Missing the Elite Series already? Yeah, us too, but we bring good news for you – especially those of you who watched the last Elite Series and thought 'yeah they're good, but I reckon I could do better.'
Now's the time to prove it - the Challenger Series is coming BACK.
Since the Elite Series began, the Challenger Series has been an integral component of finding fresh talent and bringing players through into the competitive esports scene. Every season, pro teams draft Challenger Series graduates from the top 30 of the leaderboards for each game. And every season, players go from amateur competitors playing in their bedrooms to Elite Series all-stars and fully professional esports athletes. So in anticipation of the upcoming Challenger Series kicking off once more, let's run down the top 5 most successful Challenger Series graduates in Elite Series history. Hopefully they will inspire you to find your very best form in the upcoming campaign…
5. Damie (Nordavind/FNATIC, FIFA 18)
To put it lightly, 2018 has gone pretty well so far for Damie. Fresh out of Challenger Series, he was drafted to Nordavind as they assembled their Elite Series FIFA team for Season 3. One successful run to the playoffs later and Damie had made an immediate impact – and things were only about to get better. After Nordavind were eliminated in the quarter-finals, he would switch to the Elite Series champions FNATIC, make top 8 in the FUT Champions Cup in Manchester, and qualify for the FIFA eWorld Cup with a top 8 finish in the Amsterdam qualifiers. We look forward to seeing how well he can do at the eWorld Cup Grand Finals.
4. Boltstrike (UNILAD, SFV)
Is there a doctor in the house? Well yes, and he also happens to be one of our favourite stalwarts of Elite Series SFV. Drafted to Reason Gaming for Season 2, Boltstrike developed a formidable reputation for pulling clutch performances out under maximum pressure – whilst it was the flamboyant personalities of Undacuva and Ki113r_7 who stole the headlines, it was Boltstrike who saw out those big wins and delivered results time after time. He made the jump to UNILAD for Season 3 alongside his teammates, and whilst he struggled to regain that same form, his experience was invaluable in bringing new players like Cobelcog and VegaPatch into the fold. He remains a staple of the UK fighting game community and lasting proof of just how big an opportunity the Challenger Series can be to break into the big leagues.
3. Broski (Method, SFV)
The most experienced entry on our list, Broski is one of the 'originals' of the Challenger Series system, having first being drafted way back in Season 1 to Endpoint and sticking around as an Elite Series ever-present ever since. There are few more reliable SFV players in the scene, and he plays a slightly less common character in Dhalsim which can cause serious problems to even the most experienced of players. After two seasons with Endpoint he made the switch to Method for Season 3 – it's almost criminal that he doesn't yet have a playoff appearance to his name, but it's not been for lack of trying. And he absolutely demonstrates beyond all doubt the longevity a Challenger Series draft can bring to your Gfinity career.
2. D7, Pugsay & FaykoW (Epsilon, Rocket League)
Okay so this is technically three entries in one, but given that this trio of Rocket League stars competed together as a unit in Challenger Series before being drafted en masse to Epsilon, I think we can count this formidable trio as one entry here. All three players enjoyed a fantastic Challenger Series earlier this year, and with Epsilon looking to shake up their rosters and improve on a disappointing Season 2, they took the unprecedented step of drafting an entire starting lineup from Challenger Series. And what a lineup it was – one that went on to beat former champions in the ARES squad, storm through their group and into the playoffs, and eventually make it all the way to the semi-finals before being defeated by Envy. As debut seasons go, they couldn't have gone much better for D7, Pugsay and FaykoW – expect to see them sticking around in Elite Series competition for seasons to come.
1. Rannerz (FNATIC, FIFA 18)
From Challenger Series draft pick, to bench player, to substitute, to regular starter, to Elite Series champion. All in the space of under five months. As debut seasons go for Challenger draft players, FNATIC's young breakout star Rannerz couldn't have had a better start to life in Elite Series competition. Not only was his debut season about a perfect as one could be, but when you consider the company he was in – as part of an AS Roma FNATIC roster packed full of talented players and starting out as a bench player – the fact he was able to break into the starting lineup and cement his place all the way through the successful playoff campaign is pretty staggering. From their destruction of Nordavind in the quarter-finals, through that amazing semi-final against Envy and their triumph over UNILAD in the Grand Final, Rannerz' partnership with Zimme was formidable and reaped rich rewards.
Fancy joining such illustrious company? These guys all came through Challenger Series – and so can you.
Start playing the Challenger preseason today and practice competitively against the top players!