By Derrick Maechler

The first Call of Duty: Black Ops Season on the Pro Circuit has definitely been full of surprises, both in terms of matches and Cinderella stories. Today, we’ll be looking at the Season as a whole from beginning to end, reminiscing about what has been a true pro tour-de-force for the viewers, the fans, and even our own staff and commentators.

Where It All Began

MLG Dallas was the first ever Black Ops tournament under the Major League Gaming brand. Unlike the rest of the Pro Circuit leading up to the Nationals, MLG Dallas only had a single bracket — every team had to fight their way through the Open Bracket to win the title and secure a Top 16 position for the next Event. And wow, what a bracket: Leverage, Optic Gaming, Fear, Next Threat, Envy, Resistance, Icons, Obey, Influence, and more. As Big Tymer said during his interview with us, MLG Dallas was anybody’s game. No one there had a guaranteed win against such heavy competition.

The Winners Bracket was a stunning display for the eager-eyed crowd. Rounds 1 & 2 were nothing but byes, and we also saw quite a few byes in Round 3, but All or Nothing took down High and Mighty, Driven defeated Hive Mindset, Seven Men took down Phoenix, Inception beat Down By Association, No Way Out devoured Fear Females, Fly Society beat Whiskey-6, Bless the Best walked through Caek, Nerds With Swag beat Da Squares, Art of Execution blasted past No Some, Imperial devastated Notoriety, Sideways Effect beasted over Vanity, Abnormal slapped K-Oz, and Superrainbow Trout knocked out The Stooges.

Continuing the tournament into Round 4, we finally got to see the heavy favorites snap into action. Leverage had no issue taking down All or Nothing, Force toasted the USA Toasters, Next Threat rode right past Driven, Hysteria went hysterical against Seven Men, Optic Gaming put Down By Association down, Envy showed No Way Out the exit, Ground Zero swatted Fly Society, Fear refused to give Bless the Best their blessing, Motivation swagged all over the Nerds With Swag, Icons gave Defying History a lesson, Resistance executed the Art of Execution, Influence put Imperial under their influence, Twisted Method effectively defeated Sideways Effect, Lasting Legacy continued their legacy by defeating Abnormal, Nox Renegade used guerrilla tactics to defeat Highly Refined, and Superrainbow trout were forced to follow orders from Obey.

Round 5 was where we finally got to really see our bracket titans collide. During these matchups, we saw Leverage take down Force with force, Next Threat gave Hysteria their medication, Optic Gaming made Envy green with envy, Ground Zero showed Fear that they weren’t afraid of anything, Icons showed Motivated just how motivated they truly were, Resistance gave Influence a DUI, Twisted Method showed Lasting Legacy the method to their madness, and Obey forcing Nox Renegade’s to follow their rules.

All these Games set the stage for the Winners Quarterfinals, where things really picked up. Leverage threatened Next Threat’s tournament dreams, Optic Gaming put Ground Zero back in the ground, Resistance showed Icons who the real icon was, and Obey taught Twisted Method how to enter the Losers Bracket.

In the Winners Semifinals, we saw something virtually unseen—Leverage annihilated Optic Gaming with a 3-0 finish. On the opposite end of the Winners Bracket was Resistance and Obey. Obey finally had no choice but to recognize the abilities of their opponents in a 3-1 finish in Resistance’s favor; granting Resistance a shot at Leverage in the Winners Finals.

With all eyes on these two teams, Leverage and Resistance both showed the world how hungry they were for the Championship. Both teams kept answering back each time one attempted to establish dominance over the other until finally Resistance managed to tame the monsters known as Leverage to claim their seat in the Grand Finals.

This brings us to the Losers Bracket. This side of the tournament was a story of three teams: Optic Gaming, Envy, and Ground Zero. Envy went ballistic in a glorious display, taking out Art of Execution, Fear, Icons, and Twisted Method until their collision against the brick wall known as Optic Gaming. Barreling down the other end of the Losers Bracket was Ground Zero, who managed to quite literally rain bombs on Influence, Next Threat, and Obey to secure their rematch against Optic gaming.

