Oct 16 2016 - 1:30 am

Midbox With E6 Hudsonz

On this edition of Midbox, I sit down with star sniper of Enigma6, Hudsonz
Contributing Writer

Midbox is a reference to an old Gears of War tradition of challenging another player to a 1 vs 1 battle using only gnashers, the Gears of War version of a shotgun. Is someone talking trash, saying they're better than you? "1v1 midbox me!" This is a series where I will conduct interviews with various players, coaches and developers in the Gears of War esports space so that we may learn more about them.

In this edition of Midbox, I spoke with Matt "Hudsonz" Hudson of Enigma6 Group. First off, I asked Hudsonzhow he got into competitive Gears. Like many of us, he too received the game as a Christmas present.

"I got into competitive Gears back in 07'," Hudsonz said. "My sister bought me Gears of War for a Christmas present and I started playing for fun."

From that moment, Hudsonz was on a mission to grind through public matchmaking with friends, when various players began asking him to participate in GameBattles.

"I then started to compete for fun on GameBattles all the way up until Gears of War 3 until I quit," Hudsonz said. 

With the release of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and the introduction of the ESL Pro League, Hudsonz made his return to the competitive scene.

"Gears: UE was the first serious competitive Gears that I played. I started out playing with a few friends named "Deadaim", "vVv Zodyak" and "Arkaine," competing in the ESL Pre-Season Qualifiers to practice and get ready to try and get into the ESL Pro League," Hudsonz said.

Eventually, Hudsonz's sniping skills became noticed by both the competition and fans.

"I was very good with the sniper and when we were scrimming, and playing I would always perform pretty well and start making a name for myself. After awhile I got contacted from Brian "CaRiLLs" Carrasquillo asking me if I would be willing to join up with Dylan "Eternity" Merrill, Chris "Affinity" Curren and himself to compete under Enemy."

NME would qualify for the ESL Season 1 Pro League, but ultimately failed to meet their own expectations. In response, they made the decision to drop CaRiLLs and add Brendon "Po5eidon" O'Neill. As they qualified for the ESL Season 2 Pro League, the roster's contracts with NME were coming to a close and they made the decision to sign with Enigma6 Group.

"We all clicked right away and both seemed to have the same goal in mind when joining the org or ,as we call them, family," Hudsonz said.

After another stint of disappointing top-five finishes at both the Pro League and MLG Columbus Open, the core group would make yet another roster change. This time, the squad shocked the community by removing Po5eidon and bringing in Christopher "Crushmo" Lauzon and Ozby "Noxious" Romero.

"The move to drop Po5 was shocking to a lot I agree. I loved teaming with him and always will look at him as a friend," Hudsonz said.

"After Columbus, where we got 5th and lost to two teams you could say we were favored to beat, we looked back at it and knew we could do better. We had to qualify for the invitational on UE and grinded three of the tournaments together as a team and won once and got top-four and top-eight in the other two. Jakob "Nastty" Patterson was being sketchy towards his Team Kaliber team and we looked at it as an opportunity to go into Gears of War 4 with a fresh roster ready to win. Ultimately, after talking to everyone that was involved, we decided to drop Po5 and pick up Crushmo and Noxious. I loved teaming with Po5 and will always look at him as an amazing player and I know moving forward he will be successful wherever he lands."

Gears of War 4 has finally been released and will usher in a new era of Gears esports. The new game introduces Escalation, a new gametype similar to Call of Duty's Domination, as the focal point replacing Execution. I asked Hudsonz about his thoughts concerning Gears potentially becoming a better esports title and the new competitive gametype.

"Escalation is amazing and extremely fun in my opinion," Hudsonz said. "It permits teamwork and up-tempo gameplay, which we've lacked in Gears for a while now. In previous Gears titles, we've been playing Execution and I just feel that in Execution the best team didn't always win. But with Escalation, I feel the better team will win 85% of the time unlike [in] the previous games and game modes. I'm excited to see where Gears is at six months from now."

Hudsonz, however, does still acknowledge that Gears is several steps away from becoming a premier esports title. With questions arising in regards to gameplay and spectating, his concerns are warranted but he maintain's confidence that Escalation will help the scene achieve success.

"We've received a ton of developer support and Microsoft seems to be all in too, which is amazing," Hudsonz said.

Recently, E6 participated in the ProIGL Community Series and was the only team to take a map off of OpTic Gaming. Based off of that result, albeit an online tournament with random seeding, many would hold E6 now as a top-three contender. I asked Hudsonz what his team thought about their own performance.

"To be honest, we know we are nowhere near our full potential as a team," Hudsonz said. "We've only really played together for a week and lack chemistry, which is to be expected. We went into our OpTic match knowing we were going to learn some new things and knew they'd know a couple of setups and crosses we've barely seen, especially since we've only played a total of nine maps together prior due to personal issues outside of game. We ended up winning harbor 7-6, which was poor on our side since we had a 6-2 lead but that second set of hills we've barely played. We ended up losing 1-2, but learned a lot from that match and in our eyes we don't care about how people portray us as a team because winning is all that matters for us five players. Yeah, it's nice to see people say "they're the second best" or, "oh they're top-three," but we all know unless we are winning and consistently winning then we won't be satisfied and will continue to grind until we are where we want to be."

The interview came to a close here, as Hudsonz and his team continue to prepare for their upcoming appearance at the Gears of War MLG Launch Invitational, their first LAN together with this new lineup. As always, I gave Hudsonz a chance to leave with his own final word:

"Just want to say thanks to you and GAMURS for letting me do this interview and hope this helped give more insight on me as a player and person, as well the E6 Gears team."

Thanks again to Hudsonz for his time, and I wish him and his team the best of luck in Pro Circuit.

photo credits: esportsGears, JackFelling

What do you think of the current Enigma6 Gears squad? Can they be a consistent threat and contend for the top spot? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below, or tweet us @GAMURScom.

Feb 18 2017 - 8:02 pm

GPC Atlantic City Open sells out in less than 24 hours

Gears esports returns to the Tri-State area.
Image via Joe Brady
Contributing Writer

Tickets for the next event in the Gears of War Pro Circuit, the Gears Pro Circuit Atlantic City Open, have sold out in under 24 hours. From March 31 to April 2, the best Gears esports players in the world will gather in Atlantic City, New Jersey to compete for their share of a $200,000 prize pool.

Over 48 teams will compete amongst the world's best teams, such as OpTic Gaming, eUnited, Echo Fox, Ghost Gaming, Enigma6 Group and the Mexico City Open champions, Team EnVyUs.

Gears esports has an immensely large player base located on the east coast, particularly the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which kept the competitive scene alive throughout the lifespan of Gears of War 3, which received minimal developer support.

Team passes went on sale at 6:00 p.m. EST yesterday (Feb. 17), and were sold out by 2:00 p.m. EST today (Feb. 18), which is roughly 20 hours.

Pool play roster submissions must be in by Monday, March 13 at 3:00 a.m. EST, while open bracket teams have until March 27, at 3:00 a.m. EST to submit their roster.

The venue will be announced next week as a part of a larger sponsorship announcement.

Are you excited for this event? Let us know by tweeting us @GAMURScom.

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.
GAMURS content 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