Major League Gaming’s New York Playoff event set the stage for a thrilling Championship bout between season points leader Final Boss and Orlando champions Carbon. Following their second consecutive tournament victory over Final Boss, we sat down with Gandhi and Karma of Carbon to discuss their dramatic Finals Match comeback, newly devised tactics, and an entertaining trick they call ‘fake communication.’ The team is brimming with confidence approaching the final event of the 2006 Pro Circuit, and will look to take home $100,000 and the National Championship Title in Las Vegas.

MLG: First of all, congrats on your stellar New York performance.

Gandhi: Thanks, we work out. Mostly Ben and me, but you know…

Karma: Chris (Shockwave) is starting, and Eric’s (GH057ayame) in a frat.

Gandhi: Eric’s a lost cause.

MLG: Speaking of the absent Eric, anyone care to address the claims that he’s an ‘anti-ogre’?

Gandhi: Well, the thing about Eric is he’s a challenger just like the Ogres. So when they get into fights with one another he’s not going to back down. He’s going to charge them and most of the time he wins because the Ogres can’t handle that. They’re used to people running away.

Karma: Plus he has Air Force 1 cover from behind… most of the time.

Carbon tells the television crew what it feels like to beat Final Boss and take home top honors in the 2006 Playoffs.

MLG: Moving on to the New York Playoffs Finals Match against Final Boss… In Orlando, your team held on to take a last minute Beaver Creek CTF victory by the count of 2 – 1. In New York, Final Boss opened the series with a 3 – 0 win in this gametype. What was different about your New York meeting?

Gandhi: Well in Orlando we had Red Base, which is the biggest advantage on that gametype.

Karma: I think it had a lot to do with color. Not gonna lie; I got confused.

Gandhi: Right. Before New York, we didn’t think we had to play CTF Beaver Creek from Blue against them. So we never practiced it, and going into the match we had to wing our beginning strategy, sending almost everyone out the front besides Karma, who went out the back. This cost us initial control. So from the beginning they had everything completely controlled and they executed perfectly.

Karma: Well, we kind of knew about Blue Base, but on the spot we had to remind each other, because at Blue Base we don’t boost off each other to get on top of the base.

MLG: Well, the Vegas gametypes have CTF Beaver Creek in the Winners Bracket Finals, so there’s no avoiding another Blue Base game.

Gandhi: Yeah, I was looking at the gametypes the other day and most of our weak gametypes are in the Winners Bracket Finals, with the exception of Lockout TS and Middy Ball. We’re good at CTF Midship, but against Final Boss it’s not our strongest.

MLG: Well, let’s take a look at those right now.

Vegas Winners Bracket Finals Gametypes
CTF Midship
TS Warlock
Ball Middy
CTF Beaver Creek
TS Lockout

MLG: The series opens with CTF Midship and TS Warlock, which FB won at both Orlando and New York.

Karma: Not by much in CTF Midship though. TS Warlock they won by a [good] margin both times.

Gandhi: Going into Vegas, Chris and I have noticed our weaknesses on CTF Midship and TS Warlock. In CTF Midship our beginning strategy basically falls into the trap that Final Boss sets for the other team. They want the other team to attack Pink off the beginning because they have two guys go Pink, one guy under their base looking at Pink and another in their base looking at Pink. Their main goal is to get control of Pink, and unfortunately we all spawned in that area, so we were almost forced to go Pink, besides me, who went to Carbine. They took over control from there and got the first cap.

After the first cap we started to settle down and played our game, going cap for cap until we noticed we had to stop their last run. I stuck Walshy off the spawn and noticed three guys going into our base from Car. My whole team was dead, leaving me all alone in their base. I just grabbed the flag, so I was a dead man.

MLG: Other than your opening formation, what other adjustments do you feel you need to make to your CTF Midship game?

Carbon is hard at work preparing for the National Championships in Las Vegas this month, where Final Boss will be standing between them and a $100,000 payday.

Gandhi: Well, going into Vegas we’re going to tweak our strategy to counter their Pink setup. Other than the opening rush though, I think we’re really good at the gametype. The only reason they won was that first initial cap that they took the lead with. After that it was cap for cap.

MLG: What about TS Warlock?

Gandhi: TS warlock is one of our weaker gametypes. Actually, I take that back, it is our weakest gametype.

Karma: It’s dumb. Online Scott, Chris and I kinda refuse to play it. So we just kind of breeze over it.

