This Friday our ten franchises will be ready to do battle as week 1 of the Gfinity Elite Series Season 3 gets underway. With so many incendiary elements and talented players doing battle every week, the potential for memorable moments to be created is at an all-time high. Not that we're lacking for those from the first two seasons, mind! So let's look forward to Season 3 by recapping our top 5 favourite moments from Elite Series Season 2.
5. SFV: Is This What The Prophecy Four-Told?Forgive the painful puns, but given we're talking about a Prophecy SFV team that both won and lost 4-0 in the same night...The SFV Grand Finals from Season 2 were an absolutely spectacular evening, featuring three matches that were all incredible in their own ways. Making their first appearance in playoffs, Prophecy entered their semi-final match against Infused as the slight underdogs, having lost to them in the league. What happened next was a major shock: they blew away the Season 1 semi-finalists 4-0 and cruised through to their first final unopposed. In a season where there hadn't been a single 4-0 result in SFV up until that point, this straight-sets whitewash left the Gfinity Arena speechless.But like London Buses, we waited all season for a 4-0 result and then two came at once in one night. Having just come through an epic semi-final of their own – that we'll get to later, promise – Envy were in their second straight final, and this time they were not to be denied. They blew Prophecy away 4-0 to claim their first Elite Series title in emphatic fashion and once again leave the Gfinity Arena gobsmacked – although Layo's breakdancing may have also had something to do with it.All four of the Prophecy players involved on that fateful night have found new homes for Season 3, with Zera and Akainu joining FNATIC, Shivryuken moving to Nordavind and super-sub DarkMoonHado hooking up with Hashtag United. All will be wanting a chance to make another final – and this time avoid such a one-sided defeat.
4. Rocket League: Endpoint Nearly Go 2 for 2So far in Elite Series history, no-one has been able to defend their title and win back-to-back championships. Envy will be hoping to do just that in Season 3, but the team that came closest to retaining their Season 1 crown was Endpoint's Rocket League squad. Their defence got off to a bad start with two consecutive losses in the first two weeks of Season 2, but after that the boys in blue kicked into gear and rediscovered their best form to charge into playoffs once more. The resulting semi-final against Prophecy was an absolute thriller, as their opponents raced back from trailing 3-1 to set up a deciding game. The winning goal from Tinny was so spectacular, even he couldn't quite believe he'd scored it. In the end they would fall just short to a all-conquering Reason team in the final, but only just – coming the closest out of all the Season 1 champion teams to defending their crown. Can Envy go one better this season and retain their SFV title? History shows it won't be easy.
3. Rocket League: Reason's Magnificent SevenSpeaking of that Reason team, what more can we say about them that we haven't already? The pursuit of perfection is a fruitless endeavor, we are told, for it is impossible to achieve. No-one told Reason's Rocket League squad, who did what no-one else so far has been able to do in the Elite Series and went unbeaten through an entire season. Seven wins from seven in the league, two more wins in the playoffs, victory over the defending champions in the final, silverware and a place in the record books secure. Even more impressively, six of their nine wins in Season 2 were 3-0 shutouts. Overall it's an absolutely staggering achievement that will be very difficult to replicate any time soon. Two of the architects of this perfect season will now be lining up for Method, so can losing finalist Shakahron help Rix Ronday and Borito B extend their winning run?
2. SFV: The #FKEEArmy Is BornIn terms of pure results, Reason's SFV team couldn't hope to match their Rocket League counterparts in Season 2. On the face of it, only winning three games out of seven was a disappointing return. But in terms of winning hearts and minds? Well, there's a reason why team captain Undacuva described the team as 'the people's champions' and no-one disagreed with him.A team of perennial underdogs full of big characters, fans got behind the likes of SaltyKid and star Challenger Series graduate Boltstrike and made for a raucous atmosphere in the Gfinity Arena. But nothing blew the roof off the arena quite like the spectacular debut of everyone's favourite teacher, Mr Masood – AKA Ki113r_7. Making his debut against Envy in a match where Reason were massive underdogs, Ki113r_7 clinched a shock victory against Confz in his very first game – and cemented the moment with one of the all-time great pop-offs. His whiteboard was supposed to say 'FREE', but Mr Masood’s somewhat messy handwriting meant the #FKEEArmy was born and here to stay. Reason went on to complete the epic upset victory against an Envy team who later went on to win the championship, and Ki113r_7's whiteboard had one last piece of wisdom on that night: Rule #1, Respect Reason. Happily Mr Masood, his teammates and his whiteboard will be back for Season 3 as UNILAD took the entire former Reason team under their wing – the People's Champions will march on.
1. SFV: Envy & exceL Are Destined To Do This ForeverAs for that Envy team, Season 2 was a story of redemption as they avenged their Season 1 losses to exceL in both the regular season and the playoffs. But whilst the two teams stand at two wins apiece, having played each other four times so far in Elite Series competition, the statistics alone don't tell the full story. Three out of the four matches have gone to a deciding round, and like any great combat sports rivalry, both teams always bring the very best out of each other each time they meet. It was THAT semi-final match that encompassed everything great about competitive SFV and fighting gaming: a contest full of incredible skill that swung back and forth. The raw emotion as Envy gained revenge over the team that denied them the title in Season 1 was absolutely incredible to watch – especially Nassim-Claw's salt bae pop-off and Layo's impromptu breakdancing on the stage. If you want to get your friends into esports and particularly fighting gaming, show them the video of this match – if it doesn't make them an instant fan, nothing will. Both teams are still in Elite Series for Season 3, with the core rosters still intact – AND they've both been draw in Group A, meaning we are guaranteed to get at least a fifth installment of the best rivalry in Elite Series history.Let us know some of your favourite moments in Elite Series history, and get ready for Season 3 to start this Friday, 9th March! Get your FREE tickets here!