Uh, no? Have you never played CE or H2?The scene was hardly known in the CE days. Halo 2 was when everything picked up and EVERYONE was playing. Halo 2 was certainly the most cut throat in the way of competitiveness
No, The original Halo 2 was the best competitive Halo. The MLG tournaments were insane and the teams "Final Boss" and "Carbon" were the bestWrong. CE. H2 was the most competitive for 4v4. CE for 2v2, but also just overall. It's unrivaled.
...it really wasn't though. CE dwarfs any other Halo in terms of skill gap. Trust me. Ask any pro player who was around back then. Even some that weren't. I'm not necessarily talking about in terms of number of players playing or level of competition. Even though the Ogre Twins were literally unebeatable at CE, which is a testament to the skill gap. If we're talking about competition as far as teams though, then H3 trumps H2, as much as I hate to say it. Just look at all the teams and players making top 8s back then. And grand finals. From like '08 to '10. It was crazy. FB, Carbon, Str8, TD, Classic, Darkest Hour, Instinct, etc. MLG was SO entertaining back then.
Anyway, this is coming from someone who believed that H2 was the most competitive for like 12 years. I literally lived on H2 back on the day. Until I finally started playing CE 2v2s on MCC. And MCC CE isn't even the definitive version, but it's still more competitive/skillful. H2 will always be my personal favorite Halo game, but nothing compares to CE in that regard.