Entering MLG Orlando, questions surrounded Carbon’s acquisition of GH057ayame. Many felt that the move sacrificed long-established chemistry and abandoned their proven aggressive style. Carbon advanced relatively unchallenged through the early rounds of the Championship Bracket, and faced their first test against heated rivals Str8 Rippin in Winners Bracket Round 4. Those who doubted Carbon’s new roster were soon silenced, as recent addition GH057ayame’s 32-22 performance led the squad to a Game 1 victory. The team proceeded to sweep the series and secure their ticket to the Winners Bracket Finals. Meanwhile, top seeded Final Boss easily dismissed Chicago runners-up Storm Ventures in a 3 — 0 route. Both Carbon and Final Boss dropped only a single game en route to the Winners Bracket Finals, and each entered the encounter brimming with confidence.
Carbon flew out of the gates in Game 1 of Warlock CTF, as they quickly took map control and claimed a 4 — 0 advantage. Despite being out-slayed, Carbon demonstrated an uncanny ability to capitalize on small pockets of control. Final Boss appeared unable to combat the enemy advances, as Carbon systematically ran the flag through the ramp-side port. Karma’s three captures and 25 kills led the team to a commanding 5 — 1 victory, taking a 1 — 0 lead in the series. While in the past Carbon have struggled on Warlock, Game 1 demonstrated their marked improvement on the map, as well as their overall quality of play.
Game 2 of Lockout TS opened to a more balanced tone, as the two sides found themselves tied at 10 kills each. Final Boss, however, secured map and weapon control, holding the sniper rifle in the BR Tower. Exploiting this advantage, Final Boss built a significant lead. Carbon’s charges proved ineffective, as Final Boss provided constant crossfire from the opposite end of the map. The reigning champs eventually surrendered BR tower in order to claim the newly spawned sniper rifle, securing Sniper Tower in the process. Although Carbon ultimately pierced Final Boss’ defense, they were forced to constantly approach as Final Boss held their ground upon respawn. Ogre 2 led his team to a 50 — 39 victory with his 15 — 9 display.
With the series tied at one game each, the two teams met in Game 3 of Midship Ball. Each squad jockeyed for control during the opening minutes, as neither side seemed able to pull ahead. With five minutes remaining, Final Boss constructed the first significant possession of the match, taking the lead by over a minute. As time dwindled, the crowd had all but written off the match, and appeared resigned to see Final Boss gain a 2 — 1 advantage in the series. GH057ayame, however, stunned the crowd with the first of many clutch plays, as he dropped under Red Flag and orchestrated a tide-turning triple kill. Final Boss were quickly located upon spawn and were unable to coordinate a proper rush. Carbon reclaimed the lead in the final second, taking Game 3 by the score of 3:53 — 3:52 to the awe of all who were watching.
Sanctuary Flag, generally one of Final Boss’ stronger matches, was set for Game 4. Final Boss quickly established their usual dominance over the Center Ring structure and utilized this control point to gain an early lead. Carbon were kept on the defensive for most of the match, as Final Boss forcefully squelched their attempts to develop an attack. Once more, however, Final Boss relinquished late control, as Carbon leveled the score with 30 seconds remaining in regulation. Carbon quickly rallied once more and ended the match with a second capture in the opening moments of overtime.
Game 4′s loss sent Final Boss to the Losers Bracket, where they met third-seeded Str8 Rippin. Ogre 1′s strong performances in the series led the team to a 3 — 0 sweep of the Losers Bracket Finals, and sent the team through to the Championship Match against Carbon, where they trailed 3 — 1.
Game 5 of Beaver Creek opened to a familiarly tense tone, as each team locked down a base. Final Boss gained the lead through the crossfire, forcing Carbon to approach Blue Base. Gandhi snagged the overshield and toppled Final Boss’ defense with a triple kill, as Carbon gained the lead at 21 kills. Carbon retained control for the remainder of the match, holding each of the Final Boss members to negative kill-death differentials. Gandhi led the squad with 18 kills, as Carbon took an overall 4-1 lead in the series.
With their backs to the wall, Final Boss entered Game 6 with a renewed sense of determination. Final Boss had never before trailed in a Championship series, and were certainly in unfamiliar territory trailing by three games in the series. Final Boss opened the scoring in Midship Flag with an emphatic capture. Carbon quickly drew level, uncharacteristically tossing the flag Top Center. The high-pressure assault continued, as Carbon tallied two more captures in quick succession, but relinquished control in the process. Final Boss would punish Carbon for the mistake, as they rallied to four unanswered captures, taking the game 5 — 3. All of the members of Final Boss went positive, and were led by Ogre 2′s commanding 25 — 13 effort.
Team Slayer Warlock, Game 7, was played at a frenzied pace. Both teams opted to occupy the lower portions of the map. Final Boss held the lead for the entire duration of the match, sprinting to a 50-38 victory. Ogre 1 and 2 provided stellar performances, with respective 16 — 8 and 13 — 5 scores, while all four members of Carbon went negative. The win trimmed Carbon’s lead in the series to a single game, building to a pivotal Game 8.
Ogre 2 entertained early in Lockout Ball, as he slid from BR3 to Library Window to disrupt Carbon’s opening formation. Final Boss took control and carried the oddball into Green Room, establishing their trademark formation. The game displayed Major League Gaming’s top ball carriers, as Walshy and Shockwav3 alternated possession of the ball at the entrance of Green Room. It soon became apparent that Carbon could not match Final Boss’ ability to defend Green Room, and the match became a struggle for positioning. Carbon attempted to redirect the ball to the towers of the map, and gained the lead with a Sniper Tower set-up. Final Boss, however, returned the focus of play to Green Room. Ogre 1 utilized the sniper rifle to terrorize the opposition, while Ogre 2 racked unchallenged ball time.
Final Boss drew level with the victory, as the series lay tied at four games apiece heading into CTF Beaver Creek. Carbon grabbed the early lead, before the match fell into an extended stalemate. Both sides were thwarted mere steps away from their own Flag Stand, as the match provided several thrilling defensive efforts. With moments remaining in the match, Final Boss orchestrated what looked to be the game-tying flag run. Walshy held the enemy flag as his teammates killed all four opposing players. GH057ayame, the first to respawn, slipped past Final Boss’ watch and into their base, awaiting Walshy’s entrance. GH057 thrillingly killed Walshy as he rounded a corner inside his base, much to the surprise of Final Boss and their fans.
Entering Game 10 with a 5 — 4 lead, Carbon was poised to become the first team of the season to dethrone Final Boss, whose members were noticeably distressed. Carbon took the initial lead, as GH057ayame’s grenade explosion splattered an opponent. The squad never looked back, and built their lead throughout the match, capping the series with a 50 — 41 victory.
Carbon’s Game 10 victory sealed the Orlando Championship, as they accomplished something that many have asserted to be impossible. Their Championship Match win marked a shift in Major League Gaming’s pantheon, as they have dispelled Final Boss’ aura of invincibility. The team hit their stride at a key time, and have reached their finest form of the season approaching the crucial Playoff and Championship events in New York and Las Vegas. Carbon will look to defend its title in the upcoming events and prove themselves to be Major League Gaming’s premier team.
Congratulations to Carbon, and to all of the winners of the Orlando Halo 2 4v4!
1st — Carbon :: $12,000
2nd – Final Boss :: $8,000
3rd – Str8 Rippin :: $5,000
4th – Xit Woundz :: $3,000
5th – Vanity Gaming :: $2,000
6th – Storm Ventures :: $1,500
7th – FBI GamerGraffix.com :: $1,200
8th — Legendz :: $1000