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Michael "StrongSide" Cavanaugh is a retired American player most well known for his time with Final Boss. He currently works for 343 Industries.
Michael Cavanaugh was born on August 30, 1988. He is from Edgewood, Kentucky.
2005 - Career beginnings
StrongSide's Halo career began in 2005, with his first event being MLG Las Vegas. His team, Badtach, consisted of himself, ElamiteWarrior, Blonde and Suff3r. Though they finished top 12, StrongSide made a name for himself in the FFA with an impressive 4th place finish. At MLG Nashville, StrongSide played on team foXy Rapes alongside foXy, MacManova and Metallic_Aqua, taking another top 12 finish. For his next event in Seattle, StrongSide joined Storm Ventures alongside Ramby, Samurai650 and MurfMan. StrongSide finished 2nd in both the 4v4 and the FFA, losing in the 4v4 to iGameSpot and in the FFA to IGS member ShocKWav3. For the Conference Championship events with increased prize pools, StrongSide first joined the predominantly Canadian Evil Geniuses squad alongside SadPandaEh, BLACKJAK and G-SpOt. At MLG Los Angeles, they finished 3rd in the 4v4, below only Team 3D and Trademark Gamers, while StrongSide finished 3rd in the FFA, below only Karma and OGRE2. Atlanta saw a less impressive performance for StrongSide and his team, finishing only top 6 in the 4v4 and 4th in the FFA. This was enough for StrongSide to seek a new team for Chicago. He found that team in iGameSpot alongside ShockWav3, Karma and Gandhi. Though their 4th place finish in the 4v4 wasn't an enormous accomplishment, StrongSide took 1st place in the FFA, his first major FFA win. Going into the New York National Championships, the team lost its IGS sponsorship and went by the name Team Phreaks. They took an impressive 2nd place finish, losing only to Team 3D in a 9 game series. In the FFA finals, StrongSide was defeated by his teammate Karma.
2006 - From Carbon to LeGendZ
For the 2006 season, StrongSide's team stuck together, changing its name to Carbon. At the kickoff event in New York, Carbon took 3rd place, ousted without much effort by Str8 Rippin in a 6-0 sweep. Their performance improved marginally in Dallas, taking Str8 to 11 games, but they were again ousted by Tsquared and company for a 3rd place finish. Despite an early Winners' Bracket loss to FBI Michigan, Carbon finally slayed the Str8 Rippin dragon in Anaheim, defeating them 3-0, but could not complete their dramatic Losers' Bracket run, being swept by Final Boss in the finals. In Chicago, Carbon were again uncharacteristically upset in the early rounds, this time by Storm Ventures. They staged another dramatic Losers' Bracket run, defeating Str8 Rippin again in the process, but were ousted in the continuation series against Storm Ventures, which went to 11 games. This would be the end of StrongSide's stint on Carbon, as he was then famously dropped in exchange for GH057ayame, resulting in Carbon going on to win the final three events of the season. While Carbon experienced great success, StrongSide found himself lost in the shuffle, joining LeGendZ alongside Defy, Vash and Mack. Though he remained successful in the FFA with a 2nd place finish, LeGendZ took only 8th place in Orlando. Going into the two big-money events of the season, StrongSide and his team would need to improve if they wanted a big piece of the pie. At the New York Playoffs, LeGendZ did improve on their placing, taking 5th, while StrongSide took another 2nd place FFA finish. For the Las Vegas National Championships, LeGendZ would need a top 3 finish to take home any prize money. Unfortunately, they were ousted 3-0 in their match for 3rd place by Str8 Rippin, taking home nothing. StrongSide took 2nd in the FFA, taking a $5,000 prize.
