FnaticRaidCall visits Laguna Beach (Part 1 of a 3 part blog)
Posted 2012-02-01 Spikemouth
Alright everyone, it’s finally time… Time for the 2011 Major League Gaming National Championship! With the entire 2011 season being one of the craziest eSports years I have ever been a part of, we look to finish the year off by winning the 2011 MLG National Championship and bring home the $100,000 grand prize. Were we able to win it all? Or would we come up short?
Let’s go back to a week before arriving in Providence. After MLG Orlando we had decided it would be best to set up a lan against two other teams. Basically, it was a dedicated practice session to help us prepare for the upcoming tournament. It only took a couple of days for us to figure out all the details for our lan. We were to fly out to Laguna Beach, California to practice against the pro team Active Rush and the amateur team known as Digimon.
On November 10, 2011 I traveled to the airport and hoped on a direct flight to Los Angeles, California. We spent nearly every day after Orlando practicing as much as we could online, but being able to practice in as a team in person is the best practice a team could get going into a tournament. Shot registration in a FPS game is a lot different online than it is on lan due to the connection latency. When you only get to practice online, occasionally a team will get used to the difference, potentially causing them to not play as well at a tournament.
After a six hour flight, I finally arrived in Los Angeles. After getting my suitcase, I hoped on a shuttle and met up with Aries from Active Rush and proceeded to wait until Frosty (Captain of Active Rush) showed up with Str8 Sick to pick us up from the airport. We then proceeded to Str8 Sick’s house, dropped our bags off, and then drove about an hour to a town called Rancho Cucamonga which is where Frosty and Beaver lived. Once finally getting there, we didn’t do all that much. Most of the time was spent sleeping, watching tv, or casually gaming. We were so exhausted that almost everyone fell asleep and Frosty and I proceeded to watch the movie Despicable Me.
( Aries from Active Rush passed out on the floor hahaha)
Later on that night we decided it was time to head on over to Laguna Beach which was about another hour away from where we were. So we packed up the car with what we had and drove over to Laguna Beach. Now, I don’t know if any of you have ever watched the shows on MTV, but Laguna Beach is definitely a fancy/rich neighborhood. When we arrived at the house, the first thing we did was take a tour of the place. I mean, from the outside the place looked pretty big, and I had heard so much about it that I had to check it out. The tables were set up in the living room which was transformed into our lan set up. But after dropping our bags in the living room, the funniest thing happened. Now the house belonged to one of the players on the Digimon roster. Well his dog decided to come by right when we arrived and sniff all the bags. Well for some reason the dog didn’t like Frosty’s bag too much because he decided to step over the bag and proceed to pee on the bag. We all watched this happen and proceeded to crack up laughing from it. I mean we were only there about five minutes and that already happened.
After that happened, I proceeded to take a tour of the house. The house was pretty big, and they set everything up for us to LAN. There were plenty of places to sleep as well as two bathrooms for us to use, making the weekend a lot easier for everyone. The backyard had a nice sized pool with a jacuzzi attached to it with a decent guest house. Past that you can walk up a hill which consisted of lemon and lime trees to a deck that allowed you to get an incredible view of the ocean.
After I took a tour of the house, we decided to set up a lot of the stuff we already had and wait until the others arrived. Luckily, I had my awesome MSI GT683-R laptop with me, because most of the time I spent sitting around waiting, I spent on the laptop playing StarCraft 2 and other games. A few hours went by, and finally a most of the others showed up. The only people that were missing was the remaining few members of Digimon that weren’t expected to arrive till the next day. Once they got settled in, we set up the rest of the setup and spent the rest of the night hanging out.
Finally the first official day of the Lan was here and we all got up fairly early to start. After getting ready we proceeded to jump right into warming up and play our first series of the day against Active Rush. The first series started off pretty well with us winning with a final score of 7-4. From there we jumped right into the second series which had a little bit of a better turnout with us winning the series 8-3. Now something we were able to take from these first two series is that we were very dominant at king of the hill, and we began getting better at closing out games which we have had issues with in the past. Especially when it came to team slayer games, we had issues closing out close games.
Following the second series, we jumped into another series. I think at this point we were just hungry and needed a break because we definitely perform our best and, honestly, kind of struggled in this series. Even though we were struggling in this series, we still managed to come out on top and won with a score of 6-5.
In the middle of the third series, the rest of Digimon showed up. So after taking a small break and letting Digimon warm up and play against Active Rush. We proceeded to play Digimon for our last series of the day. This was a complete blow out with us easily dominating the series with a final score of 11-0. We felt really good after winning our last series of the night with an easy 11-0. We finished the day with a 4-0 record for the Lan and feeling very confident going into day two. However, during our downtime we discussed ways to improve our game. A good thing you can take from Lan’s with other teams is that you can base your strategies based on how other teams play. This was very good for us, and it allowed us to change our approach to different game types.
