TORONTO â€” SetToDestroyX rallied to beat Team GIRG in an all-Ontario final at the Cineplex WorldGaming “Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare” tournament final Sunday.
The foursome â€” Michael (Beehzy) Said of Brampton, John (Xotic) Bruno of Cambridge and Toronto’s Evan (HollerTV) Vart and Mehran (Mayhem) Anjomshoa â€” shared the first prize of $20,000.
Team GIRG â€” Andrew (Ivy) Ivers of Toronto, Peirce (Gunless) Hillman of Pickering and Jevon (Goonjar) Gooljar-Lim and Matteo (Royalty) Faithfull of Mississauga â€” earned $10,000.
The eight teams competing Sunday survived online and regional qualifiers and online playoffs to get to the finals of the $65,000 tournament.
GIRG â€”the name comes from the first name of the players’ handles â€” beat Quebec’s Earthroot Gaming in one semifinal while SetToDestroyX took down Ontario’s Fury Gaming in the other. The two finalists dominated play Sunday with neither losing a map until they faced off for the trophy.
Both of the finalists were Canadian pickup teams, with most members playing for other groups in the Call of Duty World League. But while GIRG was simply a loose affiliation of friends who game for a living, the SetToDestroyX gamers were representing a Canadian-based e-sports team.
“It’s not our biggest win but it’s definitely ranking up there,” said SetToDestroyX owner-CEO Charlie Watson, who savoured the home victory.
GIRG won the opening Hardpoint game (Throwback map) 250-221 in a contest that featured a flurry of lead changes. SetToDestroyX then won Search and Destroy (Retaliation) and Uplink (Precinct) 6-4 and 10-2, respectively, before taking another Hardpoint (Scorch) game 250-221 to secure a 3-1 win.
“Honestly it was really fun and really intense and we had a great time playing,” said Vart. “Really competitive.”
Added Said: “It was a blast.”
And proof that playing video games 12 hours a day can pay off.
GIRG’s Ivers paid tribute to SetToDestroyX but said his team’s cause in the final was not helped by some technical problems involving their controllers due to wireless interference â€” perhaps in part due to the size of the audience. Usually they use a wired connection.
“We weren’t able to use our controllers as well as we would have liked, so sometimes we were doing things that we weren’t actually intending to do,” said the 19-year-old Ivers. “But all in all, it was a good tournament.
“We ended up with second, which kind of sucks, but I’m definitely look forward to the next (tournament).”
Game play was shown on the big screen with the two teams facing the audience below the screen.
Live commentary and analysis, for both the theatre and the Internet, was left to the capable hands of Clint (Maven) Evans and Jake (Courage) Dunlop.
Inside the 500-seat cinema at the downtown Scotiabank Theatre, an enthusiastic crowd roared on the gamers, oohing and aahing spectacular kills or missed opportunities. In the aisles, cheerleader-like staffers wielding noise-makers urged them on.
Cineplex, seeing both a growing trend and another use for its theatres, got into the growing world of competitive gaming in September 2015 when it purchased WorldGaming for US$15 million while promising an additional $5-million investment “to expand the business model.”
With PlayStation and game publisher Activision actively involved in the “Call of Duty” tournament, just about every part of the gaming equation is involved.
At present, Cineplex has 24 theatres across the country â€” including two at the Scotiabank Theatre â€” that are equipped to host gaming events.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press