Following their sub-par finishes at the 2011 MLG Season opener in Dallas, the Final Boss and Instinct squads made some drastic changes. OGRE 2 and Pistola left the Final Boss team that had shot to stardom in 2010, picking up the Season's National Championship to boot, to join up with veteran Instinct twins Lunchbox and Roy. For MLG fans, seeing an OGRE under a brand other than Final Boss was certainly a bizarre sight, but it did nothing to stop the winningest player in MLG history from adding another victory to his, and Instinct's, resume. The MLG Columbus Champions sat down with MLG to discuss the record-setting Event, where they went on an incredible 17-game winning streak before dropping a map.
MLG: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. You've all won a number of Events, but because of the way you dominated Columbus, would you say this was the most satisfying?
OGRE 2: Maybe not the most satisfying for me, but it's definitely up there with some of the best Events I've been to.
Roy: Personally, with the way we played throughout the whole tournament, definitely the most satisfying for me.
Lunchbox: Yeah, it was definitely very satisfying for me. Being able to maintain such a high level of play throughout the whole tournament was awesome.
Towey: Yeah it definitely is, our team last year won the first two Events but with all the pre-Event hype our team had before Columbus, being able to come out and perform so well was incredible.
Pistola: I love this team. That's all I've got [laughs].
Roy: [Laughs] Yeah, I agree with that statement. Winning the way we did with the teammates that it happened with is something I will remember forever.
Lunchbox: Especially being able to do it in Ogre City, that was nice [laughs].
Pistola: It's an honor to play with you guys.
OGRE 2: Next question!
Roy: The feeling is mutual, my friend.
MLG: What do you think the key to your domination was? The two duos? The perfect mix of playstyles? Something else?
Roy: I personally feel that it is our awareness and our on-the-fly teamwork that happens because of that. We are four extremely well-rounded players and can make any play at any time, and we all want nothing less than to win.
Lunchbox: For me, we just have a good mix of players. We all put a ton of time into practicing pre-Columbus and really wanted to win, especially after our first Event placings.
Towey: It was definitely a combination of things, but the most important has to be the mix of playstyles and types of players on our team; everyone is so good at communicating and listening on top of their awareness and everything else. It lead to natural teamwork and understanding of how to play each Game Type.
OGRE 2: It's a combination of what they said. We have a good mix of players because we are some of the most experienced, aware, team oriented, and talented players in the League. I feel like we have no weak spots as a team or personality-wise, and this team is here to stay and dominate for a long while.
Pistola: It was definitely a mix of everything. The twins' playstyles worked really well with Tom’s and my playstyle. We have a group of dedicated, genuine, and competitive guys on our squad. GOAT.
Lunchbox: I also feel like Towey really keeps us on track in close games when it gets hectic. Those are the times it is essential to stay poised and get weapons and continue to communicate.
OGRE 2: [Smiles] Oh, and by all four, I mean all five of us. Towey is the best coach just to top it all off.
Towey: [Laughs] I try.
Roy: Hands down undisputed BEST coach.
Pistola: Towey keeps us in line, and I always hear Towey's beautiful voice in my ear.
MLG: You're getting a ton of praise here, Towey. What do you think of this Instinct team? Best you've coached? Most enjoyable to coach?
Towey: [Laughs] Well, it's hard for me to compare [it with] our team last year because I'm such good friends with Cloud and Elamite, but I can definitely say that this team is the best I've ever coached and this is the most fun I've ever had on a Halo team. On top of working so well in the game together, all five of us have really similar personalities and have more fun hanging out with each other than anyone else. I'm sure everyone else agrees with me when I say that I hope we all stay together for the rest of our careers in MLG.
MLG: Instinct have set the tone for the Season and arguably all tournaments with that stunning 17-game winning streak. How do you think opposing teams are reacting to such a feat?
OGRE 2: Obviously a lot of them felt they needed a roster change [laughs]. All except for the Top 4 seeds have made switches or are making switches.
Lunchbox: Well we are not invincible, and I know all of us realize that. We still need to put in the time and effort that we did before the first tournament. And don't worry, we will.
Towey: [Laughs] Yeah, the 17-game win streak is pretty ridiculous; it's going to be hard to ever match again. It feels like after Columbus there are more free agents and more broken-up teams following any other Event before; teams are trying to do whatever they can to catch up to us.
