Love was in the air in the Spring of 2011, as gamers across the world fell in love with Reach Grifball. But it wasn’t enough to spread the disease over the web in Reach matchmaking; The addiction had to be spread in-person at the largest open gaming convention in the nation!
In December 2010, Goose pitched the idea of a second Grifball panel at PAX, this time at PAX East in Boston. This panel would include Goose as the moderator, Kal to talk about GrifballHub’s Good Games League, Green Team Tex to talk about Grifball.com’s American Grifball League of America, Jessica Shea (aka BS Angel) from Halo Waypoint, and Burnie Burns from Rooster Teeth.
The panel was approved by the PAX East administrative crew, and the convention was kicked off with an epic Grifball panel in front of hundreds of eager attendees.
When the first PAX panel was done in 2009, the majority of attendees were Grifball league players. At PAX East in 2011, however, the majority of hands in the air were from players who caught the disease from Reach matchmaking. Folks were more familiar with the likes of Pinwheel and Cliffside than they were with Grunts of Fury and Way to Fail.
The panel opened with another epic Grifball montage by Puptastrophe/H2O Camper:
Very good panel and got a big bunch of players from that. Pups video was awesome. ~ Avaianche812
Burnie then filled everyone in with a retelling of the history of Grifball, all the way back to the original “DIY” video for the Halo 3 Heroic Map Pack. Jess talked about 343 Industries’ commitment to giving the Halo community the tools they need to continue to create great things like Grifball. Kal talked about the GGL, its history, and the ever-awesome Achieveables. And Tex talked about the AGLA, which had signups coincide with the start of the panel.
Burnie and Jess also shared with attendees exclusive looks at new Halo Waypoint and Rooster Teeth content. First was the first episode of the newest Grifball Miniseries, Double Agent. They also showed off two new avatar items that would really prove that Grifball had made it in the world: Grif armor (for males and females) as well as a bomb prop for your avatar! Both were released in the marketplace in April.
Honestly, I don’t think I could put into words how I felt about the panel. It was an amazing experience. I think the thing that sticks with me the most is that I got to meet some amazing people that day. Not only was it my first time ever meeting Goose and Kal in person (I had met Tex the night before), I got to meet one of my idols Burnie Burns, as well as I got to meet Jess for the first time, which led to her eventually becoming part of Green Army Jr. ~ Nuclear Taco 42
The entire panel is available on Halo Waypoint.
Spring League 2011 signups opened in the start of March 2011. Registration was open for two weeks, and thanks to the boomlet from the Grifball panel, the number of teams increased from WL11.
85 teams registered for the Amateur League, and 12 teams were placed in Pro. There were seven Amateur Dash divisions, and eight Amateur Vanilla divisions. There were two Pro divisions: One with Dash, and one with Vanilla.
Before the season began, there was once again a seemingly endless discussion regarding the merits of the two gametypes. For the first time, Vanilla was considered as a viable alternative to the gametypes with Armor Abilities; After playing in the matchmaking playlist, Grifballers gave Vanilla a second chance and generally liked what they saw. As such, it was decided that teams would be segregated by their preferred gametype. For the regular season, teams that preferred Dash would play against other Dashheads, and those who liked Vanilla would be paired with other Vanilla fans.
We were coming into this season having practiced Dash for a while so I fought vigorously along with others to get Dash the standard because it gives the best opportunity for the MOST competition (and still does), but they split the divisions and so we went with our preferred gametype that season. ~ Priest XYZ
I think it was stupid. Vanilla wasn’t even mentioned in the last season and then randomly making it the official gametype, just wasn’t a great idea really. I was die hard DASH fan though at the time. ~ ThePastachioKid
I think it allowed the games to be more enjoyable for the teams. Teams that wanted to play Dash could play Dash, and teams that wanted to play Vanilla could play Vanilla. ~ Nuclear Taco 42
I was worried the most that the Vanilla movement would pick up alot and that it would be made the default and they would get rid of Dash all together. So the biggest controversy was obviously Dash vs. Vanilla ~ Priest XYZ
Dash: Game to Watch – Grammaton Clerics vs. Hot Bikini Guyz
I’ve been behind the Clerics ever since they were in my division a long time ago in the Amateur league, and not to discredit them but I was surprised that they squeaked out a 5-4 win against Headbutt. I wasn’t too sure what to expect from Grammaton Clerics because I had thought they played more Grifball Evolved than anything. This may be a result of me not having seen the Clerics play much, but I also thought Bred4War and TJP11 along with RDG NHL, who on occasion can get hot tanking, would be more than Grammaton Clerics could handle.