Gandhi: But being the second game in the Winners Bracket Finals, we realize it’s time we practice up on the gametype and learn how to play it. So going into Vegas we’ll be playing that gametype a little more. Maybe once a night.

Karma: Maybe…

Gandhi: If we feel like it that is.

MLG: Moving on, Game 2 was your first meeting of the season against Final Boss in Sanctuary Slayer, which you narrowly lost. The gametype stands as Game 11 of Vegas’ National Championship Match. Do you feel you have learned from Final Boss’ playstyle to help you take this gametype in Vegas?

Gandhi: Well to be honest, they had luck on their side in that gametype. We had a couple of miscommunications which led to them getting three or four kills, as well as the winning kill.

“We were nowhere near on the top of our game at New York. We had a good comeback, yes, but in the Winners Bracket Finals Ben and I weren’t shooting our best.” –Gandhi

MLG: Well, the winning kill was a bit of a bad spawn by Karma.

Karma: Oh, that wasn’t a bad spawn by me; it was a choke.

MLG: Well, you spawned in under Red Turret when they were all in front of Red Flag and Courtyard.

Karma: Well, it looked like only one out there. Then those other two acrobatic ninjas jumped out. It was so dumb.

Gandhi: Game 2 was kind of what we deserved for not being well enough practiced for the event. We had three or four miscommunications, as I said earlier, that cost us that gametype for sure.

MLG: What did your pre-NY practice regimen look like?

Gandhi: We had a lot of solid practice up until the 28th of September. Then we got 15 games in 12 days.

Karma: We’re not going to name names, but some people on the team were not able to attend.

MLG: So you feel like simple crisper execution is the difference between being the 49 and the 50.

Karma: Definitely.

Gandhi: We were nowhere near on the top of our game at New York. We had a good comeback, yes, but in the Winners Bracket Finals Ben and I weren’t shooting our best.

Karma: The Winners Bracket Finals is really the clutch point, because it sets up the rest of the games for more hosts and good color.

Gandhi: We weren’t really thinking either. We weren’t looking when people called stuff out. It was minor stuff, but it was really noticeable.

MLG: Well, Ben had a solid 36 kill performance in Game 3, where your team managed to counter Final Boss’ Green Room setup.

Karma: We went over that so many times. Online, we sometimes couldn’t even take it back from random people that were holding Green Room.

Gandhi: So eventually we were like, “how are we going to do this?” Finally we sat down and thought about it. Basically, we designed a strategy that got us control of Green Room and got the ball out of Bottom Blue and to either Sniper Tower or BR Tower, our two strong points on the map.

Our counter-attack was to push from up top and sneak a player in from either Long Ramp or Mid-Ramp. This gave us a 4v3 since their ball guy just wanted to rack time for some reason instead of helping his teammates. So we played ourselves a 4v3 until we got control, then we just stuck to the basics and executed our strategy perfectly.

Karma and Gandhi blow off a little steam during the intense challenges they faced at the Playoffs. The National Championships promise to be an even tougher road–one that leads to the biggest prize in Halo history and the 2006 MLG Season Title!

MLG: Well, on the whole your team did much better in ball games this tournament, winning both ball matches by a convincing margin, whereas Orlando required some last second heroics to even take one of the two games. For the first time, also, Final Boss was significantly out-slayed in these gametypes as well.

Gandhi: Well, ball has always been our strong gametype, believe it or not. Against any other team, we win ball games by a lot. We figured out how to play against Final Boss in ball and it worked great.

“We had to take control step by step, instead of rushing in like animals and scrambling for kills.” –Gandhi

MLG: Well, you guys do have arguably the greatest ball carrier in the game.

Gandhi: Yeah, Shock knows what he’s doing. Being on his team during ball games is amazing. So amazing that Ben and I try to mock his heroics with the ball, and it doesn’t work out.

Karma: I think it’s funny, because even when they have control, Chris is just like, “I’ll get maybe two or three ball kills before I die. Or even not die.”

Gandhi: And we’ll storm in like Ghost Busters and clean it up.

Karma: “Who you gonna call?”

Gandhi: Shockwave!

MLG: So what do you feel you did differently to turn a one-second Middy Ball victory into a dominating two-minute margin?

Gandhi: Well, one major thing was that we had host in New York. I’m what you would call a beast on host, so I was able to put myself in a position like Pink 3 and annoy them across the map. Then as they were occupied with me, Ben or Chris was holding the ball and rolling time.

Karma: Plus we were more organized. In the one-second Orlando win we were sloppier.

