Cloud9 has gotten off to a strong start at the HCS Raleigh major. Here is how they did it.

Coming into HCS Raleigh, Cloud9 was not performing at its very peak. The North American side failed to reach the top four in their last two tournaments, leaving small shreds of doubt in the community. The fans, their competition and the analysts knew how strong this C9 roster is. The question was will they slay their demons once they get onto LAN? As of now, the answer is yes.

Cloud9 gets off to the perfect start to kick off their HCS season

Cloud9 were eagerly awaiting their opportunity to play on the HCS stage. An array of technical errors meant C9 were made to patiently way to take on Spacestation Gaming. Once the series finally got underway, it wasn't long for the brilliance of Cloud9 to shine through on the HCS stage.

Capture the flag on Aquarius was the first map in this best-of-five. Cloud9's slaying power really came into play, allowing them to get the flag quickly across the map without much difficulty. Every member racked up over ten kills as well as a positive kill to death ratio. The standout player in this map was StelluR who had a monstrous 21 kills, two flag captures and only dying six times.

Spacestation Gaming strikes back on Recharge

Despite their incredible slaying power, Cloud9 has not done as great on Slayer. It's not that they are getting blown out of the water, they are simply making small mistakes that result in defeat.

This was the same story on Recharge. For a team that was decimated on CTF, SSG held their own and looked confident on Slayer. The changing moment in the series came later into the map when Tylenul was able to pull off an incredible triple kill to bridge SSG from C9.

The ball was in C9's court as they went 2-1 up

Cloud9 were back in business on Oddball Livefire. The North American squad spared little time racking up the points and taking a convincing 2-0 on the map. The two players that stood out on this map were Renegade and Penguin who both had at least 15 kills in the first round. The second round of Oddball was more dominating from Cloud9, winning the map with a 100-16 scoreline.

Cloud9 sends SSG into HCS Raleigh orbit with dominant stronghold map

In what was a dominating display, Cloud9 proved they are demons on LAN as they destroyed SSG on Strongholds. Similarly to the other best teams in the world, Cloud9 likes to play the numbers. They like to ensure at each confrontation they are not a man down. This means sometimes abandoning a Stronghold to ensure they have the power positions on the map. Having this aggressive yet calculated playstyle makes life very uncomfortable for their opposition.

C9 won the map 250-17, a scoreline that is very rare at the upper echelon of competitive Halo. Cloud9's playstyle allowed them to always be in control of the objectives, even if SSG were poised to take a Stronghold, Cloud9 had the numbers to A. take another site and B. fight SSG off of the site they are trying to take.

C9 questions if XSET were playing the game after 3-0 sweep

After again waiting several hours to play their next best-of-five, Cloud9 made sure they could get home for an early nights sleep after trouncing XSET 3-0. The games were so one-sided Cloud9 would banter XSET following the series, questioning if XSET was even playing the game.

Cloud9 records a 250-0 score at HCS Raleigh

Not scoring a point in any objective mode is ripe for criticism and banter from the community. Unfortunately for XSET, they will be left scarred after Cloud9 tore them apart 250-0. XSET failed to hold more than one Stronghold at any point during the map. As we alluded to earlier, Cloud9's relentless style suffocated the life out of their opponents, resulting in a humiliating defeat.

39 points on Slayer is all XSET would get in this HCS Raleight series

After being edged out by Spacestation on Slayer at the start of the day, Cloud9 ensured lightning would not strike twice. Across the board C9 simply killed better than their opponents. Every member had more than ten kills while two XSET members failed to reach double digits.

Where the difference was between the two teams was how they played around the various weapons. Cloud9 did a great job maximising the output of the Heatwave as well as controlling multiple areas with the S7 Sniper.

A 3-0 CTF victory was enough to put XSET away

By the time we reached Bazaar, the series was pretty much over. Cloud9 were the fresher team given they had been waiting for hours to play, while XSET had little to offer after two strong maps from C9. At every stage of the map, Cloud9 was in complete control, they were slaying beautifully and never had to get out of second gear in order to win.

The demons have been slayed, for now...

After dropping to teams they shouldn't have in their last two tournaments, Cloud9 has already showcased they are a different beast altogether on LAN. The roster and the community have high expectations for this roster, and they are answering their expectations spectacularly thus far.

The way they are dominating their opponents is exactly what fans should be seeing out of one of the tournament favorites. While an underdog story is marvellous, Cloud9 does not want to leave HCS Raleigh in disappointment.

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