In a shockingly one-sided battle in Atlanta, Team 3D exacted their revenge from the TmG lineup that gave them their only defeat of the MLG season. Showing up to Atlanta determined to prove their dominance once and for all, 3D bulldozed their way through the entire tournament, and defeated TmG 6-0 in the Finals to put the finishing touches on their sweeping return to the MLG scene after a long absence. There is no doubt that 3D is as strong as they’ve ever been, and many are anxious to see if they can repeat such a flawless performance in Chicago this weekend. MLG sat down with 3D recently to discuss their fantastic showing at the Eastern Conference Championshps, digging a bit into their tension with TmG, the improvements they’ve been working on as a team, and their thoughts on the way the game has evolved over the past year.
MLG: During the Winners’ and Championship Finals, there seemed to be a lot of tension between you and TmG. Normally you guys don’t say much of anything to the other team during matches, but this time there was definitely a dialog going on between you. What had you all riled up?
Ogre 1: I realized that if we were to lose, we would never hear the end of it, and people would think that TmG was the better team. So we had something to prove, I guess.
Saiyan: We didn’t want to leave any question about who the better team was.
Ogre 1: I think the trash talk goes along with wanting to win.
MLG: The difference in scores between ATL and Philly, where you last played these four, was incredibly drastic. Thinking back to the two meetings, what do you think caused such a vastly different result this time around?
Walshy: We were all rested up and ready this time.
Ogre 2: The gametypes, and then what Walsh said. I think that’s the main thing, actually, is what Walshy said.
Ogre 1: …And Ryan (Saiyan) playing a lot.
Ogre 2: I know at Philly I was dead by the time the Halo 2 4v4 came around.
Ogre 1: You sleep like two or three hours a night at Halo tournaments, first of all. You do that for three days in a row and then try to win a Halo 2 “camp-fest” on the fourth day… I don’t know – we beat ourselves in Philly, really.
Saiyan: We just really weren’t able to pull it back together.
Walshy: Not to take anything away from them, but we were just really out of it.
Ogre 2: But not in Atlanta!
MLG: By the last game in your series with TmG, it seemed as if you guys had complete control…
Walshy: Of the needlers?
MLG: …of the games, and on CTF Midship, it looked like you were trying to beat them as quickly as possible. Was it important for you, mentally, to make sure you got that 6 – 0 win?
Ogre 2: I was just so pumped to play them again. By that point I didn’t realize that we were 6-0′ing them – I was just enjoying what we were doing at the time. I was just playing really well. We sorta just zoned in.
Ogre 1: We focused on the individual games, you know? I wasn’t really thinking, “Oh, we’re up four games to zero.” I was just like, “Hey Dave, what’s the next gametype?” and he would tell me. And then I was just like, “Alright, I’m gonna freakin own this game.”
Ogre 2: That’s what I was doing. I wasn’t thinking about 6-0′ing them; I was just thinking about winning that game.
Ogre 1: Yeah, it’s all about winning the game that you’re playing.
MLG: It also looked at times like you were playing some to the crowd, such as when you began carrying needlers around in the last game, and when Ogre 2 was getting a huge crowd reaction for nearly all of his kills in that Oddball Lockout game. Does knowing that you have the crowd excited like that help spur on your game, kind of like how having “home field” tends to help out sports teams?
Ogre 2: I don’t even really hear the crowd when I’m playing, because I have those headphones on with the volume up, and I’m hearing my teammates yell. That was just me playing.
Walshy: It’s fun making it exciting for the crowd.
Ogre 1: The needle thing… that wasn’t really for the crowd.
Walshy: Well, people are there to watch and have fun, so in a way we’re kind of also entertainers.
(team laughs mockingly)
Ogre 2: We’re not always thinking about impressing the crowd though. Like in the Lockout game, I didn’t even hear the crowd the whole time.
