Somewhat surprised and a little disappointed by their recent second place finish at MLG Las Vegas, the unofficial spokesmen of team iGameSpot, ShocKWav3 and Gandhi, sat down with MLG to discuss the tournament, their off-and-on rivalry with TmG, and their lineup changes for the future. Candid as always, the two pros were quick to contribute their two cents on any and every topic and didn’t hold back a bit–even when admitting where they faltered against TmG. Sergio and McGavin were unavailable for the interview, but the abundance of opinions from ShocKWav3 and Gandhi more than made up for their absence. Read on to check out a very frank depiction of a team that learned a lot from their most recent tournament experience.
Gandhi: (mocking me as always) “First of all, I’d like to congratulate you on getting second place at MLG Las Vegas…”
MLG: That’s not what I was going to say! I don’t even want to congratulate you now! Well, OK, good job guys, I guess. (everyone laughs) Alright, here we go… You guys seemed really confident going into the tournament, almost as if you weren’t really expecting there to be any competition. Was that really the case?
ShocKWav3: Well, it was more like, “We’re gonna win this.” That’s what we came into the tournament thinking, for a couple of different reasons. For one thing, a few days before the tournament when we scrimmaged with 3D and we ended up beating them 6-3 online in pretty much the Winners’ Bracket and Championship gametypes. So we were really confident at that point; confident enough to actually not practice again before the tournament. So we missed like two days of practice before the tournament. Another reason was because we had never lost to Str8 Rippin (TmG), and we didn’t particularly think this was the strongest lineup they could’ve had. We thought with the loss of Karma they actually lost skill, and it turned out bad for us at the end.
Gandhi: It seemed like they had gained more teamwork.
ShocKWav3: We thought that they maybe gained more teamwork but lost a lot of skill, and it wouldn’t equal out.
MLG: I want to dig a little bit into this rivalry of disrespect you guys have with TmG. I mean, it seems like you two in particular just don’t at all respect the skill that these guys have…
Gandhi: I respect Matthew Leto, number one, and Tsquared. But the other two, I will never give them credit. They can beat me at every tournament, they can 3-0 me at every tournament, and I will never give them credit. They could beat me in Halo 1, and I would never give them credit.
Gandhi: It’s because they beat me at two tournaments already, so I have a rivalry. It’s a mental block. I don’t think they’re good.
MLG: Like a defense mechanism. What are your thoughts, ShocKWav3?
ShocKWav3: In my case, it’s not that I don’t respect them. I don’t consider it a rivalry between us anymore. After St. Louis it seemed to have all died down, and then since we weren’t at Philly, they didn’t really say anything, and it was nothing. Then as soon as they beat us in Vegas, it turned into a rivalry again. So I’m kind of confused how it all just sort of escalated after the loss in Vegas. I was just fine with both of them; I still respect them as players. There’s no way I can’t respect their skills.
Gandhi: I do like them as people, but just not as players.
ShocKWav3: And on top of that, Zyos won the FFA, and from our perspective he really was the key player on their team the whole tournament, so I definitely respect Zyos’ skill.
Gandhi: I think Tsquared was (the key player). He destroyed your face on Lockout.
ShocKWav3: Well, they were all playing unstoppably in Vegas, so…
Gandhi: They pretty much outplayed us.
MLG: But you guys had made some predictions about the outcome…
Gandhi: I made some predictions, because I’m a real cocky kid.
MLG: Are you regretting that now that it sort of blew up in your face?
Gandhi: I don’t look at the forums, so I don’t really care. I don’t need to see all the little Matchmaking noobs rubbing it in my face.
ShocKWav3: One of the major things in Halo 2 is that if you don’t have any confidence there’s really no point in even trying. Overconfidence can sometimes hurt you–and I think it did in our case–but if you don’t have any confidence going into a tournament you really have no chance. I would rather be overconfident than have no confidence in our team.
Gandhi: But overconfidence really hurt us though, because we were like, “OK, we don’t need to practice,” and then we never did.
ShocKWav3: It did hurt us, but if we had no confidence, it would’ve been even worse.
Gandhi: Well, I had no confidence in Orlando against 3D, and we did well.
ShocKWav3: We got rocked.
Gandhi: We won two games!
ShocKWav3: We got rocked! We got worked!
