Icy: “I think I am the deciding factor though. If I’m playing well my team is playing well and we’re unstoppable”

Below is an interview Nick ‘Icy’ Cope and I did prior to the Gears Pro Circuit Dallas Open, which was meant to be released during the week leading up to the major but due to poor timing on my end, it was never released. I thought it would be a shame for me to keep this to myself so here it is.

When you were first banned, you were expected to miss the first major of Season 2 but with Mexico City postponed, here we are a week before Dallas and you’re back! Give us your thoughts on the whole situation?

When I heard I was suspended from the first major I felt heartbroken. I talked to my mom with tears in my eyes for 2 hours straight. Gears has been a passion of mine for 10 years and I’ve been fortunate to have had it double as my job for the past 2 years. I worked very hard to get to where I 
am as a player and a person in general. Honestly, I’m just happy it’s all over with. I’m back. Focused. And ready.

What did you do to occupy the time during your suspension?

Right after I heard I was banned my mom found out she had uterine cancer. I’m a momma’s boy so naturally, I was terrified. She couldn’t work and I took care of her along with my sister and brother for awhile. Thankfully 
she had a surgery and was able to recover fully and totally rid of the cancer. I’m just happy I was able to be back in Ohio with her for that hard time. 
It was a pretty difficult time for me honestly. I barely played any Gears for 5 months because I wasn’t able to practice unless I played ranked and that just isn’t the same for me. I decided to take as many trips to see my girlfriend as I could for the time being. 
I spent a lot of time with her which helped me pass my suspension time. I’m also extremely thankful for her and her infinite support.

A few teams have seemed to gain some confidence during your suspension with OpTic not playing at that dominant level we’re accustomed to seeing. You think any teams pose a potential threat to yours heading into Dallas? After all, most of them do have the edge of more playing time with their full rosters.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m extremely confident. Not only as a person but also as a Gears player. Especially since I’ve been on this team. I never doubt my team or myself when we’re sitting on LAN for a lot of money. Sometimes online has proven to be rough. We’ve had nights where we’ll lose more maps than we win and that’s pretty crazy for us considering we’ve won 14 out of 16 2ks with this current roster and the past 3 events, excluding the regional, which my
team won without me in New York. With all of that being said I’m not worried at all. I think I am the deciding factor though. If I’m playing well my team is playing well and we’re unstoppable. I’m gonna make sure to be at my very
best come Saturday and Sunday when it really matters. There’s only one team that has potential to compete with us and that’s Echo Fox. When they’re hot they’re hot but they are notorious for being a world class team in scrims and a very average team when it matters. So we’ll see what happens.

Let’s just get to it and start getting to specifics. Ghost Gaming, in particular, have taken to Twitter a lot after those 2k wins they amassed. You think this new roster is better than what they had last season?

Yeah, they talked a lot when I was banned. They haven’t won in a month in a half since I’ve been back. And they lost to PeL when it mattered. I have respect for them when it comes to individual skill but as a team, they’re weak
when we’re playing correctly and forcing them to play at our pace and our version of the game. Basically when they run around the map if we lancer as a team we win. Simple. With that being said I think they are a lot better now without question.

How about Jourdan ‘Ribs’ Ribeiro? Veteran player since Gears of War 2 but at the Gears Esports Fall Regionals, it looked like your team still looked to exploit their matchups against him. Does the Green Wall just not respect Ribs?

Lol, that’s a good question. I won’t lie to you when it’s Sumuns vs Ribs on home hills we basically run out of spawn with 2 home hills and a 5v4. I don’t think we disrespect him but Alex is very dominating in that match up which helps us a lot. I personally think he’s a good player and very smart. I also don’t think he should’ve been dropped from Echo Fox because he wasn’t their problem regardless of what anyone in the community says.

Taking the focus to some other teams for a bit, other than Echo Fox or Ghost Gaming, are there any other teams you see on the rise that we should look out for?

A lot of people are sleeping on Ronin. That team can easily break top 3 and I wouldn’t be surprised if they beat Ghost or Echo to make it to Grand Finals against us. I have nothing but respect for them and I think that if they 
all 5 play well and as a team, you’ll see them placing no lower than 4th.

Final question, what team are you looking forward to playing in Dallas and why?

I’m out for blood. and my 4th in a row. It’s as simple as that. This event I’m not friends with anybody. I’ve seen a lot of peoples true colors since I’ve been banned and even though it’s disappointing it gives me a fire like none of them will ever have. 
I’m excited to play Ghost and Echo. They both got publicly personal with me on Twitter. They call me names and they talk about me having a fake tooth even though I was sucker punched lol. It annoys me but I know that they have nothing to say when it comes to Gears so they resort to personally attacking me which in my opinion is the weirdest thing you can do. You’re holding a controller and playing under an organization. It’s a little ridiculous to be tweeting some of 
the things they do and say the things they say on their stream. Franchise actually told me I suck and that my team doesn’t need me which I partially agreed with him on. I don’t suck but my team doesn’t need me at all lol. And that should
make us even scarier when I’m playing at my best. It definitely bothers me more when Echo Fox talks trash rather than Ghost because I know that Ghost doesn’t even believe the words coming from their fingertips or out of their mouths. 
Echo Fox, however, does for some reason. It’s a strange mindset those boys have and I’ll never understand it. But my job isn’t to understand them it’s to dominate them and continue to prove myself and ourselves as one. And that’s what we plan to do.