Gfinity Elite Series: Fnatic dismiss Envy and Unilad to become first ever FIFA 18 champions

Fnatic pairing Rannerz and Zimme claimed the title in London, walking away with the £25,000 prize.

Alastair Pusinelli by Alastair Pusinelli

(Photo credit: Joe Brady)

The climax of the first season of FIFA 18 at the Gfinity Elite Series didn’t disappoint as AS Roma Fnatic lifted the trophy at the Gfinity Arena in London.

Fnatic, having only qualified via for the last four via the playoffs, defeated favourites Envy and Unilad in the semifinals and final respectively to claim the £25,000 jackpot and earn spots in the FIFA 18 Global Series Playoffs, on the Road to the FIFA eWorld Cup.

To cap things off, Fnatic star player Zimme lived up to a promise he made on Twitter, stating that if he were to win the Elite Series, he would get the iconic Brazilian Ronaldo 2002 World Cup haircut. The 18-year-old Swede received the full barber treatment live in the Arena to cap off an incredible finals day. 

Zimme said: “Winning the Elite Series means everything, of course with the playoff spots for the eWorld Cup as well. The semifinal was really close, I could have lost that easily, but the final felt really good.”

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Fnatic fight back

(Photo credit: Joe Brady)

Fnatic didn’t get off to the best of starts, however. Rannerz on the Xbox One struggled to get going in the opening semifinal against Envy’s Aero. Aero picked up a late 1-0 win to give Envy the advantage going into the PS4 leg. Zimme would battle the in-form EisVogel, who got to the FUT Champions Cup grand final earlier in the month.

That 1-0 advantage soon evaporated however, with Zimme scoring early, but the Fnatic man would have to rely on save after save from David De Gea to stay in the game. EisVogel responded again to put Envy ahead on aggregate, but Zimme struck with virtually the last kick of normal time to take the tie to extra time. 

The opponents exchanged blows once again in the additional 30 minutes, and their fate in the final was to be decided from the penalty spot. Zimme kept his cool, scoring all four of his spot kicks to make it to the final. 

Gorilla shows his worth

Unilad met Method in the second semifinal, and there was a chance for a shock after Method’s Zelonius got the job done on the PS4 with a 2-1 win over the out of form Shellzz.

That was never going to be enough of advantage as reigning world champion Gorilla at Unilad met Pricey on the PS4. The one goal lead disappeared in the opening play, and Gorilla showed no sign of letting up in the 3-0 victory, securing a 4-2 aggregate win for Unilad. 

Unilad substitution gifts Fnatic title

(Photo credit: Joe Brady)

Perhaps the reason Gorilla looked so comfortable in the semifinal was because he was never going to play in the final. The world champion is already guaranteed a spot at the eWorld Cup, so Unilad opted to give Tass a chance of qualification by bringing him for the first time in the competition during the final.

His lack of game time at the Gfinity Arena showed, and the three-man defence specialist was always behind the eight ball on the Xbox One against Rannerz. The Irish Rannerz grabbed an early goal and then doubled his lead mid-way through the second period, Tass slowly acclimatised to his surroundings and set up a grandstand finish with a goal with 10 minutes to go. Rannerz again pulled ahead, but Tass responded, although it was too little too late, as Fnatic took a 3-2 win in the first leg.

Zimme was always the favourite against Shellzz in the second leg, and he calmed any nerves by notching an early goal in the evening’s climax. Unilad’s Shellzz, who went 140-0 in the FUT Champions weekend league earlier this season, immediately changed his system, but a second goal early in the second half killed the game off.

Zimme soon made it 3-0 (6-2 on aggregate), and although there was a late fightback from Shellzz with two goals, the game finished 4-2 as Fnatic claimed a 7-4 aggregate win to take the first ever FIFA Gfinity Elite Series title. 

AS Roma Fnatic FIFA team manager Cojo said: “I think Fnatic hasn’t had enough chances to show our overall quality of our team and after not qualifying for the FUT Champions Cup in Manchester, only having one player in Barcelona and not performing well, people didn’t think of us a top-tier team. 

“The Elite Series allowed us to prove that we are a top team, and Zimme has been in the best form of his life in the past three to four months. To come here, beat the PS4 FUT Champion and go all the way, it’s just incredible.”

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A haircut fit for a champion

(Photo credit: Joe Brady)

Of course the night was not over with Fnatic’s victory. The crowd at the Gfinity Arena in London saw Zimme receive the ‘R9’ haircut before the night was up.

“Yeah, I’m going to have to wear a hat… every day. That deal was a nice thing to do and of course it’s worth it to win the Elite Series.”

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Alastair Pusinelli

First console: GameBoy Color / Favourite Game: Assassin's Creed 2 / Currently playing: Football Manager 2020

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