A Dallas Group Is Participating in the World Chase Tag League

Davis Vasconcellos, the team captain of the U.S. Envy GNF team in the World Chase Tag league, tries to evade capture during a match last year at The Roxy in Atlanta.
Davis Vasconcellos, the team captain of the U.S. Envy GNF team in the World Chase Tag league, tries to evade capture during a match last year at The Roxy in Atlanta. courtesy World Chase TagĀ®
The childhood game of tag is all grown up and Envy Gaming is joining the action with its first professional chase and tag team.

The Dallas-based esports giant Envy Gaming is joining the World Chase Tag (WCT) league by purchasing its own Envy GNF tag team. Envy GNF (Going Nowhere Fast) will compete in its first televised tournament under the Envy Gaming banner on Friday on ESPN.

The global sport of chase tags consists of two teams of six players who take turns evading and tagging their opponents in a 40-by-40-foot space known as The Quad that's littered with ramps, balconies and platforms. The "evader" goes on offense and attempts to earn points for their team by eluding the grasp of the "chaser" for a period of 20 seconds. The team with the most points at the end of a predetermined number of rounds is the winner.

Envy GNF is quite a catch for the Dallas esports group and the team. GNF was just one of eight teams in the world to make it to the WCT Finals in London in 2019 against top teams from countries like France, Japan and the United Kingdom.

"We're the only team to compete out in Europe in the world finals so far," says Envy GNF's captain Davis Vasconcellos of Oceanside, California. "It's a big deal for Envy to want to pick us up because we have some pedigree behind us."

Chase tag may sound like child's play but the grownup version combines a number of athletic skills including running, parkour and player fielding as participants go on offense and defense. Just watching it can make spectators work up a sweat.

"What we love about World Chase Tag is the high-speed gameplay and universal accessibility," says Envy Gaming CEO Adam Rymer. "Just like anyone can pick up a controller to play video games, anyone can set out to be the best WCT player."

Of course, the deal is also lucrative for the GNF. Vasconcellos says they can focus on preparing for matches now that they have a sponsor covering expenses the players had to cover on their own and maybe even set up exhibition and tournament matches.

"This gets so many more eyes on this sport and a lot of people who are gonna be interested are in esports, which we think of as adjacent to parkour," Vasconcellos says. "It's a bigger union between two types of sports: esports and action sports. For people like us who basically have to pay our own way through every competition, to have flights and AirBnb paid for makes competition a lot easier for us."

The WCT league and the sport itself was created by brothers Christian and Damien Devaux in Orlando in 2011 in their backyard. They designed the first free-run obstacle course that later became known as The Quad. Footage of the sport found its way to YouTube and viewers started creating their own courses and teams. Since then, the sport has been aired on TV networks around the globe including the BBC Channel 4 in the U.K. and NBCSN in the U.S.

"It's the most fun you can have on two feet if you ask me," Vasconcellos says. "It's a perfect mix of UFC one versus one, trying to pick apart another person's style."
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.