After taking second place in Toronto, MLG had a chance to sit down with Walshy and get his take on how the event went, his plans for the future, and how Instinct needs to improve to have a chance at the National Championship.
MLG: Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us, Walshy. Now we all know the history – things didn’t work out on Final Boss, they picked up Neighbor to replace you, you joined Instinct as a result, and in the end, it was you that walked away with a better placing. With all of those things considered, tell us how you feel now that it’s all said and done.
Walshy: Well, as far as my team’s performance, I think it exceeded my expectations. We came into the tournament hoping to get first, it didn’t happen, but I feel that we have so much that we know we have to improve on. It’s not like we’re saying “We got second because we were playing well”. It’s more like “We got second, we weren’t playing our best, and we now know what we need to improve on.” I’m really excited for Dallas.
MLG: With such little time to prepare, where was your confidence level at heading into the event?
Walshy: I definitely think we may have even been a little over-confident. Like in the Winners Bracket Finals, having not dropped a game the entire tournament, we were in the mindset of, “Oh, we’ve already got this won.” We started to slack and lose our momentum a little bit after we lost our first game to Str8 Rippin, and I think we let that get to us a bit. On top of that, we started changing things up, which was really stupid of us; like on The Pit CTF, we weren’t playing it the way we normally do, and started changing things towards the end of the tournament. That was just stupid. I mean, this was our first tournament playing together, but it just didn’t seem that we played like we practiced.
MLG: What was different about how you practiced with Instinct?
Walshy: It was a lot different than with Final Boss. On Final Boss, we’d put in so many hours; but with Instinct, we made really good use of the hours we put in. We would literally play three to four hours a night as a team, and our goal would be to play, say 15 games. And of those 15 games, we would try to play the gametypes and maps we thought we were the weakest at. We’d go over every little thing that we could before the game, after the game, and just overall figuring out what we needed to fix.
MLG: Did you get a chance to LAN before the event?
Walshy: We LAN’ed with Legendz right before the event and the final tally was 105 to 13 in our favor.
MLG: 105 to 13? That’s impressive considering Legendz ended up performing pretty well in Toronto.
Walshy: Yeah, Legendz took Str8 Rippin to Game 5, which is what I think might have hurt us a little bit. We just assumed that we had this thing in the bag. Even the guys from Legendz were telling us they (Str8) would be no contest for us. And unfortunately, I think we just kind of beat ourselves at this event. Str8 played very well, and we just didn’t live up to our full potential.
MLG: Alright Walshy, you knew this question was coming, and everyone is dying to know – How did it feel to knock Final Boss out of the tournament? And you can’t say “Like taking candy from a baby” either…
Walshy: (laughs) It was very rewarding, to be honest. It was just one of those things, like, it just had to happen. If it would’ve gone the other way, I would’ve probably received the same thing, or I would’ve expected to at least. They would have proven to everyone else that they were right, and that their decision was correct. I think they, and a lot of other people, were expecting FB to be this unbeatable team. That’s pretty much how every team change in the past has happened for Final Boss. Every time we would have a new line-up, we would just dominate. So I think this was a little bit of a shocker for everyone. It’s like, “All of these team changes have worked in the past, how is this one going to be any different?”.
MLG: Do you think the fact that you’ve played with the Ogres for years gave you an advantage when the time came to play against them?
Walshy: It definitely helped, but at the same time, they changed their play-style quite a bit. They were much more aggressive than when they used to play with me. They changed up a lot of stuff, and it really seemed like they wanted to win with Neighbor, whereas when I was on the team, everyone just played their own game and didn’t really care to win. So they definitely played a lot different and a lot better.
MLG: You were a part of the most prolific team in MLG history, and you know what it takes to get there. Do you see this as the possible start of a team of that caliber?
Walshy: I honestly do believe that we have the possibility of being the new Final Boss or possibly never placing out of Top 2 or something. It’s really hard to say because we’re in a new game, and consistency has never really been shown by any team yet. I mean, everyone has had really bad tournaments so far, so I really want to believe that we can do this. The important thing is for us to stay dedicated to the game. It’s really easy to slack off after being on top – I know that more than anyone else on our team from all my years of playing on Final Boss.
MLG: So what’s different about Instinct?
Walshy: We stick to the game-plan 100% no matter what. I’m not saying that if we’re losing a match, we keep doing the same thing. I’m saying, if we’re in a Team Slayer game, and you’re charging, weakening people, helping to control power-ups, and just not getting kills, it doesn’t matter. What you’re doing is working, and it doesn’t matter if you end up with 0 kills at the end of the game, as long as what you were doing was helping us win.
MLG: Alright, so let’s change things up a bit. Say something about each of your teammates as I name them.
Walshy: Got it.
Walshy: He has a great BR – with or without an ugly mustache. (laughs)
Walshy: He reminds me of myself to be honest. He does exactly what the team needs to be done. He just seems to be so aware of what’s going on in the map. He’s had so many different plays that have enabled the team to kill two or three players just because he’s acting on callouts. He’s definitely a key part in all of our strats.
MLG: And last but not least, Soviet.
Walshy: Soviet is a beast, man! I feel like he did one-tenth of what he did at the LAN in Toronto. People still do not realize how good he is. Even if he had some good stats in some games and bad stats in others, I think people will hopefully be seeing the real Soviet at this next event. He was kind of disappointed with his performance after the last event, but he’s working on some things and I think he is going to destroy come Dallas.
MLG: I’m definitely looking forward to it. Now, as for all of those Walshy fans in Toronto – What was that all about!?
Walshy: (laughs) I think it was like home field advantage, since Toronto is so close to Michigan!
MLG: It was like you had an entire entourage! Now I know you’re a busy man, so I’ll try to wrap this up. Tell us a bit about what you’ve been doing since the event wrapped up.
Walshy: Well, the very next morning I drove seven hours home, had about an hour to pack again, and then headed out to Vegas. I was in Vegas for three days for a clothing convention for Kiaeneto. I actually did some really cool things – I went and helped put on a party for this clothing line called UNDRCRWN that we’re (Kiaeneto) starting to try and work with. The party was at the Hardwood Suite in the Palms Hotel – which has an actual half-court basketball court inside of it. So I was there with Mos Def, Beanie Sigal, and Asher Roth – who’s basically like the next Eminem. Tons of celebrities out there!
MLG: And now I hear you’re at PAX (Penny Arcade Expo)? Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing there.
Walshy: I’m actually just up here checking it out for my own personal reasons. I’m hoping to have a Midwest gaming event in 2009 with a charity organization I’m working with. So we’re out here to make some connections, get ideas for our event, and yeah, just have some fun!
MLG: I can’t wait to hear more. One last thing here before you go though – Who’s the best player in the league right now?
Walshy: I don’t care if my opinion is biased, I’m going with Soviet! (laughs)
MLG: That’s a wrap! Once again, thanks for your time, best of luck in Dallas, and enjoy PAX!