Dec 29 2016 - 5:18 pm

Best Gears of War Roster of All Time: OpTic Gaming

This is why I believe OpTic is the best Gears of War team of all time.
Contributing Writer

Having not placed outside the top three and only losing twice on LAN since the their inception, OpTic Gaming's current Gears of War roster may be the most dominant and most consistent team in Gears of War history.

Gilbert "Xplosive" Rojo, Chris "Lava" Anderson, Billy "MentaL" Putnam, Justin "Kenny" Kenny, Alex "SuMuns" Ascencion and their coach Nick "Ashes" Ridgeway have been teaming together since the start of Gears 4 and are yet to lose on LAN, making them considerably the best team in Gears of War during 2016.

The core three, Xplosive, MentaL and Lava, first teamed on LAN in August of 2015 at Hyperfestation 4 under the team Swarm. These three players went on to place third at that event, and that would begin this run that the team currently holds as being the most dominant team in Gears history.

At the begining of 2016, the team's roster was aquried by Denial Esports. The core three, alongside Brian "SoLuRs" Valenzuela, won the first LAN of 2016 at the ESL Pro League Season One Playoffs. While only winning each of their matches 3-2 against Onslaught in the semifinals and Team EnVyUs in the finals, the team was finally starting to find an identity and get comfortable with one another. Three months after the ESL Season One Playoffs, that same roster competed at MES Gamefest and only dropped three maps the entire event, beating Mercanaries for Hire 3-2 in the grand final.

This roster was looking stong and they just could not be beaten by any team on LAN. However, shortly after a strong start to the 2016 campaign, this roster had a personal issue just before the ESL Season Two Playoffs when SoLuRs didn't show up for the event and completely gave the team no notice or reason, forcing them to play with their current coach and player manager Ashes. The Denial roster went on to win their semifinals match, sweeping Notorious 3-0. But in the finals, this roster faced Team EnVyUs. After disappointingly losing 4-0 to Team EnVyUs, the team placed all the blame and loss of money on SoLuRs for not showing up, which fueled them to create the strongest Gears team ever assembled. 

Denial Esports then released the entire roster after the dissapointing second place finish at MES Gamefest. After being dropped, the core three of Xplosive, Lava and MentaL were searching for their much needed fourth teammate and they received just that after being aquired the very next day by Team Enemy. Along with picking up the old Denial roster, Enemy would also bring the next core feature to the current roster, as Kenny joined Enemy the same day the Denial roster was acquired. 

Once formed, the new roster had three weeks to practice and build team chemistry before the final LAN of the Gears Ultimate Edition season. Going into the LAN, the current Enemy roster was considered to be the most skilled roster, with their only competition being the powerhouse that was Team EnVyUs. This roster feautured experienced and very elite competitors, such as Jose "FraNChis" Mavo, Arody "Praized" Dipre, Kevin "Soto" Soto and Jamie "ToySxldier" Rivera.

Enemy breezed through the first four rounds, only dropping one map the entire time to Vexx Gaming. Once making it to the final bracket, the team faced their most formidable opponent in Team EnVyUs, who they beat in a game five to take the 3-2 series win. Now in the grand finals, Enemy faced off against Dream Team, who did not put up much competition, allowing Enemy to sweep them 3-0 to take $50,000 in prize money from the tournament. The team was feeling strong, and after their next acquisition, the team would only grow in experience and skill.

On Aug. 23, Enemy released their roster and the current team was looking for a new organization to represent for the upcoming Gears of War game. On Sept. 14, in their weekly behind the scenes YouTube series, OpTic Gaming announced that they acquired a new Gears of War team consisting of the old Enemy and Denial roster. Then, Gears of War announced that they would no longer be playing the game mode Execution and would instead be playing the new game type Esclation, requiring a fifth team member. The team decided to pick up SuMuNs to complete the new OpTic Gears roster.  

The first event the team was tested with was the Gears of War 4 Kick-Off Live Showcase, as OpTic faced Infinty in a live streamed best-of-one showmatch. The team proved their strength, beating Infinity in one game 7-1. This event proved the true potential and strength of this OpTic team.

Their next challenge was a community hosted online tournament featuring some of the more elite Gears 4 rosters. OpTic would once again flex its muscle, not dropping a map the entire tournament, as they took home a small $1,000 prize pool, yet more importantly, they took home confindence.

Having now won two online showcases, the team traveled to the MLG Studios in Columbus, Ohio for the first LAN event of the Gears 4 season. This tournament was only for invited teams, so it featured the top rosters in the Gears scene. In Columbus, OpTic once again came out in dominating fashion, never dropping a map the entire event, even in the grand finals against rival Team EnVyUs. 

