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|Org Location||United States|
|Team Location||United States|
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Instinct is an American team that was active on the MLG Pro Circuit from 2008 until 2012. Founded at the beginning of Halo 3, Instinct quickly became the flagship team of twin duo Jason "Lunchbox" Brown and Justin "Roy" Brown, as they shuffled teammates for two seasons and finally reached the top of the podium in 2010, ultimately going on to win the 2011 National Championship.
Instinct was formed during the post-2007 offseason. It was a hybrid lineup featuring players from two of 2007's top ranked teams in FBI The Agency and 5K. Coming from The Agency were Michigan duo Joseph "Mackeo" Reinhart and Cameron "Victory X" Thorlakson. Coming from 5K were twin brothers Justin "Roy" Brown and Jason "Lunchbox" Brown. Instinct went into the Meadowlands kickoff event as the second seed and immediately made an impact, beating 2007 National Champions Final Boss 3-2 in the Winners Semifinals. In the next round, Instinct were swept into Losers by Classic, another new team to the Pro Circuit. In the Losers Finals, they again met Final Boss, who reversed the series and sent Instinct home in 3rd. Following Meadowlands, Victory X left Instinct to join Triggers Down, so Instinct picked up the young phenom Eric "Snip3down" Wrona, coming off a 7th place finish at his first ever event. Instinct came out stronger in San Diego, beating Classic in 5 games before falling to Str8 Rippin in the Winners Finals. In the Losers Finals, Instinct beat Victory X and Triggers Down and advanced to the Grand Finals, where they lost to Str8 in back-to-back series and went home in 2nd.
Following San Diego, the original Instinct lineup reunited as Victory X returned to replace Snip3down. In a 2015 interview, Roy revealed that this move was executed by Mackeo without first consulting his teammates. In Orlando, Instinct again made the Winners Finals after beating Final Boss in 5 games. There, they were swept by Triggers Down, now featuring Snip3down. Instinct went on to get swept by Str8 Rippin in the Losers Finals while Snip3down and Triggers Down won the whole event.
Instinct made high profile moves after Orlando, replacing Victory X and Mackeo with 2007 National FFA Champion Dmitry "KGB Soviet" Gulyan and the legendary Dave "Walshy" Walsh, fresh off being dropped by his longtime team Final Boss. Walshy spoke of the team change years later, confirming that he only joined Instinct because he had promised Soviet he would team with him. In addition to the roster changes, Instinct also brought in an all-star coach in Joseph "xXx" Festinger. In Toronto, the new Instinct rolled over Triggers Down in the Winners Semifinals before again falling to Str8 in the next round. In the Losers Finals, Instinct won a highly anticipated match against Final Boss, with Walshy dropping his now infamous "like taking candy from a baby, but I think the baby would've put up a better fight" line. In the Grand Finals, Instinct were defeated 6-2 by Str8 and sent home in 2nd. At the Dallas playoffs, Instinct came out cold, losing 3-2 to Mackeo and Victory X's new team Classic in the opening round. In Losers, Instinct were able to defeat LeGendZ before falling to Triggers Down in 5 games and going home in a disappointing 5th.
At the Las Vegas National Championships, Roy, Walshy and Soviet took part in the All Star Classic, all playing for the West Coast team. Instinct came out much stronger in Vegas, this time sweeping Classic in the opening round. This was followed by a 3-2 loss to Str8 Rippin. In Losers, Instinct narrowly beat Triggers Down 3-2 before beating Final Boss 3-1 in the following round. After another win over Carbon, Instinct advanced to the Grand Finals where they lost to Str8 yet again and went home in 2nd.
Instinct made only one team change going into the 2009 season, replacing Soviet with Mason "Neighbor" Cobb, who was a standout player on both Str8 Rippin and Final Boss over the course of the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Neighbor notably signed a contract with Instinct, guaranteeing his spot on the team through the 2009 season. The new Instinct ran through the Winners Bracket at the Meadowlands opener, beating Believe the Hype in the Winners Finals to clinch a berth against Triggers Down in the Finals. TD took the matchup in back-to-back series, sending Instinct home in second yet again. In Columbus, Instinct lost to Str8 Rippin in the Winners Semis. This was followed immediately by a loss to Classic in Losers, resulting in a poor 5th place finish for Instinct.
