When the team formed at the onset of 2006′s off-season, few thought the humble combination of Victory, Mackeo, Halogod and ElamiteWarrior was capable of challenging the top-ranked squads of the Pro Circuit. During the 2006 season, each of the players crafted their trade on teams that seldom broke into a tournament’s final six. Hailing from FBI Michigan, Triggers Down and Vanity Gaming, the current members of The Agency often battled each other for the right to advance to the prize pool during the 2006 season. This occurrence was most apparent at the 2006 Playoff event, where FBI Michigan and Vanity Gaming squared off for a ticket to the National Championships.

FBI The Agency: A new fearsome foursome

According to the team, the fact that they frequently eliminated each other during tournament play is what kept the players from reaching greater heights. By banding together, the players eliminated their greatest adversaries: each other. The team’s confidence was bolstered by the unanticipated success of their trial run, as they nabbed top honors in the Online Kickoff Classic. Their tournament title was made sweeter by the fact that they topped Pro Circuit juggernauts Carbon and Final Boss in the process.

Their feat sparked a flurry of discussion. Known simply as Top 8 caliber players, fans seemed hesitant to place the squad among the Pro Circuit elites. The overarching tone of the discussion seemed to be “we know they’re not as good as Carbon or Final Boss, but just how good are they.” Like many of the newly formed rosters, fans opted to reserve their opinion until the team tested their skills in LAN conditions. Indeed, even the team itself did not place themselves in the top tier. “Approaching Charlotte, we thought Top 5 would be a solid performance,” stated Elamite.

Regardless, the team aimed to top Carbon, just as they had done during the Online Tournament. “We placed our focus on the Round 3 gametypes,” explained Mackeo. “Our goal for the tournament was to defeat Carbon in Winners Bracket Round 3.” Like many teams who found success in Charlotte, FBI The Agency prepared for the tournament by extensively training with second-seeded Final Boss. Through two separate weekend-long LAN sessions, The Agency logged almost 200 games against Final Boss. Undoubtedly, the intense training helped the team take a giant step towards realizing their full potential.

The Agency face Carbon in the Losers Bracket Finals

Despite having nearly a week’s worth of training under their belts, nerves still came into play when The Agency sat down to face Carbon at Charlotte’s outer stages. Namely, Halogod had never previously faced a Top 3 opponent in tournament conditions. However, his nerves did not show in Game 1’s Midship Capture the Flag affair, as Halogod put up a game-leading 33 – 25 performance with 21 assists to boot. After taking Midship CTF 5 – 3, The Agency went on to win Lockout Slayer and Midship Oddball to complete an astounding sweep over top-seeded Carbon.

FBI secured their Top 3 Charlotte finish with a Winners Bracket Semifinal sweep over 5K. In doing so, The Agency lined up a Winners Bracket Finals match against sparring partners Final Boss. Surprisingly, The Agency challenged Final Boss and pushed the series to a determining Game 5.

The tournament ended on a bit of a whimper for FBI The Agency, however, as they failed to capitalize on a 5 – 1 series lead over Carbon in the Losers Bracket Finals.

Despite their unfortunate finish, FBI The Agency’s tournament performance cannot be labeled as anything short of a triumph. They responded to the calls of fans who questioned the team’s abilities. In their first tournament, The Agency pushed both Carbon and Final Boss to the brink of elimination in thrilling 11- and five-game matches. In Charlotte, The Agency declared their arrival and proved they could compete with any squad on the circuit.

In Charlotte, The Agency accomplished one of their 2007 Pro Circuit goals: appear on the main stage

Looking forward, The Agency look to maintain their Top 3 standing and continually challenge for a spot in Championship Matches. The team is mindful of the fact that they must sustain their unrelenting work ethic to keep their place among the league’s elites. Such booming success is not without precedent. Last year in Chicago, Storm Ventures defeated Carbon and challenged Final Boss in a 10-game Championship Match, eventually taking home the silver medal. The following event, however, Storm Ventures slipped back to sixth.

The Agency are weary not to repeat a similar slip. According to the team, they have a couple “aces up their sleeve” for the Meadowlands. The team, however, remained tight-lipped about those “aces.” I guess we will all find out together at the Meadowlands.

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