10 September 2016 - 11:29

One on One With FraNChiS

In this edition of One on One, we peek into the mind of one of Gears' most tenured players and the captain of EnVyUs, FraNChiS

In this first edition of "One on One," I sat down with one of the few players who has managed to be a top competitor in each entry of the Gears of War series, Jose "FraNChiS" Mavo.

As captain of EnVyUs, he's led them to Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition LAN wins at both Hypefestation 4 and ESL Pro League Finals Season 2.

First off, let’s give the readers some background information on you for those that may not know of you: What’s your name, how long have you been competing and what got you into Gears of War?

My name is Jose Leonardo Mavo and I have been competing since the inaugural MLG Meadowlands 2007 Gears of War tournament. Back in high school, I remember a friend of mine showing me the famous Gears commercial. After buying the game, he then introduced me to GameBattles and that's where my competitive drive took over. I began competing at every MLG event and became a professional Gears player.

What is your best and worst memory in Gears of War?

My best memory has to be competing for the Season 2 ESL trophy in front of the PAX East crowd. Having all those people watching and feeling their energy after every kill/round made winning feel that much better. Raising the trophy in front of supporters and EnVy fans meant everything to me.

Who was your favorite Gears teammate in any Gears, and why?

My favorite teammate is really hard to decide because I have had so many amazing teammates, but I would have to give it to Cody "B1ackjak" Wheeler. Cody and I teamed briefly in GoW1 but never went to an event together. We teamed again in GoW2 and ended up placing fourth. The biggest reason he is my favorite is because the guy was one of the smartest players I had ever played with and he knew how to pass on his knowledge. He was an old Halo 2 pro that looked at Execution like a chess board. He did not have the greatest shotgun, but he was always in the right spot and shooting at the right people. He always made the right pushes and relied on out-thinking his opponent. He is the player that pushed me to the next level as far as strategy and out-positioning my opponents in gun fights. Unfortunately, after our first event together, he had a car accident a few months later and quit Gears.

You’re the only veteran player on a top team. We’re seeing a lot of old faces with hopes of making a comeback and being on top of the field again. Do you see any teams or individual veterans that you believe could rise to the top again?

I know that NSANEZ and Infinity are making a comeback, along with some individual veterans sprinkled here and there. Gears IQ never goes away and that is the only thing that will help them going into the next game. At an individual skill level standpoint, they are and will be far behind. They continue to think their old way of playing is going to work against the new meta of individual fights. They will realize this pretty soon and based on how bad they want it, they will either adapt or quit. Out of all of the pros I see coming back, I see Prison and Wildebeast prospering the most. They have now been actively playing for several months and have adapted to the new style of play that was adopted at the end of Gears 3.

Now, on to some of the questions, the community’s been waiting to hear answered. The Kenny situation; what happened there?

The Kenny situation went down like this: after winning Hype4 and throughout the first ESL season, Kenny did not take practice seriously. He would purposefully team kill and not call out during scrims. We went to the Season 1 finals with the impression that he did not care anymore. After a poor performance from him at Season 1 finals, he decided to care again. We got back from Burbank and he was playing singles on the GB ladder every day. We ended up playing Denial (now OpTic) in the GB $1500 tournament that week and won 3-1. It took a loss at the finals to get him "back" but it was too late at that point. Knowing we lost ESL S1 due to a lack of effort was the deciding factor as to why we dropped him.

What about the timing of the drop? I remember it was coming close to the roster change deadlines and if I remember correctly, had he not found a team within a short window, he wouldn't have been able to compete in the ESL Season 2?

Wrong. Rosters unlocked after week four for a week. I don't want to throw my teammates under the bus for the move because it was done while I was asleep. It was kind of a forced thing that I had to accept because it was past the point of no return, so I don't want to comment on that.

But wouldn't he have been out for four weeks?

He and Toy were out for four weeks until those rosters unlocked. In his case, he played under his brother's account, so he was never really out.

Do you think the roster change could have been handled differently? Whether the parties involved had handled it better or had there been better rules regarding roster moves?

We were trying to handle it correctly. But Toy jumped the gun based off of what Praized and Soto told him. So he told VexX he was leaving VexX instead of asking for the contract situation, like I asked him to do four or five days before everything happened. He assumed he was on the team. I was using the roster lock to keep Kenny. But everything was messed up because of immature acts.

