdogs stood a chance to take a game off their oppressors. And this makes sense, the Halo Infinite just came out and Slayer is a "simpler" gametype compared to the others, so therefore teams have begun to master that first and challenge one another with a higher average degree of skill in that than in some of the other gametypes that throw other objectives into the mix.


Being in a living, breathing arena was electric. I think there's a lot more to be done for these events, both in the broadcast and for the in-person experience, but it was a solid first event - people showed up in record numbers from all over to enjoy themselves and support the people the care about.

While my day to day is not exactly a 'day to day' type of routine as I sit behind a battle station of internet, software, data, media and hardware helping craft communicate, organize and document experiences, there is one constant:

People. Passionate, persistent, hardworking and talented people. Whether at a live event, or just online, I can't wait to see you again, speak with you again, get to know more of you. <3

32 Teams showed up to BATTLE today and all will walk away with a little bit of cash. But let's be honest, cash or not, everyone's gunning for the top.

This is competitive Halo.

Cratos of XSET being interviewed by LouisVTitan

Renegade of Cloud9

Druk of Kansas City Pioneers being interviewed by Toolez

Ace of Spacestation Gaming

FaZe Clan

Pznguin of Cloud9 being interviewed by Active

Shyway, Goldenboy, Bravo

Goldenboy, Walshy



Sica of Acend

Lottie, Shyway, Goldenboy, Bravo

These are just a couple of what I was able to grab as an amateur photographer. For some more professional ones, definitely check out @iMartinx's, Rachel Evans and PrincessofallSaiyans Galleries for the full experience!

Cloud9 take home the Championship. They went 5-0, but not without good fights against Team War, Quadrant, Optic (close 3-2 victory) and finally eUnited(agruably the most practiced team to date). Pznguin is my MVP of the day. He showed us that he can do it all, typically a OBJ heavy player, now with the highest K/D on his team today at 1.14. I can't wait to see what they do next.. or who can take them down!

My Power Rankings Post Raleigh

(There's most definitely some repeat names in here. If you notice any and care to fix it, please notify me!)

If you're looking for more, these nice graphics of the bracket above come from along with some great statistics that break down performance by map and gametype and team for your further investigating or who's hot and who's not!

In addition, @Moses_FPS and his team over at have all of the VODS for you timestamped as well including some of their Power Rankings which I think are pretty on point.

As always, there's a bunch more content that gets put out to the LVT Productions twitter and Youtube and plenty more interviews from the day as well!


Today at 12pm ET, the first NA Open of the new year will begin and LVT Productions will be hosting a Watch Party with commentary. See you there!

-- Taylor 'Snow' Feraco. LVT Productions

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