After Carbon’s outstanding performance in Orlando that earned them a first place victory over Final Boss—the most dominant team in Halo history—the secret to their success became the topic of innumerable debates. To help shed some light on the mystery, we got in touch with one of the top pros who had watched the series closely. Few players on the tour are known to be as analytical or intelligent as Foulacy, so MLG asked the Str8 Rippin star to chime in on the match and explain why he believes Carbon was able to topple Final Boss.

The very first key element Foulacy thought Carbon brought to the match was a well-executed gameplan. He explained that the only way to consistently perform well in the current competitive Halo 2 world is to always stick to your plan.

“They never lost track of their goal,” Foulacy told MLG after watching the rebroadcast. Carbon’s coach, xXx, not only called out positions and kept track of timed power-ups for his team, but he also made sure that they stayed on task. Foulacy pointed to the Oddball Midship game as a good example, with xXx constantly reminding his players to stick to their gameplan of slaying the ball-carrier’s support players before taking down the ball. This allowed them to focus their fire on the opponents that were firing back, instead of blindly rushing the Oddball and getting killed by sneaky Final Boss members in unexpected corners. Foulacy later added, “They played the game in a step-by-step fashion, and they executed very well.”

Foulacy is known as one of the most analytical and intelligent players on the circuit, and his intimate knowledge of both Carbon and FB led to some interesting observations of how Orlando’s massive upset came to be.

The next point that Foulacy touched on was the incredible focus the young players of Carbon demonstrated. While this goes back to their ability to stay on their gameplan and work together to accomplish their goals, Foulacy thought that it was something that deserved to be mentioned independently.

“If you watch the rebroadcast, you will notice that you’ve never heard Carbon that focused or that intense before,” said Foulacy after spending some time with VoD. After their recent team change and an intense period of training online to prepare for Orlando, it appears the players of Carbon wanted this victory more than they ever had before and perhaps for the first time really believed that they could defeat the reigning champions. Between their ability to stay with their gameplan and their new level of intensity, Foulacy said that he believed “Carbon did just about everything right at this tournament, as far as teamwork goes.”

That excellence in teamwork also seemed to carry over into the communication of the team. xXx does a lot of the talking for the team to keep them all on the same goal, but the members of Carbon also improved how they kept each other aware of what was happening at every moment. Talking about the communication improvements, Foulacy noted, “Gandhi had formerly replaced communication with trash-talk [but] he almost never let up the communication in Orlando.”

Another important thing that Foulacy noticed about Carbon’s win in Orlando was something many average fans might not recognize. He believes that Carbon’s careful selection of Gandhi as the player who would play on the host Xbox for his team was a major factor in their win. At previous tournaments, Shockwave generally hosted games for his team, but Carbon decided to change it up for Orlando, and was met with astounding results.

“You could almost argue the case that by giving him the host, Gandhi was made unstoppable,” Foulacy said. Indeed, his clutch sniping and impressive stats in almost every contest in Orlando must have been a huge boost to his team. This may be especially true for a player like Gandhi, who openly admits that he’s an emotional player that charges when he’s struggling and opens himself up to more mistakes. With host on his side, Gandhi found rhythm that helped carry his team to a first place payday. “This was by far his best performance,” Foulacy also commented.

Carbon played like a team possessed at MLG Orlando—and that was just their first tournament with their new lineup. Expect an even stronger, more refined version of the high-energy squad to show up at the Playoffs.

As for Carbon’s recent change of teammates, Foulacy commented on that as well.

“When Str8 Rippin played Carbon on Sunday morning, I really didn’t know what to expect. We ended up losing 0-3, and I had time to think about their new team and what felt different about them. I came to the conclusion that they still “felt” like the same team. They had the same way of winning, the same aggressiveness and similar slaying power.”

While many had criticized Carbon’s move to drop StrongSide in favor of Gh057ayame going into Orlando, Foulacy felt like it was good move for the team. He said he didn’t really believe the talk that StrongSide was holding Carbon back, but that perhaps he didn’t mesh with the other Carbon players quite the same way that Gh057 does. He explained further, “Carbon may have been making mistakes as a team that they did not notice (with StrongSide), so bringing on a new player who can look at the team from an outside perspective and say ‘this is what we need to fix’ can make all the difference in the world.”

Foulacy felt that not only did Gh057 bring a new perspective to the Carbon lineup, but he did so without entirely changing the way they played. He “did not alter their style,” as Foulacy put it. Instead, he opened the door for Carbon to be able to work out some problems in their current gameplan without scrapping everything they had been doing in the past entirely.

So what can we expect from the top teams going into the Playoffs? Foulacy had this to say:

“In Halo, you catch some good breaks, and sometimes you spawn Lower Blue every time. Carbon was fortunate enough to be on the winning track in Orlando. They minimized mistakes and they capitalized on opportunities. Will Final Boss be back? You bet your life they will. Will Carbon be back? Stronger than ever. And of course, you all want to know what Str8 Rippin will be up to… Well you’ll have to wait ‘til New York for that.”

Fortunately for fans of MLG, the Playoffs are just around the corner! No doubt we’ll see even more great Halo 2 action from all of these impressive pros.