amidst a flurry of schedule complications, including CPL and the GameRiot tour, Str8 Rippin
found a few minutes to sit and chat about their dissatisfaction with their third place
finish at MLG St. Louis, the difficulties of finding time to practice, and their excitement
over their current lineup. In fact, the guys are so confident in the stability of their
tournament roster that they are talking with companies about signing contracts for a
full-team sponsorship. Karma was unavailable for the interview, but Zyos, Fonzi and Foulacy
were on hand to give us their take on all things Halo related, displaying both a laid-back
sense of humor and an introspective, analytical side.
MLG: Congratulations on your third place finish at MLG St. Louis! I wanted to start
off by talking a little about the tournament, and how your team came to be… How did you
guys get hooked up with Zyos when you were putting together your team?
Fonzi: Well Tsquared was unhappy with Karma considering it was difficult to get him
online to practice. We tried to work around the issue, but it just bothered him so he ended
up leaving us to team with the Exigent team.
Foulacy: It wasn’t just that. T2 was more just frustrated on our team I think
considering we were mostly H1 no-names. I think he felt he wanted to be a bigger star or
Fonzi: Yeah, with Exigent, he sort of put together a team of (mostly) Halo 1 pros.
MLG: So how did Zyos come into the fold to fill the void?
Foulacy: Maybe Zyos should explain that part.
Zyos: (laughs) OK. They approached me shortly after Orlando about teaming. I
thought about it for a while and figured it would be a good idea.
MLG: Well it seems to have been, because you guys did really well in STL. Were you
happy with your performance there?
Fonzi: I think we could have done better.
Zyos: Agreed, I think we could have done a lot better.
Foulacy: Yeah, I wasn’t really satisfied.
MLG: What went wrong then?
Zyos: The GameRiot tour is really taking its toll on my ability to practice with my
team. Plus it was our first tournament together.
Fonzi: I don’t mean to take the blame away from the team, but I think we got a bit
unlucky in some key games.
MLG: Against IGS?
MLG: What kind of stuff happened?
Foulacy: You can watch VoD… Puckett goes, “It’s Foulacy versus McGavin,” right at
the end of Lockout Oddball. I kill McGavin…
Zyos: The long ramp spawn…
Foulacy: They actually spawned right behind Zyos, as well as on long ramp.
Zyos: Not much we can do about that.
Foulacy: I mean, everyone gets their spawns, and you’ve gotta take advantage of the
luck given to you… It was just the wrong time for us.
Zyos: That said, we still made a lot of mistakes.
Fonzi: Definitely, especially in the game against 3D on Lockout King where we lost
by four seconds.
MLG: What do you wish you would’ve done better in your series versus IGS before you
Foulacy: For me I really, really missed some snipe shots. It was definitely way too
cold in that room. That’s my excuse. (laughs)
Fonzi: (laughs) T2′s excuse too.
Foulacy: Skinny kids get cold!
MLG: Seriously though, it was freezing in there. I mean, Zyos was all curled up in
those blankets on the stage chairs trying to get some sleep the night before. (everyone
Fonzi: I think a couple of us got some pics of that.
MLG: Yeah, we’ll have to add those to the gallery. Some classic stuff…
Fonzi: I think we’ll all just sell them on EBay for $1,000 each.
Foulacy: Then everyone will want to sleep in the venue!
MLG: (laughing) OK, it’s well-known that both Fonzi and Zyos are noted objective
masterminds. Did you guys feel that your ideas/strategies meshed well for your team?
Zyos: The ideas were good; the execution was the problem. With enough practice that
will be fixed.
Fonzi: As Zyos has said before, we’re really a team without any selfish players
which really helps the team out a lot. We don’t mind making personal sacrifices.
MLG: Fonzi, Shockwav3 credited you with the origin of the objective strategy IGS
uses, which he calls the “objective dilemma.”
Fonzi: (laughs) Yeah, I saw that.
MLG: Is this something that you came up with consciously, or is it just a natural
part of your play style?
Fonzi: Honestly I think that just originated from our first MLG team.
