The top 128 competitors in FIFA 18 Ultimate Team gathered in Barcelona this weekend to compete for $200,000 worth of prize money and one of the sixteen available spots in the FIFA 18 Global Series Playoffs in June. The tournament started on Friday with players divided between the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One divisions, and only 64 players would progress to the knockout stage of the tournament on Sunday. Each round of the group stage (a total of seven) had players face off against opponents with an identical record in the tournament thus far, and four wins earned automatic qualification to the bracket stage. Players with four losses were automatically eliminated from the tournament. There has been a ton of intense FIFA 18 action throughout the first two days of the competition so far, but five storylines stood out as especially important as we look to Sunday’s knockout rounds and eventual Grand Final.
FUT Champions Cup Barcelona – Day 1 and 2
SHOCK EXIT FOR ROCKY
The FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Championship Series champion, Corentin “Vitality Rocky” Chevrey, made a solid start to the tournament by winning the first two rounds, but his fortunes changed quickly. After dropping the next two rounds, it looked like Rocky was making a comeback with his win in round 5—but that would be his last victory of the tournament. Rocky was shocked by 16-year-old newcomer Donovan “DhTekKz” Hunt in the next round, giving the experienced Frenchman a 3-3 record and putting him on the brink of elimination. The incumbent looked like he might bounce back in his final matchup of the day against Philipp “PHILSKS1909” Gutmann, but the Austrian held on and shocked the world by knocking Rocky out of the tournament.
MEGABIT BOUNCES BACK FROM SLOW START
His chances at progressing may have never truly been in peril, but it was certainly surprising when the top Xbox One seed, Michael “MegaBit” Bittner, dropped his first match of the tournament. Megabit qualified for this tournament in spectacular fashion by winning 160/160 of his Weekend League matches back in November. Whether it was overconfidence or simply a tougher-than-expected opponent, Megabit lost 6-1 in the first round of the tournament, causing some to question his quality. But for the most part, Megabit quietened his critics with his excellent play in the rest of the group stage. He only lost one more round, to the self-proclaimed “best FIFA player in the world,” Kurt0411, and finished with a respectable 5-2 record en route to the knockout stage.
KURT0411 BACKS UP HIS TALK
The only competitor in Barcelona from Malta, Kurt0411 came into this tournament as the self-proclaimed “best FIFA player in the world.” While Kurt might not have gone undefeated in the group stage, he earned a 5-2 record that included the aforementioned victory over the highest-ranked Xbox One player going into the weekend. Luckily for him, Kurt’s overall performance during the first two days of competition was more than enough to get to the knockout stage and another chance to confirm his self-appointed title.
GERMANY WAS ABSOLUTELY DOMINANT
It’s probably just a coincidence that competitors from the reigning World champion country have been so good at this tournament, but in a World Cup year, the parallel between real life and competitive gaming does not go unnoticed. German players dominated on both consoles, securing the top undefeated seeds and sending a large contingent of competitors to the knockout stage. Some were relatively expected, like VfL Bochum 1848 pro Michael “Megabit” Bittner and FC Schalke pro Tim Latka. But others were a definite surprise. Lukas “Sakul” Vonderheide came into the tournament ranked 45th on Xbox One, but he was still a relatively unknown name. But that changed on Saturday, when he secured the top seed on his console. Sakul will not fly under the radar any longer in the competitive FIFA scene.
SALZ0R IS BACK!
Another German who had an epic trip through the group stage was VfL Wolfsburg veteran Benedikt “SaLz0r” Saltzer. While not a complete dark horse this weekend, SaLz0r was ranked 36th on PlayStation 4 and wasn’t expected to make too much of a splash. But the German, who has been playing FIFA competitively since 2009 and signed the first FIFA contract with a major football club, secured the top seed going into the knockouts with a dramatic late win over countryman and RB Leipzing player Cihan Yasarlar in order to become one of the only two players to remain unbeaten through the group stage. SaLz0r had a disappointing competitive season last year and many considered the German to be past his prime, but the VfL Wolfsburg pro is proving that despite his status as a veteran of the sport, he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level. The knockout stages begin Sunday, the third and final day of this competition. More players will leave the competition as the best of the best look to secure a spot in the FIFA 18 Global Series Playoffs and keep their dream of becoming the FIFA eWorld Cup champion alive.
The #FUT Champions Cup Barcelona 🏆 will feature a brand new format that will ensure more games, more goals ⚽ and only the best competitors rising to the top over three days of intense competition. Check out the details: https://t.co/U2ufgjCBxc #FIFAeWorldCup pic.twitter.com/4MtC7pfmka
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) 24 de janeiro de 2018