If you haven’t followed Halo in a bit, the new Status Quo roster might surprise you a tad.
Michael “Flamesword” Chaves is the lone stalwart from before HCS Anaheim – and the 32-year-old is bringing three fresh-faced rookies with him to the Kansas City Major Open Bracket.
At the last Major, Status Quo’s Charlie “Fragou7” McLaughlin won the event’s “breakout player” award – given to the player that shows the most future potential. Five months later, Fragou7 isn’t on the roster, but Flamesword believes he has three players with the potential to earn the award.
Pre-Anaheim, the team felt shaky. Ian “Enable” Wyatt wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue in Infinite, or if 100 Thieves CEO Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag was going to call him up to help forge the 100 Thieves Halo roster that feels all but inevitable at this point, Fragou7 was dropped for Justin “Roy” Brown, the team had a series of roster moves. Flamesword described a bit of tension in a pre-Kansas City Major interview with Forerunner, tension that led to the team ultimately breaking apart.
Flamesword prides himself on his scouting abilities, though, and is convinced that this iteration of Status Quo can punch higher than older versions. “One of my talents, I feel, is being able to find that undiscovered talent,” Flamesword said. He says that he initially bumped into the players he would eventually pick up – James “Nesity” Strainer, Denzel “Clutchz” Jackson, and Odanis “Bop” Gonzalez.
At the time, Flamesword says Nesity and Clutchz weren’t sure if they wanted to continue playing. The open brackets can be a grind and a half, and cracking into the upper echelon of the esport takes more than time and skill – it takes connections, or for someone to take a risk on an unknown quantity.
Nesity and Clutchz were first, but the fourth proved to be a bit tricky. Flamesword says they tried out many people, but couldn’t get the “unifying mindset” he was looking for – all four players on the same page. The fourth happened to be Bop, whose ceiling is “untapped”.
All three newcomers are under the age of 20 – a full decade at least gap from Flamesword’s age. They’ve had about two months to practice together.
For some organizations in the mid-major position in esports, it can be common to look for young talent to groom and then sell to bigger teams – it’s common in VALORANT, where you need a massive war chest to even begin to think about competing. “I’m 32 years young,” Flamesword said. “I’ve probably got another year or two of competition in my life.”
Flamesword says the next step is finding a solid fourth that can replace him once he feels the team is ready. He says the goal with this team is to do what Hector “H3cz” Rodriguez did for him – opportunities and setting them up for success in the future.
Time will tell how Flamesword’s new eclectic blend of savvy age and young talent will fare at Kansas City. They’ll take the server to attempt to fight their way through the open bracket starting Friday, April 29.
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