2007 - Final Boss
To begin the 2007 season, Final Boss shocked the community with their decision to drop longtime member Saiyan. Equally shocking was their decision to replace him with StrongSide, who filled the final spot in a roster alongside the legendary players OGRE1, OGRE2 and Walshy. With the team looking to rebound after three straight losses to Carbon to close out the 2006 season, and StrongSide looking to prove that Carbon made a mistake in dropping him, Final Boss went into Charlotte with a chip on their shoulder. Despite a shaky Winners' Bracket run, nearly being upset by The Agency, Final Boss made it into the finals. They were eventually met by none other than Carbon, coming off a dramatic 6-5 comeback over The Agency, who had initially swept them out of the Winners' Bracket 3-0. In the first official meeting between Carbon and the new Final Boss roster, FB came out on top with a narrow score of 3-2. At the next event - MLG Meadowlands, Final Boss and Carbon met in the Winners' Finals, with FB taking another 3-2 victory. Carbon would fight through the Losers' Bracket to earn a rematch in the Finals, but FB would win all three games to take the series 6-3 and win their second straight event. Things changed in Dallas, where Carbon defeated Final Boss 3-1 in the Winners' Finals. FB fought out of the Losers' Finals to earn a rematch, but were ultimately able to win only one more game, as Carbon took the series 6-2. Chicago introduced a new team into the equation - Str8 Rippin, whose new lineup turned heads as it ousted the likes of Carbon and The Agency in the Winners' Bracket. Final Boss took the Winners' Finals over Str8 3-1, but Str8 battled back to make it to the Finals. FB were able to defeat Str8 by a score of 6-1. In Orlando, Str8 made a statement, taking out FB in the Winners' Bracket by a score of 3-1. FB fought out of Losers', but were unable to make up the deficit against Str8, losing the series 6-2 overall, going into the biggest MLG event yet - the Las Vegas National Championships. It was at this event that Final Boss famously decided to go without a coach, an unpopular choice at the time. FB ended up sweeping the event without dropping a single game, 6-0ing Carbon in the process to take the National Championship. To close out Halo 2, StrongSide and FB won the MLG Canadian Open 2007, defeating Str8 in the finals.
2008 - Final Boss
Final Boss predictably stuck together going into 2008's inaugural Halo 3 season. Despite an early upset loss in the debut event's Winners' Bracket to Instinct, FB battled back in the Losers' Bracket and defeated Instinct in 10 games to make the finals against Classic, who they defeated 6-2 to win the first event of the season. Things would be different in San Diego, where FB were swept early out of the Winners' Bracket by Believe the Hype. Though many expected them to make another dramatic Losers' run, they were defeated early by Triggers Down for a 7th place finish, the lowest ever for the dominant team. Despite the low placing and the OGREs' lack of patience when it came to failure, Final Boss stuck together for the next event in Orlando. They were taken out in the Winners' Semifinals by Instinct, putting them in another survival situation against Str8 Rippin. Str8 took the series 3-0, ending FB's tournament with a 5th place finish. Two finishes this low prompted a team change, and Final Boss dropped Walshy to make room for Neighbor, who had left Str8 Rippin. StrongSide would reflect on this change years later, saying it was the worst mistake he ever made and wishing he could have taken it back. StrongSide and FB narrowly lost in the Winners' Semifinals in Toronto to Str8, 3-2, but were able to defeat Classic 6-5 to reach the Losers' Finals. Unfortunately, Instinct continued to have FB's number, defeating them 3-1 and ending their tournament with a 3rd place finish. Things were tense from the getgo in Dallas, with FB narrowly winning their first two matches against Carbon and Triggers Down. They were then swept by Str8 Rippin, and faced Triggers Down in a rematch for a spot in the Finals. TD successfully made the comeback, turning a 2-3 deficit into a 6-3 victory, and went on to win the event, while StrongSide and FB took 3rd place. At the Las Vegas National Championships, FB were upset early by Carbon, and defeated again by Instinct in the Losers' Semifinals, ending their season with a 4th place finish. This would be the end of StrongSide's first stint as a member of Final Boss.
2009 - Status Quo; return to Final Boss
StrongSide left Final Boss at the end of the 2008 season and became the captain of Status Quo, a young team consisting of FlamesworD, Ace and Totz. SQ took 7th place at its first two events in the Meadowlands and Columbus. StrongSide then returned to Final Boss, this time alongside OGRE2, FearItSelf and Victory X. The new roster took 5th place in Dallas. This resulted in another team change, with FearItSelf being replaced by Soviet. This roster reached a historic low for Final Boss, placing outside of the money for the first time with a 9th place finish. They quickly replaced Soviet with Sypher for the Orlando National Championships, but took only 8th place.
2010 - Brief return to Carbon; Heaven and Earth
Following the 2009 season, StrongSide left Final Boss to rejoin Carbon, though featuring none of the original members who made the name famous. Instead, Carbon now consisted of StrongSide alongside Walshy, Defy and Best Man. The new roster took only 11th place at the kickoff event in Orlando. StrongSide then left Carbon and joined Heaven and Earth alongside Clutch, KillerDrew and Sypher. They took 9th place in Columbus. Looking to improve, HaE replaced KillerDrew and Clutch with Cpt Anarchy and Dersky, but took 9th place once again in Raleigh. StrongSide returned to placing in the money at MLG D.C., as HaE took 8th place, but it was not enough to qualify for the Dallas National Championships.