Hot Bikini Guyz haven’t reported any games yet to my knowledge, so their status is a little unknown. However, I’ve played enough custom games to know that they are probably the most underrated Dash team in the Pro League. They can sprint for goals just fine, but when they decide to barrel roll for a goal or two…good luck on defense. This will be a good test for Hot Bikini Guyz, and possibly an indicator for Grammaton Clerics to see if they have what it takes to make the playoffs.
Outcome: It’s a difficult pick. I think it’s going to come down to which team has the better defense. I know that one of the Hot Bikini Guyz’s starters is MIA for a little bit, so I think this will be one of the games where they have to shake the rust off. Grammaton Clerics over Hot Bikini Guyz 6-3 (5-3).
Vanilla: Game to Watch- What kind of lube? vs. Grunts of Fury
Alright, let’s get things started for week three with a couple of fresh teams in the Vanilla Division. Damn, was I impressed with the way Grunts played against the Jetsons. If I remember, I think they got out-tanked hardcore and only managed to lose 5-4. I also read that they lost when a player was black screen? REPLAY SON! (kidding about replay). Anyways, it’s crazy how this team manages to contend with the top teams when they play them. These guys have been playing together for so long that chemistry carries them more than it ever will for any other team. They only lost to Cabs 6-3, and Cabs lost to the Jetsons. I don’t know about you guys, but this team is a serious wildcard contender, but if they drop this one then their chances fall severely.
It looks like Lube has only beaten Power Outage, and I’m too lazy to see if they won any other games. That win against them was only 5-4, and Power Outage hasn’t won a game yet, so only beating them 5-4 is a little shaky. I’m not quite sure how Lube is going to pull this one off, mainly because I haven’t seen this team play together. Blue Collar Kid has always been, and still is a solid runner for any team, he just manages to find a way to score. NoFunForYou is the matchmaking hero for this team, but what about his skills in the custom games? I’ve seen enough to know that this guy is a solid tank on Vanilla to be an asset for any contending team. I think that Lube will win the rest of their games against The Group and Power Outage, so this game is either go big or go home. I’m sorry fellas but I don’t see you winning against Cabs or Jetsons.
Outcome: Although it’s not 100% certain, I still think that playoffs are on the line in this series. Whoever can come out on top in the two games these teams play, I think, will have the wildcard spot. It could either be really close or a complete blowout, none of this in between stuff. I think Lube has a lot to prove, and until they prove it…
Grunts of Fury over What kind of lube? 6-3 (5-2)
It was my first season in Pro. I played with a team that was in my first season, The New York Pineapples. That was my greatest season. Had my first legit AGLA win. It was my first pro game too. It was a great season. Made it to playoffs and lost first round agianst Cabs r Here. ~ ThePistachioKid
When the calendar turned to May, it was time for the SL11 playoffs:
I think that the Dash teams definitely had the upper hand on the Vanilla teams in the playoffs. Vanilla teams had to adjust to having AAs being used on the court as well as the barrel roll. I liked the setup. ~ Nucelar Taco 42
Red Ray vs. Grifted
This is probably the amateur game that most people, including myself, have been anticipating for quite some time now. It’s been a while since I’ve seen two teams go at it like this on the forums. No offense to either of these teams, but I think the whole situation is just beyond hilarious and is overall pure entertainment. On with the analysis.
What’s the advantage? They’ve got their dominant tank, and as we all know that is Momstaco81. You want to know how much I think he has improved? I went from who the hell is Momstaco? to yeah, that’s Momstaco alright. Is he ready to carry the tanking load, and does he even know how much he’s going to have to carry? I think he’s up to the challenge, and win or lose he will come out of this game one hell of a battle tested amateur. This guy is an animal, plain and simple.
Keys to Success:
– Stop slayers0n and Rage More Nerd early and often
– Someone step up to the role of the number 2 tank or it will be a long night for Momstaco
– Stay calm- I could be completely wrong, but in my opinion I feel Grifted is going to come out guns blazing and if Red Ray gets flustered it’s game over folks.
-Be aware of the bomb- I haven’t seen an amateur team yet that has the patience to pussyfoot as long as Grifted does. Stay aware or before you know it, the bomb has wrapped the whole team because one defender got anxious.
-Do NOT get ahead of the game- If you happen to find yourselves with a two goal lead, lets say 3-1? The game isn’t over so don’t act like it is. You can’t quit on a team like Red Ray because they sure as hell won’t quit coming after you.
