By Michael Mooridian (Gilean)
With MLG Providence just one short week away, it’s time to move on and give you a look at the second batch of Halo: Reach teams who will be competing for that tempting $100,000 1st Place Prize. If you missed Pt. 1 of the Championship Bracket Preview, be sure to go back and give it a read. But first, let’s take a look at the middle of the bracket: the 11th through 7th Seeds.
11th Seed—Turning Point (Walshy, Ninja, Mikwen, Naded)
Turning Point have three “go-off” players on their roster: Ninja, Mikwen, and Naded. Players who, if they catch fire, can become unstoppable slaying machines who singlehandedly lead teams to victory. If that is indeed true, then someone seems to have misplaced the fuel.
TP have struggled to find real success since they initially came together in the weeks leading up to MLG Anaheim. A promising 7th Place debut out of the Open Bracket led not to higher placings but instead to multiple Top 12 finishes. Top 12 is, perhaps, the most frustrating place for a pro to be. You’re always one series win away from the Top 8, where the “real” pro teams reside (not to mention the prize pool).
With the addition of Naded, TP came closer than ever to their first Top 6 finish, in Orlando. But instead of taking Pool C with a rather impressive 3-1 record, TP found themselves locked in a three-way tie, which was settled with a Round Robin Team Slayer series. TP came up short against Infamous, and ultimately ended with 9th Place.
TP must prove they can perform under pressure. And no Event throughout the Season puts on more pressure than the National Championships. Every player on this team has shown glimpses of greatness at one point or another. But TP can’t get away with just a glimpses anymore; they need to bring the real thing.
10th Seed—Classic (Chig, Russo, Str8Sick, Prototype)
For a team named Classic, this squad sure sports an ironically lage number of newer players. But regardless of new, old, or middle-aged blood, there is a thread that seems to unite all Classic rosters: their knack for falling just short of the gold.
Different Classic rosters have managed to make it to the Finals at a number of Events, only to fail in the end. And the National Championships have been no exception; in 2009, Classic put on a Season-best performance and made it to the Finals, but were ultimately forced to settle for a bittersweet 2nd Place finish. And this Season hasn’t been any different. They began with a strong 3rd Place showing in Anaheim, but they’ve been slipping lower ever since. They followed up their initial Event with a somewhat lesser but still respectable 6th Place finish. In Orlando, however, Classic could only muster an 11th Place performance.
Classic have always been a regular Top 6 contender. But even in their most successful Seasons, Classic have never been able to walk away with an actual victory. Will Providence be another chapter of the story in which they come up short? Or will fresh blood help this team write a happier ending for once?
9th Seed—Final Boss (Victory X, FearItSelf, Hysteria, Legit)
Final Boss have been largely forgotten by fans since the departure of team veteran and co-founder Ogre 2. Most don’t consider Final Boss to be Final Boss anymore, not now that the Ogres (not to mention Walshy, Strongside, and Saiyan) are no longer part of the team. But, names aside, Final Boss should not be overlooked, by fans or by players. Victory X and FearItSelf were both members of FB last year when they won the National Championships. It seems unlikely that skill capable of winning the hardest Event of a Season would all but disappear over the course of one short year.
And the Victory X/FearItSelf duo has some support. They’re joined by another National Championship winner, Legit, and also by Halo 3 superstar Hysteria. There’s certainly not a lack of talent on this roster. It’s just a matter of bringing it all together in Providence.
8th Seed—Triggers Down (Arkanum, Neighbor, Goofy, Best Man)
If Active Rush were said to be a consistent team, then Triggers Down are anything but. Their history is riddled with dramatic team changes, periods of productivity along with droughts, and even a brief stint during which the TD name didn’t exist in the pro ranks at all. A strong argument can be made that many of TD’s problems are rooted in the sometimes hasty and/or controversial team changes made by former captain and founder SK (along with, to a lesser extent, long-time teammate Hysteria).
But SK is gone, and Hysteria has left Triggers Down. The TD name has fallen into the hands of veterans Best Man and Neighbor (both former TD members themselves), who will now try to rebuild the franchise. Already, things are looking up. They impressed a lot of people in their first tournament together by winning their Pool and taking 6th Place overall. But with the season coming to an end, TD have quickly run out of time to make the statement that they are once again top contenders. Will they be able to drive the point home in Providence, or will they have to wait until next Season to give it another go?
7th Seed—Revolution (Crimsix, Twin Savior, Amish Acorns, Strongside)
With revolution comes change, and this Season has certainly seen its fair share of change. So Revolution’s choice of a name for their new team seems rather fitting. Three of the four members of Revolution are “Reach kids,” who only joined the pro ranks after Reach’s debut on the Pro Circuit. Amish Acorns, Twin Savior, and Crimsix used their early tournament experience with Reach to give themselves an edge over veteran teams and secured points early in the Season.
But the veterans have finally caught up. Reach is no longer the new kid on the block, and most players have a good idea how to play it. Now, it’s the Reach kids’ turn to prove they can keep up with the old-schoolers.