MLG: So I take it you were surprised then when TmG showed up and was doing so well in Vegas…
ShocKWav3: Yeah, at first. Well, for the FFA, I have no comment. Players can play awesome in the FFA and then not play well the second day. Some players just get lucky in the FFA…
Gandhi: … And some players just get completely destroyed, like me.
ShocKWav3: So I don’t take much stock in FFA. I mean, Zyos won it and I could tell that he was just playing really well, but other than that you couldn’t tell how much better a team was playing than another just by FFA performance. Like our team played the FFA a thousand times worse than Mongler’s Legendz and SV, but we as a team destroyed them anyway. We didn’t see TmG in Pool Play, because we didn’t match up against them, but once we matched up with them Sunday morning and lost the first series… Honestly, it’s not like we had most of those games and they fell out of our grasp…
Gandhi: … It’s like at the beginning we start off playing amazing, and then we just crumble.
ShocKWav3: Yeah, if we’d have played those games like we normally should have, or if we had been a little more practiced and could have held what we were doing in the beginning of those games, I think the scores could have been totally different. We came out swinging in the beginning of Elongation CTF. We got the first cap, and then all of a sudden we fell apart. They got control, and we didn’t practice it enough to know how to get control back.
Gandhi: … And we never will. I’m never playing that gametype. (laughs)
ShocKWav3: He doesn’t know it, but he is going to, because we are going to be practiced for all tournaments from now on.
MLG: Yeah, it seems like you guys refuse to learn and play certain kinds of gametypes even though you know they’re going to be at the tournament. You may not like them or whatever, but you still understand that you have to win those gametypes to win the tournament, so I don’t get it…
“… in the case of Warlock we just, you know, as you can see from the tournament… That’s probably the reason we dislike it; we just don’t know what to do. We have no clue what is even going on half the time.” -ShocKWav3, on New Maps
Gandhi: Well, with the addition of Karma I’m willing to play those maps, because he knows what to do there. Honestly, with McGavin–he’s a great player–but we have no idea what the hell to do on any of the new maps.
ShocKWav3: It’s just a lack of communication, and in the case of Warlock we just, you know, as you can see from the tournament… That’s probably the reason we dislike it; we just don’t know what to do. We have no clue what is even going on half the time. McGavin admits that he can’t even tell the bases apart. When he calls a base it’s usually wrong so he doesn’t call anything, so it’s just rough playing Warlock as a team altogether. And we know we should practice it, but we just don’t like it enough to actually do it.
MLG: But you said that’s going to change in the future…
Gandhi: It’s already started to change.
ShocKWav3: We’ve been trying to practice as much as we can with me, Karma and Gandhi, and whenever we have a team to play against we’ll call Sergio to get him to get on. But yeah, as a team we’ve begun to practice all of the gametypes we sort of need to perfect.
MLG: Sergio’s been sort of M.I.A. lately with World of Warcraft correct? Has that been a hindrance to your practice sessions?
Gandhi: Yes and no.
ShocKWav3: I was a little annoyed by him playing WoW a lot. He used to be on (XBL) without us telling him to, but as soon as WoW came about he stopped that. I did get kind of annoyed by the fact that he wasn’t just playing and learning and increasing his individual skill and play style, but I think after Vegas I realized that he is one of those players who is really not going to learn too much by himself, and is more of a teamwork-oriented player. We’ll need to teach him strategies, but as soon as he knows the strategies he’s as good as any other player, so I stopped really caring.
MLG: So he can just skate through on natural talent?
ShocKWav3: Well, yeah, basically. He’s a really good team player, and a solid player all-around, as long as he knows the strategies…
Gandhi: And he pops his collar, which you can’t go wrong with.
MLG: Let’s talk about the second time you met up with TmG. You guys did a lot better that time…
ShocKWav3: I think we were doing the same in both series. It seemed like we got crushed the first time because of the 3-0, but it’s sort of like with 3D in the Winners’ Bracket finals (of Philly) where it doesn’t show how close the games really were…
Gandhi: … Except for Warlock Oddball.
ShocKWav3: That was a killing.
Gandhi: I fell asleep while we were playing. I just didn’t know what was going on. Someone turned off my TV, and then I just fell asleep. I woke up and they were up by another minute and I was just like, “OK, I can go back to bed now.”