The team went on after the tournament and only lost one of the next four MLG 2000 series online events, setting them up with the most pro points and the first seed going into the MLG Columbus Open in late November. Going into the Columbus Open, the OpTic roster seemed unmatched in terms of skill and game knowledge, and as most of the community predicted, OpTic went on to win the tournament. The team won their group 3-0 and advanced to the winners bracket. They beat Vexx, BOT Empire and EnVyUs through their winners bracket run without dropping a map, and placed themselves in the grand finals.

During the finals, OpTic faced Team EnVyUs once again. During the finals, EnVyUs won the first best-of-three, forcing a second best-of-three and shocking everyone as OpTic had not lost a map on LAN up to this point. Nonetheless, OpTic swept nV in the next best-of-three, giving them the trophy and the $120,00 prize. 

Proving once again that they were the strongest team on the Gears Circuit, the OpTic roster had only two weeks to prepare and finalize any adjustments before their next LAN event at the Gfinity London Open. Once again, going into this event, the OpTic squad was heavily favored to take the win, and once again, they did not disappoint. Sweeping their group 3-0, the team looked to make another strong winners bracket run straight to the grand finals. But this time, it was not as easy as everyone thought it would be.

After beating Enigma6 and Echo Fox 2-0 each, the unit faced eUnited in the winners bracket finals, and for the first time since the five man roster had formed back in early October, they had been pushed into the losers bracket of a LAN tournament. OpTic bounced back by defeating Team Allegiance in the losers bracket finals 2-0, but they had to face eUnited once again in the grand final. Going into this matchup, everyone was skeptical if the OpTic squad could come back and win two best-of-three series to take home another trophy. Without skipping a beat, they swept both best-of-three series to take home the London trophy and $60,000. 

Once again, OpTic showed their dominant skill and game knowledge and won their second major LAN of the Gears of War 4 season. With all of these accolades, it is very difficult to deny the fact that this team is on another level in terms of power rankings, and after this long run of first place finishes, it is easy to state that this roster may be the most dominant in Gears of War history. OpTic will face their next challenge on Jan. 21 at the Mexico City Open.


Do you agree that OpTic is the most dominant team in Gears history? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @GAMURScom.

Photo credits: Tyler Lench

Jan 19 2017 - 8:56 pm

Battle Below the Border: Gears Pro Circuit Mexico Predictions

Gears Pro Circuit Mexico is one day away, and with that, I break down who will move on from their groups, as well as final placings.
Contributing Writer

Gears of War Pro Circuit Mexico is now one day away and the hype of new rosters, unknown teams and upset opportunities are all brewing as we approach the final day before all the action kicks off in great fashion. With that said, I will break down my predictions for each group, as well as the final placings, and why I feel each team will earn their spot in the top-eight.


Group A

OpTic Gaming: 3-0

Enigma6: 2-1

Onslaught: 1-2

Open Bracket Team: 0-3

I feel these choices are pretty obvious. OpTic is just too strong of a team to even bet against at this point. Aside from winning the last two events, just the fact that in London they came back and double-dipped eUnited in the grand finals shows how strong of a team they really are. As for Enigma6, after watching a couple streams, this team shows such great potential to have an upset at some point throughout this tournament. I think they are a safe bet to make it out of groups and possibly even make a run in the playoff bracket.


Group B

Echo Fox: 3-0

Panda Global: 2-1

Splyce: 1-2

Open Bracket Team: 0-3

With Group B, I think Echo Fox is sure to take the top spot. The trade involving them and eUnited, in my opinion, strengthened both teams very much. I feel that the teams both got players that fit their situations better, and this weekend will be a showcase for how the new teams perform, but Echo Fox should easily go 3-0.

In the other matchup, I think the fact that Splyce is considered the best Latin American team and they are playing at home puts a substantial amount of pressure on them as a team. This may cause them to crack under the pressure of winning in Mexico to a fiery and aggressive Panda team. Now, if Splyce does not crack, then my prediction may come out to be wrong, but for now, I have Panda advancing to the playoffs.


Group C

Team EnVyUs: 3-0

Epsilon Esports: 2-1

Heavenlyz: 1-2

Open Bracket Team: 0-3

Everyone should have EnVyUs coming out of this group without a shadow of a doubt. The EnVyUs squad just has too much experience and overall raw skill in my opinion. Alongside EnVyUs, I feel Epsilon is a definite choice, with their only loss coming to EnVyUs. Now do not get me wrong, we have never seen the small Latin team known as Heavenlyz, and they could come out and upset, but the chances of this are very slim and that is why I have Epsilon advancing.


