When Karma tossed this week's interview to Shockwave, I was bummed. Why lie?
MLG PRO SITDOWNS
Each week, ESPN Video Games' MLG guru TheBuckStuff catches up with an MLG pro for an in-depth, often irreverent conversation about life in the gaming big leagues. Check back every Thursday for the latest MLG Pro Sitdown.
It had nothing to do with Shockwave. It had everything to do with the team he is on. I'm just not a big fan of the Carbon roster drama. So shoot me. (Yes, yes, I know many of you have already. My stats online lately haven't been that amazing, but I'm working on it.)
So last weekend, when the MLG crew came to Bristol to shoot their Bracket Show, I asked them about what else I could talk about rather than roster drama. I know it's my responsibility to at least ask about it, but there has to be more, right?
"Don't even worry about it, dude. You're going to like Shockwave. He's been around forever. Just let him talk."
These fine words from Nexy were dead accurate. Shockwave has been around the block, through ups and downs, left and rights, Blood Gulches and Zanzibars. Oh, and he's got a nice little National Championship on his resume as well.
The best part? He's all about the humble pie. Yeah, he was once the best in the business, but he'll be the first to tell you he's not at that level right now. He isn't blaming Bungie's crappy spawns, Foundry maps, or poor teammates -- he just hasn't mastered "Halo 3" like he did "Halo 2." Yet.
I should mention he just took his last final at Virginia Tech yesterday. Yep, you know what that means going forward. Twenty-five hours of Halo for eight days a week.
Expect to see a 100 percent focused Shockwave in Columbus.
Without further ado, we bring to you ... Shockwave.
TheBuckStuff: How'd you come up with the name Shockwave?
Shockwave: I had the name Red Alert back in "Halo 1." When "Halo 2" started, I didn't know if I was going to play as much and I just wanted to play with friends, so I wanted a new name. I got Shockwave from one of the Counter Strike teams, which were big at the time.
TBS: Counter Strike feels so long ago. You've been around since 2004. You're an old man. A true vet. What do you miss most about "Halo 1?"
Shockwave: I miss the game because it was really fun to play. The thing I miss most was not being the best. I wasn't even near the top. Maybe Top 16, but it was such a challenge to get to the top and I liked that. I guess you could say I don't miss it as much now because I'm back to that role. (Laughs)
TBS: I thought you'd say you missed the pistol. Man that thing was awesome. Sniff. How about "Halo 2?"
Shockwave: I miss winning. "Halo 2" wasn't my favorite game, but I did enjoy playing it and I was very, very good at it. I miss the feeling of that National Championship and being at that level.
TBS: Why aren't you still at that championship level?
Shockwave: The game is different. For me, it's the 360 versus the regular Xbox. For the longest time, I couldn't get it down right. The analog stick felt so different, so foreign. Also, "Halo 3" has a completely different feel. I haven't played "Halo 3" nearly as much as "Halo 2" to understand it thoroughly. But I'll get there.
TBS: That's straight pro talk right there. The "feel." Explain that to your noob interviewer.
Shockwave: (Laughs) For example, in "Halo 2," you knew when to charge a guy. There were so many different button glitches; you'd know you had to have a full ammo clip for the BXR. I also knew where people were going to be on the map. I played a ridiculous amount of "Halo 2." I was in high school and I had nothing better to do. In "Halo 3," I'm not there yet, but I'm in the process of getting there.
TBS: I still don't notice a difference between 2 and 3.
Shockwave: The difference in knowing where someone is going to be and not knowing is huge. When you know where the other team is running around the map, it's going to help you win BR fights, and that's going to help you win games, then win tournaments. For example, on Pit, if I spawn and I know they have the sniper, I'm thinking, "Where would this guy be with sniper." I'll assume he'll be at Sword. So I'll toss a 'nade in Sword and, what do you know? I get a kill. If I didn't kill that guy, he could have taken out a teammate and caused some serious trouble.
