Coming off of an impressive first place finish at MLG Toronto, MLG had a chance to sit down with the captain of Str8 Rippin, Tsquared. With only two events remaining in the season, Tom discusses how the team plans to defend their title.
MLG: With everything taken into perspective, how does it feel to be Tom Taylor right now?
Tsquared: I think that I feel better because of how well we’ve been doing, but you can’t bask in your wins for too long. We need to focus on more important events like Dallas and the Finals.
MLG: Up until this point in the season it has been arguable, but by taking Toronto, Str8 has firmly established themselves as the team to beat. How does it feel to be the leader of the first team to win two events in Halo 3 history?
Tsquared: It feels pretty good. I think that we feel confident that we are the team to beat. The seeds don’t lie. I think right now we are the best team. Hopefully we can continue that. Toronto was a big win for us because we were the number one seed and we actually came through on that, contrary to Meadowlands where we had first seed and got 5th place. We’re going to ride that mentality and confidence into Dallas.
MLG: Aside from uploading hilarious videos of Snipedown into the Game Room, how did you make use of the few short weeks you had before Toronto to prepare?
Tsquared: Well, pretty much all we did was make videos with Snipedown. We didn’t really need a lot of practice. As long as we have Eric in a dress we’re unstoppable. (laughs)
MLG: What does Snipedown bring to the team, and what were you most impressed by?
Tsquared: I’m impressed by Eric’s overall play. He’s a great communicator, he has an insane sniper, and one of my favorite things, he gets along great with the team and wants to team with us. So, taking all of those factors into play, we didn’t have to gel as much as we thought we’d have to. He’s pretty much a perfect fit for our team.
MLG: Name one thing Snipedown does better than Mason (Neighbor) did.
Tsquared: Overall, each has their pros and cons, but I think Eric is the best sniper in the game.
MLG: Heading into the Winners Bracket Finals, it seemed that Instinct had all of the momentum. While Instinct had not dropped a game up to this point in the tournament, Str8 Rippin seemed to be struggling after coming off two consecutive Game 5 wins against Legendz and Final Boss. After dropping the first game in the series to Instinct, how were you and the rest of Str8 able to overcome all of Instinct’s momentum?
Tsquared: This is another reason why our win in Toronto was so big. In (San Diego), we pretty much came out and dominated the tournament. In this tournament, we had like six losses. It showed our adversity to come back as a team even though we’ve been down, and that’s a big step for us. Our mental part of our game is a lot stronger than before, because we didn’t let any of those losses get to us, and I think that’s a big part of our success.
MLG: Do you think that those losses have helped you grow as a team?
Tsquared: Sometimes you have to get worse before you can get better. In Halo 3, any team can win at any time. For us to pull out the wins in those series, and have tough series rather than easy series, I think we learned more from that than if we would’ve came out and just dominated.
MLG: Which tournament win was more important to you? San Diego or Toronto?
Tsquared: Toronto was definitely the most important. Now we can keep going off of that momentum and win out for the rest of the season; that’s our main goal. Another big reason is because we are a new team and we wanted to come out strong and give Eric (Snipedown) a lot of confidence. Everyone on the team gained a lot of confidence because we showed that we can lose one of our players and then come back even stronger.
MLG: Are you confident that the roster chaos is over for Str8 and that this is the team we’ll see together for a while?
Tsquared: Well, first of all, the rosters are going to lock for the rest of the season. Hopefully we stay together for ever. There hasn’t been a team that’s stayed together forever obviously, just look at Final Boss, but I’m confident about my teammates and friends. I’m confident that in the harder times, like our five game series against Legendz, that we’ll stick together and be able to overcome anything.
MLG: Do you think that because you and your teammates are such good friends it gives you an advantage over other teams?
Tsquared: Yeah, I definitely think it helps the team. One of our strong points as a team is that we all hang out and really get along with each other. We’ve all become close friends through all of our LAN’s and things like that. When you can talk to your teammates on a friend level, rather than a professional level, it allows you to critique each others game from a friend point-of-view, rather than a halo point-of-view.
MLG: What did Coach Lammie bring back to Str8 Rippin that the team didn’t have at the previous event?
Tsquared: Well, Joe (xXx) is a great coach, and Lammie is also a great coach. I just feel that Lammie understood our team a little bit more just because he’s coached us for such a long time. I was really happy with the way both Joe and Lammie coached. I think Lammie did an awesome job this tournament, especially after not coaching for almost a year. I can’t imagine how good he’s going to be next weekend.
MLG: You had to have known the match against Final Boss had a high probability of happening all weekend. After all the anticipation, tell us what it was like for you to pull off the win against your former teammate in Neighbor?
Tsquared: It felt good. Our win against them was just a small stepping stone though, because Instinct was the team we ended up facing in the Finals. You can’t sit back and look at that victory as the major reason for us winning the tournament. Instinct was a really tough team and I think they’re still going to end up being our main competition. Like I said, you can’t bask in your victories for too long.
MLG: What is the rest of the team doing right now?
Tsquared: I’m not really sure. If I had to guess, I’d say Kyle (Elamite) is probably “milking” kids in 1v1, Bryan (Legit) is probably sleeping, and Eric (Snipedown) is off carrying TV’s somewhere. We’ve practiced a little bit already, and after I do my ESPN interview today and G4 interview tomorrow, we’re going to get into practice full-time.
MLG: Does the fact that you will only play teams ranked inside the Top 8 for the rest of the season change how you prepare for an event?
Tsquared: I think that it allows us to focus round by round and gives us a better idea as to who we’ll play. This lets us prepare for those teams individually, rather than preparing for the 32nd seed or 16th seed. It’s also going to be a high level of competition, and typically in the first round, we’re not expecting that, so we need to make sure we come out prepared.
MLG: Alright, last question before we let you go. What would you say is your team’s best gametype? If a tournament had to come down to one game, which gametype would you pick?
Tsquared: Pit CTF.
MLG: Is that Str8’s best gametype?
Tsquared: Yeah, I think that’s our best gametype. For some reason we all mesh really well on that map. Eric does a really great job of controlling the sniper rifle. I can’t really explain why, but that’s just always seemed like one of our better gametypes.
MLG: Is there anything else you’d like to say before we let you go?
Tsquared: I just hope all of the Str8 fans show up in Dallas. I’ve been pretty upset the last couple of events that we’ve been getting out cheered, at both Orlando and in Toronto. We need all of the Str8 fans to show up and cheer for us at Dallas.
MLG: Alright, thanks for sitting down with us. Enjoy those interviews and best of luck at Dallas.