Few fans of the Major League Gaming Pro Circuit were surprised to see 2007 Halo 2 national champions Final Boss in the inaugural Halo 3 championship match. One can safely imagine many were surprised to find their opponents were Classic, comprised of players unknown to many. Perhaps even more unpredictable was the fact that, of the two, the team to emerge from the Losers Bracket was Final Boss. Team Classic entered the finals on a blazing tear, sweeping Carbon and Instinct, the team who sent Final Boss to the Losers Bracket. Final Boss might have been the familiar faces, but Classic had the advantage: Final Boss would need to win two series to take the title.

Final Boss celebrate their Meadowlands win

The odds for the reigning champions looked grim after the first game of the finals. Classic scored on Narrows Capture the Flag within two minutes. Though Final Boss ultimately responded seven minutes later to tie the score and Ogre 2 produced a huge game, going 31-22 with 22 assists, Classic dominated most of the game. They controlled the map and the pace of play, which allowed them to end the game on back-to-back captures. The 3-1 victory came partly thanks to Ant’s 30-23 game. The crowd seemed slightly shocked, as the Pro Circuit monsters suddenly found themselves facing a daunting challenge.

Game 2 shifted play to Construct for Team Slayer. Final Boss struggled through much of the tournament with Team Slayer games, but they desperately needed a win. If they went down 2-0, they would not only need to win three games in a row, but also six of the next eight. Luckily for Final Boss, Strongside and Ogre 2 decided to have enormous performances. Strongside went 15-7, while Ogre 2 was 15-10, as Final Boss largely imposed their will en route to a 50-40 win. The series became a best-of-three, tied 1-1.

The crucial third game took place on The Pit, where the teams battled on King of the Hill. The Game 2 win seemed to energize Final Boss. Ogre 2 ripped off some nasty snipes in the opening phase, as Final Boss jumped to an early lead at 53-15 and 100-68. At that point, Classic made a run, garnering more than a minute in the hill to lead 130-103. The teams jostled for control with neither squad making a big run. With Classic ahead 178-153, Final Boss entered a period of dominance, powering to the lead and sprinting past Classic. All four members of Final Boss were positive (+31 overall), led by Ogre 2′s 29-16 output, which allowed them to win 240-195. With two consecutive wins, Final Boss found themselves one game from pushing the championships to a second series.

Although a slaying advantage does not always correlate to a win in objective games, it does not hurt a team’s chances to out-kill the opposition by more than 30 kills. Final Boss parlayed the killing advantage to a win in Game 3 and decided to use the same template for Game 4, Onslaught Capture the Flag. Two Minutes into the game, Final Boss grabbed the lead and at the 6:20 mark made it 2-0. The game threatened to be a runaway, but Classic stabilized and halved the gap 9:30 into the game. Despite a baffling play in which Final Boss moved the flag to their scoring platform before dropping it and not scoring, they took a 3-1 lead and limited Classic to just one more score, winning the game 3-2. The difference throughout was a massive disparity in slaying. Final Boss logged 39 more kills than Classic, an astounding statistic in championship game. Strongside was 37-25; Ogre 2 was 40-27; Ogre 1 went 37-26. The win gave Final Boss a 3-1 series win, forcing a winner-take-all second set of games.

Classic were reeling, losing three straight games to the national champs. But after a short break, the upstarts showed excellent rebounding ability in Game 1 of the second series. Final Boss jumped to a quick lead on The Pit CTF, but Classic pushed two flags across the line in a minute and a half to lead 2-1. Just a minute after Classic’s second score, Final Boss evened the game. Undaunted, Classic looked strong in scoring for a third time, giving them the 3-2 win and a lead in the second series. Ogre 2 went 34-24 in the loss. Despite no stellar performances (Fear’s 27-24 game was Classic’s best statistical outing), Classic used excellent teamwork to grab the V.

Game 2 of the second series was Narrows Team Slayer. Classic held slight leads throughout most of the game, but Final Boss never allowed them to pull away. During the endgame, Final Boss sensed the need for a win and made a strong push. They caught Classic and dominated down the stretch to win 50-43. Strongside had a masterful game, logging 12 kills to just six deaths. At 1-1, the second series, like the first, became a best-of-three.

Construct King of the Hill arrived next. The teams largely split hill time in the opening minutes, but Final Boss held a slight lead at 109-86. At that point, FB snatched over a minute of uncontested residence in the hill, extending their advantage to 175-86. Classic countered with 40 seconds of their own, but could not sustain control any further. At 177-122 and time running low, Final Boss hit the hill when they could and kept Classic from taking large chunks of time. They eventually won 246-166. Strongside was 32-20, while Ogre 2 chipped in with 35 kills to just 25 trips to the death screen. Though they entered the finals needing to win two series against a hot squad, Final Boss were suddenly one win from the Halo 3 crown.

The final game of the tourney turned out to be Guardian Oddball. Final Boss nabbed the first 36 seconds, thanks to a nasty triple kill via sniper by Ogre 1, and never looked back. They held leads of 99-40, 126-62, and 184-127 before winning 206-150. Ogre 1 had one of his best games of the event, going 36-21 when it mattered most. The victory gave Final Boss the series 3-1 and the championship. Congratulations are due to Final Boss for becoming the first Halo 3 MLG Pro Circuit champions.