Much to the dismay of Ground Zero, Optic Gaming were not ready to go home yet, as they managed to eviscerate their squad 3-1. What transpired next was another colossal rematch—Optic Gaming against Leverage. Both teams came in with the intent to win. Optic Gaming wanted to make up for the landslide victory Leverage earned earlier in the tournament. Sadly for them, Leverage just weren’t having it, as Leverage once again overcame all odds and sent Optic Gaming home, giving Leverage their position in the Grand Finals while leaving Optic Gaming with a 3rd Place finish.

The Grand Finals at MLG Dallas was a rematch of Leverage and Resistance. In a continuation set, Resistance started off with a 3-2 advantage. Leverage were on a mission to prove their previous loss was a fluke and managed to complete that task by defeating Resistance in four unanswered games back to back. Leverage walked away with the first MLG Title of the Season.

The Ruckus in Columbus

There was a much different aura in the venue at MLG Columbus. With the top teams from MLG Dallas sitting comfortably in the newly formed Pools, the Open Bracket wasn’t quite as terrifying as it was at the previous Event. Also, there was one thought on everyone’s mind: how to handle taking down Leverage after their dominating display at the previous MLG Event.

In the Open Bracket, there were four obvious breakout teams. Fate managed to juke on Juked 2-0, Initial Instinct 2-1, Static 2-0, and completely wrecked Reck 2-0. Active Threat left a path of destruction as they ran through Just Kickin It 2-0, Secret 2-0, and Seven Men 2-0. YunGunz roasted their competition as well, desecrating Lethal Intent 2-0, Purple Rage 2-0, and Arrogance 2-0. Last but not least, there Fly Society. They managed to soar through the Open Bracket destroying Scary Kids 2-0, Slaughterhouse 2-0, and Outbreak 2-0 before coming down for a landing into the Pools.

The Losers side of the Open Bracket resembled a hospital for the terminally ill, as very few teams managed to defeat more than one team before meeting their own demise. Of those very few surviving teams, the most standout performance came from Juked. Although they were put in this bracket of death in their first matchup, they actually managed to stay alive and burn their way through all challengers for a chance to play against the big boys, only losing a single match during their entire run.

Following all the blood drawn during the Open Bracket were the Pools, the major change in format between MLG Dallas and MLG Columbus. There was no such thing as an easy route here, with the top teams all spread out amongst their four groups, all vying to earn their place in the Winners Semifinals.

In Pool A, the seemingly unbeatable Quantic Leverage took on all challengers in a run which included Icons 3-0, Nox Uprising 3-1, and YunGunz 3-1. Their run however was not without issue, as Aim 4 Victory managed to end their set with Leverage in a close 3-2 finish. In Pool B the story of the day was Fear, who flawlessly defeated Twisted Method 3-0, Next Threat 3-0, and Active Threat 3-0 until Resistance brought Leverage down in a narrow 3-2 victory. Pool C might as well have been named Pool Optic because of Optic Nation and Optic Gaming. Optic Gaming managed to take down Motivation 3-1, Envy 3-1, and Optic Nation 3-2 until reaching Fly Society, where they lost 1-3. Optic Nation almost completely cleaned house as well, plucking wins from Motivation 3-0, Envy 3-1, and Fly Society 3-0 while only dropping one set against their Optic brethren Optic Gaming. Pool D was probably the most shocking pool of them all. It was in this five team round-about that we saw the 12th seed Force manage to defeat Influence 3-2, Fate 3-0, and Obey 3-2 before taking the loss to Legend Status 1-3.

With our competitors for the Winners Semifinals in place we continued to be surprised. Our previous Champions Leverage met their maker at the hands of the 12th seeded Force 3-2, while Optic Nation wereknocked down a rung by Fear. This brought us to the Winners Finals, where Force once again pulled a massive upset — they took Fear down 3-1, earning their place in the Grand Finals.

