Before we talk to Hysteria, we need to quickly talk about Meadowlands. It's a moral imperative. And if the MLG Bracket Show didn't get you pumped, then you probably won't like the rest of this article. Smell ya later. For those still with me ...
IT'S TOURNEY TIME, BABY!!!
I plan on releasing a full bracketology preview as the tourney grows closer. But for now, let's take a quick peek.
Obviously, the Battle of BrOGRE is going to be interesting. Especially the 1v1 battles. And I'll be watching the post-game encounter closely. Will the loser congratulate the winner? Do brothers hug? My money is on the slap, cusp, hug, slide, clinch and maybe a snap. Odds on a secret BrOGRE hand-shake are also available.
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.
I'm most looking forward to the Status Quo vs. VG The New Order matchup. Yeah, SQ has been dominating in their LANs, but VG has some serious experience and one of the best players in the game. Who isn't looking forward to seeing Karma vs. StrongSide? Can we bring this rivalry back? Please?
I see a lot of tremendous teams in this tournament that provide a level of unpredictability that has yet to be seen in MLG. Legitimately exciting stuff! But one area I am disappointed with is team names. This isn't the NBA, you can choose your own -- so what is going on? VG The New World Order? Sounds like a WWE rip-off. Darkest Hour? Heaven and Earth? Antigravity? What does that even mean? Clearly, no teams were aware that "Destroyers of your Manhood" or "Dwight Schrute's Farmhands" were available.
Regardless, the competition level is going to be ridiculous. So let's talk to one of the most competitive players. He's known as one of the top snipers in the game and Totz told us last week he was the best player in Halo 3 ... period.
So without further ado, we bring to you ... Hysteria.
TheBuckStuff: The Bracket Show dropped this week and you are facing Heaven and Earth. Thoughts?
Hysteria: Yeah, funny how that happened. Perplexity is always at the local tournaments and everyone talks him up. People seem to be excited about this matchup. I think there will be a lot of people watching the 1st rounders.
TBS: What do you think of them as a squad?
Hysteria: They are one of the few teams we haven't played online yet, so it's hard to have an opinion. They have Hokum back. I haven't seen him play since last year, so it's hard to judge. I have to think they'll be pretty good.
TBS: How about this Poweezy character getting the forum love! What's your take on him?
Hysteria: It seems like Poweezy is one of those guys that does something amazing here and there, gets a few lucky snipes, and people talk him up. But I haven't seen him consistently play that amazing. He'll get a sweet triple kill and people will talk about it, but I don't see the consistency yet.
TBS: What can we expect from your squad, Triggers Down?
Hysteria: It's easily the best team I've been on. I haven't seen any sign of weakness. We picked up two players that didn't necessarily place well last year, but we saw them play a lot and we thought they were really good. We played Heinz in just about every tournament and Pistola in three or four.
TBS: A couple young guys in town. Which makes you a veteran now, by the way. Do you feel like a veteran?
Hysteria: At the beginning of last year, my teammates would question me here and there. They wouldn't be too sure how I was going to do. But now they look up to me, they listen and they at least always take what I have to say into consideration.
TBS: You sound like a team leader.
Hysteria: One of the team leaders.
TBS: Of course, you're still with your boy, the captain, SK. And you have been for a year now. How have you two managed to stick together?
Hysteria: We've always been good friends, even back in Halo 2. He lives in Washington as well, so we hit local tournaments and LANs. We can always practice as a team, which is important. We're good friends.
TBS: Looking ahead to round two, you play the winner of Classic and Believe the Hype. That's IF, and I mean IF, you beat Heaven and Earth ...
Hysteria: (Laughs) Yeah, probably Classic. Nobody is talking about them. And everyone that is talking about them expects them to do bad. They've been playing together a long time, not just last year, but Halo 2 as well. And they did good last year! Top two, good in most tournaments. They have a lot of potential. Don't forget about them.
TBS: What about Believe the Hype?
Hysteria: They have a few guys that are really good but they also have some inexperience -- guys that have played one or two tournaments. Being good online and good at a tournament is different. Meanwhile, Classic has the experience.
TBS: Speaking of experience, Status Quo is destroying people right now without it. They beat Instinct then beat up on Str8. But y'all destroyed them. What does that mean?
Hysteria: SQ will easily place top three if they play like they do in the LANs. People say other teams aren't playing their hardest at the LANs or they are trying new stuff. Let me tell you, in my experience, at all my LANs -- Instinct, Str8, it doesn't matter -- it's always all out. No one is messing around. The scores are real.
TBS: Would you say LANs are a good indicator of what's to come?
Hysteria: It can be. You can't look at the total scores. You have to look at how close the games were and how close it was at the end. But if SQ can beat Instinct and Str8 that bad on LAN, they can probably also do it in the tournament. I expect them to place in a top spot.
TBS: You did catch SQ on their first LAN. It's possible they might have had some chemistry issues. So let me ask the theoretical question then that everyone wants answered -- what would happen in a rematch?
Hysteria: They'll find out the weekend before Meadowlands. We're LAN'ing again. And yes, I think playing them early had some effect. But the scores were pretty drastic. I definitely think they've improved since playing us, but I also think we have a very good team. And in those games, there really wasn't a lot they could change to win. It's not like they were right there each game.
TBS: I'm sure you just made the Furious Forum happy to hear about that rematch. Do you read the forums? Or is that "un-cool" for a pro to do?
Hysteria: I read them every once in awhile to see what people are saying. It's mostly all the same. The forums get really down on some teams and really up on others. Lots of very biased posts out there. You don't see a lot of pros posting 10 times a day, but I would say almost every pro is reading, and maybe posting here and there to clear things up.