After Columbus, Instinct dropped Walshy and picked up 2006 National Champion and longtime Carbon member Eric "GH057ayame" Hewitt. After a narrow victory over Classic in Dallas, Instinct were taken out in 4 games by Triggers Down in the Winners Semifinals. Instinct took out Final Boss in 5 games, putting themselves in a crucial match against Str8 Rippin to secure a top 3 finish. Instinct finally slayed the dragon, taking Str8 out in 4 games. In the Losers Finals, Instinct were swept by Walshy and Carbon and sent home in 3rd.
GH057ayame lasted only one event on Instinct, and was replaced by a former teammate of Roy and Lunchbox from the 5K days - Justin "FearItSelf" Kats. In Anaheim, Instinct were defeated early in Winners by GH057ayame and Classic. This was followed by an 11-game thriller against Believe the Hype which went in BtH's favor. Instinct went home with a season-worst 7th place finish. At the Orlando National Championships, FearItSelf was the only Instinct member not involved in the All Star Classic. The West Coast won the All Star Classic, and Roy and Lunchbox working together to secure the final flag cap in Game 7 was awarded the Old Spice Swagger Moment of the Match. In the main tournament, Instinct were again upset by Believe the Hype in their opening match. In Losers, Instinct beat Dynasty and the almighty Triggers Down before Carbon sent them home in 4th place.
During the offseason, FearItSelf and Neighbor left Instinct. Neighbor went to Triggers Down while FearItSelf went to Final Boss. Instinct picked up 2009 National Champion Scott "Cloud" Holste and 2008 National Champion Kyle "ElamiteWarrior" Elam to round out the roster. Due to xXx's other commitments, Instinct also brought in a new coach - Ryan "Towey" Towey, who would remain with Instinct until its disbandment in 2012. At the season opener in Orlando, Instinct turned heads with a sweep over Triggers Down in the Winners Semifinals. This was followed by a sweep over Classic in the Winners Finals. Classic returned for a rematch in the Grand Finals, where Instinct defeated them 6-2 and went home with their first MLG tournament win after so many heartbreaking 2nd place finishes. In Columbus, Instinct powered through Status Quo, Believe the Hype and Final Boss in the Winners Bracket. In the Grand Finals, they met Final Boss again. FB managed to take it to 10 games before losing, giving Instinct their second straight tournament win and making Cloud the first player in Halo 3 to win three straight events.
In Raleigh, Instinct were defeated in the Winners Finals by Final Boss. They took a close series over Triggers Down to earn a rematch, but were defeated 6-3 by Final Boss. Instinct's winning streak ended after two as they went home in 2nd. In D.C., Instinct's performance continued to worsen as they were taken out in 5 games by Triggers Down in the Winners Semifinals. This was followed by an upset loss to Darkest Hour and a 6th place finish going into the biggest event of the year. At the Dallas National Championships, the full Instinct roster was represented in the All Star Classic for the first time, with ElamiteWarrior representing the East Coast while Towey coached the remainder of Instinct on the West Coast, which won the match 5-2. In the main tournament, Instinct managed to get past Triggers Down, but could not handle Final Boss, who swept them out of the Winners Finals. In the Losers Finals, Instinct lost to unlikely foes in Status Quo and sent home in 3rd.
Roy, Lunchbox and Towey revamped the Instinct roster going into 2011, replacing ElamiteWarrior and Cloud with Anthony "Totz" Pennacchio, formerly of Triggers Down, and Tom "Tsquared" Taylor of Str8 Rippin fame. Instinct narrowly won their pool in Dallas, but lost to Status Quo in the Winners Semifinals. This was followed by a 6-3 loss to Elamite and his new team Warriors and a 6th place finish. After this, Roy and Lunchbox joined forces with the similarly struggling Final Boss, picking up the legendary Tom "OGRE2" Ryan and his young protege Justin "iGotUrPistola" Deese, forming what many in the community referred to as the "God Squad". Instinct dominated the competition in Columbus, dropping only a single game (to Dynasty) all tournament as they defeated Str8 Rippin in the Finals. In Anaheim, Instinct were perfect, not dropping a single map en route to a 1st place finish, defeating Status Quo in the Finals.
