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.