Gears eSports kicked off 2017 with its first ever event in Latin America – the Gears Pro Circuit Mexico City Open. The event saw 40+ teams make the trip from all around North America, Europe, and Latin America to compete for $100,000 in front of a raucous crowd at the beautiful Auditorio BlackBerry, located in the heart of Mexico City. Below is a quick recap of what took place.
1st: EnVyUs - $40,000
2nd: OpTic Gaming - $20,000
3rd: Ghost Gaming - $15,000
4th: eUnited - $10,000
5th/6th: E6 - $5,000
5th/6th: Echo Fox - $ 5,000
7th/8th: Allegiance - $2,500
7th/8th: Gosu Crew - $2,500
9th/12th: Panda Global
13th/16th: The Hateds
13th/16th: Pedro Juan Jose
13th/16th: Fatal Ambition
17th/20th: Wizard eSports
OpTic Gaming dominated 2016, winning nearly every major event, and didn't lose while playing with their full roster. Although many expected them to continue this dominance into the new year, 2017 has already been a different story.
Team EnVyUs came into the Mexico City Open firing on all cylinders, boasting wins in two recent online tournaments and an unprecedented level of confidence and synergy. As expected, the Boys in Blue made it out of Pool Play and into the Championship Bracket with ease, where they would continue to cruise, relegating both E6 and eUnited to the Losers Bracket without dropping a map. In fact, it wouldn’t be until the Championship Winner’s Bracket final, where EnVyUs would meet their eternal rival OpTic Gaming, that EnVy would be tested for the first time in the tournament.
After quickly dismantling the Green Wall 7-2 on Harbor, Team EnVyUs would go on to lose their first map of the tournament in the next set, falling just short of completing an epic 6-3 comeback. The momentum gained from winning 3 straight rounds to force a decisive round 13 on perhaps OpTic’s best map would carry over, however, with EnVyUs going on to win the series 7-4 to relegate the champs to the Losers Bracket.
Like the Gears Pro Circuit London Open, where OpTic Gaming had to fight their way to the Grand Finals after falling to eUnited in the Winner’s Finals, OpTic would win their Losers Bracket finals match to force a rematch against the Boys in Blue. Unlike the Winners Final, however, this time EnVyUs wouldn’t even drop a map, and go onto dethrone the champs to win their first championship of the Gears eSports Pro Circuit, 7-3, 7-3.
Unlike London, where the majority of the teams emerging from the Open Bracket were already established members of the Gears eSports elite, the squads that came out of Mexico City’s Open Bracket consisted of several teams aiming to make a name for themselves, and one in particular who certainly did.
The squad now known as Ghost Gaming came together just 2-3 weeks prior to the event in Mexico City, and wouldn’t have even had the opportunity to compete if they hadn’t been picked up at the last minute by the brand new eSports organization. Despite featuring some of the most individually skilled, up-and-coming players in the game, along with selfless support players and an experienced captain in former NRG leader Sleepytime; no on Ghost’s, albeit skilled, roster had ever breached the top 3 of a major event. This, of course, is no longer the case.
After cruising through the Open Bracket with ease, Ghost Gaming unenviably landed in Pool D with North American heavyweights eUnited and Team Allegiance, along with the 4th seed from the Latin America region, Aztek Gaming. Despite having the odds somewhat stacked against them, Ghost Gaming would manage to emerge from Pool Play as the top seed from Pool D, subsequently landing them in the Championship Winners Bracket.
Although they’d be relegated to the Losers Bracket by OpTic Gaming, who would later also eliminate them from the tournament; Ghost Gaming would manage to work their way through top-tiered teams Echo Fox, Enigma 6, and eUnited in Championship Bracket play on route to a third place finish overall. Whether or not they’re able to continue this success remains to be seen, but it goes without saying that Ghost’s debut was a successful one.
The Gears Pro Circuit Mexico City Open resulted not only in the crowning of a new champion, but a general shuffling around of the entire top tier, and a cataclysm of change to the Gears competitive landscape itself following the event.
In addition to Ghost Gaming making their way into the top 3, GoSu Crew – another relatively new squad – managed to breach the top 8 in their debut event, taking out hometown heroes Splyce on the way. On the other side of this shuffle were teams like Allegiance, who slipped out of the top 5 for the first time in Gears 4; eUnited, who dropped back to 4th after finishing 2nd in London, and; Epsilon, who took a step back from their 7th/8th place finishes in Columbus and London to finish 9th/12th overall. That all said, these shifts to the top 10 finishes were nothing compared to the changes that took place on the teams themselves following the event.
Granted some roster changes can be expected following any big event, the cataclysm that took place following the Mexico City Open is unlike any we’ve seen to this point (atleast in respect to the top tiered North American teams). Here are some of the changes that took place following the event:
- Following their first grand finals loss of the Pro Circuit, Lava was traded from OpTic Gaming to eUnited for Icy
- Allegiance’s Yogurt was released following the squad’s 7/8th place finish and replaced by Shock
- Phenomxnon was released from Ghost Gaming after they finished 3rd in their inaugural event
- Panda Global split up: Strangulate and Nastty left and revived Synergy, Drix went to Ghost, Shock went to Allegiance, and Noxious Hero is in the process of making a team with FatalStryke
- Speedy was released by Echo Fox and replaced by Crushmo from E6
- DeToX re-assumed his position on GoSu Crew in place of DFazio, who came in as a last minute sub the event
- Rocher was released from Splyce and replaced by ChaoZ
- E6 has yet to find a replacement for Crushmo
From the beautiful venue and unbelievable crowd, to the upsets and crowning of a new champion, the Gears Pro Circuit Mexico City Open was certainly a memorable event. What will happen next, though? Will teams like GoSu and Ghost continue to ascend the ranks, or will teams like Allegiance and eUnited return to the top? How will the recent flurry of roster changes effect the competitive landscape? Will OpTic reclaim the throne with Icy, is this just the beginning of EnVyUs’s reign, or will we see a new champion crowned? Plenty can, and likely will, happen between now and the next event, which isn’t scheduled until late March/early April, but make sure you tune into Gears Fight Nights Wednesdays at 3PM PST/6PM EST in the meantime to keep up-to-date on everything going on in Gears eSports.