In Raleigh, Instinct dropped a map in their pool to Str8 Rippin, but still finished 1st. They then advanced to the Winners Finals with a 3-1 win over Dynasty. They narrowly beat Believe the Hype to advance to the Grand Finals, where they met Infamous, a young team formed with the intention of toppling the God Squad. After a thrilling 10-game series, Infamous were successful and Instinct were sent home in 2nd, denied the three-peat. In Orlando, Instinct had a couple close calls in Pool Play, needing 5 games to finish off Fnatic Classic and Final Boss. Nevertheless, they won their pool and advanced to the Winners Bracket, where they were defeated by Dynasty in 4 games. This was followed by a 3-2 loss to Status Quo in Losers and an uncharacteristic 5th place finish for the God Squad.
At the Providence National Championships, Instinct came out much more composed, taking care of Final Boss and Dynasty in the opening rounds before sweeping Believe the Hype in the Winners Finals. In the Championship Match, Instinct swept Warriors and the Brown twins took their first MLG National Championship, with Pistola taking his second and OGRE2 taking his fifth.
At the Columbus no bloom event, Instinct faced tough teams early in the form of Fnatic Classic and Ambush. Instinct were victorious in both matches, needing 5 games to take care of both teams. This was followed by a 3-1 victory over Dynasty and another 5-game thriller against Status Quo, which Instinct won. Status Quo beat Ambush in the Losers Finals to earn another shot at Instinct, which they capitalized on, taking Instinct to 11 games and winning the decider. Instinct took part in one more Halo: Reach event, AGL 2 Columbus, where they placed 1st, taking out Elite Four in the finals.
At the Dallas Halo 4 exhibition event, Instinct were upset in the Winners Quarterfinals by Severance. They then faced Status Quo in their first Losers match and lost 2-0, resulting in a disappointing top 12 finish. This was notably the first time Instinct ever finished outside of the money at an event. Instinct disbanded after Dallas. Roy and Lunchbox competed sporadically during the AGL era on various teams before reuniting four years later under Evil Geniuses. Pistola joined Ambush and experienced great success throughout Halo 4, winning most of the AGL events. OGRE2 briefly switched to Call of Duty in an experiment that proved unsuccessful. He eventually returned to winning form in Halo 2: Anniversary on Counter Logic Gaming.
Halo 5: Guardians
|Roy||Justin Brown||Player||Str8 Rippin||2008-??-??||2012-11-??|
|Tsquared||Tom Taylor||Player||Str8 Rippin||2011-??-??||2011-04-??|
|Totz||Anthony Pennacchio||Player||Final Boss||2011-??-??||2011-04-??|
|Cloud||Scott Holste||Player||Believe the Hype||2010-??-??||2011-??-??|
|Neighbor||Mason Cobb||Player||Triggers Down||2009-??-??||2010-??-??|
|FearItSelf||Justin Kats||Player||Final Boss||2009-10-??||2010-??-??|
|Victory X||Cameron Thorlakson||Player||Classic||2008-06-??||2008-06-??|
|Mackeo||Joseph Reinhart||Player||Triggers Down||2008-04-??||2008-06-??|
|Snip3down||Eric Wrona||Player||Triggers Down||2008-04-??||2008-06-??|
|Victory X||Cameron Thorlakson||Player||Triggers Down||2008-04-??||2008-04-??|
|Towey||Ryan Towey||Coach||Status Quo|
- Killer Instinct: MLG Interviews the Columbus Halo: Reach Champs - majorleaguegaming.com - 06/21/11
- Eye on the Prize: The Instinct Interview - majorleaguegaming.com - 07/07/08