In Major League Gaming’s prolific journey towards the pinnacle of professional gaming, there have been many milestones. These milestones have changed the direction of the league, its players, and the vast communities that revolve around them. With the 2008 MLG Pro Circuit’s inaugural event just days away and Halo 3 making its professional debut along with it, one such milestone is certainly upon us.
Unlike previous seasons, the 2008 Pro Circuit kicked off well before its first live event. Thousands of teams from every corner of North America competed in MLG’s first ever Online Pro Circuit Ladder. These teams fought in order to earn one of the Top 128 spots on the ladder. Doing so advanced them into the Playoff Bracket, where the current seeds were ultimately determined.
That brings us to today, where a proverbial breath of fresh air will soon sweep through the Meadowlands Expo Center. Halo enthusiasts from far and wide will be faced with their first realistic shot at professional glory. Who will rise to the occasion and who will crack under the pressure? This weekend, we’ll certainly find out.
The Seasoned Veterans
Their name is synonymous with overwhelming success. It strikes fear into the hearts of competitors across the continent, and has become a household name in the dwellings of aspiring pro gamers. Yes, none other than the 2007 National Champions, Final Boss.
Walshy, Strongside, and the Ogre twins are undoubtedly heading into the Meadowlands with one thing in mind: regaining their supremacy atop the Pro Circuit rankings. After a retrospectively dismal performance in Online Pro Circuit Ladder #1, all eyes will be on Final Boss this weekend. However, they’re no stranger to the spotlight. In fact, one could argue that this is where they thrive.
Another team who has seemingly become immune to the scrutiny of their peers is Carbon. Led by Shockwave, and supported by some of the smartest players in the game, Carbon look to gain the same level of success they possessed in 2006. Sitting just outside the Top 16, their seed could potentially pave the way for an explosive Open Bracket.
Along with Carbon, many other veteran teams such as Type Z, Xit Woundz, and Nice Like Rice, will be pitted with the task of defeating their less-experienced, yet higher-seeded opponents. If no upsets occur, these matches are expected to happen fairly late in the Open Bracket and could disrupt many talented teams’ chances of reaching professional Halo 3 stardom.
Fresh off of a stellar Pro Circuit Ladder #1 performance, Str8 Rippin will charge into MLG Meadowlands with a full head of steam. One of the biggest stories surrounding Str8 is the addition of Carbon’s former coach, xXx. Anyone familiar with professional Halo knows that superior coaching can push a team to their fullest potential, and xXx is the epitome of this theory.
For the third season in a row, The Agency has retained their Michigan-based core of Mackeo and Victory. However, this season they’ve added twins Roy and Lunchbox to the roster, who were a vital part of 2007’s breakout team, 5k. The Agency has managed to topple some of the most successful Online Pro Circuit Ladder #1 teams, such as Triggers Down, Team Classic, and Under the Influence. We’ll watch to see how their online game translates to LAN.
The Online Adepts
When it comes to online domination, few teams have been able to match the online success of Team Classic. They’ve dominated nearly every online competition they’ve entered since the launch of Halo 3, yet unexpectedly fell just short when it counted the most.
Directly after sending Final Boss to the Losers Bracket in Online Pro Circuit Ladder #1, TC was defeated by fellow online-powerhouse, Under the Influence. From there, they went on to defeat three more teams before finally being stopped by The Agency. Despite the tough defeat, Team Classic still possess a Top 8 seed heading into MLG Meadowlands.
Triggers Down, whose name has been resurrected by HaloGod, has found an even higher level of success online. They blew through the Winners Bracket of Online Pro Circuit Ladder #1, to eventually meet Str8 Rippin in the WB Finals. After a heartbreaking 3-1 loss to Str8, Triggers Down took another loss to The Agency, which subsequently knocked them out of the tournament. However, TD will still walk into the season opener with an amazing seed in their favor.
Halo 3’s debut on the MLG Pro Circuit will provide a unique glimpse into the rosters and strategies that will likely dominate the league for years to come. To facilitate this immensely important season, fans of the league will be treated to an unparalleled spectator experience unlike anything they’ve previously witnessed. Whether you’ll be traveling to the event or watching from home, we invite you to experience this milestone in MLG history along with us. See you there!