Gears: Gfinity London Open

12th December 2016

This past weekend saw our professional European Gears of War team attend the London Open live at the Gfinity Arena in Fulham Broadway, London. The team qualified for the event through a series of online tournaments and was able to secure a spot in the pool play stage at the tournament, reserved for the top 12 teams from across the globe who would eventually be joined by four more teams from the Open Bracket. A tough group draw saw us face up against French giants Team Vitality, the European second seed, as well as Team EnVyus, the North American second seed. We were also later joined by North American team Enigma6 who worked their way through a gruelling Open Bracket to make it in to the pool play stage.

We were given the opportunity to kick off the live broadcast at the event on mainstage on Saturday morning against Vitality. For anyone watching map 1, the 7-2 scoreline to Vitality at the end did not entirely reflect the state of play. We were dominant on the break and won the initial engagements on the middle hill almost every round, however they could not cope with the aggressive over-extends from Vitality who were quickly able to rotate and break our set-ups. Map 2 was similar in the level of intensity and produced some extremely close rounds, however Vitality again showcased their teamwork and were able to walk away with a 2-0 series victory.

Vicious.jpg

Later in the afternoon we moved to the side stations to play Team EnVyus, a repeat of our match from earlier in the year at the AM2Pro Gears of War event – an event that nV would eventually go on to win. This was always going to be a tough affair, with nV one of the hot favourites to win this event as well. In the first map, nV showed just how dominant they can be and took a comfortable victory. Map 2 started in our favour, with our boys securing the first round in convincing fashion. However, we weren’t able to capitalise on the momentum and nV emerged with a 2-0 victory.

(Danny 'xL Vicious' Hogg | photo credit - @joebradyphoto)

Our final game of the day and of the pool play stage would be against Enigma6, the North American team who advanced through the open bracket to earn a spot in the pools. The games were much closer, with the teams trading rounds in the early stages of both maps. The Americans however were able to clutch up in key moments and take the series 2-0 after 7-4 and 7-2 victories. That concluded day one of the event and after three losses, we were left sitting in 4th place in the group and would drop straight in to the loser’s bracket on day two.

On day two, our first game of the day would be against Aporia eSports, a team from the open bracket who had had to string together a series of victories to advance through the loser’s bracket after having missed out on a pool play spot. Ultimately, the momentum of those victories combined with our team’s tough experiences of playing some of the world’s best on day one meant that the confidence was with Aporia. This proved costly for our team, who after losing the first map, had to show tough mental strength to get back to winning rounds in the second map. After going 3-0 down, the boys showed excellent composure to win the next three rounds and tie the second map. The next two rounds would prove decisive, with Aporia taking a 5-3 lead despite in both rounds our team having over 200 points and being extremely close to a victory. We would take one more round in reply but Aporia would then close out the game 7-4 and the series overall.

That would conclude our weekend here at the Gfinity Arena. Despite the excellent accomplishment of qualifying for the event and the pool play stages, it would ultimately end in disappointment for our boys who were understandably frustrated at the way the weekend turned out. The lack of momentum gained on day one would prove decisive and there is certainly much the team can learn from the experience. We would like to thank them for their professionalism throughout the event despite facing trash-talk and disappointment at varying levels throughout the weekend. Gears of War eSports is incredibly exciting as viewing experience, with Escalation treating spectators to high intensity, and at times unpredictable, match-ups. We look forward to continuing to support this growing eSports community and look forward to more events in 2017. Thank you to all of our sponsors for helping us support the players to attend this event, to the Coalition for providing players and organisations the platform on which to compete, and Gfinity for organising and running a superb event as always.