The seventh MLG National Championships took place in Dallas just over a week ago. The occasion marked the last appearance of Halo 3 on the Pro Circuit. Every team invited to the Lone Star state wanted to go home with $100,000 in their pockets and go down in history as the final team to take a title in Halo 3. Would we see a team like 2009’s Believe the Hype, who shocked everyone by bringing it home? Or would we witness a dominant force like 2008’s Str8 Rippin run away with the win? What we got was much better than either of these options: the beginning of a dynasty.

Final Boss did what no other team has been able to do for the past three years: win three Events in a row. The threepeat couldn’t have come at a better time for the squad, which had newly reformed and rejuvenated itself early on in the Season by acquiring Pistola. This Championship win also cemented the fact that OGRE 2 might well be the most dominant player in Halo history. To go out on top in three consecutive titles is beyond impressive.

The Final Boss win in Dallas ushered Halo 3 out in style.

Finishing at 2nd Place was a team that had previously struggled to get into the Top 4. Just three weeks prior to Dallas, Status Quo took home 7th in D.C. So, why the change? Why, all of a sudden, did a team who could not get past 4th Place the entire Season find themselves facing Final Boss in the Championship match? Besides dedication and commitment, the answer to this would be their coach, Tsquared. The biggest problem Status Quo had throughout the entire 2010 Season was maintaining their composure. With the help of T2, they were able to rally back after a shaky start and keep calm as the pressure built up. Now that they have broken through the wall, they might well be a force to be reckoned with come next Season.

Instinct started off this Season very strong, winning two consecutive Events. But their success seemed to fizzle out as the year went on. Despite having a group of very talented players, including co-MVPs Cloud and Roy, they just couldn’t climb back into 1st in Dallas, during an Event in which ElamiteWarrior lost to his younger brother, Ace, for the first time in tournament play. Let’s not ignore the fact, however, that Instinct were a very formidable Halo 3 team and were arguably the most consistent team to play the game. They have found themselves in the Top 4 of the past three championships; no other team can say that.

Triggers Down nabbed the number four spot in Dallas. Coming off of a 2nd Place finish in D.C., many speculated that they would once again find themselves in the Finals. However, TD just couldn’t seem to catch fire and thus had only a decent showing. This is a team that feeds off fire and adrenaline and, when it is not there, their gameplay isn’t there either. Some more consistency would have helped them along the way.

The 2009 National Champs, Believe the Hype, took home 5th. This squad was stacked with individual skill but their lack of communication, and the absence of a definitive leader, is what did this team in. Not having a coach didn’t help their cause, either. When they are communicating well and Maniac is leading the team, they are on a different level. They couldn’t reach their potential this Season, but there are still hopes for this team in the future.

Many thought that if there would be a Dark Horse team this tournament, it would be Dynasty. As it turned out, they were the first team knocked to the Losers Bracket. Destin, APG, and Heinz all landed in the Top 8 statistically; however, we all know that Halo 3 isn’t all about statistics. Their teamwork just wasn’t there, and this may well be simply because they failed to practice enough for the Event.

Warriors came in 7th after losses to both Instinct and Believe the Hype. This might not look very impressive on paper, but we should step back and look at what this team has done throughout the entire Season. They are the sole reason that Str8 Rippin did not make Nationals. They came in this season as the 14th ranked team and left in 7th. They proved that they could contend with the Top 8. Don’t expect them to go anywhere anytime soon.

Keep your eye on Warriors in 2011.

Finally, we saw Carbon take the last spot. To say that Carbon had a rough Season would be an understatement. They stumbled into the National Championship and, instead of pulling themselves upright, fell straight into 8th Place. There were undoubtedly several teams who felt they could have done more with Carbon’s spot in the National Championship, but none of them were able to surpass them over the course of the Season. It’s back to the drawing board for League-veterans Walshy and SK, as it’s almost a certainty that they’ll try to re-invent themselves again in 2011.

Dallas marked the end of an era. Now that the off-season has begun, and teams are gearing up for Halo: Reach, it’s time for a new chapter in MLG history. Time will tell, as it always does, who can adapt and triumph, and who will fade into obscurity. No matter what happens, 2010 ended with such a bang that it’s difficult not to already be hyped for 2011.