Acend Club’s Halo roster has yet to lose a series in European tournament play since late 2019. While its fourth player has rotated during that time, Michael “Snipedrone” Juchau has completed their Halo Infinite incarnation and they show no signs of having that streak broken.
The final week of the HCS Pro Series’ first split saw Acend take on Quadrant in the grand finals and dominantly secure the series win 3-0. Each of the four weeks of play saw a different team take on Acend in the finals, but each team fell short to the European powerhouse. Their 4-0 record across the first European split mirrors the Pittsburgh Knights and Chiefs Esports Club in Mexico and Oceania, respectively.
Early game momentum was a recurring theme throughout the grand finals. Despite Quadrant’s players showing signs of life in key moments, Acend’s early leads were impossible to overcome. A stellar slaying performance in game one from Kaci “Lqgend” Sabri made Strongholds on Live Fire, already one of Acend’s strongest game types, look even more impressive. Putting a combined sixty kills on the board, Acend snuffed out any chances of Quadrant starting the grand finals off strong with a 250-64 statement.
Game two was a Slayer on Recharge and it initially threatened to be more of the same. Early fights going in the way of Lqgend and Renan “Sica” Grall gave the number one seed a five-kill advantage that they rarely let go of as the match continued. It was only as they passed the halfway mark that crucial slays from Sébastien “TchiK” Darriet with the Shock Rifle and a Repulsor play that netted him a triple kill gave Quadrant a chance at victory. In its closing stages, Quadrant came within two kills of their opponent before Acend traded out kills to walk away with a 50-45 win.
Acend only needed one more game to take the title. Quadrant was facing a required reverse sweep just to reset the bracket. Capture The Flag on Bazaar had been close in recent scrims between the teams, but Acend was still getting the wins. The French Quadrant roster managed to keep to Acend’s pace, with flag captures trading back and forth as the timer fell toward three minutes remaining. The scoreline was locked at 2-2 going into the closing stages, but a failed run by Quadrant transitioned into a counter cap by Acend. Desperation to clinch a win became Quadrant’s downfall and Acend added another gold medal to their mantle with a 3-2 map victory.
With Cloud9’s roster set to perform a similar feat of split one dominance in North America during the tournament tomorrow, the early days of Halo Infinite esports have been led by some infallible titans representing each region. With only Open Series matches left for Acend to conquer between now and the EU HCS Online Super in March, questions surround whether their competitors can make the improvements necessary to dethrone them in that time.