Brandon “Respectful” Stones of FAB (formerly the Online Warriors and U4X) has been called the best Halo player in Europe. ESL commentator Richard Simms deemed him “the one player to watch out for.” But Respectful deflects the praise. Instead, he jokingly calls another of his teammates “all right, I guess.” His teammates on FAB are every bit as deserving of praise, given that they just became the first-ever European HCS Pro League champions during the summer finals this past Sunday. FAB Esports’ regular season record, a flawless 10–0, remained untarnished throughout the last tournament of the season, dropping only two maps during their heated grand-finals rematch against the X-Men. Respectful and I exchanged direct messages via Twitter shortly after his team’s colossal victory.
This interview has been lightly edited for style and clarity.
AK: Congratulations on an impressive tournament! Did you guys get a chance to do some celebrating yesterday?
BS: No, it was a really late one. We just chilled with the other people in the hotel lobby.
AK: Is the EU Pro League scene a pretty tight-knit community? Or are you guys just sort of meeting each other for the first time, in a lot of cases?
BS: It depends, actually. There’s LAN veterans that used to play before my day that still compete now, but there are also always new faces on the scene, which is nice.
AK: What game got you interested in competing?
BS: Halo 3. I used to watch the pros when I was younger on my Windows XP desktop and wish that I could be as good as them one day. And I guess my hard work has paid off, after all.
AK: You recently told the folks from ESL that TuFoxy might be the best player in Europe, and yesterday morning we saw Mose playing incredibly well. How did the four of you come together as a team?
BS: Well, me and Mose have been playing together since Halo 4, and have also been teaming up on and off since then. He was already a team of two with Kimbo when I joined. We initially picked up Snakey, but after dominating in the Pro League we still thought we could have been even better, so we picked up TuFoxy. And he proved a great addition to our team in terms of practice and dedication.
“And I guess my hard work has paid off after all.”
AK: How did you guys prepare for yesterday?
BS: We prepared by making the most of our time—whether it be just playing Team Arena, scrimming against other Pro League teams, or watching pro American gameplay footage together. Going over our own gameplay, too.
AK: I saw you doing some nice aggressive slaying early on. Did you start playing a little more conservatively once you saw how well your teammates were doing with power weapons and such?
BS: In general, we’re a fast-paced team, and we all tend to be on the same page, so we just kept what we was comfortable with at the event, same way we’d do if we were at home. We also know how to slow it down and play slower when we need to.
AK: Did you feel there was a pretty good level of communication between the four of you and your coach?
BS: Yes, on LAN, naturally, communication is so much better. You’re all in the same room next to each other, so it’s a lot easier for us.
AK: That 2–3 game of Flag on Fathom, in your second series against the X-Men, was a pretty epic performance from both teams. Were you at any point worried they might take you guys in that second series?
BS: I think that’s X-Men’s best map and game type, so we wasn’t too upset. We were just taking it game by game—we were fairly confident they would never take a Slayer or Strongholds.
AK: How did that earlier 4–0 shutout feel?
BS: It was a good feeling. Put a lot of momentum and confidence our way. Then we only needed to win another best-of-seven, and the tournament was ours.
AK: What’s next for you guys, now that you’ve walked away as EU Pro League champions?
BS: Well, now that we’ve won the Pro League, we’re going to relax for a little bit, have a well-needed break, and then get back on the grind for Season Two!