Special thanks to CMe_Rome for this awesome interview!
I am here with an interview with former MLG Pro and WCG National Finalist for Gears of War, but now, he is the eSports Gears Analyst. I have seen all his scrims with JusTus Raw Talent, and all of his archive streams and YouTube videos, his Gears of War 2 placements are outstanding with him being in the 2009 MLG Pro Circuit, 7th place in Orlando Nationals, 10th place in Anaheim, 5th place in Dallas, 3rd place in Columbus, and 9th place in Meadowlands.
Q: Immortal, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I know who YOU are, but can you give us a quick introduction to those who do not?
My name is Rob “Immortal Spawn” Ambrose. My notable teams are High Council and Raw Talent. I’ve been an advocate of competitive Gears since the beginning and began competing immediately upon its release, winning the first ever Gamebattles Doubles and Team ladders in the Fall of 2006 (showing my age)! One of my favorite memories was scrimming Gears 1 in front of a full classroom on a large projector, screaming callouts at the top of my lungs, and seeing the look on everyone’s face afterwards. I wrote a 20 page paper on competitive Gears in college. Before the days of Twitter and Twitch, I would post a write ups of local lans and ladder matches on the GB Forums, breaking down the matches and scores, and sharing photos from the event with obligatory “holding the money” pics. Over the last decade, I’ve contributed to the community as a competitor, content creator, analyst, developer, and fan.
Q: In 2009, you have accomplished what most gamers want to accomplish, and that is being in the MLG Pro Circuit. Can you tell the readers how your experience was on the pro circuit and your road to the pro circuit?
Nothing compares to competing at a live MLG event. Hundreds of passionate gamers throwing down to be recognized as the best. The energy surrounding the Gears stations was unrivaled. Crowds gathered around potential upsets. Stories of 1v4 clutches carried from the side stations. Roars of “Let’s Go!” echoed through the venue. Of course we marveled at Halo’s main stage arena that seemed to get cooler every single event, but Gears always brought the hype.
When Gears of War 2 was announced to be on the MLG 2009 circuit, I set a goal for myself to obtain Pro status. Although I was heavily involved in Gears 1 leading up to the first MLG 07 circuit, I was unable to travel and compete due to college and starting my career as a Software Engineer. With graduation in the past, I was able to dedicate time to “the grind”. The key for me was finding players that were as dedicated as me and were willing to listen. It was important that my team competed in every possible local LAN and online tournament available. This gave us the most real tournament practice leading up to the first MLG Meadowlands 09 event. Raw Talent had to play through open bracket due to a roster change after the online seeding tournament. We went 6-0 through open to make it into the champ bracket and continued our run to a 9th place finish. Because we came from open, we were slotted into the lower bracket and our tournament ended after one lose! However, our performance was enough to set us up nice for the next event in Columbus.
I mentioned how dedicated I was during the pre MLG days, attending every local LAN that popped up. During the 07 and 08 seasons, I would follow news from home of my former teammates becoming Pros. I was proud of them, but I wanted it. I needed it.
Columbus 09 was my time. 3rd place at MLG, with over 100 teams in attendance. Heading to Dallas, the third stop on the circuit, I was definitely feeling like an “MLG Pro”. Our official jerseys were waiting for us. We had photo sessions, player meetings, etc. We even got our team logo included in the official MLG Gear of War team picture pack on Xbox Live! Rockstar life.
2009 was definitely my most successful year in Gears. This simply came down to the fact that my teammates and I were at a good point in our lives to dedicate time to the grind.
Q: With Gears of War 4 around the corner, and that big announcement from Jack Felling, gears of war Pro Circuit for Gears of War 4 & $1,000,000.00 prize pool, we are hearing a lot of teams talk about “grinding”. What is your definition of grinding?
Funny you mention that! Grinding is best defined as rigorous training. Grinding is dedication, determination, and sacrifice. It means scrimming one more cycle after your cut off time. It’s calling each other during lunch breaks to talk about last night’s scrim or what new trick strat to try next. It’s yelling at each other, figuring it out, and learning to compromise. The grind is both frustrating and satisfying. It means you will go to an event knowing you prepared every way possible. Successful players will attest to the grind. It’s a critical part of it. One less game you play is one more advantage given to your opponent. As important as it is to grind as a player, grinding as a team is how you win championships. Spending time together outside the game is just as important as inside. Building chemistry, trust, and having fun together is imperative to win as a team.
Q: Speaking of Gears of War 4, 5v5 rosters. What are your Pros and Cons on 5v5s?
I am stoked for 5v5! You guys know I’m gonna nerd out on the whiteboard with Professor Immortal Escalation videos. Seriously, though.. 5v5 will broaden the meta and deepen the strategy. We will see new opening strats and team compositions. As a result of the player increase, callouts must be more precise and direct since there is an additional voice on the team and even more information to communicate. I also anticipate a bump in team shuffles during the start of the season. Prepare for many “Looking for a 5th” tweets.
Q: I see you’re doing a lot for the new players. If you ask me, if science was Gears of War, then you would be Albert Einstein. Do you have any advice to teams starting out in the competitive scene or even the top tier players?
My advice to both new and existing players is you need to ask yourself what you are looking to get out of the game on a competitive level and proceed to find players with the same goals. Ideally, your teammates are at a similar place as you in life so your out of game responsibilities and schedules don’t clash. Quality practice is seriously so important. Everyone should be focused 100%… mics on and going in like you would in a tournament. Learn to lose together. Improve on your mistakes. Treat the game as a job (a really fun one) and your team with respect. I recommend watching My Top 10 Tips for Competing on LAN video where I go into more details on many of these topics.
Q: Thank you for taking time out to do this interview. Do you have any last words?
I want to thank all of the players, tournament organizers, and content creators who kept the Gears of War eSports scene alive over the years. We are incredibly lucky to have a team as passionate as The Coalition behind us. The best is yet to come for Gears of War eSports.