Pistola: We are only human, we make mistakes, but I feel like the only way we could be beat is if we beat ourselves.
Roy: Amen to that—never seen so many free agents and different combinations of players.
MLG: What comes to mind upon reading the following quote: "Just when you think Instinct can lose a game, Roy goes and does something so astronomically huge that it just ruins everything."
Lunchbox: Thank god he's on my team [laughs].
Roy: That's the thing that's unbelievable about this team: we are all capable of making any play at any time… it's an unbelievable feeling.
OGRE 2: "Gandhi's commentating is average."
Towey: [Laughs] Gandhi's incredible commentating is what first comes to mind! Seriously though, I remember that Countdown CTF moment; I was standing behind all four screens and thought we had lost the game. He's hands down the best in the game right now and his gameplay proves it.
Lunchbox: I'd say it’s a tie for first. We like to call it Royola.
Pistola: Roy clutched it so hard [laughs].
Roy: Appreciate the love, Towey, but you're getting a little reckless. Pistola is the wizard for a reason; [he] does more for his team than any player in the League.
Pistola: Listen here, don't try to compare me to Roy. He's just a tank that can't be stopped.
Towey: [Laughs] Yeah it's true though, no one else in the League can throw the flag on Zealot from our Landing to our Flag!
Roy: [Laughs] The truth.
Towey: Or the bomb on Sanctuary from Ring 1 to their flag. Pistola's just too strong [laughs].
Pistola: Roy is like the final boss in killing floor [laughs].
Lunchbox: [Laughs] He's not even close to that good.
MLG: Each of you pick out your own mini-highlight from Columbus. They can include anything that helped you power through the competition right down to who had the best moment within a game.
Lunchbox: I don't get highlights; I watch Pistola and Roy get them, if that counts [Laughs].
OGRE 2:I'd pick Roy's smart play on Countdown CTF against Dynasty. Spawns far away but gets to the flag just in time for an assassination and a touch to keep us alive. We went on to win that game and go up 1-0 in the series, helping us win the whole series.
Towey: [Laughs] Well, Justin's ridiculously clutch Flag return and Flag cap on Countdown is the best moment in a game for me. Highlight of the weekend might be the world record-breaking Lunchbox high fives… If you haven't seen how fast they are you can check them out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQrTEKlxIlo
Pistola: I would have to say Lunchbox's triple high five.
Roy: Dynasty against me when I went on a sniper Spree was one of my better clips at a tournament. Watching Pistola Jetpack and put four shots into Victory X after getting two kills was unreal.
OGRE 2: The high fives for out-of-game performance goes to Lunchbox.
Roy: [Laughs] Quickest high fives in the history of high fives… somebody call Guinness.
Lunchbox: They say I have the quickest hands in the West.
OGRE 2: Midwest.
Lunchbox: That's what I meant.
MLG: Roy: You've scooped another MVP award. Not only did you have the best K/D% of all Championship Bracket players, but you also tallied the highest Assist percentage. Would you say this was your Event?
Roy: I had a great tournament but it was only possible because my teammates completely free up the map and allow me be successful. They make my job VERY easy.
MLG: What's everyone's take on the sniper rifle? Do you think it's more effective in Reach? We're seeing a lot more multi-kills, important kills, and flashy headshots compared to Halo 3.
OGRE 2: It's a little easier to snipe vs. Halo 3, but with the Bloom you can't quite shoot as quickly. With how effective the DMR is long range vs. the Halo 3 Battle Rifle, I actually feel like the sniper was more effective in Halo 3.
Roy: I feel that the aim for the Reach sniper is easiest personally, and I feel that is a great thing for our team because we all have very precise shots.
Lunchbox: The hitbox definitely seems a little more generous than Halo 3.
Towey: Yeah, I gotta agree with Tom. The sniper in Halo 3 felt like more of a game changer than it does in Reach—the sniper is obviously important now but it not nearly as influential to the game as a whole as in Halo 3.
MLG: Were you surprised to see Str8 Rippin in the Finals with you?
Lunchbox: I was not, after the LAN that they attended with us at TheLanNetwork house, we knew they were a tough team. They proved that at the Event as well as with their performance all weekend long.
