By Joshua Nino (@DexertoJosh)
To quote football journalist Daniel Storey, “While the rest work on improving their
game, the best work on improving the
Reaxion’s manipulation of the Gears of War mechanics, epitomised by creating the ‘Reaxion Shot’ (essentially shooting out of your rear), arguably proves that he’s achieved the latter. Jack is probably the only player beyond the States that a top-flight American team would consider recruiting. Since ECL2 in 2011, he’s long been regarded as the best player in Europe.
Yet last weekend, at the European Open staged in the Gfinity Arena, an old nemesis re-emerged: himself. After losing to French team eXeS in the final four, his teammates from Infused made no attempt to hide their resent of their captain’s mid-game toxicity; Jack’s capricious attitude notorious for bringing out his worst and the best from no one. It remains his perennial downfall, sometimes contained by a select group of individuals but always present as a menacing undercurrent, threatening to destabilise the shaky truce between teammates and his in-game personality.
RELATED: Gears Esports: 5 Reasons To Be Excited
Not all of the blame should be pinned on Reaxion at the European Open. He had the pick of the European crop before the event and he wouldn’t have teamed with them had they not produced online. But Infused’s underperformance (and anything but a team with Reaxion v EnVyUS was certainly that) on LAN was a self-fulfilling prophecy from constantly scolding his relatively inexperienced peers: just the slightest hint of a moan sets an eye-rolling tone of what’s in store for 3 straight days; delights like being repeatedly shouted at to revive him, the sound akin to the intense panic of someone wailing for their trapped finger to be released, paralyses players from making the best decisions, distracted as a downed Jack immediately turns into the centre of the universe.
For most players, a double dose of pressure from both Reaxion and competing in a live venue is likely to wane confidence. That is just fact. Jack’s own performance also suffers from losing focus, while his scrutiny of even trivial negatives only serves to extinguish vital momentum from positive plays.
Teaming with Reece and Fitzer anchored any doubts because he held their judgement on par with his own, allowing him to maximise on his own game instead of needlessly trying to babysit others. Without that belief in teammates or someone else maintaining direction and order, his game strays between uncharacteristically hesitant to reckless on a scale of 9 to 10. Until Jack’s impatience becomes the exception rather then the rule, he risks turning from the player that no one wants to compete against into the liability that no one has the patience for.