Glancing over at the Losers Bracket, we once again watched as teams had their dreams crushed left and right. The beginning tales to be told were Juked and Defying History, who fought their way up to Round 5—including an amazing 3-0 victory by Defying History against the 7th seed Next Threat. From here, it was Icons on a terror spree, taking out Defying History, Resistance, and Influence before running into Leverage. On the top end of the bracket stood Optic Gaming, who mauled Envy, Obey, Twisted Method, and Optic Nation to earn a redemption opportunity slated for Round 9 against Leverage for their losses at MLG Dallas. This was a battle that everyone wanted to see, although with Optic Gaming having Rambo back, Optic gaming managed to take it with a convincing 3-1 finish. This lead to the Losers Finals of Fear against Optic Gaming, where Optic Gaming once again put the heat on their opponents and took the set with yet another 3-1 end.

Now that everything else had been decided, we were down to the final bout of the event: Optic Gaming against Force for the MLG Columbus Championship. Force had been on a solid hot-streak, defeating some of the best teams in the business, but they ran into unsurpassable odds as Optic Gaming managed to sweep them six games in a row to walk away with the Championship as the curtains closed as MLG Columbus.

Aiming High in Anaheim

Anaheim was MLG’s first stop in California in quite some time, though the competition easily caused the temperature to rise. This was a battle over one thing: Which competitor was the hungriest for victory.

From the get-go, we watched four teams once again leave bloody trail through the Open Bracket to earn their positions in the Pools. Hybrid managed to 2-0 Babe, best Almost Evil with a 2-1 ending, and burn Arsenal 2-0 for their place in the Pools. At the same time Aim 4 Victory were on a rampage, demoralizing High and Mighty 2-0, murdering Fate 2-0, and putting Revenge down 2-1. Meanwhile Abnormal dominated HitMarker 2-0, Legend Status 2-0, and So Vicious 2-1. The real story in the Open Bracket however was No Regrets, who managed to not drop a single game as they ran through Creation, Believe in God, and Seven Men on their path to Pools.

The Losers Bracket for the Open side of things was once again a very harsh environment. Only two teams here managed to actually pull more than two wins before meeting elimination themselves: Existence and BeatDown. The other teams to survive the Open Losers Bracket were all teams who weren’t added to this bracket of death until Round 7. Those teams were Almost Evil, Split Second, Fate, Second Nature, Believe in God, and Legend Status.

Pool Play at MLG Anaheim was almost clock-work from beginning to end. Leverage dominated the event as the  1st seed, losing only two games total across four sets while taking down Nox Nation, Next Threat, YunGunz, and Abnormal. Pool B also went down so predictably that even Miss Cleo would’ve guessed it correctly. 2nd seeded Optic Gaming went absolutely crazy: 3-0’ing Juked, Icons, and No Regrets, and still eking a victory out of Defying History in a closely contended 3-2 matchup. Pool C belonged to the 3rd seeded Fear, who also only lost one game while decimating VWS, Fly Society, Obey, and Hybrid.

However, Pool D didn’t stick to the top seed winning it all. 4th seeded Force lost every single set they faced in Pool Play, being 3-0’ed by Influence, Envy, and Aim 4 Victory. They did manage to take two games off of Twisted Metal, but it was all for naught as they still lost that set as well. The real story in this pool was from none other than the 13th seeded Influence. Influence showed their abilities by going 3-0 against Force and Twisted Metal, 3-1 against Envy, and 3-2 against Aim 4 Victory to close out the end of Pools and secure the final place in the Winners Bracket.

The Winners Semifinals was rather intense. First Leverage went up against Influence in a very tightly contested bout that ended in a narrow 3-2 victory for Leverage. Next up was Fear vs. Optic Gaming. This battle was once again a brawl for victory, staying extremely competitive until Fear finally managed to close things out 3-2. In the Winners Finals, we saw something that surprised all of us though, Fear completely shutting out the top seeded Leverage 3-0, guaranteeing Fear a shot in the Grand Finals.

