While many questions surrounded the effectiveness of Carbon’s new roster entering Orlando, any doubts were emphatically silenced as Carbon displayed their capabilities on center stage. Carbon demonstrated their fighting spirit, producing thrilling signature comebacks and dispelling Final Boss’ aura of invincibility. Carbon took Major League Gaming’s community by storm as they defeated illustrious Final Boss and topped Orlando’s podium. We sat down with the newly crowned champions to address their new roster, the magnitude of this accomplishment, and the naysayers who claim they can’t defend their title.

MLG: First of all, congrats on taking MLG Orlando.

GH057ayame: Thank you!

MLG: Leading into the event, many felt that making a roster change so late in the season would be detrimental to your team’s performance. How were you able to mesh so quickly with GH057ayame?

Shockwav3: He was exactly the type of player our team needed. Instead of StrongSide, who had a much more slaying dominance, GH057 played more of a support role on our team.

Gandhi: Giving me the ability to slay, which was awesome.

Shockwav3: Instead of having Karma covering all of us, GH057 was able to sit back and support, as well as go out and have me step back and support. This gave us a lot more options during the games.

“He’s basically the water bottle of our team. When down and out, he rejuvenates us, and pushes us harder.” — GH057ayame

GH057ayame: Yeah, I’m not passive at all. I’m straight up aggressive.

Gandhi: He’s actually one of the chargers on the MLG Circuit, and StrongSide was more passive.

MLG: Yeah, that’s a bit of a common misconception. People were saying that dropping StrongSide was sacrificing your aggressive playstyle.

Gandhi: Well, dropping StrongSide we lost our blind charge… then we gained a controlled charge, strategies, and better team shooting.

MLG: Your team was one of the first to embrace this concept of coaching. How does xXx impact your performance during a series?

GH057ayame: Basically, he brings an important aspect to the table: confidence. Not only does he support us in-game, but also outside of it.

Gandhi: He keeps our spirits up even when we lose.

GH057ayame: He’s always checking to see how everything’s going and if we’re all set for each event. Once we start playing though, he tends to tell a couple jokes to make it more of a fun environment. In addition to that, he times weapons and power-ups, and also calls out locations. He’s basically the water bottle of our team.

Karma dives on Gandhi moments after the monumental upset over Final Boss.

Gandhi: Water bottle of the team… what the hell?

MLG: Care to expand on the ‘water bottle’ comment?

GH057ayame: When we’re down and out, he rejuvenates us, and pushes us harder.

Gandhi: That’s adorable, sounds like a Deer Park commercial.

“An important thing to remember about Halo 2 is that people’s mentality is very important. We went into the match thinking we could win. Our mindset was that they were never invincible–just no one got good enough to beat them yet and we had gotten that good.” — Shockwav3

MLG: In the eyes of the public, many claim that Orlando was more of Final Boss’ loss than your victory. Do you feel that you’ve received the recognition you deserve for such a monumental feat?

Gandhi: Well, everyone who is smart gave us recognition. The people who say Final Boss wasn’t on the top of their game are not the brightest.

Shockwav3: I think we got the credit we deserved from the people we would have liked to. But, we’ve heard that “FB has thrown the games to make TV more interesting,” and that can get annoying.

Gandhi: If you take the time to watch the rebroadcast you’ll see they were playing on top of their game. I mean, when an Ogre screams, “WE’RE NOT LOSING,” …come on.

Shockwav3: We believe that Final Boss was playing harder than they’ve had to in a long time.

Gandhi: Yeah, they had a reason to try their heart out, because they got beat 3 — 1 in the Winners Bracket Finals and wanted to come back and prove they were still the best team.

MLG: Right, I’ve also heard people claiming that Final Boss simply didn’t practice much leading into event, but this is more or less a complete misconception.

Gandhi: They LAN’d 8-12 hour days with XiT Woundz for a week. How can someone say they were off practice? It’s just the Final Boss fanboys sticking up for their team.

GH057ayame: Basically, the twins were on XBL for their girlfriends, which meant they were still playing. Walshy played a few FFAs. Then the entire team went over to XiT’s for a week and played over 140 games, while we only played 50 or 60.

Gandhi: So for people to say they had no practice is completely wrong. This is one of the only tournaments they have had practice for.

MLG: What are your thoughts on “Bootcamping” on the whole? It seems to work out badly for just about everybody who does it.

Gandhi: I think it’s terrible; it gets you too accustomed to whoever you play if it’s just a two-team Bootcamp.

Shockwav3: I don’t think it necessarily worked out badly. I think it actually can help a lot, but teams need to remember: What works against one team won’t always work against another. So if there is a Bootcamp before an event, the best way to get practice would be to have numerous top teams.

GH057ayame: I think that it helps a lot to be honest. However, I feel that Bootcamping should be done a couple weeks before an event. That way the team doesn’t get played out.

“Str8 is still a rivalry just because T2′s still on the team and he’s the best person to beat because he ‘hates losing’.” — Gandhi

MLG: So do you guys just plan to stick to XBL practice for New York?

Gandhi: Most likely. We all start up school again since we have lives.

Shockwav3: I will probably be attending a few LANs with players on a few weekends, but none of my team will be there. Most of our practice up until a few weeks prior will be individual practice.

MLG: En route to the Winners Bracket Finals, your team handily defeated Str8 Rippin. This was at one point MLG’s marquee rivalry. Do you still see them as a legitimate threat?

Gandhi: Str8 is still a rivalry just because T2′s still on the team and he’s the best person to beat because he ‘hates losing.’ So that’s always good, but… I see us having more of a rivalry with Final Boss now, since they were throwing words against us. If people want to throw words, I’ll throw words.

