FIFA 22 eChampions League: Tekkz unphased by $280k prize pool

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FIFA 22 is getting to the business end of the cycle, with the Team of the Season promo leading us into the final stages of Ultimate Team.

Mirroring the real sport, the FIFA esports scene is also ready to get stuck into the finals, with the eChampions League Finals seeing eight of the best players battling it out for a share of the $280k prize pool.

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Ahead of the event, we got the chance to speak to one of the finalists, Donovan Hunt - better known as Tekkz - who has won more titles in his career than any other player, and is looking to add another trophy to his name!

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Last Minute Nerves? Unlikely!

Before a big tournament, it would be understandable if the competitors were feeling a bit nervous, wondering if they have what it takes to overcome the other finalists.

This doesn't seem to be the case for the winning machine Tekkz, who is eager for the event.

"I played the last stage in the Champions League very, very well. So now I'm feeling good."

He admits to second-guessing himself a bit after not playing too well when warming up, but after a bit more practice was confident once again, and when it comes to the big occasion he will be playing well.

Tekkz says he feels like he's taking good form into the event.

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"I feel like I did on FIFA 19 and 20, so I'm ready and to go raring to go. If I play well, I think I'll win, so I'm just focussing on myself."

That's right, he's already looking ahead to winning the tournament!

"I've seen enough from me this year, I played top players, and I feel that when I play well I'm just really good.

"However, if I don't play well I'm not very good!"

Even that last remark is said with a confidence found in regular winners, knowing that poor form is rarely going to hit them when it really matters.

Back in the Swing of Things

The eChampions League has something a bit more special about it this time, as COVID disrupted in-person events.

"It would mean a lot [to win the eChampions League], especially as it's the first 1v1 LAN tournament since the last FUT Champions Cup on FIFA 20, which was ages ago.

"It would just be a huge relief to prove to myself that I'm still the guy, I'm still at the top level."

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Tekkz says he thrives on these in-person events.

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"You get up for it a little bit more. You're more focused and more into it. There's something satisfying about getting on a plane and flying to a venue and then playing some guy face to face. It's just fun!"

The competitive nature of LAN tournaments definitely gives a bigger buzz to the players.

"You just know you don't want to lose. If I'm in my bedroom, playing online, I don't feel anything. If I lose, I'll just go to sleep. I love being at tournaments."

Becoming the Big Dog

One thing Tekkz said he enjoyed was being able to see his opposition and look them in the eyes. Does he see the fear in their eyes?

"A little bit, you know!" he laughs.

It wasn't always that way, however,

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"When I was younger, my first ever tournament, I came and I was sat next to Gorilla, who at the time was the guy.

"So I came and sat next to him, and I matched him, and I was so scared. I was so scared!"

Tekkz has now taken on that mantle, after a few years of being on the esports scene and winning numerous tournaments, he is someone new players will look to with a sense of awe.

Cheering and Jeering

As mentioned, Tekkz has really enjoyed the LAN tournaments and only has positive things to say about their return.

"Events have been really well run, they've done a good job of bringing them back and making them enjoyable."

The recent Team of the Season Cup saw a 2v2 format introduced, but how did Tekkz feel about that?

"It's fun. It's different. I wouldn't enjoy it as much if there was no 1v1 alongside it, but I think it's good players, and good to watch. Obviously, some people prefer 1v1, some prefer 2v2.

"When you're winning I prefer 1v1 because it's just you, but when you're losing I prefer 2v2 because you can blame the other guy!"

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Tekkz
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CELEBRATING WITH CROWD - Tekkz thrives off audience interaction
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With LAN tournaments back on, we asked Tekkz what he would like to see in the future for FIFA esports.

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"I want to see it expand to a point where we can fill out stadiums and stuff. If you look at other esports like League of Legends they do it and I hope one day FIFA esports will go to stadiums.

"I've got this thing where I want to play some guy in the final and it's his home tournament, and I want to be booed by the audience! I'd just like big crowds and stuff."

It's a bit of a weird one, but understandable for a player who enjoys the atmosphere and rivalry that can create.

"I like to hear the fans. I do it at the moment, I don't wear a headset when I compete because I like to hear what the commentators are saying and hear people's reactions."