ShocKWav3: By the end our goal was just to get a minute with the ball. Elongation CTF, we could’ve had a chance of winning. Unfortunately for us we crumbled and they took complete advantage of it and knew how to set up the map, but if we’d have kept the early style we were playing on that map we could’ve had three caps easily. On Lockout TS…
Gandhi: You betrayed me. There were just very, very un-clutch things that happened.
ShocKWav3: Yeah, there were a few betrayals, and a few falls off the map that didn’t really need to happen. Like Sergio fell off the smallest crack in the level with the sword, and at the same time I turned around and threw a grenade at a barrel and killed Gandhi.
Gandhi: Basically, he was pissed that I ate one of his Chicken Selects and he decided to ‘nade me.
ShocKWav3: I was like, “Damn, Gandhi! I don’t like that barrel and I don’t like you, so guess what?”
MLG: You guys seem to play a really aggressive style no matter what, whether the score is 49-49 or 0-0.
ShocKWav3: It does seem like that, but we do refrain if we need to. In the Ivory Tower Team Slayer, we set up a camp against them, and I think it threw them off-guard really quickly. But at the same time, if you charge, then all of a sudden you’re appearing in places least expected, which can catch them off guard. We just kind of do what we feel is right for the level. If we need to get control back, we’ll sacrifice a few kills just to get the control.
MLG: I’ve talked to you before, ShocKWav3, about how you’re pretty serious about studying other players and teams and knowing what they tend to do. Do you feel that everyone on the team is that serious about it?
ShocKWav3: Gandhi’s not as serious–he just likes to play the game.
Gandhi: Online we do work strat though…
ShocKWav3: Yeah, and at tournament time, we’re all really into the game, but it seems like I’m the one who really knows some of the stuff. We all try really hard to just have constant communication and teamwork anywhere on the map, but I’m probably the only one who still looks at other teams and what they try to do. Like with Mongler’s Legendz on Oddball Midship, it all revolves around them constantly running in a circle around the map, and I’m not sure how many people pick up on it, but I was trying to get my team to notice it so we could cut them off before they ran anywhere. Just things like that.
But I don’t think we really need to know the other teams’ strategy to play against them. I think we all just know enough about what people normally do… Normal people will do certain things, like with Fonzi and Foulacy–I don’t want to say they were predictable, but we usually knew what they were doing. We just couldn’t stop them.
MLG: Well I guess it doesn’t matter how predictable they are if you still can’t stop them…
ShocKWav3: Yeah, we couldn’t stop them at that point.
MLG: So what’s the official future roster of your team looking like? You’re picking up Karma instead of who?
ShocKWav3: McGavin is going off to the Air Force, and Karma is coming in as our new fourth.
MLG: What are you hoping Karma will bring to your team?
ShocKWav3: Well, here’s why we were so happy to pick up Karma… I used to talk to Str8 Rippin a lot about Karma, and apparently he “left” them before Philadelphia. He was a free-agent, and at every tournament we went to he was the one on Str8 Rippin where we were always just like, “He’s owning us. We’ve got to stop him. He’s going nuts!” He was kind of just a wild card on their team.
I went to California for VGL, and at that point I was convinced that he would never take the game seriously, and Fonzi and Foulacy told me that he would never try at practice or anything. He didn’t try in St. Louis according to them. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Karma, but after playing the VGL qualifying tournament with him I realized that he’s actually pretty serious about tournaments. We offered him a spot on IGS and he accepted, and we’ve been practicing with him ever since.
MLG: So how have things been going?
ShocKWav3: Really well. His playing style just matches ours completely.
Gandhi: It matches yours.
ShocKWav3: Me, Gandhi and Karma have just been unbelievable as a three-man group, and we can’t wait to add Sergio to that.
Gandhi: Sergio just un-zooms everyone, so they can’t stop him. He gets in those grooves and it’s just like, “headshot.”
MLG: Alright, guys, any parting thoughts?
Gandhi: The competition level at tournaments has changed a lot. In the beginning it was a fight for second place because 3D was unstoppable. Then it turned into a fight for first and second, and now it’s a fight for the top three. The competition level has really been upped.
ShocKWav3: Yeah, with TmG really coming out swinging now, at future tournaments you’re going to have three teams that can all beat each other, and it will just be a “who’s going to win what” situation. We’re hoping we’re the team that’s going to come out on top.