Sometimes it takes a friend to help you identify your weaknesses and cause you to make a change for the better. Not only do your friends generally have the best understanding of and experience with you, but you are usually more likely to accept advice when it comes from a trusted source. So when StrongSide and Karma, close friends that both sit atop the FFA and 1v1 rankings, met in the final matches of Orlando’s Championship 1v1 Bracket, they both exposed the weaknesses in each others’ games but quickly learned and adapted, providing MLG fans with one of the best 1v1 matches in Halo 2 history.

Their first meeting was in the Winner’s Finals, where Karma won with relative ease 15-8. He commanded the central platform of the stage and the camo with his usual authority and during battles used his positional advantage to stay up in shots. StrongSide was constantly trapped below and often had to retreat when Karma got off the first shot. Despite being defeated in their first meeting of the day however, StrongSide used the opportunity to learn a little about his friend’s tactics and plan for the eventual second match-up.

After six consecutive MLG wins, it’s becoming apparent that nobody out there is quite on the same level as Karma in 1v1.

“I noticed in the first match how he was controlling top-center almost the entire time,” StrongSide explained to MLG following the event. “So I looked for a way I could use that against him in the finals.”

In their second meeting, StrongSide put his knowledge and experience to good use. Early in the match, Karma was slightly reckless in his attempt to dislodge StrongSide from the top platform and it cost him a few quick deaths–including a shotgun blast through the camo perch. With a sudden 4-1 lead in the game, StrongSide set his plan into motion. Instead of staying glued to top-middle, StrongSide moved out to the base platforms after killing Karma and looked to pick up an easy kill off of his spawn. If Karma did not spawn in the open, StrongSide patiently watched and waited for his opponent to make a move for higher ground.

Whenever StrongSide was killed, he did not instantly engage unless Karma was still weak from the previous battle and already in sight. Instead, he patiently settled in someplace safe where he could watch a corner of the top platform and wait for Karma to inevitably circle into view. When he felt confident that Karma was not aware of his position and that he could get a few shots ahead, StrongSide sprung into action. A few shots up and with Karma unwilling to give up his position on top middle, StrongSide was able to pick up a Battle Rifle and use a combination of that, his Carbine and grenades to stay ahead and finish the game 15-10.

With the series tied at one apiece, Karma and StrongSide headed into the last match that would determine who would be crowned the champion. While many players would be shaken in Karma’s position, having their usual strategy dismantled by their opponent just moments before, he remained cool and collected as ever. Instead of falling apart, he identified the weaknesses that StrongSide had exposed and turned them around for the final match.

The match stayed close early on, as both players struggled to find a comfortable rhythm against their opponent. StrongSide attempted the same strategy he used before, waiting for Karma to make a move for the top platform. This time, however, Karma didn’t advance to the middle or expose himself until he was sure of StrongSide’s position. Instead, he patiently waited for his opponent to make a mistake before he struck. Since Karma had grabbed a small one-kill lead, he had the luxury of waiting for his opponent to make the first move. StrongSide eventually decided to become the aggressor and began circling the map and throwing grenades into the bases in an attempt to flush Karma out. Hearing the distant explosions, Karma was able to identify where StrongSide was and position himself to get first shot as soon as he was exposed.

Although he is one of Karma’s closest friends, StrongSide proved to be his greatest hurdle on his way to the championship victory.

Karma gradually built a comfortable lead for himself after a series of uncharacteristically open firefights that fell in his favor. StrongSide’s impatience had caused him to press a little harder than usual in the open areas between the bases, and while his creative use of grenades often forced Karma into the open with him, he was unable to capitalize and pick up those crucial kills he needed to close the gap. Once Karma had his opponent reeling, he was able to resume his commanding use of the central platform and continue to press his lead to a 15-8 victory.

StrongSide’s intimate knowledge of Karma’s style served him very well, and exposed the chinks in the champion’s armor. Karma was perhaps too confident in his patrol of the top platform, and with some brilliantly placed grenades and patience StrongSide was nearly able to defeat him. But like a true champion always does, Karma didn’t just ignore the lessons his good friend was teaching him — he instead learned, adapted and ultimately prevailed, proving once again that he belongs at the top of the podium.

Congratulations to the Winners of the MLG Orlando Pro 1v1 Competition!

1st — Karma :: $2,000

2nd — Strongside :: $1,200

3rd — Legit :: $800

4th — Naded :: $500

5th — Fonzi :: $300

6th — Fossik :: $200

7th — Halogod_v2 :: $150

8th — Hulk :: $125