Entering the National Championships as the reigning seven-time 1v1 champion, Karma was the clear favorite. Looking to dethrone him were seven of Major League Gaming’s top singles artists who had earned their invitation to MLG Vegas through their consistently stellar performances throughout the 2006 Boost Mobile Pro Circuit.
The first round of the competition opened with a tense tone, as each of the eight contestants appeared hesitant to make an overly aggressive strike, with the chance of surrendering an early lead. Most notably, Legit maintained a 1 – 0 advantage for the opening six minutes of his match against Walshy, hiding in green base before Walshy ultimately flushed him out with a well-placed grenade. Legit continued to retreat after gaining a single-point margin over the Final Boss captain until Walshy earned his first lead and increased the match’s tempo, pushing his advantage to a 15 – 12 victory.
Meanwhile, Strongside slipped early against Naded in his opening match, trailing at one point by the count of 6 – 2. However, Strongside rallied with a relentless pursuit, gaining the lead after a quick killing spree and taking the match 15 – 8, ending the game on a 13 – 2 streak. Ogre 2 made quick work of first-round opponent Fonzi, as he racked up kills from the map’s perimeter and ended the match with an effortless stick, closing the score at 15 – 7.
Winning every single 1v1 event of the season, Karma has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is truly the greatest individual player on the planet. That $10,000 check will look great on his wall, reminding him and all who see it who the king really is.
Arguably, the marquee match of the first round occurred between Karma and Level One Playoff winner KillerN. When the two met in the 2006 season opener, KillerN relegated Karma to the Losers Bracket in the opening round. Although Karma ultimately rebounded to take the title, KillerN had proven his proficiency at countering Karma’s top-center tactics. Prior to Vegas, Karma noted that he would abandon his top-center strategy against KillerN and Strongside in favor of an alternate approach. The result was a decidedly slower paced match, as Karma took great measures to keep distance between himself and KillerN. Utilizing his host advantage, Karma picked apart KillerN with cross-map shots and advanced to Winners Bracket Round 2 with a 15 – 10 victory.
Karma’s dominance continued into the second round. Buoyed by Gandhi’s cries of ‘Karma is unstoppable’, Karma dictated the opening minutes and tallied a killing spree against Ogre 2. The end result was a landslide victory of 15 – 2 in favor of the reigning champion.
On the other side of the bracket, Walshy and Strongside produced a much closer affair. Their skirmishes ranged all over the map, with each player forfeiting their upward positioning to engage in pursuit. The two combatants remained deadlocked for much of the match, drawing level at 10-10. However, Strongside gained an advantage as he sneakily landed behind Walshy’s watchful guard and landed an assassination on his unsuspecting opponent. The move propelled Strongside to a 15 – 11 victory and sealed his position in the Winners Bracket Finals, as well as the prize pool.
The Winners Bracket Finals match up was a familiar one between former teammates Strongside and Karma, who met in the finals of both Orlando and New York. Knowing that Strongside could counter his bread-and-butter top-center strategy, Karma employed the sneakier approach he successfully used against KillerN in the opening round. While Strongside patrolled the lower routes of the map, he appeared generally unable to locate Karma and land the opening shots. Although notoriously crafty in his efforts to avoid fire and stay alive, Strongside could not overcome Karma’s warping assaults. Karma’s unparalleled long range Battle Rifle and Carbine proved to be insurmountable, as Strongside fell to Karma 15 – 7.
Karma took on all challengers with his trademark cool confidence, finding his way to his second MLG National Championship Title.
Strongside awaited the victor of the Losers Bracket Semi-Final meeting between teammates Walshy and Ogre 2. Despite their camaraderie in team play, the tone of the match was nowhere near friendly. The teammates fiercely battled for their ticket to the Losers Bracket Finals. Walshy gained an early edge, and was carried throughout the match by his overwhelming focus. The Final Boss captain formulaically weakened Ogre 2’s shields with deftly placed grenades and finished with precision headshots. Walshy maintained his solid advantage for much of the match, before Ogre 2 clawed his way back, tying the score at 13 kills each. However, Walshy’s unrelenting determination prevailed, as he took the final two kills of the match and advanced to face Strongside.
Strongside dominated the opening minutes of his rematch with Walshy. Strongside’s patient playing style earned him an early advantage, as Walshy left his back exposed after running past a motionless Strongside. The Legendz marksman added two more kills to his tally before perplexing spectators with a uniquely crafted spawn trap. Walshy appeared flustered as he spawned into Strongside’s reticle three consecutive times, yielding a 6 – 0 advantage. Although Walshy proceeded to gain brief control, he eventually surrendered it when he attempted to implement Strongside’s spawn trap. Strongside spawned with guns blazing, taking down Walshy with his lightning quick carbine. While Strongside has a tendency to lie low with significant leads, he pressed his advantage to a fast-paced 15 – 4 victory.
Entering the Championship Match at a 1 – 0 deficit, Strongside faced the daunting task of taking two consecutive games from Karma. Encouraged by his single-game victory over Karma in Orlando, Strongside looked to find the key to reproducing such a feat in Vegas.
Determined to cap his unbeaten 2006 tournament run, Karma applied early high-pressure tactics to gain a 4 – 2 lead. Uncharacteristically, the champion relented his aggressive pursuits, retreating from Strongside’s attempts to draw level. Ensuring that a significant distance separated the two combatants, Karma forced Strongside to approach through exposed lines of fire. Closing the match 15 – 8, Karma proved that he is truly an unparalleled talent on the Major League Gaming Pro Circuit. In what has truly been a dynastic run, Karma took home the first-place check for each of MLG’s seven events in 2006.