In the Losers Bracket, every team was hanging on for dear life on their treacherous climb for the second pedestal in the Grand Finals match up. As per usual, outside of a select few teams, everyone was lucky to win one match before getting dropped. Envy managed a three win streak to eliminate Hybrid, Fly Society, and Aim 4 Victory before being eliminated by YunGunz. Next Threat managed the longest streak at four wins, taking down Juked, Defying History, Obey, and Influence before being sent packing by Optic Gaming, giving us a Losers Bracket Finals everyone had been waiting for – Optic Gaming vs.Leverage. Much to the dismay of Optic Gaming, Leverage walked past them 3-1, proving to be the much hungrier team at this stop in the 2011 Pro Circuit.

In Fear vs.Leverage, Fear had a three win headstart in the continuation set. Leverage weren’t discouraged despite knowing who they were facing. They knew what they were capable of and what they had to do in order to jump over such a tall hurdle. Leverage stuck to their plan and executed it almost perfectly, as they managed to take the series 6-5 against the 3rd seeded Fear to achieve their second MLG Championship of the Season.

Bringing the Pain in Raleigh…

MLG Raleigh was quite different from MLG Columbus or MLG Anaheim. As the event unfolded, it slowly became apparent what separated this event from the previous two.

The Open Bracket in Raleigh could be summed up with just two names; Collapse and Split Second. Collapse went through Assault, First Class, and Type-Z completely unscathed. Split Second managed to copy the exact same feat as they crushed Zeros Hero, Leviathan, and Vvv Gaming. Also fighting their ways into the Pools were Brain Dead and Redemption, albeit not in as commanding of a fashion.

The Open Losers Bracket was once again a very dangerous place, with only two teams surviving longer than two matches, Element and Assault. The other teams to survive the Open Losers Bracket were again the teams who were added to it in Round 7: Zooted, Leviathan, Fate, Xzyate, Vital Signs, and First Class.

The Pools is where this tournament began to show something we hadn’t yet seen this year. For the first time this Season, a team from the Open Bracket came in and dominated their entire Pool. Collapse took Pool A by absolute force, taking down Abnormal 3-0, Ob Pro 3-0, Twisted Metal 3-0, and two time Champions Quantic Leverage 3-2.

Pool B wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. This Pool was completely stopped dead in their tracks by the flawless gameplay of Optic Gaming, who effortlessly defeated Last Minute 3-1, Icons Blue 3-0, Influence 3-1, and Split Second 3-0.

Pool C was bit more contested. No team went undefeated here. Fear, who went 3-0 with YunGunz and Obey, went 3-2 with Redemption, but lost 1-3 to Icons Black. On the other hand, Obey  took that 0-3 loss to Fear. Unfortunately, that 3-0 loss was enough to put Obey in the Losers Bracket while Fear cemented their position in the Winners Semifiinals.

In Pool D we watched in awe as Envy repeated what we witnessed from Optic Gaming, 3-0 with Force, 3-1 with Juked, 3-0 with Next Threat, and 3-1 with Brain Dead. Closely following behind was Next Threat who went 3-0 with Juked, 3-0 with Force, and 3-0 with Brain Dead until ultimately being dissected by Envy.

This brings us to the Winners Semifinals. The first matchup on the docket was Collapse vs.Envy, and here the crowd got their money’s worth. It was a highly competitive duel until finally Envy managed to take the upper-hand, winning 3-2 in their favor. Next up was Fear vs.Optic Gaming. In this clash of the titans, it seemed Optic Gaming just couldn’t get a proper footing the entire set while Fear were on fire. Fear took the set 3-1 putting Optic Gaming in the Losers Bracket.

The Winners Finals stage was set. Fear’s fire was still burning strong, fueled by the momentum of their huge win over Optic Gaming. They fanned those flames forward and roasted Envy with another 3-1 finish, guaranteeing their position in the Grand Finals to face whoever could walk out of the Losers Bracket alive.

