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Long time, no see!
One thing was certain when I cranked up the good ole' Xbox last night. I let a lot of you down.
The messages spanned from "Where's the interview?" to "Did you die?" to "Seriously? Three weeks and still no Lunchbox interview? I hope you were attacked by pirates and shot in the kneecaps." (Thanks for that, HollywoodShaw).
No pirates or shattered kneecaps were involved, but I was locked in a room for three weeks putting together a new website. It's like when Dwight Schrute left for Staples, only to realize how badly he missed Dunder Mifflin. I missed you guys.
Yeah, even you, HollywoodShaw.
That new website, you ask? [In my best Billy Mays voice] Check out ESPNArcade.com! And since I know you are all super competitive freaks like me, I'm going to throw down the gauntlet now. I am the King of Vector Runner. Don't even step.
Anyhow, sometime during the development of the site, I was able to sit down with the Cousin It of gaming, the dude we call Lunchbox.
Before you read, let's all pretend this interview was long lost and since found, which is semi-true. When I interviewed Lunch, it was a couple days after Instinct finished fifth in Columbus (several weeks ago) and there were rumors that Walshy was being dropped. There have been other interviews since and I know I'm late. Walshy's on Carbon, yada-yada-yada, but for accuracy's sake, the below interview is accurately transcribed with no updates. Maybe the die-hards will enjoy it or maybe I'm just wasting my time, who knows?
But, anyway, let's assume it's a snapshot of the past that washed up on some tropical beach only to be found by the locals and praised as a great moment in history. Like the Dead Sea Scrolls, you may say. Yeah, I just compared the two.
So without further ado, we bring to you Lunchbox.
TheBuckStuff: Fifth place at Columbus. Not very Instinct-like, eh?
Lunchbox: Yeah, the Str8 Rippin series was a heartbreaker. It was such a close series. Every game was close, coming down to the last flag or the last kill. We were one game from beating Str8 and they won the whole tournament.
TBS: As you said, Str8 goes on to win it, but y'all fall to fifth. Was the Str8 loss that difficult to deal with?
Lunchbox: Well, against Classic, we played scared. They beat us games 2 and 3. Then in game 4, we just played timid. We made a lot of mistakes and it's not going to happen again.
TBS: Seems like Classic should be the ones afraid of Instinct, not the other way around.
Lunchbox: We were definitely the heavy favorites to win. I think 93 percent of fans on MLGPro.com picked us to win. We were down 2-1 and just played scared. We didn't feel like ourselves the fourth game. We lost a heartbreaker after a very unfortunate series of plays.
TBS: After your first game Friday night, Neighbor was extremely excited about the way you had been playing as a team. I asked him if that really surprised him, since you do have last year's fan-voted MVP, player-voted MVP and an MLG legend. He quickly added, "And do you see how well Lunchbox is playing?"
Lunchbox: (Laughs) Yeah, during the first round, I was feeling really good. I dropped a +23 bomb the first game. I could have played better against Classic and Str8. But I feel like I had a solid tournament.
TBS: What's the Walshy situation?
Lunchbox: Right now, we're trying to work through some internal stuff. As soon as we solidify everything, we'll let the community know. Nothing is for sure yet and I don't want to say anything about it right now.
TBS: Whether a change is made or not, wasn't the "Instinct Contract" supposed to prevent even the speculation of a team change?
Lunchbox: The contract was definitely meant for team changes, yes. But a lot of people thought it was made so we'd stay together for the entire season. The main goal was really to prevent a team change without firmly thinking through the decision. Neighbor was the one that helped us put it together after what he went through with Str8 Rippin last season.
TBS: The community is a savvy crew that is good at reading between the lines. They seemed to sniff this one out fairly quickly. What do you want them to know?
Lunchbox: Rumors fly quickly in MLG, especially with the forums. One slip of the mouth and the entire world knows. It was kind of unfortunate that the community found out. It made the whole situation a lot tougher on our end. I really regret the community finding out that way and it should have been handled better. I guess things don't always work out in your favor.
TBS: Sounds like you've had a difficult few days since Columbus.
Lunchbox: Yeah, we're extremely disappointed in fifth place. We need to do something about it. We're trying not to let personalities affect our decisions, which is very tough, but we need to do what is best for us at Dallas and best for the rest of the events this year. Unfortunately, not every team works out how you wish it would or wanted it to. We're really just looking to work through a tough event. We never want fifth again. And it's not just us who are disappointed, since we let down our fans as well. That's not something we're keen to do. We need to keep them happy since they do just a great job cheering us on.
TBS: What did you learn from the Walsh Man?
Lunchbox: He's one of the nicest people I've ever met in my entire life. He'll talk to anyone that approaches him. He'll do anything for his team. He's one of the hardest workers on the circuit. He busts his ass, spends extra hours practicing, is always a great host for LANs but is always down to go to others' houses
TBS: Who will be your new pick-up?