TBS: Eighth place at Meadowlands. Not quite the national championship level you referred to earlier. How do you feel about that?
Shockwave: Eighth was my worst placing in the last five years of playing "Halo." I've never been angrier in my life. That's the most upset I've been in a long time.
TBS: How'd eighth happen?
Shockwave: We ran into Str8 Rippin. They are a great team. We lost Construct Game 5 against them, but it wasn't really competitive, which is a bummer. Then we ran into a hot Triggers Down in the Losers Bracket to get into Top 6. It was a tough bracket. Two really good teams beat us fair and square. In the 7th-place consolation match against SQ, we played bad. We just didn't have our heads screwed on tight for that game.
TBS: The vets losing to the new guys. You can't let that happen! But hey, they were playing against old heroes while you guys were pissed to be there.
Shockwave: True. A lot of guys don't like playing in consolation games regardless. It's not a good feeling, especially for the veteran players on our team who are used to doing very well in tournaments.
TBS: Post-Meadowlands, there was a lot of talk about Soviet getting kicked off for Naded. Lots of back and forth. What's the real story?
The difference in knowing where someone is going to be and not knowing is huge. When you know where the other team is running around the map, it's going to help you win BR fights, and that's going to help you win games, then win tournaments.
Shockwave: After Meadows, there was talk about changing teammates, as there always is after a placing like eighth. At the time, I thought we had decided to keep the same team. I guess Cpt Anarchy and Ghost asked Naded if he could join. Like, if he could join, would he. He said no. I consider Karma one of my best friends, especially in gaming, so we talked a little bit, as we always do, about the possibility of teaming with Soviet and Naded, but I didn't feel like I wanted to do it at that time. I wanted to stay with Carbon.
TBS: You picked up Defy for Columbus. Why do you think New Order let him go, and does that concern you picking him up?
Shockwave: I've known Defy for a long time and I feel like he lost his drive on New Order. I guess they had problems. Naded's interview talked about it. It didn't affect me that he was dropped. He's a very solid player and had one of the best BR's out there for a long time. He's also one of the smartest players on the circuit. We've seen him a lot lately, since he's been playing massive amounts of "Halo," and he definitely has his drive back.
TBS: Instinct avoided all this roster jumping with a contract at the beginning of the season. What do you think about that?
Shockwave: A contract like that is a big decision. You have to believe the people on your team that you really want to play with for a long time. I don't know the numbers on that contract, but I think they are probably getting a good deal. Who is their sponsor? Old Spice? I'm sure that had a lot to do with it.
TBS: Any Columbus predictions?
Shockwave: I predict we will do better than we did in Meadowlands! I won't put a number on the predictions. Every time I do, I put us first, which I think you have to do. I'd say we have a chance at first place. We're meshing well with Defy. We're not going to win games with players like Snipedown, Hysteria and Neighbor, and all the flashy play they bring. We're going to win with teamwork and solid BR's.
TBS: What do you think about Str8 Rippin. Are they still the team to beat? Or is that Triggers Down now?
Shockwave: I still think Str8 is still the No. 1 team. When they are on fire, they are scary. I've played with Snipedown a lot and he is definitely one of most talented players in the league. But Triggers Down is for real, too. Pistola had a great tournament at Meadowlands. I'm wondering if he can repeat it again. If he doesn't, can they still place that good? They are the best two teams right now.
TBS: When I hear people talk about Str8 Rippin, they literally talk out of fear. Especially last year. Were they really that ridiculous?
Shockwave: All of them can catch fire at any time, and when that happens, you have a really tough game ahead of you. Snipedown destroys. Elamite goes crazy. Legit is ridiculous. Legit may be the best player in "Halo 3." And T2 may be the smartest in the league. They are scary.
TBS: Let's talk about Tsquared real quick. He's easily the most marketed player in the league, but when you talk about who the best in the league is, it always comes down to Neighbor, Hysteria or Snipedown. Explain that.