-Win the tipoff- You really want to start on defense against a momstaco/avaianche duo, and the experience in Sp0ny and Papa Cap? Put the pressure on them first
-You know that sword you probably only use on the bomb carrier? It works great for slowing down monster tanks. You can put two and two together.
Beam Me Up 11 also got into the game and gave his thoughts on the eight Amateur teams that secured a Bye in the first round of the playoffs:
Dead Panic – Also a relatively new team, coming in to the AGLA out of recent GGL success. I have played many games against their team in matchmaking but have not been able to really get a measure of their skill… however, to check the stats- they have beaten the second GC farm team, Down Stait, twice in the regular season. They have two of the best tanks in the league with THC LEGACY THC and DEAD PSYCH0 leading the tank leaderboards in K/D Ratio and spread per game, and I have witnessed DPS Sundown make some insanely clutch stiff arms. Whether the intimidating stats are due to the fact of them getting 3 games in against “fluff” teams or not will be determined in the sweet 16. I’m very interested to see how they do against one of the quality teams they will play in their second round matchup.
Soon the Amateur Playoffs were down to the final four:
Here’s your AGLA Amateur Spring League Final Four: Red Ray, Scarlet Chiefs, Hit Squad and Deadly if Eaten!
To get to this point, #1 seed Red Ray faced off against #12 Semi-Pro and proved that they could, in fact, score a goal during playoffs. Game 1 was a 6 – 3 victory for Red Ray and Game 2 locked up their Final Four appearance with a 7 – 2 win.
#1 seed Scarlet Chiefs did not disappoint and put up a two-game series against Sky Whale Alliance. Game 1 went the Chief’s way to the tune of 7 – 2, and Game 2 was a closer 5 – 4 match. This second performance suggests the second coming of Cheap Ass Gamers as Scarlet Chiefs went a collective – 79 k/d but remained victorious.
#2 seed Hit Squad defeated #6 Green Army Jr. in a heartbreaking three-game series. Game 1 was a 7 – 2 victory for Hit Squad, however Green Army Jr. rallied with an epic 6 -3 retaliation in Game 2. Game 3 resulted in another 7 – 2 win for Hit Squad, earning them a place in the Final Four.
Amateur League semi-finals will see #1 seed Red Ray vs #6 seed Deadly if Eaten for the Vanilla conference title and #1 seed Scarlet Chiefs will take on #2 seed Hit Squad for the Dash conference title.
The finals were set as Red Ray and the Hit Squad advanced.
Well we only had to play each other in the championship game but it was not really a big advantage. Dash teams had the playlist to practice and and Vanilla teams had the GGL and pick up games to be solid on Dash. ~ Avaianche812
In the Amateur league, Hit Squad overtook Scarlet Chiefs and proclaimed themselves Ammy Dash champs. The Vanilla conference champion has also been determined. Last night, Red Ray triumphed over Deadly if Eaten in a 2-game series. Game 1 was a 6 – 3 victory for Red Ray, who sported a pretty even k/d spread of – 5. While Kev1897 individually went +19, Deadly if Eaten collectively went – 38. The series ended in Game 2 as Red Ray walked away with a 7 – 2 victory in 21 minutes despite going -34 with 13 betrayals. Make no mistake, Red Ray is no pushover team and this season they’re intent on proving it.
In the end, Red Ray proved the better team, winning on both Dash and Vanilla to take the ‘ship
Red Ray’s first season of Grifball was back in Summer League 2008 and they have been an active presence in the community for the last 3 years. Red Ray has been moved up to Pro/Legacy on four different occasions despite never having won a rookie/amateur championship and having been known for more their monicker of “Nicest Team in the League” rather than their skills. This season has changed all of that and Red Ray has finally proven that they’re no push-over team.
Red Ray played in the Vanilla division during the regular season and many were concerned that Vanilla teams in general would be at a disadvantage when forced to play Dash. Having boldly gone where no Red Ray team had ever gone before, they Rays drilled against Dash teams tirelessly and practiced barrel rolls until they puked. All of their effort paid off in Game 1 of the series when they defeated Dash conference champions Hit Squad 6 – 3 on the Dash variant.
No substitutions were made for Game 2 and sp0ny once again had to watch his team from the neutral host box as they battled for the championship. Red Ray was clearly more comfortable and confident on their native Vanilla gametype and wrapped up a 6 – 3 victory in 21 minutes.
