With the release of the Master Chief Collection, a new wave of tournaments and aspiring pro players has begun to grace the competitive Halo scene. With this resurgence in Halo as an eSport, THF will be publishing articles discussing and reflecting on the Halo legends of old.
The Early Years
In this first piece, we are going to to talk about a pro player often overshadowed by his twin brother and sometimes overlooked when observing the annals of Halo’s competitive history. Dan Ryan, better known as Ogre 1, left an impact of console first person shooters that may never be seen again. Dan, along with his brother Ogre 2 , are arguably the two most successful Halo players on the planet. Repping Pickerington, Ohio, Ogre 1 attended his first major tournament at Halo50K in Atlanta in early 2003. Dan competed at the event with his brother Tom, Dom1nator, and Strangepurple under the moniker “StK”. At the the time, StK (Shoot to Kill) was a popular clan on XBC. Before the days of Xbox Live, players wishing to test their skills against others over the internet, had to use program such as GameSpy Arcade, or Xbox Connect (XBC). It was in the chat rooms on XBC that the Ogre twins began making a name for themselves. And although StK lost to TDT in the semi finals, Dan and Tom won the 2v2 portion of the Halo50K and thus began the legacy of Ogre 1.
The next tournament was the iGames Nationals at Houston in the same year. The Ogre twins did not participate in the 4v4 portion of the event, but again they won 1st place in the 2v2. The next event, Halo 50K2 in New Jersey, was a special one for Dan, as this was his first major 4v4 event victory with StK; he won the 2v2 with Ogre 2 as well. This also marked the first time that TDT was beaten at a major Halo tournament. The last event of the 2003 season saw one of the most intense competitive Halo series of all time, as Zyos and The Dream Team met up with Ogre 1 and StK in the finals at AGP3 Nashville. The Ogre twins came out on top in a close game of Chill Out Team Slayer. This win signified the end of a dynasty, as TDT would never win another major Halo event. It was interesting to note, that around this time, Ogre 1 and Ogre 2 stopped competing together in 2v2 tournaments. The reason being, that it was too easy for them. They were undefeated in 2v2 tournament play so they began to compete with their teammate so they would match up in the finals, and thus give each other a challenge. Not many pro players could say that they would make a similar choice. It only shows to prove the tenacity and competitiveness of Ogre 1.
The beginning of the 2004 season picked up where 2003 left off. Ogre 1 swept Halo Nationals at Philly by winning the 4v4, 2v2, and FFA events. The next event at Dallas, was actually the first and last 3v3 event hosted by MLG, and again Ogre 1 and StK won the gold. It was at this point that many players around the league realized that the Ogre twins were near unstoppable and drastic team changes had to be made in order to dethrone the titans of Halo CE. No one thought it was actually possible, until fans witnessed StK fall in the finals at MLG Chicago to a newly formed squad, dubbed “FFA”. This teamed was comprised of, as you may have guessed, players that were dominant in free for all; namely, Zyos, Walshy, Gintron, and Killer N. This 4 man all star team was created with the sole purpose of beating Stk in tournament play. The finals of the next major tournament at MLG Atlanta 2004 went all the way to a game 11 on Chill Out Team Slayer; where FFA pulled out a nail biting 50-49 win over Ogre 1 and his team. When you think about the context of that series and how close that win came, it is simply remarkable. There has never been a finals series that went to game 11 and was decided by 1 kill since MLG/50K3 Atlanta. And although Ogre 1 won the 2v2 at Chicago, two losses in a row was not something the Ogre twins were willing to settle with.
After losing to team FFA at Chicago and Atlanta, Dan and his brother felt that a team change was necessary. Clockwork and Saiyan were dropped in favor of Walshy and Killer N to form team Domination. This 4 man god-squad never lost a series in Halo CE tournament play and saw immediate success at MLG Seattle. Ogre 1 won the 2v2 portion of the event as well. After the win, Ogre 1 and Domination decided to take off the next three MLG events in order to compete at AGP5 Nashville and AGP6 Chicago. Domination won both of those tournaments, and Ogre 1 placed 1st in the 2v2 at AGP5. The final event of the 2004 season was fought at MLG New York for the right to be called the first ever, Halo National Champion. As expected, team Domination won out over Zyos’ Filthy Jackalopes in the 4v4. After only a couple of years of competitive play, Ogre 1 had already established himself as one of the best Halo CE players in the scene.
The 2005 season saw a game switch from Halo CE to Halo 2. And although many old school fans expressed their displeasure with the new mechanics and style of the game, Ogre 1 and crew separated themselves as highly elite players in the game.
In the beginning of 2005, the Ogres dropped Killer N to pick up Saiyan once again. This decision would prove to be an extremely wise one, seeing as how the squad only lost one event in the 2005 pro season. The team decided to compete under the name “StK” once again, and brought home the first place prize at MLG Washington D.C., MLG San Francisco, AGP7 D.C., MLG Houston, and MLG Orlando. Ogre 1 took home first place in the FFA at MLG San Francisco as well. By the time MLG St. Louis rolled around, StK had been picked up by sponsor 3D, and thus changed their name accordingly. They won the 4v4 tournament at St. Louis and CPL Dallas following the sponsor endorsement.
