Last weekend was Gears Community Online Network’s first LAN Tournament, Cities of Gears (COG) Vengeance, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The tournament was filled with over twenty competitive Gears of War teams including Hypefestation attendees Infinity, Less Than Zero, and Ambition. COG: Vengeance also brought in a large amount of new and unknown of teams, who were made up of former legacy teams, competitive hopefuls, and families. Our tournament was truly a community event that will be remembered for months to come.
From the very opening matches on Saturday, the emotion and intensity from all the teams was staggering. It was overly apparent that Gears of War Community has a lot of passion about playing this game. With every round won, cycle completed, or draw; you could feel the intensity throughout the venue. Vengeance where people couldn’t contain their excitement and where you could barely hear over the chanting of the crowd. The most intense moments happened Sunday when the semi-finals started between SDA & Infinity. Infinity has been the undisputed Gears of War 3 Champions throughout the last two Hypefestations and KOTC Events, and everyone was expecting them to repeat this trend at Vengeance. SDA was the only pickup team to make it into the Vengeance semi-finals and holding the top seed of the tournament going in. SDA & Infinity went to the last map of the best of seven series, with Infinity edging out the victory and being the first team in the finals.
SDA dropped into the Loser’s bracket and awaited the winners of Ambition and Less Than Zero. Ambition hands down fought the hardest to make it into the Loser’s semi-finals, playing over ten complete cycles and leaving the venue at 10 PM on Saturday. Less Than Zero, who is no stranger to level of competition, was battling Ambition to get their second chance to play Infinity in the finals. Infinity dropped Less Than Zero to earn their spot in the semi-finals on Saturday. Both teams seeing Infinity in the finals, knew that they had their work cut out for them. Ambition & Less Than Zero, like SDA & Infinity, went the distance. This was the second time of the tournament that two teams went down to the last map of a best of seven series. In the end Ambition edged out Less Than Zero, who took fourth place overall, and went on to face SDA for the chance to face Infinity!
Ambition coming off a huge victory over Less Than Zero, took a decisive lead over SDA in the first four games of their series. Being up 3-1 both teams met up on what could have been the last map of series, Hotel. SDA knowing that the end of their journey was drawing closure, played an amazing match and went up over Ambition 3-2 in seven rounds. Twenty seconds into the eighth round of Hotel, the map was called in favor of SDA. The crowd and announcers were shocked at the outcome, and how come they weren’t made aware of the existence of a seven round rule. The fact of the matter is that during the entire COG: Vengeance Tournament, the seven round rule had never been implemented until this match. There was even more irony around the use of the. seven round rule. Up until a week prior to the tournament, Vengeance didn’t have a seven round rule until a member of Ambition, Bobby Rice insisted that we use one. Only if Bobby had foreseen how that would play out for his team in the Loser Finals, he may have never asked for one. Ambition losing on Hotel drastically changed the momentum in favor of SDA. SDA & Ambition for the third time in Vengeance played all the way to seventh map with SDA coming out with a victory.
SDA and Infinity entered into the Grand Finals with a best of thirteen series. Since both teams met earlier in the tournament, this set would be a continuation with Infinity up 4-3 over SDA and first one to seven would win it all. Their first map was Checkout where SDA, came out strong and shut down Infinity without ever losing a round. SDA tied up the map count to 4-4 with six maps left to play, looking to try to win another round on King of the Hill Dry Dock. Both teams battled it out for control on Dry Dock but SDA after a hard fought ten minutes came out again on top of Infinity with score of 210 to 183. SDA pulled ahead with the first two maps of the series and was looking to close it out to be the only team to beat Infinity in Gears of War 3. Moving into the third map of the Grand Finals, which would be the second King of the Hill map, Trenches. Though it would appear early on that SDA would take this map to go up 6-4 in the series, Infinity came back strong close out Trenches and tied the series at 5-5. Though the series was all tied up going into the fourth map of the cycle it wouldn’t remain that way for long. SDA would come out on top in both Execution Clocktower and King of the Hill Rustlung, and defeating Infinity for the first time in Gears of War 3.
COG: Vengeance turned out to be a great experience not only for the gamers, but as the community as a whole. Thousands of viewer and tweets went out from the start of the event, all the way to end. Gears Community Online Network and Cities of Gears was very proud and honored to host this event for the Gears of War Community. This tournament was an amazing event that we hope will be the bar at which all other events are run in the future. If you missed the finals you can check them out on COG: Vengeance Finals and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our sponsors. Twitch, Project Triforce, Squid Grips, Eisenstein Modz, and Wired Combat for making this event and hopefully others in the future possible.