In an informal interview with Momstaco81 earlier in the season, he made it clear that Red Ray was gunning for the ‘ship, that this team wanted it more than ever before and were taking steps to assert themselves as a team to be reckoned with. Red Ray is the perfect example that nice guys don’t always finish last and that if you pick a fight with Ghandi, you’re going to lose.
I remember Red Ray was having an okay season then halfway through the season, we had one game where we scored 4 on them real fast then they scored 4 real fast after that. Then the last round, we had a 20 minute round where Papa Cap, Momstaco and Sp0nY, and myself all had very clutch moments and in the end it ended with a Sp0nY bomb steal on their plant. After that game everything just clicked for us and eventually got to the ship and won. Also the biggest thing I can remember was when we got the final score in game 2 of the ship, Papa Cap, JKPgamer, Sp0nY, all saying in unison YES!!!! ~ Avaianche812
Over in the Pro League, the final six teams were ready for their playoff series: Instead of breaking the teams into a Dash bracket and a Vanilla bracket like the Amateur League, Pro League teams were jumbled together. The teams would play one Dash game followed by one Vanilla game, with the third game being decided by the team that scored the most points in the first two matches.
The AGLA Pro playoffs are a best-of-three series featuring both the Vanilla and Dash gametypes. There’s been much debate about having to play both gametypes and whether or not teams from Dash or Vanilla divisions will be able to dominate. Some argue that Vanilla requires more teamwork and smarter tanking. Others contend that the conversion from Dash to Vanilla is easier than the other way around. Based upon the Round 1 games of the Pro League Playoffs this past week, the question remains unanswered.
# 3 Cabs r Here of the Vanilla division squared off against #6 The New York Pineapples from the Dash division and the Cabs made their domination of both gametypes very clear. Game 1 was on Vanilla and went Cabs’ way to the tune of 8 – 1. Game 2 was on Dash and again Cabs hammered their way to a 7 – 2 victory. Interestingly, the Cabs won the Dash game in half the time of the Vanilla game.
# 4 seed Grammaton Clerics of the Dash division had the honor of playing old school #5 seed Grunts of Fury from Vanilla. This match-up required the full three-game series. Game 1 was Dash and the Grammaton Clerics walked away with a 7 – 2 win. Game 2 was a 6 -3 victory for the Grunts. The final game was played on Dash. Although the Clerics did walk away with the win on Dash, it was a close game that came down to the last goal and could have gone either way.
I have to say, that was the most fun season I have had. Ton’s of lolz. It was great. Played with best, learn alot from that season. ~ ThePistachioKid
When the playoffs reached the Final Four, NoFun4U888 weighed in with his predictions:
Matchup 1: Way To Fail vs. Cabs r Here
This greatly anticipated rematch of Grifball powerhouses from last seasons’ championship game will not disappoint. Both teams are laden with formidable tanks and highly skilled, elusive ball runners. The Dash game will likely be dominated by Way To Fail’s impeccable teamwork combined with v Determined v’s incredible ability to seemingly be everywhere at once, killing everyone in his way.
The Vanilla game should prove to be far more competitive. It will be much easier for Halfbreed and friends to identify and neutralize Determined’s hammer, and the three-headed tanking monster that Cabs throw at teams will be too much for Way To Fails’s defense to handle without being able to sprint or evade. Cabs take the Vanilla game 6-3.
With a trip to the championship game on the line, Way To Fail will have choice of gametype and thus the advantage. Despite a strong battle in the Dash rematch, Way To Fail will be on their way to yet another final. They will be just a bit more than the Cabs can handle. Game 3 to Way to Fail 6-3.
Matchup 2: The Jetsons vs. Grammaton Clerics
On paper this match is a one-sided affair in favor of the undefeated Jetsons, especially with fearless Cleric leader Dennymacpot on the sidelines (rather than up the sidelines). However I believe it won’t shake out nearly as simply as the stats would make it seem. It’s no secret that the majority of the Jetsons’ starting lineup loathes Dash. Despite losing the k/d battle, the Dash game will go to Grammaton 8-1.
The move back to Vanilla will almost certainly tilt the tide back to the top seeded team. With two unstoppable forces in TRich and DHans combining with the always solid Silva, Rockys won’t have too much trouble avoiding the hawk-dive heavy Cleric defenders. The Vanilla game goes to The Jetsons 7-2.
Game 3 promises to be an epic battle, but with a 1 goal overall lead after the first two games, the gametype choice and thus the advantage shifts back to the Clerics. After a prolonged duel with a tremendous number of clutch stops and highlight reel goals, the Clerics shock the world and take down the top seed 5-4 (4-4) and will be on the way to their first championship game.