Shockwave: People need to understand that when pretty much any player on top has a sniper in their hands and are given the opportunity to do work, they can be a flashy player too. They can perform like that. T2 has a great sniper, but Snipedown has an absolutely ridiculous sniper, so he gets it over him. T2 is such a smart player. Like earlier, when I was talking about knowing where people are going to be, he may be the best at it. He makes sure nobody ever gets behind him. He's the general on the map.
TBS: How about the rookies on New Order. You know a lot about them? How is that squad going to be?
Shockwave: I think they are a very good team. Unfortunately, they have to play in the amateur bracket to get to pro bracket, but they'll be practiced. Tensor seems like a ridiculous player. I hope, for the sake of their team, his skills transfer over to LAN. Otherwise, they could be in trouble. Karma is sick, Naded is Naded, Tetra Shot is a solid player. They'll do very well.
TBS: Karma had some questions for you. First, he says he's never beaten you in 4v4. So when he does, are you going to flip out and go mentally insane?
Shockwave: No. Honestly, I'll be happy for him. (Laughs) At the same time, I'll be disappointed and upset. He's one of my best friends. Oh, but I'm not going to let it happen.
TBS: He also said he found a Philly cheesesteak 20 times as good ...
Shockwave: That's a lie.
TBS: ... as the one from Pat and Gino's in Philly. I guess you don't ...
Shockwave: That's a lie. I think he's lying. If it's true, I want to go. I'll decide and be the official taste tester.
TBS: (Laughs) Fair enough. Last, he wanted me to ask you about his superior "Super Monkey Ball" skills.
Shockwave: We were playing "Super Monkey Ball" at Strongside's, who has old school games and old systems, so we played monkey ball a lot. One map has this long spiral down and I figured you could just jump off the top and land on the bottom and have a ridiculously quick time. I tried for about two hours and was really frustrated, then Karma does it in five tries. I said I quit the team, grabbed my bag, and started walking home. I won't kid around, I got really angry. When you try something that stupid for two hours and then a good friend gets it in five tries, it's frustrating. (Laughs)
TBS: Phenomenal story. Your turn to pick who gets interviewed next week. Shoot.
Shockwave: I'm going to throw it to Mad Max from End Result. I don't think a lot of people know about him. I want to throw it to a lower seeded team.
TBS: Welcome to Thunderdome! Yes! And I'm going to need three questions.
Shockwave: Ask him, how does he feel about his team and how he's going to do? Ask him if being Canadian is just a disability, like was he born bad at "Halo?" Oh, and ask him how much does he love European "Halo" players?
TBS: By the way you said that, I'm going to assume he doesn't love them at all.
Shockwave: (Laughs) I'll let him tell you. Actually, can I ask another? Ask him what happened in the FFA in Toronto, which was the first Canadian event.
TBS: I can do that. I doubt I'll have much success finding info on Mad Max if I type his name into Google. Tell us about this guy so I know what I'm getting into.
Shockwave: He's a Canadian player who came onto the scene in the first Canadian event. He got second place in that FFA I was talking about due to a little bit of cheating. He is a sick player. He's been playing with End Result. He's got kind of a Canadian team. Talent and Thuggish Killa aren't Canadian, but Moniz is I think. They are a real good team and he's a real funny guy.
TBS: Word. Shoutouts?
Shockwave: Shoutouts to my boy Daabreeeezy! I'll throw another to Trauma. All my friends here at VT that support me playing "Halo." And my family. And my team.
Come visit us next Thursday at 6pm ET when we'll be sitting down with Mr. Canadian Thunderdome himself, Mad Max. Have a question for Mad Max? Hit up TheBuckStuff on Xbox Live and let me know. Also -- the ESPN screengrabs y'all have been sending are awesome. Props. Coolest screengrab next week gets a shout out. Until next time, stay classy.