Going into day two of the Lan, we continued right where we left off. We started off slow, winning our first series of the day against Active Rush with a score of 7-4. Following that we proceeded to play Digimon which ended with a series score of 8-3. For our final series of the day we played against Digimon and finished the day strong with an easy 9-2 victory. Our overall record after day two was 56-21 with a 7-0 score at the Lan thus far.
During our spare time throughout day two, most of it was spent gaming or just hanging out. However, Kyle had bet me that I wouldn’t jump into the ocean because supposedly it was too cold to handle. I laughed about it and agreed to jump in because I feel that the ocean water from where I live on the east coast is a lot colder than it would be on the west coast. I felt if I could handle the water back home well then this should be nothing. So that is exactly what happened. We all went down to the beach, which looked absolutely incredible from a distance, and sprinted towards the water and dove right in as the rest of the team recorded it. In my opinion, I thought the water wasn’t that bad honestly and didn’t mind it at all. Other than that, that ended day two for us at the Lan and we felt very comfortable going into the final day of the Lan.
With the final day of the Lan finally here, we got up bright and early to make sure we could get as many series’ in before we had to pack it up. Mike had to leave for the airport around 6pm so we made sure we were up and ready to go by 8am. The final day consisted of three straight series’ for us but I think by the time we got to the last series of the weekend, we were just drained from playing that much Halo all weekend.
The first series matched us against Active Rush which went over pretty well considering it was the first series of the day. We finished the series with a score of 8-3, winning yet another series bringing us to 8-0 thus far for the lan. After that we went straight into another series, this time against Digimon. By this point of the lan, playing against Digimon was quite simple honestly. We could easily predict what they were going to do in game and it showed by how we played against them. The problem Digimon faced against us, was that they were unable to change up their strategy in pressure situations, making the games quite easy for us. This series ended quickly with a final score of 9-2 and us coming out on top once again. With a Lan record of 9-0 thus far, we entered into our final series of the Lan against Active Rush. However, by this point, I feel we were just exhausted from playing that much Halo throughout the weekend. Our communication wasn’t what we were used to, and our teamwork was terrible. With that said we finally lost a series at the Lan, coming from Active Rush with a final score of 8-3.
We didn’t let that series bother us too much. We all agreed that we were just Halo’d out by this point. Overall we were very satisfied with our results at the Lan. We had an overall record of 77-34 and a series score of 9-1. Playing 111 games and only losing 34 of them is quite an accomplishment I feel. For every game, we discussed things to improve on for the next game and implemented that into our game play. The weekend spent together as a team was, by far, the most important weekend of practice that we’ve had. If we were going to come out on top at the National Championship then this would be the very reason as to why we did. We accomplished everything we wanted to get done at this Lan and every minute was beneficial to us.
After the Lan was over for us, Prototype brought Russo to the airport while the rest of us stayed and watched Active Rush play Digimon for the next few series until the Lan officially ended. Those final series’ between the two teams were definitely very intense. Digimon came out on fire in the first series and came out with an impressive series win against Active Rush. Digimon played their hearts out to make sure they didn’t end the lan without a series win. However, after a small break between the two teams, things quickly went in favor of Active Rush as they went on to dominate the final two series’ of the Lan.
Once the Lan had officially ended, we all spent the rest of the time together playing different games. A lot of 2v2 Halo matches were being played while I played StarCraft 2 and Str8 Sick and Beaver would play League of Legends. Finally, 4am came around so we packed everything up and proceeded to head to the airport. Chig had decided to drive so Prototype could sleep on the way there because he had class later on that day. Chig’s flight left two hours from the time we left, and we were going to be making it close on timing. Traffic didn’t help the situation any, but luckily there was a car pool lane on the freeway which helped speed things up for us. We managed to get there and get in with minutes to spare.
The entire weekend was a blast from start to finish and we definitely felt very prepared going into the National Championship. I learned that if you are ever given the opportunity to practice together before a tournament then take it. You go in with a game plan and learn so much over the time spent practicing together while having fun at the same time. Hanging out with these guys is always a lot of fun, and I’m glad we were able to get together before hand and work on everything. Leaving the Lan there was only one thing left to do, and that was to take what we learned and worked on and use that at the National Championship. Were we able to do so, or would be come up short similar to MLG Orlando? Well check out my next blog to see how the National Championship turned out for us!
(Our team Vlog from the Lan in Laguna Beach)
Thank you to everyone taking the time to read my blogs and I hope you enjoyed this blog and the rest of my blogs thus far.
-Justin “Spikemouth” Saboo