Articles: MLG St. Louis
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There are very few places I can imagine where you can hear the word "rape" yelled out yet everyone still be happy. The Major League Gaming tournament in St. Louis is one of them. Below is only a segment of the masses that attended the event, and these people in particular are busy watching the FFA Finals.
MLG did an excellent job setting everything up. They got people an excellent deal for staying at the very nice Renaissance hotel. It had an exercise room, a pool, a piano (which I enjoyed), an excellent staff, and it even had a sauna, which was pretty neat. The room where MLG set up the tournament was huge, and there was plenty of space to walk around the hundreds of people and dozens of TVs. Even with all that, the trip was very affordable.
I didn't have a halo team (nor XBLive), so I decided not to try for the halo tournament, and ended up playing Super Smash Brothers Melee. I'm a FPS and RTS gamer by heart, but I still did surprisingly well in the tourney. I expected to be knocked out early in pool play, but I ended up being put in the brackets, even though I was in the pool with Smash legend Darkrain. There were several smashers there (seen below), but they were eclipsed by the huge mass of halo players browsing the stations.
The FFA finals were amazing to watch, but there really were only two possible victors that anyone could see very shortly into the match. Karma of "Team Rockford" (which most people called Str8 rippin' or x6), and Shockwav3 of team iGameSpot. Karma had an almost berserker-like nature at the beginning of the game, running into groups of people and taking out 3 or 4 before he died. While he was mauling through everyone with double melees and headshots, Shockwav3 had a slightly more subtle approach. Shockwav3 would play it fairly safe, waiting for his shields to recharge, and then steal as many kills as he could from fighting couples. It was close the entire game, but Shockwav3 grabbed the win from Karma, taking Karma's role as FFA champion. Here is a picture of the FFA winners. Karma didn't show up for the picture, but you'll see him later in the article. Shockwav3 is the cool cat to the left with his back slightly turned to the camera.
People could predict the placement of many of the teams that went (or so they thought), but a really big wildcard was Team Rockford.
Rockford was the old team of Str8 Rippin', except they adopted Zyos as a member of their team. Zyos is a huge star as far as halo goes, but has yet to be on the first place team for a MLG halo 2 tournament. There are a lot of mixed feelings about Zyos out there, but no matter what anyone says, Zyos is an excellent halo 2 player. I heard him with his team, and he never said anything discouraging, never faltered, and never dragged his team down. Add him with the beast of FFA known as Karma and you have a devastating pair. Fonzi and Foulacy may not have the highlights that Karma and Zyos have, but they are still superb teammates, and all together they created a team that did amazing in the tournament. But even though the raw skill inherent in these men is startling, they were still beaten out by both IGS and 3D.
iGameSpot is probably my favorite team. Not only because they're insanely good, but because I loved their personalities and loved watching their games. MLG is working on getting mics for all of the players, so that you can hear teams talking on VoD, and if you hear iGameSpot on there, you'll instantly know it's them. There is no other team at the event that has as much fun as IGS does. They're constantly cracking jokes and goofing around with each other, and have a lot of fun playing the game. While watching Zyos or T2's face get more and more intense as they play their games, IGS is constantly smiling, laughing, and screaming out random phrases of excitement. I sat down with IGS while they were playing a game against a small unknown team, and Ghandi went right to work crushing their spirits in a light-hearted manner that you'd only find at local LAN parties. IGS sat down, synchronized the volume on the TVs, and then Ghandi peeks over the TVs, laughs, and says "Guaranteed Killtacular, guaranteed."Despite the jovial manner of the team, they managed to almost beat team 3D. Most people would shrug that sentence off, but most people don't realize the magnitude of that sentence. Check 6 almost beat 3D in Houston, but those games were close the whole way. IGS lost the final 11th game to 3D, but they only did that because team 3D went on a killing rampage, finishing the game with a 22 kill, 3 death run.
Ogre 1 was definitely the hero of the day. It was almost like flipping on a switch, and suddenly it was his 41-0 vid all over again. Saiyan (shown far left) had a surprisingly poor showing in many of the games, but by "poor" I mean he kicked ass slightly less than usual. Walshy was eerily consistent the entire tournament, and Ogre 2 stayed toe-to-toe with his twin, resulting in Team 3D remaining the MLG champions. They have yet to lose a MLG tournament, even though they generally don't do as well as many would think in the FFAs, but the time for their dethroning seems to be getting closer and closer at every tournament, and the general consent of the tourney goers at St. Louis was that it was only a matter of time.Those of you that aren't interested in the revolving and placement of teams still have reasons to go to these tournaments. There were dozens of people who were not nearly good enough to do well in the tournament at all, but they still had a blast. Putting names to faces (I wasn't called Evan there the entire time, only Overswarm), lanning with a few hundred people, and playing friendly matches all day long was well worth the trip.
You don't have to awesome to play the game there. No one puts you down or yells in your face. Shown far left is a cool guy I met there named Pat, and sitting to his left is Jason, the Smash brothers guy from MLG. On the other side of the TVs you see is where Tart PMS and I sat and played in a FFA. The skill level of all the players weren't matched, and all problems people could find with halo 2 were still there, but it was still a blast. Unfortunately for Tart, regardless of her killing me with the rocket launcher FOUR TIMES IN A ROW at the start of the game, I got her back and won the game, leading Tart's 48 kills by 2 points. Sorry Tart.
You meet a lot of friends you knew from XBL there, whether you like it or not. I loved shaking somebody's hand and saying "I'm Overswarm" and them freeze up and go "Really?! The guy from HBO?" You make a lot of new friends too. I was able to meet a lot of cool Smash kids, several halo players, and got to talk with the MLG staff in person. Here's a picture of Puckett and Athena Twin PMS, and I only have one thing to say. Where's your left hand, Puckett?
The entire staff was great. Dolbex is probably the happiest guy I've ever met, Clap and Anakin did a wonderful job setting things up, Jason kept the Smashers entertained, Synide was insanely helpful and kept VoD running the whole time, and Sundance...
It's a little hard to describe Sundance. Take a mob leader from an old Godfather-esque movie, now install in him as much joy as you could possibly imagine. I saw him 1v1ing another MLG staff member there, and I heard "I'm WINNING" followed by almost maniacal laughter at least 7 times before the game was over. Sundance is a great guy. He even bought me an adapter for the TV in my hotel room when he stopped at Wal-mart. He really loves MLG, and it shows in how he handles the events. He's planned out many different things for MLG, and is constantly working to improve MLG and the experience for the players that go to the events. You can really tell that he loves what he's doing, and it's all about the players for MLG. It's more than just a tournament to Sundance; it's more of a giant party where everyone should have a blast and leave feeling fulfilled.
That said, St. Louis was wonderful. I didn't explore the actual city much, but the little I saw was really nice, and I recommend exploring it sometime if you get the chance. I also had a good laugh when I went to see the Arch. I mean come on, what does this look like to you guys?