MLG’s Central Conference Championships in Chicago are about to begin, and it’s only fitting that our last open-invite event of the season should also be our biggest. Shattering all previous attendance records at an astronomical 135 total Halo 2 teams, this event is truly the culmination of all the momentum we have been building up all season. The fact that we have 115 teams in attendance just for our Last Chance Qualifier tournament is a fitting testimony to the dedication and strength of our community. Combine that with the incredible density of talent we have showing up for the Conference Championship, and the result is sure to be the most fantastic event of the entire season thus far. Snatching the title away from MLG Philly, this event will go down in history as the single largest tournament that has ever been held for any console videogame, ever. It goes without saying that we are hella thrilled, and we couldn’t be any more grateful to our supporters for making this a reality.

Starting off with what could only be described as a Battle Royale, the event will officially kick off with the LCQ FFA at 7 p.m. tonight. Over 550 players will be fighting over a scant 11 invites to our Conference Championship FFA this weekend. We can’t really describe how chaotic or exciting it will be to have this many competitors in one room — mostly because we have no idea ourselves. Quite simply, this has never been done before in one place or at one time, and the only thing we can say about it for sure is that you don’t want to miss it.

Since 11 players will be advancing from the LCQ FFA, all of the players who make it to the Final 8 will move on to the Conference Championship FFA, and the remaining players (who did not advance) from the Top 16 will play one last 8-man FFA to determine the final three who will advance to the CC FFA.

Showdown in the Windy City

Once our LCQ rounds are finished on Saturday, we will be moving into the Conference Championships, where an incredible lineup of the world’s very best players will be facing off for the prize purse. Nearly every player who has made waves at an MLG event this season will be appearing, turning the event space into a veritable battlefield from which only one team will emerge. Seriously, the team roster reads like a “who’s who” of the Halo 2 community. Team 3D, Str8 Rippin (formerly TmG), IGS, LeGendZ, EG, XiT Woundz (formerly TcO), LiquidIceEnergyDrinks… the list goes on and on. Fans hoping for the long-awaited Conference Championship showdown between the three most dominant teams of the season — 3D, Str8 Rippin, and IGS — will finally get their wish. Well, sort of… In a surprising move, Zyos has dropped out of the tournament at the last minute, leaving his team to fend for themselves. Foulacy, Fonzi and Tsquared have enlisted Tupac to fill out the roster, but on such short notice and with zero time to practice with the new lineup, it remains to be seen what effect this will all have on their team.

The Rosemont Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare — we’re definitely getting ready to wreck this place…

Meanwhile, IGS is bringing what is possibly their strongest lineup ever, featuring Shockwav3, Karma, Gandhi and StrongSide. Needless to say, while they have no previous collective tournament results to draw from, the caliber of these players ensures that this will be a team to be reckoned with. LeGendZ will surely be out for blood after their third place finish in MLG Atlanta, sporting their extremely solid lineup of Vash, Defy, Toxin and Anarchy. XiT Woundz, who proved to have a lethal combination of players in Killer N, Samurai650, ItwasLuck and Bonfire, will be looking to improve upon their excellent fourth place showing in Atlanta. After Atlanta, H2K split up their team into two parts, and both should be making strong showings. In fact, it’s very possible that they will have to play against each other in the brackets, with the winner making it to the Top 8, and the loser going home. So Sick, Devil’s Army and LiquidIceEnergyDrink.com will all be vying for a top spot in this tournament, having shown themselves worthy adversaries at various times during the season. There simply isn’t enough space to list off all of the great competitors that will be facing off at this event, but in the end, that’s a very good thing indeed. This weekend will be as unpredictable as it will be memorable, and we’ll be giving you the coverage you’ve come to expect throughout the entire event.

All of the amazing teams that will be out in force over the weekend will have one thing in common: they will all be gunning for the same four players. Ogre 1, Ogre 2, Saiyan and Walshy of Team 3D are hoping to continue their rampage through the post-season, having definitely earned their status as the team to beat by dominating both of the previous two Conference Championships. While Team 3D would have to be considered a favorite to make another finals appearance, there really is no precedent to the level of competition at this tournament, and the Central Conference Title could fall into the hands of any team on the list. With the glut of media attention surrounding MLG Chicago, the stage is set for a dramatic set of matches that will ultimately decide who will have the right to appear at the 2005 MLG National Championships.