OGRE 2: Not really. They showed they were a talented team at the LAN the weekend before and after they caught fire in the Championship Losers Bracket I had a feeling we'd be playing them again in the Finals. I remember after we beat them in Pool Play even I told our team, "Guys, that might have just been the second best team at the Event, we could be playing them again in the Finals."
Pistola: I wasn’t surprised at all. We had a LAN at TheLanNetwork with them the weekend before the tournament. They were playing extremely [well] against us—they have a lot of talent on that squad. Teams better watch out for them in Anaheim!
Roy: Yeah, I'd have to agree with Lunchbox. They were the second best team at our LAN at TheLanNetwork the week before the tourney and they won a few series on Sunday and rode it all the way to the Losers Bracket Finals and defeated Dynasty 3-0.
Towey: I wasn't either. I could tell about halfway through the LAN that they were getting better every series they played. All of the players on that team are incredibly skilled and when they get momentum like they did on Sunday at the tournament, they can take down anybody.
MLG: How consistent do you guys see Reach being? Teams placed all over the show in Columbus compared to Dallas. What do you think that's down to?
Roy: It’s the first Season of a new game… the placing will become more and more consistent as the year goes on.
OGRE 2: I feel like it's a great game, possibly even better than Halo 3 (as soon as we get some more good maps). The first Event is always crazy—take a look at the placings for teams in Halo 3 from the first to second Event as an example.
Towey: Well we've only seen two Events—people were saying similar things about inconsistency after the first two Events of Halo 3. I feel like as the Season goes on, we'll see more and more consistent placings and seeds among the Top 8.
MLG: The introduction of Pool Play has had a big impact on the current Season. How are you finding the system?
Lunchbox: I like Pool Play; hopefully it will be able to make placings more consistent as the year goes on. It certainly takes weight off of your shoulders if you lose a close Game 5 or are having an off series, because you can still win your Pool.
Roy: I agree.
Towey: I actually like Pool Play a lot more than I thought I would when it was introduced. It fixes two major problems that we saw in the brackets last year: teams being screwed over by too difficult or unfair brackets, and adding major production value and more excitement and meaning to the Friday and early Saturday matches of the tournament. Plus, it is much fairer to amateur teams wanting to go pro.
Lunchbox: Yeah, it definitely makes it much easier for an amateur team to come out of the Open Bracket and place well.
MLG: Give us a funny prediction for MLG Anaheim in July. What's going to happen that nobody will expect?
Pistola: Well, if we win the next Event, I might break out in dance on the Main Stage. Will people expect it? Probably.
Roy: And let me tell you… he has moves!
Pistola: He's got some moves! You going to join me, Justin?
Roy: All day…
Pistola: All day baby!
Pistola: It's kinda hard to have a prediction for this Event; too many teams aren't finalized.
Towey: [Laughs] Apparantly everyone on our team has moves for days! [laughs] Seriously though, right now Anaheim is incredibly hard to predict because so many teams have yet to form.
Lunchbox: Yeah, it's still pretty clustered among most of the teams.
MLG: Thanks a lot for your time; the final words are yours!
Roy: Huge shoutout to Dr Pepper and all 23 flavors, my friends back home and family especially my parents (Tom and Penny) my older brother Chris, Jim Brown, and all of the people who support Instinct, we love you guys. Follow me on Twitter for upcoming community games!
Lunchbox: I want to give a huge shoutout to the Pennacchios—such an incredible family. Also big shout outs to Stride, TheLanNetwork, and all of the other MLG sponsors! And to all of our fans—you guys are awesome! Follow me on Twitter.
Towey: Wanna give a huge shout out to the Pennacchios, their whole family is incredible and make so much possible for the MLG community. Also, shout outs to my family, friends, and especially all our fans! Make sure to follow me on Twitter.
Lunchbox: Also, our stream should be up and running very soon!
OGRE 2: Thanks for giving us the interview! I would also like to give a shout out to Stride Gum for sponsoring Lunchbox and me. Be sure to check out the Last Longer page on MLG for tips and other goodies!
Pistola: Huge shout out to Dr Pepper! You guys rock! I would to like to thank my team—it's an honor playing with you guys! My parents (Jim and Colleen) Brother (Jimmy) and my sister-in-law (Tanna) my sister (Michele) and can't forget my nieces and nephew. Kory my best friend, and all my other friends! And last but not least, my fans! Thanks for supporting me from day one! I love you guys!