Top four storylines from day one of HCS Kickoff Raleigh Major

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Credit: Adam Apicella

The Kickoff Major is finally here, and with it have come some surprising results, crazy finishes, and some controversies. Let’s talk about five storylines from Day 1.

1. Missed connections

We have to talk about it – might as well get it out of the way first. The first day of the Major was plagued by near-constant tech issues and players disconnecting. What was meant to be around seven-eight hours on the main stream stretched well into the night; Few teams that played on the PC version of the game had a completely clean best-of-five

Anecdotally, the Xbox version of the game seems to be performing much better. The open bracket features a load of Xboxes, and crashes are few and far in between. Eric “Snip3down” Wrona led the charge, and I’m throwing in my lot with him: it’s time to use the Xboxes on the main stage and focus on fixing whatever issue is plaguing the PCs for the future.

For now, the Infinite hype train is still chugging along. It’s a great base to build off, but the goodwill the HCS has earned through their clear communication could wear thin with fans if these issues persist long term. It’s not a red-alert problem now, but it definitely could be in the future if things don’t turn around.

2. Group of death lives up to the hype

Pool 4 was always going to be a bloodbath. XSET, Spacestation, Cloud9, and Acend are all top-tier, excellent teams.

Spacestation aren’t reeling as much as you might think after losing a talent like Matthew “FormaL” Piper the week before a tournament. Daniel "Tusk" Ruiz has been excellent – and Spacestation are fine despite the losses – this is just a profoundly difficult group.

The most impressive team in this pool is easily Cloud9. Their 250-0 Strongholds victory over XSET was clinical, and they’re playing like a favorite to win the entire tournament.

3. Sentinels’... open bracket run?

It’s no shocker that the open bracket isn’t where you want to be if you’re a two-time World Championship victor. That’s the situation Sentinels are finding themselves in, and it’s putting them in some pretty funny scenarios.

Sentinels are absolutely burning their way through the open bracket. Adding FormaL to their star-studded roster in place of the currently banned Mathew "Royal2" Fiorante isn’t a 1:1 trade, but it doesn’t hurt adding someone with FormaL’s level of firepower. Sentinels will be fine, they just need to get Royal2 to Texas.

4. EU strikes back

Acend came to play. So did NAVI. The EU teams may not be on the same level as the NA teams, but make no mistake: they’re no pushovers, at least not early in Infinite's lifecycle.

NAVI were incredibly close to peeling off a series win against either FaZe Clan or G2. Their individual maps are incredibly close, it feels like they’re right there in terms of figuring it out.

Acend beat XSET in a best of five, but faded down the stretch against Spacestation.

Quadrant played excellently as well: they're 2-0 in pool play at the end of the night. All the same, the scrappiness and improvement of the EU teams are evident.