Ogre 1: Obviously, by that point they couldn’t do anything. We were already up 2-0 in Midship CTF in like the first minute-and-a-half, when we picked up the needler. We were just owning, and had complete control…
Walshy: It’s definitely a little bit about playing to the crowd when you like stand up and drop your controller or something…
Ogre 1: Who did that? (laughing) Walsh…
MLG: Saiyan, tell us a little bit about your extra training before this event. What made you change your perspective on the amount of time you dedicated to Halo?
Saiyan: I don’t know. I wake up. I ice my hand so they’re not sore from playing so much. Then I play all day. And I do it again tomorrow. (team laughs) I just realized that in Halo 1 you could just play the game, have fun and be good at it – for me at least – but in Halo 2 it’s all about the little things. So you just have to play it over and over to make sure you’re on. Then all those little things come together; the more you play the more consistent you are, and I think that it helped me to be more consistent and play my best.
Ogre 1: I was playing Team Hardcore with StrongSide the other day. It was just me and him, during the day, so obviously he skipped school. (team laughs) You know? So I was just talking to him, and he was like, “Dude, every day before I play…. I ice my hands!” (team laughs again) It’s so funny, because I have no doubt that he does it.
Saiyan: The reason I do it is because I broke my thumb really bad two times, and my thumb is messed up. It’s seriously screwed up, so I have to do it.
MLG: From videogames?
Saiyan: Well, I broke it really bad playing soccer senior year of high school.
MLG: It looked like you guys were possibly at the peak of your game in Atlanta, and watching the match, I saw tinges of the beginning of the season, when nobody was even really close to touching you guys. Your team has pretty much been a step ahead of the competition all season (except for the stumble in Philly). Aside from natural talent, what exactly keeps you ahead of the competition all season long?
Ogre 2: Uhh… David Walsh. He sits in his classes and thinks of things we can do.
Walshy: During accounting, I take notes for about a good five minutes, and then after that it just sort of turns into, “Alright, I’ve learned enough today. I’m gonna sit here for the next three-and-a-half hours and think of Halo.”
Ogre 2: We’ve just been working on coming up with a bunch of small things that put us above the other teams, basically. Like you saw that boost that Walsh and Ryan did. You don’t see any other teams doing anything like that at all. Just those little on-the-fly things that our team can do that other teams can’t – just because we know each other so well. We’re compatible.
MLG: For some reason, people like to say that Halo 2′s potential is tapped out, and that the best players have sort of reached their skill limit. Do you think that’s true at this point?
Ogre 1: I don’t think so at all. People kept saying that about Halo 1, and then people would find out new glitches and stuff. Even recently, the double-shot and stuff… People are still learning new stuff.
Ogre 2: The game’s been out for a year, and people are still figuring things out.
Ogre 1: In Halo 1, people were still figuring new stuff out at the end. And then, when players incorporate that stuff into their game, it makes them better, so I don’t think that’s true.
MLG: In what ways do you still find yourselves improving at the game?
Ogre 2: The BXR, definitely. We all enjoy that now.
Ogre 1: Even when I first heard about it, I was like, “Ehhh, sounds kinda risky.” But once you get it down it’s lethal.
Saiyan: Especially on LAN.
Ogre 1: Yeah, especially on LAN. Online the shot doesn’t always register, but on LAN you can destroy people with it.
MLG: Ogre 2, tell us a little about your rematch with Karma in the FFA 1v1.
Ogre 2: Uh, I had host. Honestly, I don’t even think about 1v1s, and I get frustrated when I realize that I made Top 8 and I have to play in the 1v1s. It’s the honest truth. I’m happy because I made Top 8, but then I’m like, “Dammit, now I have to get up early and play 1v1s for three hours.” It’s the most boring thing ever.
Saiyan: I napped while you played 1v1s.
MLG: Do you actually just not like to play 1v1?
Ogre 2: I never practice them. I never did it in Halo 1. I just hate 1v1s.
MLG: So you didn’t even like it in Halo 1? You just don’t like that style of gameplay?