Lunchbox: We definitely have our eyes on some guys. Right now, I shouldn't release who. But we're looking to improve on our 5th place finish, that's for sure.
TBS: You and Roy can't seem to finish first at an event. Walshy once said that you were cursed. What will it take to get over the hump, besides black magic?
For some reason, we don't play as smart. It doesn't come down to underperforming as individuals; it's the way we're underperforming as a team. When we get to the finals, we don't shut down, but we don't play to our ability.
Lunchbox: I think right now it all comes down to getting to the finals and then playing the way we practice during LANS, or even the way we play during the rest of the tournament. For some reason, we don't play as smart. It doesn't come down to underperforming as individuals; it's the way we're underperforming as a team. When we get to the finals, we don't shut down, but we don't play to our ability. The key is not overanalyzing the situation, not thinking about the finals, but treating it like every other match.
TBS: What does Neighbor bring to this Instinct team?
Lunchbox: Neighbor is a lot of what we didn't have in past seasons. He's very consistent. He gets behind the other team and blanks them. He's ridiculous with the sniper. He does a little bit of everything, to be honest. He was the best overall player last year in the Pro's Choice Awards.
TBS: Does Neighbor ever scope?
Lunchbox: (Laughs) Nah, he's a big fan of the no-scope. Not a lot of scoping going on his way.
TBS: Have you and Roy every played the Ogres in 2v2?
Lunchbox: We've never played the Ogres in 2v2. When we started, they stopped 2v2-ing. In "Halo 2," they definitely would have beaten us. In "Halo 3" though, I think it'd be a better fight. We'll let the community handle that dispute.
TBS: I'd love to see that. It'd be like Billy and Sidney playing the King and the Duck in "White Men Can't Jump." Sorry, I'm a movie junkie. Moving on. Who, clearly, has the best hair in MLG?
Lunchbox: (Laughs) Puckett thinks I have the best hair on the circuit, I've heard him say.
TBS: Does it help bring in the Lunch Ladies?
Lunchbox: (Laughs) My girlfriend likes it.
TBS: What a politician! So, before you joined the circuit, you and Roy were the "online guys." Tell us about that.
Lunchbox: That's what we were known as. It all came down to age, really. We played every day like anyone else, but we couldn't go to tournaments. We'd have friends over and LAN for hours and hours. We've been around for awhile, but we just played with friends and we only played locally. When we finally got the opportunity in the beginning of 07 at Charlotte, we put together a solid team and did well. We finally got the money to travel. It's paid off. We're still around and somewhat successful. (Laughs)
TBS: What was it like being some obscure dudes that never went to tournaments, but meanwhile you're beating up on the most popular pro "Halo" players in the world?
Lunchbox: Everyone hated us when we scrimmed them online. They'd say things like, "We would rape them offline," or, "We can't hit them because of their host." All the jabs they could. First event, we finished fourth. Then it was, "I guess they're not just online warriors!" But we definitely had that title. We broke up a LOT of teams online. When pro teams lose to an amateur team online, they tend to second guess their rosters. (Laughs)
TBS: Who were the "Online Warriors"?
Lunchbox: Roy, Hokum, FearItSelf and myself. Obviously, Hokum and FearItSelf are still on the circuit as well, so we had a pretty solid team.
TBS: Did the Online Warriors ever play against Final Boss in their prime?
Lunchbox: FB would always want to scrim us and they were always nice about it. They like scrimming us because it was a tough challenge to play us online. Carbon, on the other hand, hated us. Shockwave despised me, but now we're good friends. I never beat him in a tournament, but I had all the glory online.
TBS: Defy had some questions for you. His first question -- and I repeat, this is Defy's question -- was what is it like being in the shadow of your twin brother?
Lunchbox: (Laughs) It's not that bad. I'd rather be in the shadow of him than someone else. As long as he's on my team and placing well, I'm good with it.
TBS: Defy wanted to know what it was like teaming with Walsy after coming into the 07 season as online randoms.
Lunchbox: When we first joined his team, it was pretty surreal. He was the guy everyone looked up to and everyone loved him. The opportunity to team with him was definitely an opportunity I never thought I'd have. I guess to answer Defy's question, it was very awesome!
TBS: Defy's last question. Who is better, you or Roy?
Lunchbox: I'm never going to say my brother, because that wouldn't be me. We always have close games. He's up in the series at the moment, though.
TBS: Ball is your court, Sir Lunch. Who should I interview next?
Lunchbox: Interview FearItSelf. Ask him what prescription eye glasses does he wear after so much "Halo" has deteriorated his eyes from sitting too close to the TV. Ask him what the official number of teams was that team 5K broke up online. Ask him about when he plans on getting his hair cut. For some reason, he's trying to be like me and grow it out. (Laughs)
TBS: Shoutout time!
Lunchbox: To my team and to my girlfriend.