The Losers Bracket did what it does best here: Put teams out as quickly as they come in. Even teams like Optic Gaming and Quantic Leverage quickly succumbed to this bracket of doom. The first team to actually begin a streak longer than two was Force, who took down First Class 3-0, Obey 3-0, and Icons Blue 3-2 before running into Collapse. From that moment on the Losers Bracket belonged to Collapse, who slaughtered Force 3-0, Optic Gaming 3-2, and narrowly defeated Envy 6-5 in their continuation match.

This led us to the Grand Finals. What made this Grand Finals different from all previous stops was that, for the first time all year, a team from the Open Bracket defied all odds and broke their way through the biggest competition in MLG history. Unfortunately for our weary Open Bracket travelers, the embers still burned strong in the hearts of Fear, as Fear absolutely torched their way through this final battle of the night in dramatic fashion with a 3-0 victory over Collapse. This was Fear’s first well-deserved MLG crown.

A Weekend of Orlando Magic

MLG Orlando was a story reminiscent of MLG Raleigh. All of the competition was hungry for the crown, all the heavy hitters were in the building, and things unfolded surprisingly from beginning to end.

The Open Bracket was quite the battleground with some major standout performances. Vendetta completely shut out Victory Bound, Superior, and So Vicious without as much as losing a single match. Fate managed to follow in Vendetta’s footsteps, going 2-0 with Total Control, Vws Damage, and First Class. Not to be outdone, Apex went untouched against Five Star, Prime Suspects, Charisma, and Nemesis. In fact, Xzyate were the only team to drop any matches and still earn their place in Pools as they defeated Cause N Effect 2-0, Seven Men 2-1, and Defying History 2-1 to get there.

The Open Losers Bracket was a fight for sheer survival. It mirrored the previous events of the Season in that most teams outside of two were eliminated no sooner than they came in. No Way Out eliminated Five Star, Point Blank, and Charisma to survive their portion. Meanwhile, SevenMen Xcellence took down Unpredictable, Existence, and All in Motion to continue on. The other teams to advance were Fear Black, 1Unit, Vws Damage, Seven Men, Domino Effect, and Superior.

During the Pools, we saw a repeat of MLG Raleigh. Pool A was the big shocker, as Vendetta had a chip on their shoulder that could only be removed with huge wins. Vendetta had us all dumbfounded with how they handled the competition; breezing through Redemption 3-1, Juked 3-0, Icons Elite 3-1, and Leverage 3-0 as well.

Pool B may as well just have been named Optic’s training ground, as it’s never been won by a team that didn’t have Optic in their name, and MLG Orlando was no different in that respect. Optic Gaming continually showed us why they are one of the scariest teams in the world, and even though the fans all questioned their choice to drop Rambo for Proofy going into the event, Optic Gaming silenced all naysayers with inspiring victories all around. We’re talking 3-0 with YunGunz, 3-1 with Obey, 3-0 with Surreal Legacy, and 3-1 with Fate.

Pool C was again eerily similar to its MLG Raleigh counter-part, with Fear taking on all challengers and living to tell about it. Fear showed us why they were the defending Champions, albeit not as easily as they had hoped, as they won against PrettyGoodYoungKids 3-1, Abnormal 3-2, Force 3-2, and Xzyate 3-1.

Pool D was the most contested segment of this section of the tournament out of the entire Season; with Next Threat, Icons Xtravagant, and Envy putting on a display of power in attempts to earn the final spot in the Winners Semi-Finals. Next Threat managed to over-come Envy 3-2, Aim 4 Victory 3-2, and Apex 3-2. Icons Xtravagant pulled off wins against Aim 4 Victory 3-2, Next Threat 3-2, and Apex 3-0. Refusing to be left in the cold, Envy put on a show going 3-0 with Icons Xtravagant, Aim 4 Victory, and Apex awarding them that final slot.

