MLG in CBus: June 3rd, 2011

By Jonathan Barnes, 7 years ago
The first day of Major League Gaming in Ohio’s Capital is underway and storylines abound. Some may interest you, some may not. Be sure to let us know in the comments what you’d like to hear more of as Saturday and Sunday roll on.

First and foremost, this event is huge. Two hours before the doors opened, there were already over 200 people in line for passes; some spectators, some competitors. By the time the doors opened there were well over 500 people waiting to get in.

Once inside the darkened hall, however, sensory overload sets in. MLG Columbus is featuring three major games that span the three “major” platforms. PC gamers are focused on Starcraft 2 (a very vociferous contingent with several major players from Korea in attendance), PS3 gamers are playing, while 360 gamers are playing Halo: Reach. is also on display, but its presence is much less than the former three.

The early portion of the day consisted of free play sessions and warm ups for the pros. Once the main event started, however, the pros took center stage.

According to MLG President Sundance DiGiovanni, the Columbus event is already bigger than the Dallas event and the winner of the Halo: Reach tournament will be taking home a $20,000 prize.

The opening Halo competition was to be contested between Team Impact and Team Final Boss. While Team Impact came in with a higher ranking, the match proved to be very evenly fought.

Trying to follow the action throughout the contest, however, stretches focus to an extreme degree. MLG Halo matches are four-on-four affairs that run the gamut of variants. As a spectator, it’s generally hard to find a focus point, as all four gamers have their screens up to see. The “main screen” shows one gamer’s feed and generally draws focus. With that in mind, during objective based matches, it’s easy to become lost in the “big picture”.

Halo matches boil down to a best of five matches with each match featuring a different game variant and/or map. During MLG matches, gamers start out with a DMR and the Sprint ability. Generally speaking, the pros stick to using the DMR but do rush to pick up the Sniper Rifle or Grenade/Rocket Launcher when the opportunity presents itself. The variants featured in the first round were a First-to-Three CTF on Sanctuary, a 50-Kill Team Slayer on Countdown, a First-to-Three Assault on Sanctuary, a First-to-Five CTF on Zealot and a 50-Kill Team Slayer on Element.

Team Final Boss proved victorious in the exciting, back-and-forth opening match of MLG Columbus and I managed to snag an interview with Final Boss team member FearItself:

OBJ - How’s it feel to come out with a win?

FI - It feels great right now. That was probably our biggest match up in our pool. So to win the first match of the tournament, to win that, it’s huge for us.

OBJ - Being a lower seed, you guys pulled a little bit of an upset. During the course of the match, you were up with a 2-1 lead then had to stave off a comeback from Impact. That fifth game must have been a little bit nerve-racking. How did you feel going into that final game?

FI - Completely confident going into game five. It started out pretty slow, but we picked it up and we finished really well. So, now we’re just looking on to our next match tonight.

OBJ - You guys actually came from six kills down in the final Team Slayer match to go up and win by over ten kills. What was the key to turning that victory?

FI - Basically, staying alive and communication to our teammates. You don’t want to push by yourself and basically use teamwork to overcome.

OBJ - We have a pretty hardcore community at Do you have any tips or hints for our community in how to excel at an MLG event?

FI - It’s got to be a passion, for one, but it’s almost got to be like your job. You have to practice, practice, practice. Find a good group of people that you like playing with that have the same amount of drive as you and basically just sit in front of the TV and get better every day.

OBJ - How often do you guys practice as a team?

FI - We try to practice every night, if not every-other night, but the big practices come the week and weekend before the tournament. That’s when we’ll play 12 hours a day, preparing for MLG tournaments.

OBJ - How do you feel about achievements in games? Is it something you guys ever work for, or is it more of a bonus while you play?

FI - Me, I just play the game because it’s my job and I like playing it, but achievements aren’t something I really go for a lot. I’m sure a lot of people do, but it’s just not for me. I like to play for the competition.

OBJ - Aside from Reach, are there any other games you’re interested in right now that you’ve been playing a little bit of?

FI - We actually have an arcade game in my house and it has thousands and thousands of games, but that’s kind of like arcade style. Other than that, I’m a big fan of Mortal Kombat.

OBJ - Have you gotten a chance to play it here at MLG Columbus, yet?

FI - No. Once I get some down time, I’m going to go jump on the sticks over there and have some fun.

OBJ - Thanks a lot for your time, congratulations on the win, and best of luck in the next round!

FI - Thanks, man. Thanks for having me.

Here’s a couple of pictures from the event:

Team Reality Check warms up before the main event.
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Team Impact vs. Team Final Boss in the opening match.
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Finally, a couple of closing thoughts about Friday.

* MLG Pros are downright surgical with DMRs and Snipers. They only need half a second to peg a head shot, plus they can do close range, no scope Sniper kills better than I’ve ever seen.

* There are teams of all skill levels here, so, if you’re interested and have buddies in the area of an MLG event, I recommend signing up and practicing. You never know what may happen.

* There are super high-end hardware retailers here. Alienware and Astro Video Game Equipment headline.

Stay tuned tomorrow and Sunday for more coverage and interviews from MLG Columbus.
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.