Dave "Walshy" Walsh in San Francisco Patey Christopher/Red Bull Photofiles

Move over, World Cup, and take a seat, NFL - the Halo 3 National Championships in Dallas are taking over as the dog-eat-dog world of competitive gaming steps into the spotlight.

Professional gaming is the unforgiving sport that sends once-shining stars crashing down to earth at a moment’s notice, while seemingly white-hot players are unmercifully dropped from rosters faster than they can blink. At times the line-up changes come from frustrated franchises as their tempers are sent into the red during heated tournaments, while other times it’s simply a clash of chemistry.

As the final regular-season Halo 3 event of 2010’s MLG Pro Circuit approaches this weekend in Washington, D.C., heavily rehearsed teams are focused on just one thing: qualifying for the coveted National Championships in Dallas.

Shaking things up a bit, the November Championship is set to include the clear winner in D.C. along with seven of the highest-ranked teams from competition. What that means is that if, by chance, one of the teams that wasn’t able to make the top seven is able to win the D.C. event, the eighth-ranked team is not going to see any game time in Dallas.

Events like this are notorious for weeding out weak links and team inefficiencies; the head-chopping that follows can be brutal.

This “wild card” tournament approach essentially offers a golden ticket to whoever wants it most, all but eradicating any weak previous performances. And just like any other sport, competitive gaming teams can rally for a breakneck, come-from-behind victory, or crumble under the extreme pressure. Events like this are notorious for weeding out weak links and team inefficiencies; the head-chopping that follows can be brutal.

Teams that have already clinched top spots include Instinct, Final Boss and Status Quo, while Triggers Down and Believe the Hype are theoretically in contention, unless they were to have extreme difficulty and completely lose their grasp going into their next match. Rounding out the top eight are UoR Dynasty, Carbon, and Str8 Rippin.

Team Carbon, who has a bitter rivalry with Str8 Rippin and Final Boss, currently has a strong roster that includes Red Bull athlete Dave “Walshy” Walsh. A savvy veteran, Walshy has seen duty on the rosters of both Final Boss and Instinct, both of which he bettered during competition in 2008 and 2009 while serving on opposing teams. He and Carbon need to produce, at minimum, an eighth-place finish in D.C. in order to breathe any sigh of relief.

During Dallas competition in 2009, Walshy and Carbon managed a very respectable second-place finish, followed by two third-place finishes shortly after. This marked the first time in a meteoric career that Walshy had not made his way to the National Championship final round.

Going into this year’s event in D.C., Walshy and Team Carbon have set up camp in the number seven spot, while their rivals, Str8 Rippin, occupy an extremely volatile eighth spot. Bubble teams are keeping their fingers crossed and wishing a poor performance upon Str8 Rippin as they go up against Warriors in the opening match. Follow the action at Major League Gaming’s official site.

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