MLG Philadelphia 2005 was the event where fans saw a chink in 3D’s armor. This event consisted of a Halo 2 portion and well as a throwback CE event. 3D lost to Zyos and TSquared of Str8 Rippin in the finals in the Halo 2 4v4 event. However, many fans put an asterisk on this loss because the gametypes played in the event were team slayer variants only. In 2005, MLG experimented with many competitive settings and most fans agree that this was not one of the league’s better decisions. On top of that, Ogre 1 placed 1st in the Halo 2 FFA portion of MLG Philadelphia as well as 1st place in the CE 4v4 and 2v2. So was this event really a defeat for Ogre 1 and 3D? It’s tough to say.
Whatever your stance is on that particular tournament, there is no denying how strong 3D finished out the 2005 season. In a similar move to what fans saw in 2004, the Ogre twins took off the next three MLG events to prepare and compete in events for other competitive Halo leagues. In 2005, the Ogres played in and won the 2v2 World Cyber Games USA event, as well as the 2v2 WCG Finals in Singapore over Canada’s Gspot and SadPanda. This would be the last major 2v2 tournament in Halo for a long time, and it was only fitting that the best 2v2 player, Ogre 1 came out on top.
Dan and team 3D came back to MLG with new life and won 1st place at MLG/50K4 Atlanta, MLG Chicago, and lastly the national championships in New York. The finals saw a close 10 game series against a new squad of talent, dubbed Team Phreak which was comprised of future Halo greats in Gandhi, Shockwave, Karma, and Strongside. The series concluded in a very close Midship Oddball match. With two seasons under MLG’s belt, Ogre 1 was already a 3 time national champion and undisputedly, the best 2v2 Halo player in the world.
The start of the 2006 season saw MLG take prime position as the number one Halo league in America, including a TV deal with Network USA and a significantly increased prized pool. Ogre 1 and 3D changed their team name again, this time, to the iconic “Final Boss”. The name was fitting since the team was always in the finals, usually on the winner’s side of the bracket. And in 2006, Final Boss came out swinging, winning MLG New York, MLG Dallas, MLG Anaheim, and MLG Chicago. Although there were some close series in the finals of these events, people seriously started to question whether Final Boss could ever be beaten in a 4v4 Halo tournament. This notion was shattered at MLG Orlando, where Carbon’s (previously Team Phreaks) addition of Ghostayame proved to be the key to dethroning the league’s most dominant roster. Carbon’s cinderella story continued when they won at MLG’s playoffs in New York and stunned the world when they won the national championships at Las Vegas. Final Boss fans couldn’t believe what they were seeing and it was their reactions, combined with a less than stellar performance from support player Saiyan, that resulted in his termination from Final Boss.
With the 2007 season underway, many competitive Halo fans had questions regarding whether the addition of Strongside over Saiyan was what Final Boss needed to put themselves back on top of the Halo world once more. Strongside was originally on Carbon in 2005, and in 2006 was dropped in place of Ghostayame. All questions were answered when Final Boss put on a show and took home first place at MLG Charlotte and MLG Meadowlands. Final Boss slipped a bit in MLG Dallas, where they lost to Carbon in the finals, but they regained their hold on the league when they won the next tournament at MLG Chicago. Another crack in the armor was shown at MLG Orlando, where Str8 Rippin edged out final Boss in the finals, but ultimately it was just a bump in the road. At the MLG National Championships at Las Vegas, Final Boss won the event without dropping a single game. I think that sentence needs to be repeated for effect. Ogre 1 and Final Boss won a national championship in Halo 2’s third year in the league without losing a single game. Such a feat has never been duplicated and only served to cement Ogre 1’s legacy as a top Halo 2 player and one of the greatest overall Halo players of all time.
One more interesting note about 2007, was Ogre 1’s switch in playstyle. When FB picked up Strongside, Ogre 1 relinquished his role as a main slayer and took up the objective and support positions for the team as needed. Many fans argued that this was the reason for Final Boss’ decline in the following year. But whether, Halo 3 was just too different of a game compared to Halo CE, or the switch in playstyle, Ogre 1’s reign atop the competitive Halo world was about to come to an end.
The End of an Era
The 2008 season saw MLG pickup Halo 3 as its flagship game and fans were treated to an amazing finals series, where Final Boss clawed back from the loser's bracket to defeat team Classic. However, with all the hype surrounding FB and the new season, MLG Meadowlands would prove to be the final major event victory for Ogre 1. After a 7th place finish at MLG San Diego (Ogre 1’s lowest 4v4 competitive placing at the time) and a 5th place finish MLG Orlando, Final Boss made the highly controversial decision to drop Walshy in place of Neighbor. The move would prove to be fruitless as Walshy outplaced FB in almost every single event thereafter. Ogre 1 and Final Boss finished the season placing 4th at the MLG National Championships at Las Vegas, their lowest placing at a national championship. The blow marked the end of an era and the end of a true dynasty.
Ogre 1 retired from competitive Halo after placing 23rd at MLG Meadowlands 2009 with his team of Halo 1 veteran’s, The Incredibles. Even though Dan did not finish out the way he would have liked, nothing can detract from his competitive legacy and his incredible run through Halo 1 and 2. Ogre 1 is, without question, a top 2 greatest Halo player to ever play the game.
Ogre 1’s Notable Career Accomplishments:
- 3x MLG National Champion
- 45 major tournament wins (second most all time)
- 12 major 2v2 tournament wins (most all time)
- Never lost in 2v2 when competing with Ogre 2
- 20 Halo CE major tournament wins (most all time)
- Did not place lower than 2nd at a major 4v4 tournament (2003-2008)