Foulacy: I would like to say that the good teams do go for the objective in that
dilemma. So when the other team is faced with the situation–OK, there is a guy getting
time, technically “winning” the game and then there’s a dude off in the corner killing–the
good teams always figure out a way to stop that guy from holding the ball or sitting in the
hill. Occasionally you need to kill to get there. Good teams do chase the objective when
put in that dilemma, because they know that’s what wins the game. Teams that don’t do that
could end up losing even if they get 100 more kills.
Fonzi: My take on it is based on our experience with our first MLG team when we
practiced against StK. Our slaying ability was terrible and we’d get completely out-slayed
every game, but we still somehow managed to keep the objective games close just by getting
little bits of time while StK was too busy slaying unimportant or irrelevant players. In my
mind, holding the objective is what directly wins the game and it’s really not necessary to
have complete map control to get considerable time, as long as you’re efficient and smart
about it. It can be pulled off very well, and I think our current team understands
that–the idea of objective efficiency.
MLG: Right, and that’s what you and Zyos are sort of known for objective-wise. How
did you decide which of you would fill that role for your team?
Foulacy: Anyone can grab the ball, anyone can kill.
Zyos: We really don’t have an assigned objective player. All of us are able to adapt
and fill positions as needed. I think most of the top teams aren’t capable of doing that;
everyone sticks to just one role. It just takes some practice to execute it properly, and
that’s what we were lacking in St. Louis.
MLG: So basically, you’re in hotels each evening on the GameRiot tour with no
Internet connection for the most part so the team can’t practice?
Zyos: No, I have an Internet connection; it’s just that some of the hotels use
wireless only, and the wireless high-speed hotels won’t let me connect to Live. That, plus
we travel from city to city often overnight and I can’t play on days where I’m on the bus.
MLG: I see… How has the experience been so far of doing the GameRiot tour? Have
you enjoyed meeting your fans and playing against all of them?
Zyos: The GameRiot tour has been a blast so far.
MLG: Have you seen a lot of players on the road that should be at MLG making a name
Zyos: There are a few I’ve seen that have some potential. They might place top 16 if
they formed a team with people near their skill level, but it would take some time for them
to get near the top.
MLG: But the trade-off is that you’ve been unable to really practice with your team
for events. Are you planning to take the same squad to MLG Philly?
MLG: OK, this one is for Fonzi and Foulacy… You guys have consistently done really
well all season, even though your lineup has changed at every tournament so far. What is it
that has kept you two specifically together all season through the changes?
Foulacy: One reason is that we live near each other.
Fonzi: We’ve known each other since Halo 1 and started off in Halo 2 together with
local friends, so it progressed from there. And it’s not fun traveling alone, as I’ve come
to know recently. (laughs)
MLG: Like I said, you’ve done really well all year, but you have yet to make it to a
final match at an MLG. What do you think is holding you back?
Foulacy: I think by Vegas or the next regular tourney, if we have the same team we
can make it to the finals. On Saturday in St. Louis we really, really destroyed other teams
but not 3D. Sunday was a different story. A few more tourneys and I think we will play the
same both days.
Fonzi: Yeah, we had been beating IGS consistently for about a week before the tourney
Foulacy: Well, we hadn’t lost to them all tourney–not one game. We still got a lot
of work to do.
MLG: I know Fonzi and Karma just got back from CPL. How would you rate the
competition in comparison to an MLG tourney?
Fonzi: Well, it was quite obvious that Halo 2 was the game of least importance at the
event. For that reason and the fact that registration was expensive and had to be done in
advance, a lot of top teams didn’t make it. Plus, add to that the restriction to 16 teams
and the only competition there was really 3D. Sorry, Vash, Defy, Ronin and Pacmayne, you
took us to three overtime games, but it was still too easy!
Fonzi: But I think seeing as how good the turnout was, the next CPL will continue to
feature Halo 2 and will be much bigger. And I’m sorry to say, but MLG will never find such
a nice venue to host a tournament–you really can’t beat the Gaylord Resort.
(Editor’s note: Let’s suspend judgment on that until everyone sees the MLG Las Vegas
MLG: (laughs) How did you feel about the fact that Halo 2 was the lone console game
at a tournament chock full of PC games?