Conference Championship 4v4 Team Rankings

1) Team 3D – OGRE1, OGRE2, Saiyan, Walshy – 5880 Points
2) STR8 RIPPIN – AYBFonzi, Foulacy, Tsquared, Tupac – 4360 Points
3) LeGendZ – Cpt.Anarchy, Defy, Toxin, Vash – 3370 Points
4) IGS – Gandhi, ShocKWav3, StrongSide01, True_Karma – 2590 Points
5) Team EG – BLACKJAK, G-SpOt, Mack, SadPandaEh – 2370 Points
6) XiT Woundz – Bonfire, KillerN, Samurai650, XiTxItwasluckx – 1980 Points
7) H2C – DaRk_VeGeTTo, hslightking, Shook_On3, TDPyrocy – 1190 Points
8. So Sick – FJ-SOL, NemoPwns, XAcidiaNX, xHAVOKx – 1170 Points
9) Devils Army – gh057ayame, lGameI, IIPisToLII, MeLLoZ – 1130 Points
10) LiquidIceEnergyDrink.com – Nitrouss, st0n3r, st0n3r_2, xXx – 1040 Points
11) Dipjuice Returns – AKGoose, CampinMonkey, Detach, MimiC – 1020 Points
12) Versus – H2C_POPCORN_P, LiL-Poison, Poison, TsK-BoO – 580 Points
13) SCR – [_Scrub_], elamitewarrior, NistiC, OGRE3 – 550 Points
14) Enervate Gaming – Fatal, Jo3, Rid[D]icK, TheMightyZion – 410 Points*
15) The Best Killers – MurfMan, The_Decoy, TheBlueBlur, xKill3nx – 410 Points

No Ranking

OLR Michigan – Moocow, Nataku, Slim, Victory_X – 240 Points
Team DIRK – CheeeseHead20, o0Enigma0o, Seal-Team-8, Zer0-Effect – 230 Points
Suicidal Army – Buu, SicTheGreat, SlayerD, Viruz – 220 Points
Team GR – Halucination, Muter, 50, Smooth – 80 Points
CPH – (CPH)cider, (CPH)Legolas, (CPH)Pulsar, CPH-Goat – 60 Points

*Note: Teams will be left in the No Ranking list until the end of the Last Chance Qualifier 4v4 because there are teams in the LCQ with more points and should they earn an invitation, they would be ranked higher than the teams on that list.

Conference Championship FFA List 21
AYBFonzi
BLACKJAK
Foulacy
Gandhi
iiK1ngii
KillerN
Mack
Nataku
NistiC
OGRE1
OGRE2
Saiyan
Samurai650
ShocKWav3
StrongSide01
True_Karma
Tsquared
Vash
Walshy
XAcidiaNX
xHAVOKx

*Note: We will be inviting the top 11 players from the LCQ FFA to participate in the Conference Championship FFA.

Improved VoD Features

Due to the sheer size of the event, we will have to run all of the tournaments on a very rigid schedule, which Anakin has painstakingly devised to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Please note that the schedule is altered from previous events due to its size, so be sure to look at the updated version linked above for the lowdown. The great benefit to this is that the flow of the event will be very predictable and we will be able to know at what time nearly every match will start. Not only will this be great for the players, so they know when they can take breaks and grab food, but it will also be very beneficial to the viewers at home, as they can know when their favorite matches will be taking place so they can watch at home on VoD. If you have yet to sign up for your own VoD account, it’s not to late! You can still register for VoD online and be watching all of your favorite teams and players in a matter of minutes.

A better, more complete way to watch VoD

One of the big improvements we’ve made to VoD this time around is the inclusion of a brand-new VoD viewing window, which will serve as a complete media center for the event. This feature will be available only during tournaments (because that is the only time you would need it), and will feature the VoD media window, surrounded by all of the latest updates for the event, pulled automatically and directly from mlgpro.com every 15 minutes. With the new interface, you will be able to watch the currently broadcasting match, while simultaneously keeping up with the latest scores, matches and outcomes that are not being shown on VoD — all without changing screens. In the same window, we have also included links to the brackets so you can have easy access to an overview of the entire event. Constantly striving to make our coverage more complete and your experience more enjoyable, we hope you find the new VoD viewer to be both easy and convenient as you follow this incredible tournament over the weekend.

Check out the gametypes for all rounds of the tournament

Check out the Conference Championship Team Rankings and FFA Player List

Get a VoD account