Player Name: Tsquared
Real Name: Tom Taylor
Birth Date: October 15, 1987
Hometown: Syracuse, New York
Current Team:Str8 Rippin
First Event Attended: Dallas, 2004
Number of Events Attended: 37
Best Placing:1st 2008 National Championships – Str8 Rippin
Favorite Gametype: Guardian Oddball
Controller Settings: 3 Sensitivity, Vibration, Bumper Jumper
Other Favorite Competitive Games: Halo CE, Halo 2
Hobbies: Music, Movies, Basketball


MLG: How is Str8 Rippin preparing for Meadowlands?

Tsquared: Well, we haven’t had internet for about a month to a month and a half, so we haven’t been able to play Xbox Live at all unless we drive to a LAN center or something like that. Our Internet Service Provider hasn’t been able to come out to our place yet to hook it up. So we’ve just been LAN’ing against each other. Right now, we set up a LAN against Florida Jackalopes, and LAN’ed with Status Quo before that. So we’ve just been trying to play against each other as much as possible without Xbox Live. We’ll see how that goes.

MLG: For the first time, you’re entering a season as the team to beat. This is something that you’ve fought years to attain. What kind of pressure does that put on you and how have you been handling it?

Tsquared: I don’t think there’s any pressure on us at all. The real pressure was for Las Vegas, and we came through. So the pressure isn’t affecting us at all. I think it’s a little bit different than last year because the seeding was done online and we hadn’t gone to a Halo tournament yet, so we had no Halo 3 LAN experience at all. Also, we hadn’t played on the Viewsonics yet, and were still playing on tube-TVs, which is completely different. This time around, there isn’t going to be any surprises, so we should be able to place as well as we did before.

MLG: When a lot of teams reach the top, they tend to rest on their laurels a bit. How have you been able to keep you and your team hungry in the off season?

Tsquared: What we’ve been doing is just practicing as much as possible. Without internet, it makes it kind of tough to play. But not having Halo just makes me realize how much I enjoy playing and competing with my team. So we just try to have fun and make sure when we play we enjoy ourselves.

MLG: Based on the scores that were posted, it seems as though Str8 struggled at the SQ LAN. Why do you think that is?

Tsquared: Well, we hadn’t practiced for three months, and we didn’t have internet for about two weeks leading up to the LAN. I wasn’t really going into it looking to win. We just wanted to play because we didn’t have internet; but with the Florida Jackalopes LAN, the scores are really lopsided right now. We’re playing pretty well and feeling pretty good for Meadowlands. So come tournament time, I don’t think those scores (SQ) will show at all.

MLG: How has Halo 3 evolved since the first event one year ago?

Tsquared: There haven’t been any glitches or anything serious. I guess the new jumps, learning to adjust to the new BR, and just adjusting to Halo 3 in general have been the main changes. I think we’ll really see the change after this season is over and we go back and watch the footage from the beginning of ’08 to the end of ’09.

Interview continues on page 2>

MLG: How has your face printed on millions of Dr Pepper bottles affected your life?

Tsquared: It’s pretty cool being able to go to any store and see myself on the shelves. It’s kind of surreal seeing my face and the MLG logo right there beside all the different soft drinks. The only thing that kind of sucks is that I look completely different on it than I do now, so I haven’t heard much from other people about it. But regardless, it’s a really cool thing for me.

MLG: Will Str8 be participating in any activities throughout the weekend at Meadowlands?

Tsquared: Dr Pepper always hooks us up with a sick hotel suite, and then a station to ourselves at the tournament so that we can practice against pro and amateur teams in the venue. On top of that, we’ll just be hanging out there in the booth throughout the weekend – signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.

MLG: What would go into Tsquared’s Ultimate Gaming House?

Tsquared: Elamite is the best at coming up with this type of stuff (laughs), but my perfect setup would be something like – Eight Viewsonics, with a main-stage projector screen that shows all of our screens, a Dr Pepper vending machine that shoots out all the Dr Pepper you could ever want, and a snack machine to the left of that. I’d have MLG banners everywhere with Str8 Rippin logos, and then a huge scoreboard that has “Home” on our side and “Visitor” on the other. And then, I’d cap it off with little HDTV’s everywhere for watching, and a computer that’s hooked up to it all to stream VoD on a T1 connection.

MLG: Tell us about the “Str8 Rippin House”.

Tsquared: It’s a place that we got in the beginning of March. Brian’s lease was coming up, and so was mine, so a couple months before the tournament we talked about getting a place together. But then we talked to Elamite and Snipedown, and thought it would be cool to get a place for all four us to practice in and stuff. They were down, but they had some restrictions with school – so they can only come down during certain times – like during weekends and their summer break. We got a four bedroom/four bathroom place, and a pretty sick setup going on in the garage. There are videos on the Dr Pepper website, and there’s going to be some Game Room stuff also.

MLG: What’s the plan with your website, Gaming-Lessons, once it is re-launched?

Tsquared: We’re going to be doing this thing called “Str8-Camp.” We’re going to reserve a weekend some time after Meadowlands, and the first four people to purchase spots are going to fly down to the Str8 Rippin house. Once they get down here, we’re going to train them kind of like a basketball camp or something. We have all these cool ideas floating around, and it was all made possible by getting this place together. It’s going to be a ton of fun.

MLG: Which player do you feel is most improved from last year?

Tsquared: I’m not really sure at this point. I guess we’ll have to wait for the tournament to see. At this point, I’d probably say Ace.

MLG: Which team as a whole do you feel has improved the most from last year?

Tsquared: I was pretty impressed with Status Quo.

MLG: You’ve been competing against the Ogre twins since pretty much the beginning of your career. What are your thoughts on their split?

Tsquared: I haven’t really thought about it that much. I would just assume that they will get back together at some point. It will be really weird not seeing them playing together. I wish them both the best of luck though. I’m sure both of them will be just fine with whatever decisions they make.

MLG: What would you like to say all the Str8 Rippin fans out there?

Tsquared: Sorry about Gaming-Lessons taking so long to re-launch, and that I hope they all enjoyed the Str8 Rippin Montage. Show up for Meadowlands with your support because we’re going to need it!