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

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

As captain of EnVyUs, he’s led them to Gears Of War: UltimateEdition LAN wins at both Hypefestation 4 and ESL Pro League FinalsSeason 2.

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

My name is Jose Leonardo Mavo and I have been competing sincethe inaugural MLG Meadowlands 2007 Gears of War tournament. Back inhigh school, I remember a friend of mine showing me the famousGears commercial. After buying the game, he then introduced me toGameBattles and that’s where my competitive drive took over. Ibegan competing at every MLG event and became a professional Gearsplayer.

What is your best and worst memory in Gears ofWar?

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

Who was your favorite Gears teammate in any Gears, andwhy?

My favorite teammate is really hard to decide because I have hadso many amazing teammates, but I would have to give it to Cody”B1ackjak” Wheeler. Cody and I teamed briefly in GoW1 but neverwent to an event together. We teamed again in GoW2 and ended upplacing fourth. The biggest reason he is my favorite is because theguy was one of the smartest players I had ever played with and heknew how to pass on his knowledge. He was an old Halo 2 pro thatlooked at Execution like a chess board. He did not have thegreatest shotgun, but he was always in the right spot and shootingat the right people. He always made the right pushes and relied onout-thinking his opponent. He is the player that pushed me to thenext level as far as strategy and out-positioning my opponents ingun fights. Unfortunately, after our first event together, he had acar 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 acomeback and being on top of the field again. Do you see any teamsor individual veterans that you believe could rise to the topagain?

I know that NSANEZ and Infinity are making a comeback, alongwith some individual veterans sprinkled here and there. Gears IQnever goes away and that is the only thing that will help themgoing into the next game. At an individual skill level standpoint,they are and will be far behind. They continue to think their oldway of playing is going to work against the new meta of individualfights. They will realize this pretty soon and based on how badthey want it, they will either adapt or quit. Out of all of thepros I see coming back, I see Prison and Wildebeast prospering themost. They have now been actively playing for several months andhave adapted to the new style of play that was adopted at the endof Gears 3.

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

The Kenny situation went down like this: after winning Hype4 andthroughout the first ESL season, Kenny did not take practiceseriously. He would purposefully team kill and not call out duringscrims. We went to the Season 1 finals with the impression that hedid not care anymore. After a poor performance from him at Season 1finals, he decided to care again. We got back from Burbank and hewas playing singles on the GB ladder every day. We ended up playingDenial (now OpTic) in the GB $1500 tournament that week and won3-1. It took a loss at the finals to get him “back” but it was toolate at that point. Knowing we lost ESL S1 due to a lack ofeffort was the deciding factor as to why we dropped him.

What about the timing of the drop? I remember it wascoming close to the roster change deadlines and if I remembercorrectly, had he not found a team within a short window, hewouldn’t have been able to compete in the ESL Season2?

Wrong. Rosters unlocked after week fourfor a week. I don’t want to throw my teammates under the bus forthe move because it was done while I was asleep. It was kindof a forced thing that I had to accept because it was past thepoint of no return, so I don’t want to comment on that.

But wouldn’t he have been out forfour weeks?

He and Toy were out for four weeks untilthose rosters unlocked. In his case, he played under his brother’saccount, so he was never really out.

Do you think the roster changecould have been handled differently? Whether the parties involvedhad handled it better or had there been better rules regardingroster moves?

We were trying to handle it correctly. ButToy jumped the gun based off of what Praized and Soto told him. Sohe told VexX he was leaving VexX instead of asking for the contractsituation, like I asked him to do four or five days beforeeverything happened. He assumed he was on the team. I was using theroster lock to keep Kenny. But everything was messed up because ofimmature acts.

Roster changes do have a tendencyof becoming messy on some end, depending on your perspective. Ifyou could go back and do it again, would you? What would you dodifferently, if anything?

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

Hindsight is 20/20, butlet’s change the pace a bit; you guys did take ESL Season 2finals. Can you tell me how much that meant to you and yourteam?

It felt good to bring that trophy home. Wewent undefeated that season with Toy. We were really lookingforward to playing Denial with their full team since we had beatthem so decisively during the season. Unfortunately, Solurs didn’tshow up to PaX East and they still somehow beat Strictly Businessto 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 disappointedin not seeing Denial (now OpTic) with their full lineup at thefinals. What do you have to say to those that put an asterisk onthat win, given they had to play with their coach,Ashes?

We did not plan on playing Denial in thefinals. We prepared for Strictly Business. They had beat themonline twice that season and Denial were playing with a coach. Webeat whoever was in our way for the trophy. In sports, players godown to injuries all the time. Do you see anyone condemning GoldenState for winning against Cleveland after Kyrie was out of theseries? We saw what Kyrie was capable of in hindsight, but do youtake away Golden State’s first ring because of it? I wouldn’t. IfSB would have beaten Denial and we would have beaten them, wouldthere 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. Nothingelse matters.

All fair points to make. Most ofthe Gears esports fans figured we’d seeanother finals match between the two of you, but DreamTeam pulled off what many would consider an upset victory, knockingyou guys into third place. What went wrong in that series and howdid you guys take it as a team?

We didn’t play with any energy vs. DreamTeam. We were not winning any gun fights and the overall attitudeof the team was terrible. We had not been in a losers bracket matchsince Gears of War 3 and it showed. If you look at all the top-sixteams that lost early, they were mostly eliminated in all oftheir 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 youwould think. We were just mad at ourselves for losing to NME. Withopen tournaments back in GoW, we will make sure to never let thathappen again.

You guys also added Ribs to thelineup as well going into Gears 4. How do you feel he willcompliment your current roster? How do you guys feel going froma four-man roster tofive?

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

Gears 4 is a new game with acompletely new gametype. What are your impressionsthus far on the game and Escalation from playing the beta and anypast play-test of the build? Do you think Escalation can replacethe fan favorite Execution?

Escalation might be what competitive Gearsneeds. After playing it a bit, I can really see it replacingExecution entirely. The strategy, teamwork, and skill needed inEscalation, far outweigh those needed in Execution. I trulybelieve we are taking huge steps in the right direction with thelaunch of GoW4 and this new gametype.

And to close it all out, how doyou think Gears 4 will stand against otheresports, specifically other consoleesports like Call of Duty, Halo and RainbowSix?

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

I couldn’t agree more! Thanks forthe time Fran, always a pleasure and good luck to you and your teamin the upcoming season.

No problem! Thank you

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

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