Str8 Rippin made an amazing journey through the competition at MLG Chicago. Take a pictorial look at their saga:
Str8Rippin were the biggest question mark going into MLG Chicago. After an early season of disappointments and roster changes, they had more to prove than anyone else. As the seventh seed they would have a rough day-one pairing with Carbon.
Legit and Elamite Warrior, from Perfect Storm and FBI The Agency, respectively, were seen as huge roster improvements. Coupled with Neighbor and Tsquared, many fans were expecting slaying power not seen in teams other than Carbon and Final Boss. But with such a low seed, the new lineup, many believed, would be ousted early and would need another tournament to really make their mark.
The final round of Halo 2 Day 1 had Carbon matched against Str8Rippin as everyone expected. Not many people could foresee a Str8 victory after Carbon trounced Final Boss to win the last tournament, MLG Dallas, in a record-breaking eight games.
But Tsquared and company came flying out of the gates and stayed pumped up until the very last kill. Not only did they win, they did it in dominating fashion, blanking Carbon 3-0 to send them reeling to the Losers Bracket.
After seeing Str8 struggle throughout the season and knowing the potential of Elamite and Legit, pros and fans alike were there to congratulate them after their unlikely victory. You can see StrongSide giving his good friend Elamite a hug in the foreground. Everyone is all smiles. But Str8 had a long final day ahead of them.
Winners Bracket Semi-Finals, FBI The Agency versus Str8Rippin was the match everyone wanted to see. Elamite faced his old team, while Naded faced his usual partner, Legit. The collective consensus was the match could go either way. The two teams did not disappoint the crowd, as Str8 came out on top 3-1, sending The Agency and Carbon to the Losers Bracket in two consecutive series!
The crowds had packed the main stage since the start of the Championship bracket because of all the crazy meetings with the new Str8Rippin and Agency lineups. By the time the Winners Bracket Semifinals rolled around, people were going absolutely nuts.
The Agency and Carbon faced off in the Losers Bracket Semifinals as everyone anticipated, but The Agency came out on top. The outcome shocked the crowd. Carbon, for the first time since early 2006, placed out of the Top 2.
After losing to Final Boss 3-1 in the Winners Bracket Finals, Str8 faced The Agency for the second time. Naded and company were no match for the new Str8 lineup and settled for third place in a 6-3 defeat.
Trailing 3-1, Str8Rippin had ahead of them a Final Boss squad playing some of the best Halo 2 of their careers.
Alas, a first-place finish was not meant to be. But the 6-1 defeat did not reflect the competitiveness of the series. Nevertheless, the very fact that Str8Rippin made it to the Finals marks the first time since Chicago in 2006 that Carbon has placed out of the Top 2 (Final Boss have never finished out of the Championship Finals).
Tsquared and company had nothing over which to hang their heads. Their victory over Carbon seems to have ushered in a new level of competitiveness among the top-tier Halo 2 teams. The rest of the season will no longer be a battle for third place, as Carbon and Final Boss duke it out for the championship. Orlando, the last regular season event, is sure to reveal more surprises and look for Str8Rippin to have another amazing run at the title.