A Tale of Two Ogres: The Greatest Halo Players of All Time
Throughout the history of competitive Halo, the strongest duos have always been twins. Specifically one set of twins. That would be Daniel and Tom Ryan, more commonly known by their online pseudonyms, OGRE1 and OGRE2. They even had their older brother, Marty, come in and coach them for a time.
Competing since 2003, these Ohio natives are among the greatest players in all of esports. But with the recently announced retirement of OGRE2, it seems like that domination has come to an end.
Now that the dust has settled, what can be said for these two brother’s impact on the game? No one can object that their story is the story of competitive Halo itself, many even calling OGRE2 the greatest of all time.
From the beginning, they were good. Maybe too good. Playing under the name “Shoot To Kill,” they quickly rose to be some of the best. Although missing the first ever MLG tournament, they soon made up for it. Between the years of 2004 and mid 2008, spanning 32 events, the two never finished lower than second at an MLG event and along the way they picked up countless other wins.
To understand what an incredible feat this was, one must recognize the state of Halo at this time. This was before the decline in Reach, back when tournaments would have hundreds of teams in attendance. Some events were even broadcasted on national television.
During their period of dominance, their success went beyond the typical MLG tournaments. Over the course of their careers, the OGRE twins won the World Cyber Games, once considered to be the “olympics of esports.” While the events never really lived up to their name, it was one of the most interesting international events in the entire history of esports.
Their teams had many names, Shoot to Kill, Domination, Team3D, Final Boss, but one common trend connected them. They were always the best. The name “Final Boss” even became so associated with MLG that the company still refuses to let anyone else use it and they even still sell merchandise with the team’s branding.
But everything changed at MLG San Diego 2008. For the first time ever, Final Boss was wounded. During the winner’s bracket, in the third round, Final Boss did not only just lose, they were 3-0’d by Believe the Hype. This marked the earliest defeat of Final Boss in the entire history of Halo. To add insult to the injury, Believe the Hype was considered to be nowhere close to Final Boss skill wise, they were the ninth seed and a team of young up-and-comers.
Most assumed that this was a fluke, that Final Boss would have an incredible loser’s bracket run and still manage to come out on top. Only two rounds into the loser’s bracket, they were beaten by Trigger’s Down. Final Boss finished seventh, the lowest as a team and the first time that the OGRE twins had ever finished below top two in an MLG tournament.
The team never really recovered. After finishing fifth at the next event, MLG Orlando 2008, the twins opted to drop Walshy from the Final Boss roster. At the time, Walshy was considered to be the best of the best, but Final Boss needed to change. They could not continue with mediocrity, their name was synonymous with success.
Picking up Neighbor from Str8 Rippin, they would finish third at the next two events, Toronto and Dallas. In the end, the team only managed to place fourth at the season championship in Las Vegas, where they were eliminated from the tournament by Walshy’s new team, Instinct.
At the end of the 2008 season, when fans thought that Final Boss could not surprise them even more, the unimaginable occurred. The OGRES split up. OGRE2 remained a member of Final Boss, picking up a completely new roster for the upcoming season. OGRE1, on the other hand, was swept aside to play for a team known as “The Incredibles”. They played at only one event, the 2009 opening. They finished 23rd.
After this, OGRE1 retired. But it was not only his failures that led to his retirement. He quickly moved on, found a girlfriend, had a child and even moved to the other side of the world. He continued to play Halo, now competing in Australian events. But, outside of a brief return with his Australian squad, Team Immunity, playing in the MLG Fall Championship in 2012, he was more or less finished. He was no longer the hyper competitive OGRE1, instead he was now just Daniel Ryan.
OGRE2 trudged on with an uneventful season. This new Final Boss tried out a handful of rosters, never placing higher than third. They had, however, reached a new low. Another first for the team, they had for the first time ever finished a tournament without winning any prize money. This was MLG Anaheim 2009, where they were narrowly beaten by Heaven and Earth to push them into ninth place.
Despite his brother losing his competitive drive, OGRE2 could not accept this mediocrity. Entering into 2010, the last season of Halo 3, Final Boss debuted yet another new roster. This was what the team needed. Final Boss had finally returned to form, this year not placing any lower than third, which was the first event of the season and one that they played with Totz instead of eventual member, iGotUrPistola.
But most importantly, 2010 was the year that OGRE2 won another national championship. With a dry spell of three years, it was about time that he claimed his title back.
The next season offered a turbulent transition. Entering a new game, one that used drastically different mechanics such as bloom, no one was quite sure who would come out on top. Returning to Dallas for the season opener, the previous year’s national champions only placed tenth.
This marks the end of the real Final Boss. Following this dramatic defeat, ORGE2 abandoned the name and moved to Instinct to form the true “God squad.” Sticking together for all of Reach, and even playing the one Halo 4 MLG event, this was truly the return of the OGRE2 that the scene remembered.
Winning four MLG events, including the 2011 national championship, things were beginning to look up for him. But Reach was already seen as a subpar game, and no one was quite sure where the scene would be heading with 343i taking over development from Bungie.
Halo 4, as expected, brought significant change. Some even went as far to say that it was not even a Halo game anymore. These changes were seen as making it less competitive, the game only lasted one event on the MLG circuit, the company now focusing on Call of Duty as its flagship title.
While there were a handful of tournaments outside of MLG, namely AGL, OGRE2 decided that his time could be spent more productively than playing Halo 4. So, he followed MLG and entered the Call of Duty scene.
Many assumed that his successful career in Halo would carry over to Call of Duty. They could not have been more wrong. He played here and there, entering a handful of tournaments with the goal being to qualify for the World Championship. He barely made it in the first year, and did not even qualify the second. For some, they saw his CoD career as a joke, a blemish on his legacy. But something amazing came out of it. He started teaming with Snakebite and Royal 2.
Both of these players had been around the Halo scene for quite some time, neither had their breakout until Halo 3 and neither saw legitimate success until Halo: Reach. Much like OGRE2, they fled to CoD during the decline of Halo.
The fact that OGRE2 became friends with and started playing with these two players is what allowed him to mount his return to competitive play with the release of Halo 2 Anniversary. Starting out by reviving the classic “Shoot to Kill” team name, they would go on to be picked up by one of the greatest organizations Halo had ever seen: Counter Logic Gaming.
Throughout H2A, they were consistently a top two team. Seeing a decline in Halo 5, the team needed to improve to climb back to the top. Inevitably, OGRE2 was dropped for Lethul, a change that would cement CLG as the best team in the world. This was the first time that OGRE2 had ever been legitimately dropped from a team, cast off to play for Team EnVyUs and eventually finding himself playing for the Denial eSports roster that he retired with.
Perhaps his recent departure from the competitive scene through his time with Denial was not the best way for OGRE2 to finish his career. But at least he placed in the top eight instead of finishing 23rd. Many could see this end coming though. He had a long time girlfriend, recently purchased a house and is moving into what same may call “the real world”.
No matter how they finished, Daniel and Tom Ryan will always be remembered as two of the greatest, if not the greatest, players to touch the game of Halo. The scene owes them for defining how the game is played and dominating for years at a time.
Competitive Halo, and even esports on consoles in general, often get brushed to the side by fans of PC gaming. The OGRE brothers stand as a testament as to why this is wrong. The greats can be found anywhere.
How do you feel about OGRE2’s retirement and he and his brother’s career as a whole? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @GAMURScom.
Patrick Cowley can be contacted through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @PtrckCowley.