This weekend Mindfreak Gears of War will be battling it out amongst the world's best at the MLG Gears Pro Circuit Las Vegas Open. They will be looking to bring home part of the $300,000 USD prize pool from the event being held at Caesars Entertainment Studios.
After holding the top spot in APAC since the release of Gears of War 4, Mindfreak GoW are looking to take their game to another level and cause some serious upsets on the international stage. Going down in close games during the Columbus Open, the team is ready to bounce back after 3 1st placed finishes and a 2nd place in the 4 APAC 2k events since.
We caught up with All-Star nominee James 'Jjmbob' McAlary, captain Jay 'DaveFromTelstra' Lloyd and Shayden 'Mercer' Aubrey before they flew out to Las Vegas to find out how the team has been preparing and what they are expecting heading into their 3rd international tournament.
After being so dominant in APAC throughout the games life-cycle and having a taste of international competition already, how have you been preparing for the Las Vegas Open? Is it just business as usual or have you been trying to emulate that international environment?
“Preparation wise we've been trying really hard to perfect playing a more team orientated playstyle and I think we've come very far since our last two appearances between scrimming American teams 3-5 days a week on 200 ping for better competition and in house 1v1s and 2v2s to correct our individual skill. I think we have a real shot at causing some serious upsets.” - Jay 'DaveFromTelstra' Lloyd
“Our number one priority in preparing for Vegas was versing American teams as regularly as possible. The NA scene has proven time and time again they are a step ahead of the other international scenes, they are known to punish small mistakes and stop you from being able to play your own game. It was paramount that we played against American teams even at the disadvantage lag brings so we could better understand and incorporate a more aggressive yet smarter playstyle.” - Shayden 'Mercer' Aubrey
Taking on NA teams regularly, lag and all, is a tough task. But it was one the team needed to take as it was a tough run at Columbus earlier this year. APAC are generally considered to have a completely different play style to those in NA and across Europe, do you find this is the case? Do you think it is more of a hindrance or an advantage?
“It was certainly a hindrance, the speed at which NA teams play is a step ahead, thats why we've only been playing. NA teams, its not the skill that separates NA from international teams its about being on the same page on every play.” - James 'Jjmbob' McAlary
“ The difference in playstyle was just a massive difference in experience against accomplished teams. Overseas they tend to play a much faster mistake free game with so many proactive plays on the map. The APAC region has for too long relied on waiting for opponents to make the first move and capitalize on mistakes, but against more seasoned players these mistakes are too rare to come by for these sort of tactics to work.” - Jay
Looking forward to Vegas this weekend, you will be fighting your way through the open bracket and looking to book yourselves a place in pool play. Will this be a different challenge for you considering there is very little, to no information on the teams you will be facing? Or is it just a case of taking the games as they come?
“While it is true we have little information on the teams we will be playing, they also have very little information on us. With the addition of three new members, the team dynamic has completely changed and we play very differently to the Mindfreak squad that went to Columbus previously. The real key is for us is to take every team and match as seriously as if we were playing in the Grand Final, skilled players and teams are everywhere in NA and if you underestimate anybody you are likely to lose.” - Shayden
“Its definitely a case of taking every game as they come, personally I've felt the repercussions of taking a team lightly and I won't let it happen again. If we play together like I know we can we shouldn't be worrying about the open bracket. But as I said we to take this tournament series by series map by map and round by round.” - James
“ We only really know some of the teams that are favoured to make it through and with no certainty to predict who we'll be facing off towards the end. We plan on playing to our strengths and winning by those means as apposed to our opponents weaknesses like before. I have the full confidence in my team that they can perform on the international stage this time around.” - Jay
MLG Gears Pro Circuit Las Vegas Open kicks off 6am Saturday 3rd June and you can catch all the action and support the team over at live.gearsofwar.com.