The Playoffs for the first 2008 Halo 3 Pro Circuit Online Ladder began last night. Join us as we take a look at some of the top teams involved in the tourney.

Old Faces – Powerhouse Halo 2 Squads

Str8 Rippin – The beginning of Str8 Rippin’s 2007 season can best be described as rocky. However the team hit its stride and placed second, first and third at the last three Halo 2 events. Satisfied with their improvement and choosing to avoid the potential problems of a roster change, Str8′s lineup for Halo 3 remains the same. Like the other top Halo 2 teams, Str8 Rippin got a late start with Halo 3 due to lingering Halo 2 competitions but soon after the jump they quelled any uncertainty about their ability. Plowing through the competition at an alarming rate they dropped the fewest amount of matches of any team in this preview.

Seed: 1
Roster: Tsquared, Neighbor, Legit, & ElamiteWarrior
Notable Wins: Team Classic, Bad Co, XiT Woundz, Triggers Down, Carbon, The Agency
Notable Losses: Final Boss
Trades (most recent): Fatal Images (won)

Triggers Down – The TD name has not been seen on the circuit since 2006 Orlando. Usually consisting of a core group of Washington players, this team gave starts to both Str8 Rippin’s Neighbor and The Agency’s Halogod. Seeking a fresh beginning with Halo 3, Halogod decided to change his handle to SK and strike out on his own by reforming TD. After considering several players, the current roster includes Washington up-and-comer Hysteria, 5k’s FearItSelf and the Canadian Lowkin. Lowkin, a player never before seen on the circuit, gained his spot on the team after consistently outperforming many top players in online competition.

Seed: 2
Roster: SK, FearItSelf, Hysteria, & Lowkin
Notable Wins: Driven by Adrenaline, Team Classic, Nice Like Rice, PainX, Fatal Images, Urban Rebels
Notable Losses: Str8 Rippin, Final Boss
Trades (most recent): Bad Co. (win), The Agency (win), Under the Influence (lost)

Bad Co. – After the conclusion of Halo 2 competition, Anarchy, Foulacy and Hokum were in talks of teaming but unsure on a fourth member. Choosing to forgo another Halo 2 Pro Player, their eventual pickup was Fox. Although missing from serious competition for more than two seasons, Fox had been a standout player early in the 2005 season with multiple Top 8 finishes. At their peak, all the members of Bad Co showed themselves capable of consistently placing within the Top 4. Now with Halo 3 as the new title, the team is in prime position to regain their former glory.

Seed: 3
Roster: Hokum, Anarchy, Foulacy, & Fox
Notable Wins: PainX, Driven by Adrenaline, XiT Woundz, Urban Rebels
Notable Losses: Str8 Rippin
Trades (most recent): Triggers Down (lost), Believe the Hype (won)

The Agency – Although the Ogre duo is the most famous on the circuit, the two halves of the current Agency lineup are nothing to laugh at. Like Roy and Lunchbox, Victory and Mackeo have never participated on different teams. Not wanting to waste valuable experience, it was only logical that after their Halo 2 teams began to part ways these two duos should come together. Often having to face each other in the previous season, it’s going to be interesting to watch how the team will fare with their forces combined.

Seed: 10
Roster: Mackeo, Victory, Lunchbox & Roy
Notable Wins: XiT Woundz
Notable Losses: Driven by Adrenaline, Str8 Rippin, PainX
Trades (most recent): Triggers Down (lost), Believe the Hype (lost)

Final Boss – After a successful Halo 2 season, Final Boss saw no reason to change their roster. Getting a late start on the competition, they quickly dispelled any doubters by moving to the top of the ladder. Although their record has a few losses to questionable teams, along the way they have managed to fend off most of their serious competitors. The original three members successfully made the transition from Halo:CE to Halo 2, adapting to a more similar Halo 3 from Halo 2 should pose no problems for them.

