RALEIGH - Name an esport that can be played on a controller. Get ‘em all in your head. The odds-on chances are that Charlie "Fragout" McLaughlin has competed in it at some level.
As a Gears of War professional, Fortnite competitor, and a dominant Rogue Company player, Fragout’s been in many scenes over the years. The flexibility it takes to utilize different kinds of mechanics is one thing, but there’s one undercurrent that’s benefitted Fragout early in Halo Infinite’s life cycle: teamwork.
“[Gears of War];s a lot of teamwork, a lot of communication, just like Halo is,” Fragout said. “Gears of War’s obviously third person, Halo’s in first person, so it is kind of different, but I play every single video game. They all just add into one.”
The mass exodus from other controller-centric esports into Infinite’s player pool is palpable. Fragout’s first “viral” moment in Infinite came from matchmaking, via Mathew "Royal2" Fiorante’s bewildered reaction to a Shock Rifle play.
If you don’t know who Fragout is, you should find out now before you learn about him the hard way: getting ripped up by Status Quo, the team he currently plays for. SQ burned their way through the open bracket, and eventually notched a top 16 finish. Fragout said that isn’t the ceiling for this team, not even close.
“There is no ceiling, to be honest with you,” Fragout said. Status Quo have only been seriously practicing for two-two and a half weeks, according to Fragout – with more practice will come more chemistry. “... [The other teams] were all teams in the past. So they have a lot more chemistry between one another. I would say the ceiling is … there's no ceiling. We're just going to keep going up,” Fragout said.
Their top 16 placement is still impressive for a team with only two weeks of practice. As they keep playing and theoretically keep improving, there’s a real chance for this team to become a championship Sunday mainstay in Infinite.
For now, Status Quo’s run is done – they’re out. But their presence has been felt amongst the Halo scene. Fragout was named the HCS Raleigh Breakout Player of the Event, not an honor given out lightly, considering all the fresh faces Infinite has brought in.
Fragout isn’t the first Halo convert, and he won’t be the last – especially not after the massive Twitch viewership and attendance numbers the Raleigh Major pulled in. There’s going to be more and more players that come flooding into the Infinite open brackets with something to prove. Competition is going to get tougher, especially as the game progresses and the sandbox is utilized more effectively down the road.
He won’t be the last. But Fragout is the first, and that means something.