He was right about Way to Fail, but the Jetsons fared much better on Dash than expected and went on to the final round of the playoffs.
Playoffs? Playoffs? Yeah, I remember playoffs. I remember being somewhat upset because we played the championship game in the final four. We should’ve been playing Cabs in the championship and we had to play them in the final four. The biggest thing I remember, was wanting to win the final four and ship 2-0 and prove to everyone that we could play both Dash and Vanilla and win on both. ~ Priest XYZ
Way to Fail was only two games away from taking two back-to-back championships, having one the GGL championship only weeks before. Could the Jetsons stop them in their tracks?
Hell yes we had an advantage. Vanilla is just an extremely simple version of Dash. While the Vanilla teams were having to settle for matchmaking because there weren’t very many great vanilla teams playing customs, we were getting in Dash games against above average teams and Vanilla practice was basically included in those games. ~ Priest XYZ
After winning the GGL Championship, Way to Fail stated on the Hubcast that they had their eyes trained on the AGLA Pro League Championship and would stop nothing short of perfection. In seasons past, this team has come so close so many times to realizing that dream but had always fallen short – quite possibly the inspiration behind their name. Not daunted by their earlier adversity, Way to Fail triumphed in a 2 game series over The Jetsons.
Many thought that this series would go to three games, and with The Jetsons being a Vanilla team and Way to Fail being a Dash team, it seemed that whichever team could dominate their own gametype the most would earn the edge in Goals Per Game and the right to decide the game three gametype. Game 1 was played on the Dash variant and Way to Fail put up an impressive 7 – 2 victory in a 46 minute match.
You can view the film from Game 1 on the AGLA Grifball Youtube Channel.
After taking a week-long break, the two teams stepped onto the court for Game 2. In addition to The Jetsons subbing D Hans in for Lambchop166, Game 2 had a new neutral host, no stream and was played on Vanilla. Way to Fail was unphased by the changes and produced a 6 – 3 victory in 33 minutes on their non-dominant gametype. Both Digital Pain and v Determined v went insanely positive with the later sporting the largest Average Kill Distance of 4.33 meters. In fact, each team had 3 of its’ four members with AKD over 4.0.
Way to Fail has proven twice over that they are the best team in Grifball with a total record of 29-1-1 over the past GGL and AGLA seasons. They have demonstrated mastery over both the Dash and Vanilla gametypes and truly deserve to call themselves champions!
In retrospect, perhaps the wins by Way to Fail should not have been all that surprising. They proved themselves to be an almost unbeatable team on both Vanilla and Dash over the first six months of 2011. After losing the WL11 championship, they went an impressive 29-1-1 in league games, proving that Way to Fail knew How to Win!
Outside of the exciting (and relatively drama-free) regular season, the AGLA also had one additional development that would be a good omen for the league in the seasons to come: TrueFlyingCow, a player who joined league Grifball with the fall of Reach, joined up as the Head of Stats. He put together a very impressive website out of Google spreadsheets and tracked and showcased the stats on a very smooth website. He was able to turn his stats programming and his website and turn it into the outstanding AGLA homepage of Grifball.info that we know today!
During the season, Grifball was seemingly everywhere. Coming off the panel at PAX East, GrifballHub was featured on the Xbox Dashboard in a community playdate. Well over a hundred players showed to party on the Grifball court with established community members and a great time was had by all!
Goose was also invited to join Kete on the (in)famous Running Riot podcast in March. The interview focused on the history of Grifball, Goose’s involvement, and just how awesome the sport and leagues were. The interviewer also had a peculiar fixation on a certain dance video from PAX East:
That spring also heralded into a new era of Grifball content on Halo Waypoint, as the very first Grifball Highlight Frenzy premiered in living rooms and laptops around the world! Originally narrated by HotShotX, the Frenzy showcased the top ten plays from Grifball matchmaking each month. The feature still regularly appears on Halo Waypoint on the last Friday of every month, and rumor has it that the video is a favorite at 343 Industries.
With a blockbuster panel, a successful AGLA season, and the Grifball disease infecting all corners of the internet, things were certainly looking up for the Sport of the Future! And fortune would continue to shine on Grifball for the foreseeable future.
Next week, we will discuss the seventh season of GrifballHub’s Good Games League, which took place during the summer of 2011. With school out and temperatures rising, the seventh season of the GGL would be full of rolls, lols, and a group of rather Hot Bikini Guyz. If you have any memories from the seventh season of the GGL, please fill out this form.
If you have memories from Spring League 2011 or PAX East, please leave a comment below.