OpTic Gaming Gears of War captain Gilbert ‘Xplosive’ Rojo has led his team to victory after victory – and it should probably be no surprise that the high of a successful conquest keeps him gunning for more. His dearest gaming memory, after all, is in direct relation to his competitive drive.

“My favorite moment in probably all of competing, I would say, probably has to be my first event win,” he reminisced. “It was my first event with the people I really considered my best friends at the time. Two of them are actually my current teammates – which was Mental and Solurs. And Lava, who is on eUnited.”

It was a moment not without historical significance for the scene, per Rojo’s recollection – a showdown between the veteran leaders of Gears of War’s competitive community and the upstarts. And it didn’t exactly start off easy in any sense. “We were down 0-2, and we were kind of the underdogs going into that event. We won three straight to bring back the series, and in my eyes that was probably the passing of the torch.” They took the crown off the heads of FraNChiS, Soto, Praized, and Kenny Bounce – and hasn’t relinquished it since.

In fact, Rojo’s love for Gears of War play runs so deep, it’s intractable from his gaming history in general. Though he technically started with Call of Duty 2, introduced to it by who is now his brother-in-law, Gears of War came up shortly behind. That same brother-in-law purchased his first copy Gears of War for him, defining his gaming career. “I think I was seven or eight yeasr old at the time. He would kinda come over and give me the controller, and he was like ‘holy crap, this kid is kinda good at the game!’”

From there, and especially with fond memories of daily Gears of War 2 runs with friends, his gaming career took on a certain inevitability. A chainsaw, a belt of bullets, and Xplosive would carve his place out of the game’s history.