Welcome to Respect Your Roots, a community-driven history of the Sport of the Future. Chapter 2 of this 682-part series highlights the most revolutionary season of Grifball in Halo 3 – Spring League 2008.
Because of the resounding success of AGLA Winter League ’08, it was no surprise that Spring League ’08 was announced only 7 days after Cannonball claimed their iconic ‘Ship. Spring League ’08 was a catalyst for change and revolutionized the way Grifball was played in Halo 3. The first change was the crowning of a new commissioner. As Burnie announced the start of SL08, he also announced his retirement from the commissioner position. Who now was to lead Grifballers on their contagious mission of pandemic proportions? TTL Quikthnkr from Cannonball stepped up to the bomb plant and ran the league with an iron stiff arm.
One of the biggest changes, literally, was the size of the league. The weekend before SL08 signups kicked off, Bungie released Grifball into matchmaking for the very first time. The playlist was live March 6th – 10th, 2008 and there was only one gametype and one map.
The playlist was a huge success and helped swell the Grifball league to 192 teams. In order to accommodate all of those who caught the disease, the league was split into two conferences – Sword and Hammer – and was home to some of the most influential teams of all time: Marathon Runners, Separate Intelligence, Grunts of Fury, American Dream, Hard Liquor Chasers, Super Happy Sunshine, Cannonball, SG-1 and many many more.
The playlist was like crack. The whole league played it the entire weekend. ~ Menz/Zerosum33, SI
I loved Sword and Hammer conferences and we had almost 200 teams back then. ~ Paragas, Red Ray
Will and always be my favorite season ever simply because of the 1 league structure. ~ AJ DaJuiceMayne / aj cena
Probably the most important development during SL08 was the launch. While there is some debate as to exactly when and whom invented launching, there is no question that launching was a catalyst that separated league vets from matchmaking casuals.
It was my first season in the AGLA and it was one of the best times I’ve had. Really learning the game and how to better ourselves, even inventing a weird version of an opening launch that barely worked and required me to face the wall after start. ~ Chanpuru Dragon, HLC
Launching, obviously [was the biggest innovation in SL08]. Though the new game settings would be a very close second. Someday Night Grifball was pretty cool too. ~ Menz/Zerosum33
Both the map and gametype underwent a makeover, largely due to the gross exploitation of both during the matchmaking playlist. Notibly, the garage doors were blocked off from the court, walls were altered to prevent players from leaving the court, and several other general upgrades to make the map as “griefproof” as possible. The gametype’s alterations occurred in response the the melee update that Bungie had sent out and ultimately small changes were made to player melee modifier and Grif’s extra attributes. Some of the changes were addressed by commish Quikthnkr in this eloquent and still relevant video: How Not To Play Grifball.
Was this when the gametype changed? If so, that was fucking awesome. ~ D Hans / Spud H3ad
The game of Grifball wasn’t the only thing that was different back then. The Grifball.com community was hugely resourceful and ridiculously involved with the sport off the court. In addition to the normal highlight reels by Burnie and Geoff, pre-, regular, and post-season Grifball news and general shenanigans were covered by the Grifball Explosion – a Grifball podcast sponsored by Aunt Gruntie’s Old Fashioned Sterilized Food Nipples.
SL08 was also the start of Someday Night Grifball. SNG was a live broadcasted Grifball game with ongoing commentary. This set up was the progenitor for the neutral host maps that were used in Halo 3. Sadly, the SNG matches were not saved, however you can view SNG Rules of the Game and the long-forgotten SNG Intro on YouTube.
My favorite memory was Someday Night Grifball. Ninja’ing the fuck out of Zeg while everyone watched live. Going back and watching the commentary later…”Mr Matt stabs Mrs Poopie from behind.” ~ Menz / Zerosum33
The first week in May 2008 marked the end of the regular season and the start of SL08 playoffs.
64 teams competed – 32 from the Sword conference and 32 from the Hammer conference.
I remember HLC struggling beginning of the season only to come in to its own right in time to win against a 10-0 HBFS in the first round. Then, getting worked by an in-their-prime Marathon Runners. ~ Chanpuru Dragon, HLC
While probably in the top 3 seasons all time, my memory of it is sullied by our playoff choke. I remember how great it was for reasons that didn’t have to do with my team. ~ Menz / Zerosum33
Ultimately, it came down to #1 seed Grunts of Fury from Sword Conference against the #20 seed That One Team from the Hammer Conference. And the winner was…
What better way to top off one of the most epic seasons of all time? How about some Grifball merchandise! Yes sir, the original Grifball t-shirt was made available during SL08 and is still on sale at the Rooster Teeth Store today.
Next week, join us as we relive the bombastic days of Summer League 08 – the largest Grifball league in the history of the sport and the first AGLA season to split players into Legacy and Rookie leagues. If you have memories, experiences, team logos, brackets or anything relating to SML08 that you’d like to share, you can do so here!