Halo: Reach - Warriors; Revolution; Str8 Rippin
After failing to qualify for the National Championships, Heaven and Earth competed in the Reach Exhibition at the same event, taking 7th place. StrongSide then left the team to join Warriors alongside ElamiteWarrior, Robbie B and SnakeBite. They took 4th place at the kickoff event in Dallas, StrongSide's highest placing since 2008. Unfortunately, Warriors would not have the same success in Columbus, finishing 12th. This resulted in a team change, with ElamiteWarrior and Robbie B being replaced by Dersky and TwYLighT. The new roster had similar success to the previous roster's first outing, taking 4th place in Anaheim, but again like the previous roster, dropped off in their second tournament, taking 8th in Raleigh. It was around this time that StrongSide picked up a personal sponsorship from apeX, branding his teams with their name. StrongSide then formed apeX Revolution alongside Twin Savior, Amish Acorns and Crimsix. The team took 7th at its first event in Orlando, but managed only 9th at the Providence National Championships. For the final MLG Reach event, StrongSide joined Str8 Rippin alongside Tsquared, Mikwen and Ninja. They took a disappointing top 16 finish at the event. The following month, StrongSide and Str8 Rippin won EGL 5 Blackpool, StrongSide's first event win in four years.
Halo 2: Anniversary
StrongSide briefly returned to competing in 2014, first joining OpTic Gaming as coach. He eventually returned to active competition, joining eXcellence Gaming alongside Ace, iGotUrPistola and Snipedown. At PAX Prime Showdown 2014, eXcellence took 1st place, giving StrongSide his first North American event win since 2007. He retired shortly after, as his job at 343 Industries barred him from competing in the Halo Championship Series.
Strongside currently works for 343 Industries and resides in Seattle, Washington. He also serves as a broadcast personality at Halo events, such as EGL Battle of Europe 2015 and Iron Games Atlanta 2015.
- The term "Strongsiding" refers to Strongside's uncanny ability to stay alive with his shields depleted.
- Strongside won the first prize in the Halo 4 Infinity Challenge contest, a UNSC-themed Ford F-150 SVT Raptor.
- During the Halo World Championship Strongside convinced bubu dubu to team with Huke going into the Halo Championship Series Pro League 2016 after confessing in a conversation between himself and bubu dubu that dropping Walshy was the worst mistake he ever made and he wished he could take it back.
Team and Tournament History
|October 14, 2007||MLG Las Vegas Championships 2007||10||-|
|August 19, 2007||MLG Chicago 2007||4||$560|
|April 15, 2007||MLG Charlotte 2007||5||$400|
|November 18, 2006||MLG Las Vegas Championships 2006||2||$5,000|
|October 15, 2006||MLG New York Playoffs 2006||2||$3,000|
|August 27, 2006||MLG Orlando 2006||2||$1,200|
|June 25, 2006||MLG Anaheim 2006||4||$500|
|April 23, 2006||MLG New York 2006||7||$150|
|February 26, 2006||MLG New York Championships 2005||2||$3,000|
|December 18, 2005||MLG Chicago 2005||1||$1,200|
|November 27, 2005||MLG Atlanta 2005||4||$200|
|October 16, 2005||MLG Los Angeles 2005||3||$300|
|September 11, 2005||MLG Seattle 2005||2||-|
|August 14, 2005||MLG Las Vegas 2005||4||-|
- MLG Pro Sitdown: StrongSide - sports.espn.go.com - 04/16/09
- Chat with Major League Gamer Strongside - espn.go.com - 02/27/09
- Timeout With StrongSide - majorleaguegaming.com - 11/05/08
- Chat with Major League Gamer Strongside - espn.go.com - 05/16/08 (Requires ESPN Insider subscription)
- Next Verse, Same as the First: MLG Interviews Strongside - majorleaguegaming.com - 04/21/08
- MLG Meadowlands 2008 - StrongSide Interview - youtube.com - 04/12/08
- Ask a Pro #1 – Strongside - majorleaguegaming.com - 04/13/07
- Pro Player Profile: StrongSide - majorleaguegaming.com - 08/15/07
- Pro Player – StrongSide - majorleaguegaming.com - 11/14/06