Group D

Team Allegiance: 3-0

eUnited: 2-1

Aztec Gaming: 1-2

Open Bracket Team: 0-3

This is probably the group I'm most excited to watch coming into this weekend. With the trade involving eUnited, and considering how strong Allegiance looks, I cannot tell you how excited I am to watch these two teams go head-to-head on LAN. The reason I have Allegiance beating eUnited is due to the trade after London. Now this game can go either way; eUnited easily has the potential to beat Allegiance, but I just think the hype is on Allegiance's side this weekend and they will come out of their group on top for this event.


Playoff Bracket

Now that we have made it to the playoffs, I will break down the placings of the advancing teams and why they will earn these spot. I will not be going match by match because my guru prediction skills are not on that level, but I can tell you where I think each team will exit the event.

Eighth Place: Panda Global

Now with my prediction of Panda advancing out of groups, I do not believe they have the stamina or skill to make it far in this event, as once they make it to the playoffs, they will most likely play EnVyUs or OpTic. I do not think they have the experience to compete against either of those teams.

Seventh Place: Epsilon Esports

Epsilon has a good team and they can be consistent, but after the London event, they just are not showing the strength needed to compete with the North American powerhouses. I think after losing their first playoff match, they will drop down to losers with their heads hanging and let emotion get the better of them.

Sixth Place: Echo Fox

After their trade with eUnited, I just feel this team got the short end of the stick. This team still has lot of talent and has the potential to make a good run, but at the same time, after only being a team for a couple weeks, I don't think they can make a good playoff run in their current state; maybe next event, but definitely not at this one.

Fifth Place: Enigma6

I have high hopes for this team. Since this is their first true event as a team, I'm slightly skeptical but also hopeful. This team has very good slayers from what I have seen, and at the same time, the one thing working against them is their inexperience. I do think there is true potential but we will have to wait for this weekend to find out.

Fourth Place: eUnited

After their loss in London in a truly upsetting manner, this team set out to make sure that would not happen again. Well, that is exactly what they did when they acquired Xcells and Soto. They are going to come in swinging for a championship at this event and make sure they do not lose in such a fashion once again. Now with that said, they will not make it to the grand final to lose like that again; this team is not ready and not tuned enough for a championship run. I think my top-three teams are too finely-tuned for eUnited to upset.

Third Place: Team Allegiance

I truly like this team a lot. It is a team that has so much potential, yet does not get the coverage the top-tier teams receive. This is my upset team this weekend; if anyone other than my top-two teams wins, it will be Team Allegiance. Their slaying skill, plus their chemistry, is a dangerous blend that when hyped, explodes to a tier-one level.

Second Place: Team EnVyUs

Hands down the second strongest team in Gears at the moment, Team EnVyUs still has their ultra experienced team with such pure skill heading into another tournament weekend. The reason I keep EnVyUs at the number two spot is simply because the aggressiveness and consistency of the OpTic team is far too superior. Now if this is the week that the Green Wall falls, then EnVyUs will surely be the team who knocks it down.

Gears Pro Circuit Mexico Champion: OpTic Gaming

Once again, OpTic Gaming will be the Gears of War champion. This team excels on so many levels and so far they have been unmatched in terms of skill, except for the one upset series against eUnited, where they still came back and double-dipped eUnited in the finals. This team knows how and when to clutch up, and once they get on a roll, there is no stopping them. Their elite map control, matched with only the best slaying power, makes OpTic the most dangerous and unstoppable Gears team. OpTic has my vote as grand champion this weekend.  


Who do you have as your grand champion this weekend? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @GAMURScom.

Authors Twitter: @Capt_Shively

Jan 12 2017 - 2:34 am

OpTic Headlines Group A in Mexico City

Groups for Mexico City were announced today, with OpTic headlining Group A.
Contributing Writer

Groups for the Mexico City LAN were announced today on stream after the return of Gears Fight Night. Each group appears to be evenly balanced, except for Group B, which will feature two of the top-five teams.


Group A:

OpTic Gaming

Enigma6

Onslaught Esports

Open Bracket Team


Group B:

Echo Fox

Splyce

Panda Global

Open Bracket Team


Group C:

Team EnVyUs

Epsilon Esports

Heavenlyz

Open Bracket Team 


Group D:

eUnited

Team Allegiance

Aztec Gaming

Open Bracket Team


Two teams from each group will move on to the playoff bracket. Action for the Mexico City LAN begins on Jan. 20, where the teams will compete for $75,000.


Who do you think has the best chance at winning in Mexico City? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @GAMURScom.

Authors Twitter: @Capt_Shively 

Photo credits here