Following a torrid second-place run through MLG Chicago, Major League Gaming sat down with Str8 Rippin to discuss their success, Hot Pockets, and their admiration for Hissing.
MLG: Well, before we dive into talking about the tournament itself, anybody care to explain a bit of the history behind how this team was formed? There seems to be a bit of confusion on the issue in the community.
Legit: How many times have we done this… seems like thousands.
MLG: (laughs) This will be the last time, I promise.
Neighbor: Well, Tom and I teamed for Meadowlands because they needed a last-second fourth member and I was definitely excited to team with “The Great One.”
Neighbor: Then Tom and I teamed with Havok and Mimic, taking seventh place. We dropped them and originally teamed with Elamite and Halogod. But Halogod went back to The Agency because they dropped Legit. We teamed with Legit and boom, second place.
Legit: Strong decision by The Agency.
Tsquared: Agency pretty much said “get outta here Legit!” and we all made second-place sandwiches together, it was great.
MLG: So, what more was there to the “and boom” part?
Tsquared: We practiced online for about five or six days and were undefeated for almost our whole practice session on XBL.
Neighbor: Then we LAN’d with XiT Woundz and won about 100 games and they won about 20. I think the XiT Woundz LAN was great for us. We had so much fun swimming, eating, and watching That 70s Show. I think it also brought us all closer to Kyle.
Tsquared: Yes, we asked XiT Woundz if we could come down and LAN and they were nice enough to have us. We got in about 125 games and watched almost every episode of That 70s Show. So 125 games of Halo, 125 Hot Pockets, and 125 That 70s Show episodes all in one week. Probably more Hot Pockets, though. Also, I just wanna give a shout out to Hissing Inferno.
Neighbor: Yeah, the Howard family is pretty amazing.
Tsquared: You can’t forget about XiT Dad and XiT Mom.
Legit: The Howard family is one of the nicest groups of people I’ve met. They were great.
MLG: Anyone care to explain Hissing Inferno or will that remain an inside joke?
Legit: Basically, Hissing is a ladies man. He went up to Smiley and Xena and hissed at them. They’re basically in his pocket now.
MLG: That’s a stellar pick up move.
Legit: Welcome to the love inferno…
Tsquared: Oh, Hissing also makes amazing hissing sandwiches.
Legit: He’s the biggest player I’ve ever met. Moral of the story, Hissing is better than Chuck Norris.
Tsquared: I couldn’t have said it better myself.
MLG: (laughs) Changing topics: before anybody noticed how well you guys prepared, game-play wise, for this event, they noticed how incredibly slick your custom T-Shirts were. What’s the story behind those?
Tsquared: Adam, a.k.a. Def Tuch, is one of my buddies I met through Gaming-Lessons.com, my website. He purchased lessons from me about 2 years back and then proceeded to fly me out to Vegas to party with him and Ron Jeremy for Super Bowl XL. He’s been a potential sponsor and huge fan of the team ever since Halo 2 came out, and has been looking to get involved with the team for a while now.
So the week before the tourney he was wondering when I would send him a Str8 Rippin shirt for Orlando and I was like “dude, I don’t have any Str8 shirts.” Just so happened that he runs a clothing line, Ritchie Havok, and he said he could provide us with some hot T-Shirts for Chicago. The shirts took 55 hours and about 15 people to make. Each shirt cost about $300 to make. Since they were such a big hit we are looking into mass producing them at a cheaper cost but need more feedback from everybody.
So you can reply to this interview on the forums or head over my myspace and Ritchie Havok is on my top friends.
MLG: So are you still pursuing the community Str8 Rippin t-shirt design contest?
Tsquared: Yes, we definitely want to try to get as many designs as possible. I think I’m going to be forced to extend the deadline again due to the fact that people are still confused about it.
MLG: Cool, well, let’s move on to talking about the tournament itself. What were your thoughts entering your Winners Bracket Round 3 (upset round) match against Dallas champions Carbon?
Tsquared: That this would be tough and if we lose we’re going to have to wake up two hours earlier then we would have to if we won.
Neighbor: I didn’t really know what to expect. I was pretty nervous, but I knew that if we were on top of our game, we had a pretty good shot considering it was Saturday, the day that Carbon tends to lose. We put a lot of effort into practicing the Round 3 game types, and it surely paid off.
MLG: Well, you guys really came out of the gates and took it to Carbon early. What seemed to give them the most trouble was the pure pace of play you guys brought to the table.
Tsquared: It honestly feels like we are just playing and flowing together. Everybody feels like it’s a fast pace but to me it felt like everything was in slow motion.
MLG: One of the most impressive things about your team was your objective strength. You guys managed to find a way to move the objective even without dominant control.
Neighbor: Yeah, a lot of people thought our team would win every Team Slayer, but lose a lot of the objectives. Since being on this team from the Meadowlands, I’ve learned more than I did during the rest of my Halo career. Tom taught me what to do in a lot of situations, especially for objective game types. Then bringing Kyle onto the team really helped us out.
Tsquared: Also, Lammie coached really well this tournament.
Legit: Yes, he did.
MLG: Tom, care to explain a bit of what you’ve taught Mason?