Shockwav3: I think that we still have more of a rivalry against Str8. Even though we might have started some sort of competition with FB, I believe that any team Gandhi or I are on will have a rivalry with any team with Fonzi and Foulacy.

Gandhi: That is true, since Chris is the ‘Str8 Rippin killer.’

MLG: Moving on to the Winners Bracket Finals against Final Boss… In Game 1 you guys came swinging out of the gates to a commanding 5 – 1 victory–your first against them all season. At what point did you start to realize FB could be beaten?

Gandhi: When we were up 4-0 in 8 minutes, and Dan wasn’t as invincible off-host as he is on-host.

Shockwav3: An important thing to remember about Halo 2 is that people’s mentality is very important. We went into the match thinking we could win. Our mindset was that they were never invincible–just no one got good enough to beat them yet, and we had gotten that good. Once we beat them quickly in CTF Warlock, it just boosted our confidence. We were playing as well as we could without being nervous.

MLG: Well, you guys almost let them rally with wins in games 2 and 3. Tell us about the comeback in Game 3 of Midship Ball.

Shockwav3: Again, one of the biggest reasons was our mentality. Most teams would have given up, with the limited time left and losing by most of that time. But instead we kept playing, and GH057 managed to pull off one of his most clutch plays of the tournament and got a triple kill. Unfortunately though, we actually were unable to capitalize on the ball time immediately.

GH057ayame: Yeah, I choked, thinking someone was close. Nobody was, so I should have grabbed the ball, but didn’t.

Shockwav3: It worked out in the end.

GH057ayame: Good thing I got clutch again and got a double in Pink 1.

Shockwav3: Luckily Scott didn’t kill Saiyan as he ran into Blue 1, because we all know how kill-hungry he is. They spawned there and gave us more time.

Gandhi: Well I was like, ‘I have so many kills already, I’ll let him go.’

GH057ayame: Thanks, Scott!

GH057ayame shares in the excitement alongside his new teammates on the main stage.

MLG: It’s an interesting note about this mentality you speak of. Over the course of the season you guys have produced more big comebacks than any other team on the circuit. We saw it again in Sanctuary CTF, Game 4.

Shockwav3: In that gametype, we were unable to actually get control of the level until the very end. As a team we managed to stop a few of their close calls, and luckily Gandhi came up clutch with the sniper on another occasion. We couldn’t get control until the very end, and again we had the right mentality. We were always waiting for our chance, knowing that as soon as we got control we would easily cap and possibly get another one.

Our chance came with 45 seconds left, and we capitalized on it, easily scoring our first capture. Although we couldn’t get another one immediately afterwards, we remained in decent control. Eventually, about a minute or two later, we managed to get most of them down, get some control, and then Gandhi came up huge again with a snipe on their last living guy in their courtyard. He ran the flag into bottom middle, where GH057 covered him and got a guy off his back. Then the three of us ran the flag back to the base. We never gave up looking for our opportunity, and then when it came we capitalized.

Gandhi: All about the mindset.

MLG: That mindset certainly turned the tide. Without those last minute comebacks it would have been 3 – 1 for FB in that series.

GH057ayame: But we didn’t let it happen!

Shockwav3: We don’t like to think about what could have happened; instead we like to think about what happened and what we could do better next time. It is the same as when we lose. We can’t sit there and make excuses for how we can win or could have won. We need to realize our faults in that game and learn to not make those same mistakes again. Like in the Lockout TS game… Some people need to realize that when they die, they shouldn’t charge the same exact spot 10 times in a row–it [i]probably[/i] won’t work.

Gandhi: Yeah, that kid who went 6-18 sucked! I made different routes. I asked Madden and I was like, ‘Give me the hot route!’

Shockwav3: Let me tell you, it worked.

MLG: Well, speaking of losing… Final Boss fought back from a 4-1 deficit in the series to tie it up. What was your morale like at this point?

Gandhi: Well, I’ll handle this one, seeing as I was a big reason for this. Basically, whenever I get ‘montage’d’ or absolutely destroyed, I feel that I have to charge that person for redemption. I forget about my team because I care about myself because I have too much pride. So after whoever destroyed me over and over, I hit my mindset where I go into ‘screw it mode,’ where I just charge directly at them and decide I can take them on 1v4. It didn’t work. The crowd basically got into my head instantly and I couldn’t stop it. So I tried to turn the crowd against Final Boss, which didn’t work. So when the next games hit I forgot all about the crowd and tried to get my head back on track, seeing as Karma, Shockwav3 and xXx were telling me to refocus.

MLG: Let’s talk about that ‘refocusing’ game, Game 9. You guys had a bit of a close call there at the end…

Gandhi: Thankfully Eric is monstrous.

MLG: Walk us through that moment Eric.

GH057ayame: Okay. I think it was Ben and Scott who spawned in our base, Chris was dead, as was I. I spawned first, in the shotguns looking at the OS guy in the creek. Luckily, he was charging our base. I saw another guy on top of their base, and immediately charged the magnum. I grabbed some grenades off their flag and waited patiently for the flag carrier to enter when I saw that Ben and Scott had died. Then I was facing the port, and I saw Chris port and die. I was like, ‘it’s up to me.’ So instead of grabbing the flag as a distraction, I waited for the flag carrier, and he came in trotting. So I bounced a grenade off the wall and destroyed him, and returned the flag.

Gandhi: The crowd began to cheer, ’10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,’ but Walshy screwed it up by grabbing the flag as we instantly killed him.

MLG: What are your expectations for the remainder of the season?

GH057ayame: Top 1 or 2.

Gandhi: Whoa. Top 1, excuse you me. We won in our first tournament, so I can only imagine that things will get better.

GH057ayame: But I didn’t want to be cocky.

Gandhi: Fine, top 2.

MLG: Alright, thank you very much. Good luck in New York.