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“There are many up-and-coming players that I would love to inspire”: an interview with Gears of War finalist Sleepytime

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Judy Heflin
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Team: DreamTeam
Gamertag: Sleepytime
Real Name: Yadiel Hidalgo

DreamTeam’s current players are still finding their footing in terms of in-game communication, but after winning a dramatic matchup against Enigma6 and securing their place in the top four, they are heading confidently into the Season 2 Finals.We spoke with Sleepytime about overcoming DreamTeam’s adversity and their intense focus on teamwork in preparation for the Finals in Boston this Saturday.

ESL: Can you give a brief history of your presence in the Gears of War competitive scene?
Sleepytime: I entered the Gears of war competitive scene in 2008. I first started off playing GB’s and then transitioned over to local LAN events like NJHalo and Hypefestation. The Coalition released Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and shortly after announced Season 1 of the ESL Pro League. I had to take full advantage of the opportunity. I rounded up the troops and played with Sicamore, Twisted, and Supremoz under Tragedy. We made the Season 1 Finals in Burbank, but fell short due to lack of practice. We made roster changes and brought on board Xcells in exchange for Twisted, then we also added Demo and Supremoz for Season 2. Season 2 was extremely difficult for us and we had a rough road, but we overcame adversity and beat Enigma6 to make it to the Finals once again. Im truly appreciative and grateful to be among the top four teams representing DreamTeam for the upcoming Finals at PAX East.

ESL: What has it been like to play competitively? What are the most interesting things you’ve experienced and things you’ve learned?
Sleepytime: Playing competitively is both very exciting and very stressful, especially when you're so passionate about the game and, above all, care so much about winning. The emotions that race through your body when you are playing against another team cannot be explained through words, it’s simply thrilling. The most interesting things I've learned playing competitively would be how your teammates can bring the best out of you and how each player is different. You can really learn a whole lot from each player. Another aspect that ties into this would be team chemistry and tendencies in the sense of knowing what your teammates would do in certain chaotic situations and how you should counteract to maximize winning percentage.

ESL: What is a typical day for you?
Sleepytime: A typical day for me would be attending school, studying, and for the most part playing Gears. I devote a lot of time to playing ranked matches when my team isn't on to stay focused and sharp. After making the Finals, my team went back to the drawing board and we are currently coming up with newer and better LAN strategies. We practice these strategies against other teams to see how effective they are. We also prepare by studying film on the other top teams to brainstorm counter strategies to annihilate them.

ESL: What are the competitive aspects of Gears that you personally are focusing on and trying to improve?
Sleepytime: When it comes to competitive aspects that I am currently trying to improve on, I would have to say I’m working most on the ability to guide my teammates in hectic situations by using precise and demanding call outs. I am the slayer for my team and sometimes I don't call out everything I do, especially when making certain pushes, and I have to fix that in order to have the full support of my teammates and get everyone on the same page.

ESL: What are your goals for your future in gaming and what are you hoping for in terms of the future of competitive Gears of War?
Sleepytime: My goals in regards to gaming would have to be winning multiple major LAN events and preparing for Gears of War 4. Even though Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is still being played,  I am looking ahead to the next official title of Gears, which should have more money involved. Another goal I have would be kicking off my stream on Twitch to interact more with the community and give them some gameplay to watch for their entertainment. Producing content on Youtube is another goal of mine because there are many up-and-coming players that I would love to inspire.

The Gears of War Pro League Season 2 Finals will happen live at PAX East in Boston on Saturday, April 23 at 11AM EDT. Be sure to stop by the ESL Arena if you’re at PAX East or tune into the Gears of War Twitch channel to watch the top four teams compete for the championship title and a share of the US$60,000 prize pool. Follow the ESL Gears of War Pro League on Facebook and Twitter for all the updates!