The Winners Semifinals was where things really got interesting, as the first matchup was Vendetta and Envy, veteran against new-comer. While normally all bets would’ve been on Envy here, what couldn’t be forgotten was the fact that Vendetta had already managed to pull a clean sweep with Leverage to get here, making this a match the crowd on the edge of their seat in anticipation. It was a see-saw exhibition of skill with both teams pushed to their limit. When all things were finally said and done however, it was Vendetta who walked away with a slim 3-2 victory over Envy. The second matchup was Fear squaring off against Optic Gaming. Optic Gaming did what they’re known for and completely blew Fear out of the water with an eye-popping 3-0 finish.

The Winners Finals was yet another knockdown, drag-out brawl, with our duo of teams having to use every single speck of ability within them to overthrow their opponent and earn their rightful place in the Grand Finals. When the dust settled from this battle of epic proportions, it was Optic Gaming who walked out alive with a 3-2 finish over Vendetta.

With the Losers Bracket fully stocked with teams who refused to die, teams were sent home as quickly as their names were called. Xtravagant were the first team to really begin doing damage, rolling over Xzyate 3-1, Force 3-1, and Juked 3-0 before butting heads with Envy and losing 6-2 in the continuation Set. Leverage, on the other hand, only managed to send Fate and Next Threat home – with 3-0 and 3-1 wins respectively – before meeting their maker at the hands on Fear 1-3. Envy then managed to put Fear out of the running with a 3-1 win. At the end of the day though, it was once again Vendetta who managed to rise above the ashes of war with a 6-5 finish.

This created the setting for the final push for the MLG Orlando Championship, a second chance meeting of Vendetta and Optic Gaming. These two teams again went back and forth, with Optic Gaming reminding us who they are and what they’re capable of. Even with all of Vendetta’s skill, it still wasn’t enough to offset the 2nd seeded Optic Gaming as they finally succumbed to Optic Gaming’s superior strength in a 6-4 finish. Optic Gaming joined Leverage to be the second squad of the Season to hold two Championship titles.

An Event So Big It Got a Holiday

As rough as every stop up until now in the MLG 2011 Pro Circuit has been, nothing could prepare these teams for what they were up against in MLG Providence. With Pools being eliminated for the format, the Top 16 teams were already waiting with baited breath in the Championship Bracket for anyone skilled enough to survive the final Open Bracket of the Season. The stakes were gargantuan for the MLG Nationals, as MLG was putting up $50,000 to whoever could climb the mountain of competitors and reach the crown found at its peak. Even taking 3rd place was $20,000. Clearly, no one would going to let this kind of money walk away easily. After all, Providence declared November 18th Major League Gaming Day in honor of this massive event.

The Open Bracket was a hunting ground with everyone vying to pounce upon their prey, but again, four teams stood out from the rest of the pack. The first of the four was Mg Notorious, who 2-0’ed Wasted Talent and SOTB. Second on the list was Brain Dead, as they blew through their section flawlessly, leaving Akatsuki, Sunrise and Friends, and Fear Haze all dead in their wake. The third team was Abv; who 3-0’ed Di Bo Chet, 2-1’ed Excellence, and 2-0’ed Inferior for their chance at the Championship. Last but certainly not least was Infused. Infused were the only European team and were accustomed to a completely different rule set, but they were purported to have the best accuracy in the world. They took their path through this bracket regardless, defeating Ghost 2-0, Limitless 2-1, and Defying History 2-0 for their chance to show America, and the rest of the world, what they were made of.

In the Open Losers Bracket, the only team to survive more than one round was Ghost, who eliminated Grip and Convergence Gaming in order to survive. The other teams to join them were Wasted Talent, Sunrise and Friends, Tgn Vanity, Strictly Business, Excellence, Limitless, and Victory in Progress, all of whom entered the Losers Bracket by Round 4.

