A short while back I travelled to New York to compete in the Virgin Gaming EA Challenge Series. With a total prize pool of $1,000,000 for the event, it attracted the best FIFA, Madden and NHL players from all over the world. Along with myself, there were three other competitors travelling from Australia: Stephen “Scoorey” Coorey (five time FIWC finalist), Sammuel Liberato (Australian FIWC champion 2012) and Mark “skip1” Azzi (Team Immunity).
The first round of a tournament is often the toughest and after getting matched up against “Bryann”, a sponsored player from Belgium, I knew I was in for a close game. In a match that really could have gone either way, I managed to steal a winner right at the end and progress to the second round. If that wasn’t enough of an indication that there would be no easy games in this tournament, the winner of ESWC 2011 was knocked out on the screen just next to mine, losing in penalties.
As the tournament was run using a 256 player bracket and there were not quite 256 players, people who lost in the first round were allowed entry into a raffle for one of the empty places in Round 2. Bryann was one of the lucky ones who re-entered the tournament. Skip’s luck however was not so good, losing a close match which saw him eliminated in Round 2. My opponent for this round was “Infestek”, a Swedish sponsored player. This time around I managed to progress by a convincing margin and was starting to gain some confidence.
Round 3 saw the elimination of Scoorey and Sammuel Liberato. Scoorey very unluckily had to play against Alfonso Ramos (2008 FIWC champion and future 2012 FIWC champion) and went down to a very respectable 4-2 score line. I again managed to come out on top of my opponent and so was the last Australian left standing.
Unfortunately this was relatively short lived, as I was beaten 3-0 in the next round and eliminated from the competition. Making it to round 4 placed me in the top 32 for the tournament and paid a prize of 2,000USD.
There was still plenty of entertainment though, as the world’s best players faced off in some of the most intense games of FIFA I’ve ever seen. The most dramatic of all was saved for last when Adam Winster faced off against Bryann, who after getting back in via the raffle had managed to make his way to the final. Bryann managed to score the first goal of the game and so was looking the likely winner as very few people had won games after conceding first. Adam showed that he really was a class above the rest though and scored two goals to bring it back and win 2-1, taking home the 167,000USD grand prize.
It was a great game to cap off a great competition; I’m already looking forward to seeing what next year’s tournament brings.