This is the second of hopefullymany interviews in my series “Turning the COGs.” Last week, Italked with Enigma6’s coach E6 Burger; clickhere for that interview. This week, I got the chanceto speak to the coach of possibly the best team throughoutGears of War: Ultimate Edition and now a member of theGreen Wall, OpTic Gaming’s Nick “Ashes“Ridgeway.
Ashes has been playing Gears forages and he was first introduced to the game by a friend.”He needed help beatingGeneral Raam on Insane and I was the only one dumb enough to try tohelp,” Ashes said.
Ashes has also been around thecompetitive scene since 2008 when he started playing Gears of Warmatches on the GameBattles website. “This was my first taste of competitive videogames outside of having a bunch of friends over for a LAN party inHalo or Halo 2,” Ashessaid.
So from just a couple friendsplaying Halo together to this day, Ashes has become the coach ofthe most widely recognised console esports organisation, OpTicGaming. “Gettingpicked up by OpTic Gaming was one of the most incredible things toever happen to us,” Ashes said. “It was what we listed as one of our”dream” orgs. When they approached us, it was sort ofsurreal.”
I then asked Ashes was howhe and his team felt about Gears of War 4. “Gears of War 4 looksamazing,” Ashes said. “Our players are ready for it, and the newgame type is something we can’t waitfor.” In caseyou missed the unveiling of the new game type, Escalation,click here.
With a brand new game and gamemode, I took this chance to ask Ashes what he exactly did as acoach. Now in other games, such League of Legends or CS:GO, you might have a team of analysts as well as ahead coach who relays all the information to their team. They willsit in scrims, keep track of individual statistics on players andmaps, run VOD reviews, and come up with tactics.
Ashes does all of the above andmore. He told me not only did he prepare his team for every matchupduring the ESL Pro League, but also prepared his team with severaldefault strategies that they could use on teams they were not sofamiliar with.
This coaching style combined,with a ton of firepower, helped them secure a win at MLG Columbus.“They are amazingplayers and I am truly blessed to have the chance to work withthem,” Ashes said.
Now one thing I really wanted tofind out is the effect of hype on Gears of War teams. Ashes pointedout that some teams rely on hype more than others. “Take a team like DreamTeam,” Ashes said.“When they are losing,you can see them mentally crumble. When they start winning, theyare a whole new beast.”
As I came to the end of ourconversation, I asked Ashes about his thoughts on the future ofGears of War esports. “I think the future of Gears esports isvery bright,” Ashes said. “With big orgs involved (OpTic, Envy, tK, etc)and developer support, I feel like there is no way for the game notto succeed.”
Ashes also wanted to get ashoutout to some people who helped him along the way.“I want to give amassive shoutout and thank you to JackFelling and The Coalition for their work to revitalise thegame,” Ashes said. “Also, shoutout to my players, who believed inme and gave me a chance and now continue to do so. They are amazingand I can never express how much I appreciate them. Thanks to OpTicGaming for welcoming us into the family, and to theirsponsors: Brisk Mate, Turtle Beach, Scuf Gaming,Gymsharkand Lootcrate. And of course, to all ofthe #Greenwall for their amazing support,”
With that said, this brings myinterview with OpTic Ashes to a close. Thank you very much forgiving me the chance to chat with you. Next up in my “Turning theCOGs” series will be Team EnVyUs‘s coach, Ryan “Ryan”Summers.
Who else would you like to seefeatured in this series? Let me know in the comments below or bysending me a tweet, @GAMURS_tnm. For all your Gears of War news andmore, make sure you also follow us on Twitter, @GAMURScom.