Tsquared: Just to have better control and not play with your head up your ass. Thats the only thing I ever ask of the team!
Tsquared: It’s so easy to lose focus and just wander off, but we do a great job of staying on track.
MLG: Well, you guys really seemed to have your approach to the game types down really solidly. In the following round, against The Agency, you guys played Midship Ball really effectively. It seemed like whenever the slaying was fairly even, you guys had Mason moving with the ball and racking up loads of time.
Tsquared: Like I said, we just play the game. It’s all about just staying focused and not losing track of what it’s going to take to win.
Neighbor: Yeah, once we get our setup going it’s really, really hard for teams to break it, mainly because any one of us can kill their whole team.
MLG: Right, well, your team also has an incredible amount of power-weapons talent. It seemed whoever got their hands on the sniper went on a killing spree.
Legit: Except for Kyle.
Tsquared: Yeah, except for Kyle, who does the opposite. But anybody on our team can just go on a run. So when we see somebody doing that, we ride their momentum. That slingshots another player and then another player.
MLG: Well put. Looking at that series with The Agency, was there any bad blood between the two teams given the history of roster changes?
Tsquared: I wanted to win badly because I knew that [my teammates] did, but that’s more of a question directed towards Legit, Mason and Kyle.
Neighbor: Definitely not many people know this, but I had a grudge against Halogod. I really didn’t want to change our lineup for Chicago unless it would have been for Halogod and Elamite, because we weren’t just going to drop one (of Havok or Mimic) for Elamite. Halogod decided he was going to join our team when 5K turned him down and he promised he’d stay. So I was pretty pumped that I’d be teaming with him again. Then when he said he was going back to The Agency, I was like “wow.” So going into Chicago I definitely wanted to prove to him that he made a mistake.
Tsquared: Halogod joined and left three different teams.
Legit: I don’t have any bad blood or hate with anyone in the league, but I really wanted to win so badly to prove to players, fans, and myself that the team and I can still play at a high level and still pull off a top finish.
MLG: You guys topped The Agency with a really exciting play, where both Legit and Naded were holding the flags on Warlock CTF with the score tied 4-4. How did you guys manage to break that deadlock?
Tsquared: That’s all Elam and Legit. They were mega clutch.
Neighbor: Yeah, I don’t know how Bryan did it, but watching the rebroadcast, every move he made was pretty much perfect.
Legit: Until I got grenaded at the end, but then we capped a second later.
MLG: One thing many people might not have picked up on was the fact that you guys only dropped one game on the road to the Winners Bracket Finals. Considering you guys went through Pain X, Carbon, and The Agency, that’s a completely amazing feat.
Neighbor: Haha, wow, I didn’t really know that.
Tsquared: Thats tight. Didn’t even realize that.
MLG: It looked like that momentum carried into the Winners Bracket Finals, where you guys stomped Final Boss in Game 1.
Neighbor: Yeah, but Midship Slayer (Game 2, 49 – 50) was really unfortunate. Ogre 2 was front blue when we were up like 48 – 46 and I yelled it out, but since the main stage was so loud and the crowd was getting into it, no one could hear me.
Tsquared: If we had won Midship TS, it feels like we would have won the tournament.. That’s just an unfortunate event and if we were better practiced in that game type we would have taken it.
MLG: Let’s look forward then. The roster changes for Chicago happened relatively last minute, as things go. Now there’s some serious time before Orlando, what type of preparation are you guys putting in for the regular season finale?
Tsquared: We will have even more practice for Orlando, especially with a tournament under our belt. Our comfort level with how we play is going to be increased dramatically.
MLG: Any LANs lined up?
Legit: I’ve got a place in Orlando, guys, if you want to come down a little early or something.
Neighbor: That sounds good to me.
Tsquared: If any top teams want to head down prior to the event and LAN feel free to hit us up. Also, if there are any other teams in the Top 64 that would want to head over for FFA, 2v2, or just basic LAN practice, reply to this interview. Also in preparation for Orlando, we are all having Mohawks, pierced ears, and Lammie is dying his soul patch hot pink.
MLG: That’ll be something to look forward to. Well, any comments regarding Str8’s goals for the remainder of the season?
Tsquared: I don’t see a reason not to go for the gold. We all have been through our ups and downs our whole gaming career. Nothing would be more rewarding then winning a tournament.
Neighbor: I agree.
Tsquared: I’d like to remain in the Finals for Orlando for ourselves and the fans. Then win Vegas on my 20th birthday.
MLG: Well, that would certainly be a sweet accomplishment. I think we’ve pretty much run through the topics. Any final comments guys?
Legit: I love Hissing Inferno.
Tsquared: Having fans is amazing; you guys pumped us up big time at the tournament. Thanks.
Legit: Right, scratch that. I love Str8 fans.
Tsquared: We won’t disappoint you next tournament.
Neighbor: I love my parents and sister.
MLG: Alright guys, thank you very much for your time.
Neighbor: And thanks to MLG for running these awesome tournaments! And thank you, Trunkers!
MLG: Congratulations once more on your Chicago tournament (that’s two for you Legit!) and best of luck in Orlando.