Last Monday, after nearly three months of intense competition, AcheSlaya, TeePee, Fears, and Bobby of (19) Leverage emerged victorious in the Call of Duty: Black Ops $25,000 Online Tournament presented by PlayStation. From start to finish, the team proved that they deserved every bit of the title they now hold. Not only did the squad secure a high Playoff Bracket seed despite their minimal open ladder participation, but they breezed through the Winners Bracket en route to their berth in the Final. In the Championship Match, Leverage was met by (8) Optic Gaming, a team they had already played and defeated earlier in the Winners Bracket Final. While Leverage had a comfortable 3-1 series lead to start the series, Optic refused to go down without a fight, and it wasn’t until a tournament-deciding Game 11 that Leverage was able to clinch their victory. We had the chance to talk to the four about the tournament, how they came together as a team, and the progression of competitive Call of Duty.
MLG: First off, congratulations on your victory. Some of you guys have a lot of experience as high-profile Modern Warfare 2 players, with AcheSlaya and TeePee being the runners-up at last year’s National Championship. How did you two hook up with Bobby and Fears?
TeePee: After Aches and I saw how well we played together in MW2, we decided to stay together with Leverage for Black Ops. After we cycled through several players as our third and fourth, we approached Fears and Bobby when EnvyUs Blue broke apart. We had played for about a week with this new roster [and] we knew that we would achieve great things with our chemistry and the pure gun skill that each of us had.
Fears: Well, after NV Blue broke up, Bobby and I decided that we should stick together and try to find a team of two. After the first two days of scrimming with [Aches and TeePee], it clicked right away and we knew this team could go far—and now here we are.
MLG: You guys pulled off the impressive feat of securing the 19th seed for the Playoffs while having played just 19 games during the Regular Season. Did you just play sparsely throughout open ladder play or did you put all your effort into a last-minute push?
TeePee: Well, after the many roster changes that occurred throughout the ladder portion of the tournament, our team really didn’t come together until right before roster lock. After we had this roster, we began getting matches whenever we could to try and make a push up in the rankings to secure a decent seed for the Playoffs.
MLG: What teams were you looking out for the most heading into the Playoffs?
AcheSlaya: Well, definitely Optic. I thought they were our only competition from the start to the end. No one else was a threat.
TeePee: Optic and EnvyUs Blue.
Bobby: I was personally looking to play my past team, EnvyUs Blue, in the Playoffs. I wanted my revenge!
Fears: The two teams I was looking out for the most were Optic and NV Blue, but when I saw NV Blue get knocked out of the Winners Bracket, I knew that they would no longer be a threat.
MLG: Let’s fast forward through the bracket. After defeating Optic in the Winners Bracket Final, you guys had a big advantage heading into the Championship Match. What was your attitude going in with a 3-1 series lead? Did you ever expect it to go all the way to Game 11?
TeePee: I believed that if we won the first Grid SnD map we would take the match within the first couple games—but I was proved wrong.
AcheSlaya: Well, knowing we had the 3-1 lead, we didn’t practice as much as we should’ve. I think we scrimmed one day out of the four we had in between [matches], but when I saw Game 11 was Firing Range Domination, I knew that no matter what, if it goes to Game 11 we’re winning. I don’t think we have ever been beaten on that map, nor will we ever be.
Bobby: I had no intentions of taking it all the way to a Game 11. Going in with a 3-1 over Optic, I was almost positive we were going to take the win—a Game 11 was just cutting it too close.
Fears: I had a positive attitude going into series with a 3-1 lead. I believed that if we played like we did against them in the Winner Bracket Final, we would have no problem beating them again. But, without practicing like we should have been, it was harder than I thought.
MLG: Speaking of Domination, you decisively took each of the [Domination] maps you played in the Final. Is it one of your strongest Game Types?
AcheSlaya: To be honest, when we started teaming SnD and CTF were our strong suits, and we would always lose the Doms. But as we developed as a team we really got better at all Game Types, and the SnDs all came down to the wire, going 3-4 or 4-3 [with the] same for CTFs.
Fears: I would have to say that right now Domination is by far our strongest Game Type. As you can see we took all the Dom games against Optic.
TeePee: I feel like any of the respawn Game Types are our strongest, as we have the most pure talent in gunfights. Optic certainly showed us that they were the team to contend with, though.
MLG: On that note, what kind of changes would you all like to see to MLG’s Official Game Types and Settings for Black Ops?
AcheSlaya: I felt that Hanoi SnD should never have been taken out. It was by far the most balanced SnD map. Banning Rapid Fire and making Domination 7.5 second respawn was a great choice.
Bobby: Hanoi SnD is one of the best SnDs in this game. I don’t see why they would ever take it out.
Fears: The changes I would like to see to MLG’s Game Types have already been made, other than Hanoi SnD being taken out.
TeePee: Villa CTF should be [used] instead of Hanoi CTF, and Hanoi SnD should be [used] instead of Villa SnD.
MLG: How do you think Black Ops stacks up competitively against previous Call of Duty titles?
AcheSlaya: I believe that CoD4 will always be the greatest CoD, but competitively [Black Ops] has no kill-cam glitching, a working LAN system, and it’s not as noob friendly as MW2.
TeePee: I enjoy it more than MW2 [because] it takes a lot more skill to play. CoD4 is still my favorite competitive Call of Duty even though I was not in the top tier of players like I’ve been in Black Ops and MW2.
MLG: Who do think is the best individual player in the game?
AcheSlaya: I think we can all agree AcheSlaya is probably one of the smartest slayers currently dominating Black Ops.
TeePee: When it comes to slaying, I would certainly say Ache, but when it comes to doing the dirty work and some objective playing, I would say Bobby and I are hard to contend with.
Fears: Well, personally I would have to go with Lucky Jester. I’ve seen him play and his gameplay is serious.
Bobby: The player I pick is TeePee. He is always there for me, [whether] it’s while I’m running a flag or if he just needs to clutch it. Amazing player.
MLG: Let’s change things up a bit. What kind of equipment do you guys use when playing? Do any of you use any off-brand controllers?
AcheSlaya: I use a Samsung 22″ 2ms Monitor, Astro A40s, and Kontrol Freeks on the PS3. Gunnars also.
TeePee: I currently use a 23” Samsung LED monitor, regular Sony PS3 controllers with Kontrol Freeks, a Sennheiser PC350 headset with an Astro mixamp, and my Gunnar Optic MLG Phantoms.
Bobby: I have several pairs of Kontrol Freeks that I use [with] a black wired controller, and I play on a 22″ ViewSonic. I also have Astros and a pair of Steel Series headphones.
Fears: For a monitor, I use Viewsonic 22″. I use Astros A40s, Trittons, Kontrol Freeks, and you know I got to rock the Gunnars while I’m playing.
MLG: Gentlemen, thanks for taking the time to talk, and good luck in the future. Any shout outs?
Fears: Shout out to my mom Tammy, my dad Darrell, and my brother and sister and cousin for supporting me with my gaming career. Also, shout out to Solver aka Ree, Krazzie aka Malcom, and Jester aka Marquis.
TeePee: Thanks MLG! Shout outs to my boys from Authentic Reality and Optic for giving us a run for our money throughout the $25k tourney!
Bobby: Shout-out to the Top 8 in the $25k. Congrats, guys.
AcheSlaya: We appreciate you taking the time to do this. Shout outs to Nexx, TeePee’s mom who is my inspiration, my parents, and NV Blue for getting knocked out early.