Game Rant went downtown Toronto last night for the Epic Games/Xbox Canada Gears of War 3 beta preview event. Epic Games Executive Producer Rod Fergusson was the special guest of the night and chatted with the press to describe the goals, changes and new features coming with Gears of War 3.

Then we moved on to the fun stuff: the Gears of War 3 tournament. Involving 8 teams, in a best 2 out of 3 elimination format, across three different maps with Rod Fergusson announcing and live-broadcasting – the game was on.

Our 5-man team included myself, Rob Keyes, along with Game Rant writers Riley Little, John Jacques, Ryan Blanchard and our weekly Corrupted Saves comic artist, Zac Landry. The rules were simple: Team Death Match, 10 respawns, 5v5 and best 2 of 3 wins the round and moves on. Losing team is out of the tournament.

We fueled up in proper fashion – Red velvet cupcakes because, as we were told, “it’s the closest thing to blood”:

Gears of War 3 Cupcakes

We called ourselves the X-Men, because of my t-shirt (we should have stuck with “Game Rant”), and went in with a simple gameplan: stick together. And I had one rule for the team: don’t die. A reasonable expectation in Gears of War, no? Off we go to take our seats in the tourney room.

For our first match-up, we played as the Locusts on the Trenches map, and as Rod Fergusson described while filming our team, it was a “perfect victory” and the Game Rant crew didn’t die once. Come game 2 and feeling confident, I made the mistake of trying to test out the new sawed off shotgun and ended up eating a chainsaw. That was our only death for the two matches in round one. We were off to the semis thanks to strong teamwork and some consistent death deliverance by our man, John Jacques, whose fearless chainsaw work inside of this map’s sandstorm helped set the tone. This is a good level for the retro lancer if you charge through the dust clouds ready to bayonet.

Gears of War 3 Trenches Strategy

Later, we were called back for our semi-finals match-up, this time on the the new Thrashball map which features a hanging scoreboard in the center of the arena that actually keeps score of the game and can be shot down to kill anyone underneath.

We were playing COG this time and the opposing team had watched our first round and knew we moved as a group. It got hectic and we got separated a few times, but had a clear strategy of going up one side and defending, while moving as a group on the offensive to the other side when the opposing team held back or scattered.

Gears of War 3 Thrashball Strategy

The first game was tight, but game 2 we were on track to win handily, but got sloppy at the end. Game Rant’s “X-Men” were victorious nonetheless.

In the other division, Urbanology (our rival) was fighting another solid team. Urbanology came into the tournament as the reigning champions, having won the Halo: Reach tournament last year with the help of an MLG Halo 2 player. Riley Little and I were present for that event but lost in the semifinals against them (it helps playing with a team you know… and with MLG players). They entered this Gears 3 tourney with a pro Gears gamer as as their new “ringer.”

This time we decided to watch and the first game came down to a one kill difference. The second game however, was even more intense and both teams exhausted their respawns and were down to two players each. That ended in a stalemate and they got to play again. In the end, Urbanology won and would face us in the championships.

For the final round of the tournament, we would be playing in the Old Town. This tricky urban environment offers a sniper rifle/torque bow spawn and were able to acquire that right off the bat. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to pull of any headshots as they came in close with the digger launcher.

Gears of War 3 Old Town Strategy

This first match ended up with us knocking out all of their respawns but then losing all of ours. It came down to a literal 4v4 but we pulled through. One more win and the championship was ours.

You can watch how the entire match played out from our perspective thanks to Rod filming from our side for all of our games. We  got boomed a few times, but Zac Landry and his Torque Bow offset that problem big time.

After a competitive and intense evening of gaming, this is how our story ends:

Gears of War 3 Beta Tournament Winners - Game RantGears of War 3 Champion Trophy

This fall, Game Rant will have to defend its title when the tournament comes for the full Gears of War 3 release. We’ll see you then. For more images, head to the Game Rant Facebook page.
Gears of War 3 Statue

Gears of War 3 releases September 20, 2011, exclusively for the Xbox 360.

Follow Rod Fergusson on Twitter @GearsViking and the friendly folks at Xbox Canada for organizing the event: @JadeLive @JRivait @HSteele @LLCE @IsabellaMise @josephcariati.

Follow us on Twitter @GameRant and our Gears of War 3 team @rob_keyes @makelevi @GnarleySquid @ThatRyanB and @zaclandy.

And last but not least, follow our competitive friends @urbanologymag.

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