Fonzi: CPL made it quite obvious that the PC game side of things is what they’re
primarily interested in. I think Halo 2 got very short-changed. Looking at the relative
prize money for the PC games versus Halo 2, there was a huge gap. And they only had one
tiny station set up for the entire Halo 2 tournament–no warm-up stations, no projectors to
broadcast the games, nothing.
Foulacy: Did they project the finals?
Fonzi: No, not at all. They only projected Counter-Strike and Fata1ity’s matches.
MLG: So it took three days to complete a 16-team tourney at CPL?
Fonzi: (laughs) Yeah. You play one game each day, except for the last. So pretty
much, you go to sleep at 5 a.m., wake up at 11 a.m. to the sound of screaming PMS girls
talking about wardrobe, play at 7 p.m., repeat.
MLG: Well, at least you got to sleep in… Zyos, your team was able to knock out
Exigent from the tournament in St. Louis, a team which had two members of the former Check
6. Was that a bit of a personal match-up for you?
Zyos: No, it wasn’t a personal match. To be honest, I could care less what my former
teammates decide to do–they were just another team.
MLG: What was the main impetus for the dissolution of Check 6 though? I want the
final, official word. You got 2nd place at every event, and then after one sub-par
performance everyone splits.
Zyos: That’s the problem with selfish players–they can’t handle losses. That team
breaking up was a good thing for me. Honestly, I’m surprised we came as close to winning in
Houston as we did.
MLG: Why’s that?
Zyos: Because I don’t think that team was a truly a
top-level team. We fell apart quick after Orlando. Even when we were together we had a lot
MLG: Fonzi and Foulacy, I asked you this a while back, but I wanted to check up on
it… Do you feel that people’s perceptions of you are still different from how everyone
looks at the old Halo 1 pros? Do you feel there’s a certain level of respect that is still
being withheld from you?
Foulacy: No, not at all.
Fonzi: I think gradually that’s been changing, at least among the top players. For
instance at CPL we LAN’ed a lot with the Ogres and T2, Pac and Nick, and I think people are
finally beginning to take me seriously as a Halo 1 player. Of course, there’s still a lot
of respect to be gained.
MLG: And speaking of which, who here will be playing some Halo 1 in Philly?
Fonzi: (laughing) None of us.
MLG: Not even Zyos?
Zyos: I will be. I plan on attending but I might change my mind, so we’ll see.
MLG: Fonzi, you lie!
Fonzi: Pssh, things are said behind my back. I can’t help it. Last time I checked,
Halo 1 was quote, “outdated and no competition was left.”
MLG: Zyos, is your Halo 1 game still in top form? Do you expect to once again prove
that you are the top Halo 1 FFA player out there? Is that even something that is important
Zyos: Halo 1 is no longer the tournament game. I haven’t played it seriously since
Halo 2 came out. Part of me would rather just focus entirely on the Halo 2 tourney.
MLG: There’s some pretty decent money being tossed around in the Halo 1 tourneys
though, so that makes it a tournament game for this event.
Foulacy: It’s just a one-time thing though. Like if all of a sudden a GoldenEye
tournament came back.
MLG: A GoldenEye tournament would be awesome!
Zyos: The money is decent, but with no real way for me to practice, it’s not really
worth the effort. If I can’t do it right I’d rather not do it at all.
MLG: Understandable. OK, last topic real quick: How do you think your team will
fare in an all-TS Halo 2 tourney? Will it be any different for you?
Fonzi: It’s gonna be a huge challenge for us.
Foulacy: I’m gonna say this: three out of five gametypes are objective in a normal
tournament, so we practice that, we get good and it proves to be the most important thing.
Now we just practice our TS. I think it’s a myth that we are bad at TS; we just don’t focus
Zyos: Almost everyone knows that Halo 1 takes a lot more skill than Halo 2. It is
too easy to play Halo 2, so the only thing left is teamwork. TS games don’t really show the
better team. I think Philly is anyone’s game. TS games take almost no teamwork.
MLG: Alright, guys, that about wraps it up. Thanks for your time, and good luck in