Seed: 12
Roster: Ogre 1, Ogre 2, Walshy & Strongside
Notable Wins: Str8 Rippin, Fatal Images, FBI Chargers
Notable Losses: Team Classic
Trades (most recent): Triggers Down (won)

Familiar Faces Seeking Fresh Starts

Under the Influence – UtI has hung in and around the fringes of the Pro Bracket for the better part of two seasons. With a top placing of 13th in 2006, the team had been on a decline during the 2007 season. Three months after the release of Halo 3, team captain Talent decided to bring the name back with Twylight, a player he met during the 2007 season. At the time, neither had spent a serious amount of time with the game but decided they wanted to take a page out of 5k’s play book and boot camp their way to the top. Eventually they found Anthrax and Demon D, a pair of players with the same goal. Quickly rising to the top of the Playoff Ladder through their sheer number of matches played, UtI painted themselves as a target for any new team seeking to prove their worth. As ladder play progressed, a team decision was made to replace Anthrax with Silent.

Seed: 4
Notable Wins: Omnislayer, Triggers Down, PainX
Notable Losses: Fatal Images, Bad Co, Triggers Down

Team Classic – Although a late comer to the Playoff Ladder, Team Classic has been far from idle. The core of the team, Ant, Legendpimps, and Soldier187, have teamed with each other since the early Halo 2 days. With the help of Frosty as a fourth, the team placed first at the MLG Halo 3 tournament at E4All. Switching Fear for Frosty, the team continued their tournament success by winning the first MLG Halo 3 Online Tournament. Deciding to keep the same roster, Team Classic quickly rocketed to the top of the ladder leaving a trail of defeated opponents in their wake.

Seed: 5
Notable Wins: XiT Woundz, Final Boss, Urban Rebels, Nice Like Rice
Notable Losses: PainX, Str8 Rippin, Fatal Images, Type Z

PainX – The current iteration of PainX originated in the closing days of 2006. Factor and Maniiac met at the New York Playoffs and, although there had been talks of teaming for the 2007 season, the eventual PainX roster did not include Maniiac. With the release of Halo 3, the two decided to give teaming another shot and reformed PainX with an all-new line up. After some roster variations, the two eventually settled on Anthrax and Wonka as the other half of their team. Anthrax, although recently released from Under the Influence, had established himself as a solid Halo 3 player. After successfully teaming in the 2007 season, Wonka and Factor had formed a high level of teamwork that they decided to carry over into Halo 3.

Seed: 6
Notable Wins: Team Classsic, The Agency, XiT Woundz, Driven By Adrenaline, Omnislayer
Notable Losses: Triggers Down, Bad Co, Under the Influence, Fatal Images, Type Z

(Mostly) New Faces with Big Aspirations

Holding onto the seventh seed, Type Z is an older team that has gone through significant roster changes during the off-season. At the conclusion of the of the 2007 Circuit, the team went in separate directions and it was unclear if any of them would return for Halo 3. Deciding he hadn’t had enough, Str8Pimp brought the name back and filled the roster with three relatively new faces. Warkid and Nexus were recruited from a local Florida LAN, where both stood out above the competition. Lil Seb, a Maryland player, got the fourth spot on the team after demonstrating that he had both the talent and the extreme dedication needed to place well.

Seed: 7
Roster: Str8Pimp, Nexus, Warkid, & Lil Seb
Notable Wins: Fatal Images, PainX
Notable Losses: Bad Co.,
Trades (most recent): Team Classic (won)

Driven by Adrenaline – DTA kept a low profile throughout the ladder, but was never far from the top. Chig, Speed and Tuss finalized their roster in early February with the addition of Ghost Attack, a player from the scene of the Agency’s Mackeo. With multiple placements on the lower end of the Pro Bracket during the last two seasons, Ghost Attack’s experience will prove valuable to the team at the live events.

Seed: 8
Roster: Chig, Tuss, Speed and Ghost Attack
Notable Wins: The Agency, Nice Like Rice
Notable Losses: Triggers Down, Bad Co., Team Classic, PainX, TypeZ
Trades (most recent): Fatal Images (won)

Fatal Images – Holding the number one position for a few days, Fatal Images dropped out of the Top 8 by the close of the ladder. However this may have been a calculated decision. As most of the other top teams tried to fill their schedule with easy wins to gain position on the ladder, Fatal Images tested themselves against nearly every difficult opponent they could. This strategy is oriented to beating top teams in the long run, rather than gaining the highest seed possible through an easy bracket.

Seed: 9
Roster: Tizoxic, Severince, Wooly, & Graphix
Notable Wins: Believe the Hype
Notable Losses: Bad Co., Triggers Down, Type Z, Final Boss
Trades (most recent): Str8 Rippin (lost), Team Classic (lost), Driven by Adrenaline (lost), Under the Influence (won)