On Friday, the biggest names in FIFA esports congregated in Berlin to compete in the FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Championship, sponsored by EA Sports. As we expected yesterday, some of the favorites ended up being knocked out in the group stages, while others met the same fate in the knockout stages.
It should be noted that this competition is not the be-all and end-all, as these players are still gearing up for the 2017 FIFA Interactive World Cup in London in a couple weeks’ time.
Let’s take a look at the results from the group stages.
Obviously, the biggest shock of this round was the sheer number of finalists and regional champions going out early. Saudi Arabian finalists from the Rest of World Season One regional, Khalid ‘xX ThE RoYaL Xx’ Aloufi and Abdulaziz ‘MrD0ne’ Alshehri both finished with just four points from three matches in their groups. It was not enough to push them through.
Season Two Rest of World Champion Mossad ‘Msdossary7’ Aldossary also bowed out as the Paris Saint-Germain esports duo of Lucas ‘PSG DaXee’ Cuillerier and Rafael ‘rafifa13’ Fortes rolled Group One, which was termed by many to be the “Group of Death.”
DaXee looked absolutely lethal early, beating his teammate rafifa by a margin of 5-0 and then steamrolling his next opponent, Msdossary7, 4-1.
Giuseppe ‘xGUASTELLAx’ Guastella, the Season Two Americas Regional Champion, also succumbed in Group Three, finishing third. His opponent from the Americas Vancouver Regional Grand Final, Christopher ‘NYC_Chrisdidy’ Holly could not make it past his group either, finishing with one win from three games.
Finally, Daniele ‘Prinsipe’ Paolucci finished last in his group after an impressive two-leg win over Unilad Gorilla in the Madrid Regional brought him to notoriety.
The first half of the Knockout Rounds brought even more drama, here’s a glimpse of bracket after the Day 1 proceedings.
Many of the players in Berlin anticipated runs from the ‘dark horses’ of the competition. And boy, did we see some runs.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the entire competition was Shaun 'xShellzz' Springette, a competitor who snuck into Berlin off his performance in Season One’s Paris Regional. The London native, per EA, “considered that getting out of the group stage in Berlin would be a massive achievement in his young competitive career, [and] anything beyond that would be a bonus.” He subsequently went on to top his group with seven points, and continued his run into the Knockout Round. He now faces Johann ‘Maniika’ Simon in the PS4 winner’s bracket semi-final.
Spencer ‘Unilad Gorilla’ Ealing, considered by many to be the best FIFA player in the world, endured a scare early after only securing one point from two matches. But following a riveting 3-1 win over ‘xX ThE RoYaL Xx’ — he went through on goal differential. From then on, it was customary. Gorilla will match up against Chevrey ‘Vitality Rocky’ Corentin in the Xbox winner’s bracket semi-final.
Tassal ‘Hashtag Tass’ Rushan, the Paris Regional Champion, was also considered to be one of the favorites entering the competition. He started out on a very promising note, topping his group with seven points, but fell 2-1 to Vitality Rocky in a hotly contested Xbox winner’s bracket quarterfinal.
If you’re just joining us, be sure to check out our preview from yesterday. In the meantime, here’s a refresher on how the rest of the Knockout stages will go down.
The round follows a standard double-elimination format, i.e. a player needs to lose twice in order to get eliminated. After losing the first match, the player drops down to the loser’s bracket and has the chance to claw all the way back to face the winner’s bracket finalist on their respective console. However, the loser’s bracket winner needs to beat their opponent twice to make it through to the cross-console final.
After both knockout tournaments are down to the finalists from each console, the winner of the Xbox One field will take on the winner of the PlayStation 4 bracket in a two-leg final with one fixture on Xbox One and one on PS4.
After both matches, the player with the higher aggregate score from the two is crowned the champion. If the aggregate score is tied, the player with more goals scored on their “non-native” platform (e.g. “away goals”) is the winner. If the match remains tied on “away goals”, a golden-goal third match will be played on the same platform as the second game and the winner decided by the first to score.
Tune in to watch the second half of the Berlin Ultimate Team Championships, streaming on Twitch, YouTube, and ESPN2 at 5 a.m. ET Saturday. You can also watch here on EA’s website. Be sure to tune in to our Twitter, as we’ll be live-tweeting and updating our audience with our reactions.