TBS: From what I can tell, the forums seem to like Triggers Down. You've got some fans out there, man! And I know a lot of them have your gamertag, so do you get hit up online by a lot from rando's?
Hysteria: People send me screenshots of our team and stuff like that. They'll try to talk after we play them. Someone sent us this picture of our team that was pretty hilarious -- it had SK with a mauler because he always has a mauler. I had a sniper because I'm always sniping. Heinz had a rocket because he always has the rockets. And Pistola (laughs), was just really, really small. Because, you know, he's a pretty small guy.
TBS: That's pretty good stuff right there. You'll have to send me that. Switching gears here, what's your dream MLG city stop?
Hysteria: I could say somewhere crazy and far away, but that'd just be too tough to pull off. I gotta go with Seattle, where I'm from. But that's not the only reason. Everyone loves coming here, it's a cool city, and I've been to most other major cities already. I think it was in Seattle once like four years ago, but they haven't come back.
TBS: Your boy Neighbor said the same thing. Even another Seattle MLG local!
Hysteria: Yeah, he actually lives like 15 minutes away. We don't really play much together though.
TBS: Where does that name, Hysteria, come from?
Hysteria: Three years ago, my account was running out and I needed a new name. I was looking through iTunes and I saw this song, Hysteria. I liked it, and I asked a few people about it, and they liked it too.
TBS: What band?
Hysteria: Muse. It's a good song, I guess.
TBS: Are you sad the Sonics left town?
Hysteria: (Laughs) Not really, they weren't doing too good. They used to be fun to watch, but I'm actually more of a college basketball fan. I enjoy the [University of Washington] Huskies, and they are doing pretty well this year, so that's good.
TBS: And when you aren't watching hoops, how many hours a day are you practicing?
Hysteria: I play for about three or four hours a day. A lot of it is just sitting around talking to people and having fun. When the team is practicing, it's probably about two or three hours of real pro-level Halo. Then, after, I may play for an hour or so trying to get better. Of course, this all changes at the LANs, weekends, tournaments, but that's the average.
TBS: Gilbert Arenas said when Halo 3 first came out, he played for 24 straight hours. What's your longest binge?
Hysteria: (Laughs) I don't know about that. At a few LANs, I've played some pretty long hours of Halo. I'll get up, warm up, play a few series, then play a bunch of 2v2's, and it can be brutal. Probably close to 16 hours.
TBS: Do you have a Pro rival?
Hysteria: Me and Snipedown are always gunning for each other. We're friends and we've teamed together, but we're always going for each other. We talk a lot about who is the better sniper and I give him crap about not being objective. We're friends, but we're also rivals.
TBS: Do you talk a lot of crap?
Hysteria: (Laughs) I do, but I've mellowed down a lot. But, yeah, I like to let people know how I feel.
TBS: OK, we've gotten pretty random here. And this is further out of left field, but what's up with pros always doing that crazy reticle spin on screen? Is that a way of saying, "Hey look at me, I'm cool, I'm a pro ..."
Hysteria: I really don't know. I guess people see pros do it so they do it. I guess it just happens when you are running around bored. It doesn't do anything. It doesn't warm up your shot. They do it just to do it. Some people call it the BR twitch or the BR circle. It's really not hard to do at all.
TBS: Fair enough, but I still can't do it. Anyway, Str8 Rippin just dropped their fancy montage on MLGPro.com and it was pretty cool. When are we going to see a Hysteria montage?
Hysteria: I'm not sure how soon, but it's definitely on the horizon. I send clips to my friend who edits, but I'm not sure when he plans on starting it or if he is just waiting for me to send more clips.
TBS: OK, so the real reason I interviewed you today is because Totz told me to. It's not like we didn't want to interview you anyway, but that's the true reason you are here. He also had some questions for you, so here we go. First, how many Red Bulls did you drink at Totz' house?
Hysteria: I'd say probably around 30 or 40. I was bringing out six at a time.
TBS: (Laughs) Did your head feel like it was flying around the room?
Hysteria: (Laughs) No, no, I was mixing waters. It doesn't make me crazy or anything. It actually really helps me get into the game.
TBS: OK, second question. Do you think you will win Meadowlands?
Hysteria: Not to be cocky or anything, but I think we'll come out on top. Even after the Status Quo LAN, I think Str8 will easily be top two, second place to us. I think SQ takes the 3rd spot and Instinct takes the 4th spot. I haven't really thought about the other teams, but the top four should be something like that.
TBS: Third question from Totz. Who is the best sniper on TD?
Hysteria: I am the best sniper on our team, but I think Pistola and Heinz do almost just as much damage when they get it. They are both amazing snipers as well.
TBS: But let's set the record straight here. When the sniper is up for grabs, who gets it?
Hysteria: It is mine. (Laughs)
TBS: Your turn. Who should I interview next week?
Hysteria: Snipedown. We're always getting into little arguments, but we're still friends, so I'd like to see what he has to say about a few things. And, you should interview him because he's one of the best players in the game.
TBS: And what three questions would you like to ask him?
Hysteria: What happened at the LAN with Status Quo -- a wake up call to start practicing or is SQ that good? Who does he think the better sniper is -- me, Neighbor, or him? And ... does this have to be Halo related?
TBS: Not at al l...
Hysteria: (Laughs) OK, he told us he got his car up to 150 mph on some freeway in the middle of Indiana. Complete B.S.! I just want to clear that up. What were you thinking in telling us that?
TBS: Wow. That should go well. Anything else for the forgiving public?
Hysteria: Heinz will win MVP at one tournament this year. Everyone should know that.
Visit us every Thursday at 4 p.m. ET for a new MLG Pro Sitdown. Next week, we're going to search high and low to track down Snipedown. And be sure to hit up TheBuckStuff on Xbox Live with your feedback!