Ogre 2: No. Exactly.
MLG: But over the last two tournaments you’ve made $1,800, so do you think it’s something that you’ll put a little time into for the National Championships when there’s a good bit of money on the line for it?
Ogre 2: I did that last year, where I would never practice for the 1v1s, but for the Finals I’d practice for a day or so. I’ll probably try to force myself to practice.
MLG: Is host really that big of a deal?
Ogre 2: Yes, it is. In Halo 2 it’s a big deal. I think it’s even worse in Halo 2 than Halo 1 for 1v1 anyway. Because the frame rate is not that bad in Halo 1 for the 1v1. That’s how you would deal with host in Halo 1. In the 4v4, the frame rate was really bad if you weren’t host. In 1v1 Halo 2 at long range, you shots just do so much more damage if you’re hosting.
MLG: So you basically both won when you had host…
Ogre 2: Well it was close both ways. When I wasn’t hosting in LA, it was really close, and then when he wasn’t hosting it was still really close. I think it definitely helps. Maybe I played a little better this time, or maybe he played a little worse. Who knows?
MLG: Dan and Tom, a little bit before ATL you guys were in Singapore, representing the US at the WCG. How did you think the worldwide competition compared to that of MLG events?
Ogre 2: “Weak” would be a good word. They weren’t very good.
Ogre 1: Well, obviously Canada has got some good players, because they play with us online and do well at the (MLG) events. France got third, and if four people at about their skill level came to an MLG, they’d probably get Top 16, or Top 8 if they had really good teamwork.
Ogre 2: I can’t see them having really good teamwork though…
Ogre 1: Top 8 is pushing it.
Saiyan: We did pick up a new Ivory Tower strat from Croatia, though.
MLG: So in that case, you probably thought that the U.S. WCG Finals were tougher than the World Championships…
Ogre 2: Yes, definitely.
Walshy: I heard it was their toughest match ever! (referring jokingly to when Ogre 1 and 2 had to play he and Saiyan in the U.S. Finals to advance to represent their country in the World Championships)
Ogre 2: Yeah right, it wasn’t that hard…
Walshy: They told me they felt really lucky to win that. (laughs)
Ogre 2: Yeah… We didn’t even play anyone good at the U.S.
Ogre 1: They were probably about equal, really. It seemed like we played weak teams in both of them up until the Finals.
MLG: Did people know you guys over there? Did you have any international fans?
Ogre 1: We actually had a couple, and I was wondering why. But I remember I filled out a couple of interviews via email a few weeks before we went over there, and I guess we were in a couple newspapers and stuff, so there were actually quite a few people there.
MLG: Was that kind of cool to know you’re known worldwide?
Ogre 2: The whole entire Singapore Halo 2 fan-base was there to watch us. It was like eight kids…
Ogre 1: They told us. When they asked us for our autograph, they said that they were the whole Singapore Halo 2 crew. They said they were the only ones in the entire country.
MLG: Do you think a lot of the competition gap is due to the fact that most of the people who actually play Halo are in North America?
Ogre 1 and 2: Yeah, definitely.
MLG: So we have Chicago coming up very soon. Which teams do you think will be the most dangerous at the Central Conference Championships? Who are you looking out for the most?
Ogre 2: I think any of the Top 6 teams that are playing well.
Walshy: You can definitely see a huge difference in the teamwork now in the top teams. It keeps getting better and better.
Ogre 2: It’s going to be a battle for Top 4, because there are six teams that could very easily take Top 4. We got EG, who has Mack now as their fourth – and Mack is very good. Then there’s TcO, LeGendZ, us, TmG, and IGS.
MLG: Did IGS pick up StrongSide to go along with Karma, Shockwav3 and Gandhi?
Ogre 2: Yeah, they stole StrongSide from EG.
MLG: Do you have any kind of specific predictions on who will edge out who?
Walshy: I think whoever plays better that day will win.