Roster changes do have a tendency of becoming messy on some end, depending on your perspective. If you could go back and do it again, would you? What would you do differently, if anything?

It's a tough question to answer because I didn't want to make the change at the time it happened. I am also very thankful to call Toy a teammate. He has become another brother, which is something Kenny never really was. If I had to do it again, I would do it, but I would have done it differently.

Hindsight is 20/20, but let's change the pace a bit; you guys did take ESL Season 2 finals. Can you tell me how much that meant to you and your team?

It felt good to bring that trophy home. We went undefeated that season with Toy. We were really looking forward to playing Denial with their full team since we had beat them so decisively during the season. Unfortunately, Solurs didn't show up to PaX East and they still somehow beat Strictly Business to play us in the finals. Either way, we beat everyone that season. We proved why we made the right decision in picking up Toy.

I think everyone was disappointed in not seeing Denial (now OpTic) with their full lineup at the finals. What do you have to say to those that put an asterisk on that win, given they had to play with their coach, Ashes?

We did not plan on playing Denial in the finals. We prepared for Strictly Business. They had beat them online twice that season and Denial were playing with a coach. We beat whoever was in our way for the trophy. In sports, players go down to injuries all the time. Do you see anyone condemning Golden State for winning against Cleveland after Kyrie was out of the series? We saw what Kyrie was capable of in hindsight, but do you take away Golden State's first ring because of it? I wouldn't. If SB would have beaten Denial and we would have beaten them, would there still be an asterisk? Don't think so. At the end of the day, it's about who closes out and who holds up that trophy. Nothing else matters.

All fair points to make. Most of the Gears esports fans figured we'd see another finals match between the two of you, but Dream Team pulled off what many would consider an upset victory, knocking you guys into third place. What went wrong in that series and how did you guys take it as a team?

We didn't play with any energy vs. Dream Team. We were not winning any gun fights and the overall attitude of the team was terrible. We had not been in a losers bracket match since Gears of War 3 and it showed. If you look at all the top-six teams that lost early, they were mostly eliminated in all of their matches after their loss. dT and E6 were perfect examples. After our loss to dT, we were upset, but it was not as bad as you would think. We were just mad at ourselves for losing to NME. With open tournaments back in GoW, we will make sure to never let that happen again.

You guys also added Ribs to the lineup as well going into Gears 4. How do you feel he will compliment your current roster? How do you guys feel going from a four-man roster to five?

Ribs brings a calm to our storm. I know a lot of players focus on his individual skill and movement, but I believe his biggest assets are his communication and composure. Having a fifth adds a new layer to Gears and we welcome the challenge.

Gears 4 is a new game with a completely new gametype. What are your impressions thus far on the game and Escalation from playing the beta and any past play-test of the build? Do you think Escalation can replace the fan favorite Execution?

Escalation might be what competitive Gears needs. After playing it a bit, I can really see it replacing Execution entirely. The strategy, teamwork, and skill needed in Escalation, far outweigh those needed in Execution. I truly believe we are taking huge steps in the right direction with the launch of GoW4 and this new gametype.

And to close it all out, how do you think Gears 4 will stand against other esports, specifically other console esports like Call of Duty, Halo and Rainbow Six?

If you look at the other console esports, we have received the least developer support up until now. The Coalition is doing their best to give us the most competitive Gears to date and providing us a stage to prove it. With the announcement of the million dollar circuit, we are bound to grow as an esport, but money is not enough. We must continue to incorporate tools that other popular esports have proven to succeed in using.  We must provide viewers a memorable experience and I think The Coalition understands that.

I couldn't agree more! Thanks for the time Fran, always a pleasure and good luck to you and your team in the upcoming season.

No problem! Thank you


FraNChiS and his team, EnVyUs, will be competing in the MLG Gears of War 4 Launch Invitational, on Oct. 22-23, against seven other invited teams for a prize pool of $25,000 in the MLG Columbus Arena. Be sure to tune in as they prime themselves to make a statement in Gears of War 4 first LAN event.

How do you think about EnVyUs will do at the MLG Gears of War 4 Launch Invitational in October? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom
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