Gandhi: We had to take control step by step, instead of rushing in like animals and scrambling for kills.

Karma: Definitely. We were much smarter.

MLG: Moving on in the series, your team lost the WB Finals 3 – 1 and seemed more or less completely un-phased by it.

Karma: We didn’t lose confidence.

Gandhi: Well, we knew those weren’t exactly our best gametypes, and favored Final Boss.

MLG: Right, you had only won one of the those four opening gametypes when you met in Orlando.

Karma: We knew that we had it in us to come back. Plus, even though the first game of the Championship Match would be TS Warlock, we still didn’t get demoralized. We just waited for our chance. Plus xXx kept making us laugh. He kept making fun of me for sucking in the Winners Bracket.

Gandhi: And he let me know that I needed host, jokingly.

MLG: So other than favorable gametypes, to what do you attribute your comeback?

Gandhi: Going into the Finals I looked at it like it was 0-0. Before the series, I let everyone know that I didn’t plan on losing to them; that we’re doing this.

Karma: We all talked and we were like, “Alright guys, we’re gonna dominate FB.”

Gandhi: Also, we have a really strong mentality. Believe it or not, Ben is one of the most mentally strong players on the circuit. He lets nothing get to him. Ever since I can remember, he’s been pushing for us to be stronger mentally. Finally, the team as a whole started to pick up on the mentally-strong thing, and we worked through a lot of tough situations.

MLG: Well, in addition to Ben’s ‘mental toughness’, it seems like xXx does a lot to enforce this.

Gandhi: Yeah, xXx keeps us happy for sure.

Karma: xXx helps us all in game ridiculously. In game, if I start laughing and getting into it, I play better. Scott, Chris and Eric do too.

“They’ll be on top of their game, and we’ll be a hell of a lot more on top of our game than we were in New York.” –Karma

MLG: Speaking of xXx, let’s look at the issue of ‘fake communication’.

Karma: Oh man that was hilarious.

Gandhi: Haha, alright. Ever since I can remember, xXx would always call fake stuff out in Matchmaking, such as, “I’m falling into Green Room and I got hit by his ‘nade.” Then the person would run right past xXx, who was hiding under-glass, and xXx would get an easy kill. Then, for some reason, we thought we could get away with it against Storm Ventures. So against Storm Ventures, xXx would call out “Snipe’s up! Snipe’s up!” causing them to run up to Snipe. I had the sniper rifle the whole time, so I got easy kills.

Karma: I could not stop laughing.

Gandhi: Then, we had complete control of the map on Lockout, and Storm Ventures was trapped at Mid-Ramp and Bottom Blue. So Chris says, “Okay guys, I’m falling into Blue.” xXx responds, “No not yet! Wait for everyone!” So we acted like we were moving to Top Blue and xXx counts out, “1, 2, 3, Go! Go! Go!” From our screen you can see Storm Ventures start to nade the pistols. It was hilarious. It kind of got in their minds, like, “Wow, they are toying with us,” giving us the edge.

MLG: Any such antics against Final Boss?

Gandhi: Yeah. In the final game.

Karma: It was the funniest thing ever.

Gandhi: xXx decided that calling out fake overshield time would work. It was so believable that Chris and Eric believed it. They fought for a solid 30 seconds over an OS that wasn’t even there. We got six or seven kills and a fresh overshield that just happened to spawn.

MLG: That’ll teach them not to listen to your chatter.

Gandhi: Dang straight.

MLG: What about between tournaments. How does xXx help with your training?

Gandhi: Basically, xXx stays in touch with us, asking how practice went, all that kind of stuff. He has a job so he gets on really late at night and talks to us. Most of the time it’s about VoD. He teaches us what we need to do against certain teams in certain gametypes. That gives us an edge coming from a coach who sees this as a third party, since he’s over our shoulders instead of in the game.

MLG: What do your Vegas preparations look like?

Gandhi: We’ll start practice this coming Monday, and plan on running the Winners Bracket Finals to start every practice–then doing the remaining gametypes.

MLG: Any teams in particular that you plan to practice with?

Gandhi: Mostly Legendz and whatever other team is on at the time.

MLG: Any thoughts on your Vegas meeting with FB?

Karma: We’re ridiculously confident.

Gandhi: The Winners Bracket Finals is going to be a tough match. But when it’s all said and done, we’ll be our strongest by far.

Karma: They’ll be on top of their game, and we’ll be a hell of a lot more on top of our game than we were in New York.

MLG: Thank you very much for your time guys, and best of luck in Vegas.