Week 1 is already in the rear view mirror and week 2 of the Gfinity Elite Series Season 3 is upon us in a flash – where did the time go? Our teams will be eager to get back into battle once more; either to avenge first-week losses or continue their stirling start to the new season. Alongside that, we’ll have several teams making their Season 3 debut as they sat out Week 1 – what will they have learned from watching the first weekend from afar? As always, there’s a lot to unpack as we head into a new weekend of action – and that’s just how we like the Elite Series. Here’s your full Week 2 preview.
On their much-anticipated debut in the Elite Series, UNILAD were held to a draw by a very plucky Epsilon side as Gorilla suffered a shock defeat to Fully. Their opponents for week 2 are ARES, who sat out Week 1 and will have watched that match with interest.
ARES don’t lack for quality, with Janoz and Mobacha both being FIWC veterans, the latter actually winning the tournament outright in 2016. The road to a win isn’t getting any easier for UNILAD.
Speaking of Epsilon, they face AS Roma FNATIC in the second matchup of Friday evening. Like UNILAD, FNATIC were held to a draw last week by Method – and crucially for this week, Poacher getting a red card in his game last week means FNATIC will be without 99-rated Cristiano Ronaldo through suspension.
There’s obviously a huge amount of high-quality players in FUT to choose from, but the margins so fine it remains to be seen whether losing CR7 will be a crucial disadvantage for FNATIC.
Vitality were very impressive in defeat to Hashtag United last week, and they face another first-round winner in Envy this Friday. It was goals galore for Envy versus exceL last week, with Aero and EisVogel finding space and opportunities all over the pitch but also leaving room at the back for their opponents – Vitality will be looking to exploit those areas.
As for exceL, they face the debuting Nordavind in Friday night’s final match. ExceL were frustratingly close to all three points last week, losing both their very open and fluid games to Envy 3-2 and 2-1 respectively.
They’ll be fired up for goals, and could sense an opportunity to catch Nordavind cold as the Norwegian squad steps out into the Gfinity Arena for the first time – but Daimee and co will have other ideas.
Hashtag United just fell short in a thrilling match with Envy last week, and Doomsee’s men will be looking to bounce back as they face exceL having sat out Week 1. exceL have largely underperformed in Rocket League in the past two seasons with just three wins from fourteen matches, so the new lineup featuring the likes of Nielskoek and Mccluvin will be looking to finally deliver the potential shown in Season 3.
Conversely, if Hashtag get off to another fast start it’ll be all about whether they can keep the energy levels up and close out; we know Doomsee, Data and Flarke have all the flair and skill in the world, and a first win on the board for Season 3 will do their confidence all the world of good.
As for Envy, they tackle Nordavind in a match which in theory they should start as favourites. Nordavind were dispatched 3-1 by Vitality last week, but showed great courage in defeat and went stride for stride with Vitality’s highly-rated lineup in the early going.
However, Envy showed a clinical edge under pressure last week with Neqzo and EyeIgnite consistently coming through clutch against Hashtag, so in theory should be able to deal with whatever problems Nordavind throw at them – at least in theory.
A squad that many are tipping as favourites for the title, FNATIC will have watched Week 1 with a lot of interest; their first hit-out will be against UNILAD this Saturday. After UNILAD were whitewashed 3-0 by Method last week, things don’t get any easier for them, but there is every chance they can catch the illustrious ‘Leftovers’ lineup of FNATIC cold with a week of match practice under their belts.
Saturday’s final match is about as close to a rematch of the Season 2 final as we could possibly have, and there’s so much to unpack with this heavyweight clash between Method and ARES. On one side, two-thirds of the Reason side that won the Season 2 championship – on the other, two-thirds of the Endpoint team that won Season 1 and just lost the Season 2 final.
But to add a further twist, the third member of that Endpoint team in Shakahron will be lining up for Method alongside Rix Ronday and Borito B, AGAINST his former teammates Tinny and Cheerio on the ARES side.
A huge amount more than just points will be on the line in this one; the Rix Ronday/Borito B partnership are unbeaten in TEN straight Elite Series matches, having dominated their opening game last week against UNILAD.
Shakahron will be looking to prove his decision to split away from his former teammates was the right one – and Sebadam, the new third man for Tinny and Cheerio, will be under pressure to show that the trio haven’t lost anything for Shakahron’s departure. And as if the plot couldn’t get any thicker, ARES were trounced last week by Epsilon’s youthful lineup 3-0 and will be desperate to bounce back. This has all the hallmarks of an absolute classic in the making.
Without a doubt the biggest surprise of Week 1 was Nordavind comfortably blowing away former champions exceL as SaltyKid and his merry men ran riot. They will be brimming with confidence – naturally, it’s SaltyKid, when is he NOT brimming with confidence? – and looking for a repeat performance against Vitality.
A lot centred around the storyline of TKR facing his former Envy teammates last week, and regardless the result wasn’t what he or Vitality were looking for – derailing the Nordavind hype train would be a fantastic way to get their own campaign out of the starting blocks.
As for the reigning champions Envy, they face the debuting Hashtag United squad this weekend after coming through their first test against Vitality last week with flying colours. Hashtag have a squad quietly capable of greatness; DarkMoonHado in particular is tipped for great things having made two hugely impressive contributions as a bench player last season in Prophecy’s run to the final.
The big story of that final was of Hado going back to the bench and Prophecy subsequently being whitewashed 4-0 by – who else? – Envy, with many people wondering if Hado would have made a difference had he kept his starting spot from the semi-final. If he features for Hashtag this week, watch out for that storyline to unfold – alongside what should be a very high-quality SFV match.
Next up is a big clash between crowd favourites as UNILAD go head-to-head with Method. As good as the ‘people’s champions’ squad of UNILAD are at raising the decibel levels in the Gfinity Arena, they were silenced fairly efficiently by ARES last week and will be hungry to bounce back.
Standing in their way is a new-look Method side featuring former Infused standouts ImStillDaDaddy and Gun Slinga alongside the likes of Packz and Broski – all in all, a highly talented and boisterous squad. Expect big performances and even bigger pop-offs in this highly entertaining battle.
As for ARES, they take on Epsilon in Saturday night’s main event. It was a hugely impressive debut for ARES last week; Will2Pac and Abdess made themselves well and truly at home in the Gfinity Arena on their debut, and the entire team looked very confident and assured in dispatching UNILAD’s much-fancied lineup.
As for Epsilon, it just doesn’t get any easier; just one win from seven in Season 2 was a disappointing return, and any attempts at a revival last week were crushed in a dominant 4-0 win for FNATIC. The brothers Takamura and Keftaroz have a lot of pressure on their shoulders – but we know if they can bring their A game, any side will be in trouble, including ARES. On paper this is ARES’ match to lose – but stranger things have happened in the Gfinity Arena…
Ready to go for Week 2? You’d better be. Get your FREE tickets to come and watch all the action in the Gfinity Arena here, and you’ll also be able to watch live exclusively on Facebook every single week.
The Gfinity Elite Series Season 3 can be viewed at: