Through Round 2 of the Halo 2 Championship Bracket, the best match of the event by and far occurred on the main stage between XiT Woundz and Str8 Rippin during Winners Bracket Round 2. The 8 vs. 9 game lived up to its billing, as the teams battled to the end of Game 5.

Str8 Rippin clashed with XiT Woundz in Winners Bracket Round 2

Game 1 opened the series with Midship Bomb. Str8 Rippin applied immediate pressure and nearly pushed into XiT’s base. XiT repelled the invasion, however, and the game stabilized for a few minutes. With 10:00 remaining, Str8 managed a bomb plant, but ceded control of the map in the process. Within 30 seconds, XiT Woundz had equalized the score at one. The game threatened to stalemate, as neither team could further dent the other’s defense. With four minutes remaining, Str8 nearly planted twice, but both times XiT cleared the area just before the score could hit. The momentum they gained from their defense allowed them to push toward the Str8 base. Bonfire went nuts, clearing the entire Str8 base on the road to a running riot. In the process, XiT took the lead 2-1 and added a third plant as time neared completion. XiT led the series 1-0.

Game 2 kept the action at Midship but swayed the type to Team Slayer. The pace was frenzied throughout and the entire game lasted six minutes. XiT held a slight lead in the early going, but Str8 assumed it halfway through the match. Neighbor’s 15-11 performance led Str8 to a close 50-45 win, evening the series 1-1.

Lockout Oddball would untie the series in Game 3. XiT stormed to a relatively easy 1:00-0:00 lead. Undaunted, Str8 snatched the next 43 seconds, pulling the score fairly close. The next several minutes featured little dominance by either squad, with XiT maintaining a small lead. Halfway through the time limit, Str8 Rippin took their first lead. It was short lived, however, as XiT then controlled the map for a couple minutes, taking a 2:42-2:06 lead. With two minutes remaining, XiT led 3:34-3:02 and looked to take a 2-1 series lead. Str8 led an impressive march during the final minutes of the game, however, passing XiT with a minute to go and closing out the match 4:09-3:49. Str8 suddenly had a 2-1 lead in the series.

XiT Woundz and Str8 produced a memorable five-game series

XiT grabbed another quick lead during Warlock CTF, managing to flag captures during the first two minutes. Str8 managed to stabilize, though they found themselves in an early hole. For the next nine minutes, neither team could produce a serious threat. XiT finally pushed another capture through with 4:30 remaining. Up 3-0, they seemed to retreat a bit into a defensive shell, which allowed Str8 to control and capture a flag with 2:00 to go. The lead was too large, however, and XiT, led by Bonfire’s 33-20 game with 34 assists and KillerN’s 37-18 performance, evened the series at two.

Beaver Creek and Team Slayer would decide the winner. Str8 jumped to an early 6-2 and held that slight advantage throughout the early and middle portions of the game. XiT pulled even with Str8 at 17-17 and then again at 25-25, but could not gain a significant advantage. Str8 built another several-kill lead before Bonfire executed some amazing no-scope snipes. He nabbed a double kill via no-scope-on-the-rocket-carrier before clearing Str8 from a move into the rocket tower. His clutch play was not enough to separate XiT from Str8, however. The lead seesawed between both teams during the 30s and 40s. The crowd noise grew with each passing kill as both teams could not put the other away. Just as Str8 nabbed a lead of several kills, XiT managed to regain the deficit. Deadlocked at 49, Str8 pulled out an amazing win, 50-49. Behind Mimic’s 17 kills to just nine deaths, Str8 took the game and the series, 3-2. In a losing effort, Bonfire logged a 17-11 performance with 10 assists. Str8 moved on to Winners Bracket Round 3 and a date with Final Boss.

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