This brought us to what we all came here for: The Championship Bracket. Round 1 was clean cut – here we witnessed Mg Notorious defile Redemption 3-0, Icons Elite destroy Abv 3-0, Obey take a photo finish game with Infused 3-2, and Brain Dead obliterate YunGunz 3-0. Round 2 was just as brutal, with Force taking Mg Notorious 3-2, Juked out-played Icons Elite 3-1, Vendetta took the W with Obey 3-1, and Brain Dead sent Genesis packing 3-1.

It was Round 3 where things really started to come together as the 5th to 8th seeds were added to the mix. Force forced their way to victory against Surreal Legacy 3-1, Envy demolished Juked 3-0, Collapse won the war of the Season’s previous Cinderella teams 3-1, and Next Threat ended Brain Dead’s winning streak 3-1.

Round 4 was where our heavy hitters came out to play, with Optic Gaming, Xtravagant, Leverage, and Fear all waiting for their chance to establish dominance against Round 3’s victors. For awhile it appeared as though the Winners Semifinals were settled, as Optic Gaming brushed past Force 3-1, Xtravagant narrowly escaped Envy 3-2, and Leverage collapsed Collapse’s chances 3-0. The shocker here was Next Threat against Fear, as Next Threat brought the fight to their Quantic companions and rose above them with a 3-2 final score.

The Winners Semifinals were where things really became exciting. While the first match – Optic Gaming’s skirmish with Xtravagant – was a one-sided blowout that crushed Xtravagant’s spirits after the big 3-0 landslide ending in Optic Gaming’s favor, the same can’t be said for Next Threat’s struggle with Leverage, in what was arguably the most intense engagement of the entire Season. This was a battle where impossible comebacks happened not once but twice. To top it all off, the Game ended off with a quadruple over-time in CTF on Summit. Once this legendary duel of the Quantic giants finally ended, Next Threat managed to stand over their opponent for the first time all Season with a 3-1 victory.

In the Winners Finals, Optic Gaming and Next Threat were both ready for what promised to be an epic show-down. Optic Gaming were no stranger to this setting, but Next Threat were still riding the adrenaline rush from their prior epic battle with Leverage. Both teams fought tooth-and-nail to cement their place in the Grand Finals, with each of their respective members pulling out every trick in their sleeves that they could possibly muster. In the end, the entire world sat stunned as Next Threat managed to take the victory out from under Optic Gaming’s noses with a final score of 3-2.                          

The Losers Bracket was as harsh as the desert sun to all that were caught in its treacherous landscape from beginning to end. One early breakout performance was seen by Limitless, who managed to eliminate Victory in Progress 3-2, Fear Haze 3-2, and YunGunz 3-1 before falling victim to Mg Notorious in a humbling 0-3 defeat. The foreign squad Infused tried to keep their dream alive, bumping off Inferior 3-1 and Icons Elite 3-0 before falling to Vendetta. Defying History also made an early push, discharging Tgn Vanity, Abv, and Obey before being laid to the sidelines by Juked.

From here, things got confusing. Collapse managed to expel Fear 3-2 and Icons Xtravagant 3-0. Meanwhile, Envy were creating water-cooler moments of their own, completely liquidating the rest of the assets found in the Losers Bracket consecutively in one fell swoop. During this rush they knocked out Vendetta 3-0, eradicated Mg Notorious 3-1, ousted Leverage 3-2, terminated Collapse 3-1, and finally completely wiped out the monsters known as Optic Gaming 3-0 to finish off one of the most awe-inspiring Losers Bracket runs all Season.

This brought us to our final encounter of the 2011 Pro-Circuit: 7th seed Next Threat’s date with none-other than 5th seeded Envy. Only one team would walk away with the MLG National Championship and a check for $50,000. The tension was thick on the main-stage during this final strife for the title. Developed was nothing less than epic, as both teams threw everything they possibly could at each other to give themselves the edge over their opposition until the very end. Threat’s Virus pulled off a lightning fast 3v1 clutch finish in SnD to walk away with the MLG 2011 National Championship with the set ending 3-2.


 We hope everyone out there has enjoyed this Season as much as we have enjoyed developing it, and we’ll see you all next year.