It's that time of year again. Yes, that time. You know the one. The most wonderful, joyous time of the year.
Christmas? Nope. Even better – the return of the Gfinity Elite Series Delivered By Domino's.
We're back in the saddle for Season 4 and the action kicks off right here this weekend in the Gfinity Arena. ASUS ROG Army are ready to make their debut in Elite Series, and Reason Gaming are back home to reclaim their former throne – and alongside them are eight established franchises full of experience, guile and some of the best esports players in Europe and the world.
No more hanging around; let's dive straight into our preview for Week 1.
Kicking off – pun fully intended – Season 4 is FIFA 19 on Friday night, with 2v2 now the order of the day on both PS4 and Xbox One.
Season 3 semi-finalists Method get the action underway against exceL. Method will be the ones to watch here; with the heroes of last season like Zelonius moved on, they have placed their hopes on a new-look roster with Riptorek and Venny leading the charge. Meanwhile, exceL are looking to bounce back after a tough first season in FIFA; Kev96 remains on a roster now boasting the likes of Klutch_Ti and Spaceeh. Both teams will be looking for a big opening day win to set the tone for the season.
Next up are Dream Team Gaming against Envy. With Reason arriving back into the Elite Series Delivered By Domino's, they have been able to assemble a FIFA team in partnership with Dream Team Gaming, boasting strong players like Fully and the aforementioned Zelonius. The latter made a habit in Season 3 of snatching victories from the jaws of defeat; the ultimate clutch player is a real ace up DTG's sleeve.
Our third match sees reigning champions AS Roma FNATIC take their bow in Season 4, against Man City Epsilon. The stars of Season 3 are back for FNATIC with Zimme and Rannerz leading the way; the former aiming for more silverware and maybe even another R9 haircut along the way.
Last up on Friday is an intriguing matchup between Hashtag United and ASUS ROG Army. The team that arrived as favourites in Season 3 only to fall at the group stage, versus the newcomers to Elite Series Delivered By Domino's. Hashtag will have a huge point to prove, and Hashtag Ryan leads an intriguing squad into battle this time around. Their opponents have Elite Series experience on their side in FerPerry who will team with Xexuatm across both consoles.
With all fixtures being matched across all three games, Saturday morning commences with Method versus exceL in Rocket League action. Former Elite Series champions Rix Ronday and Borito B teamed up with Kassio in the most recent Challenger Series Delivered By Domino's and absolutely laid waste to the opposition there, and this trio rolls out onto the park looking to improve on last season's semi-final defeat to Vitality. Standing in their way are an exceL team who themselves made it to the quarter-finals in Season 3, boasting a strong lineup of Pwndx, Niels and Markydooda.
The team Ronday and Borito won their Rocket League title with are up next; Reason return to Elite Series Rocket League for the first time since winning the Season 2 championship. And with an excellent roster featuring Shakahron, Pugsay and Calix in their ranks, this is a team with every ambition of lifting the trophy again. Their opponents are Season 3 finalists Envy; no EyeIgnite this time, but Waffle and Mout reunite alongside Oscillon hoping to go one better this season.
Epsilon vs FNATIC next up should be a fascinating contest. Epsilon have gone for Elite Series experience this time around with Sebadam and Cheerio partnering Bilbo, and they will need to gel quickly against a FNATIC side that have plenty of experience of their own; Snaski, Maestro and Mummisnow will be tasked with taking them into Playoffs once more.
The final match of Week 1 is a chance to take a look at a lot of talent new to Elite Series action, with Hashtag United's Rafro98, JakeyPoo and Eekso clashing with ASUS ROG Army's Distan, Tehda and Tahz. Two new-look lineups should in theory produce a perhaps scrappy but entertaining game; whichever team hits the ground running the fastest should prevail here.
Street Fighter V
Saturday night's SFV main event kicks off with a heavyweight clash for the ages; Method against Season 1 champions exceL. Seeing exceL swept aside so easily last season by FNATIC was surreal - no-one simply dominates Hurricane, Brian and Infexious that easily. The long-running trio will be hungry to make amends in Season 4; in their way stand a Method side full of flair and experience in Packz, ImStillDaDaddy and Broski.
Second up is a matchup with a lot of history behind it; Reason vs Envy. Back in Season 2, Reason produced one of the all-time great Elite Series upsets by defeating eventual champions Envy. Two seasons later, it's up to AngryMojoSan, VegaPatch and Poizesto to recreate that magic against Envy's A-team of Mister Crimson, Layo and Nassim-Claw. Expect this one to blow the roof off the Gfinity Arena whatever happens.
Two teams with a lot to prove next up as Epsilon take on FNATIC. A much-changed Epsilon squad now featuring Isam18, Gun Slinga and NastyNas will tackle a FNATIC side determined to put the heartbreak of defeat in the Season 3 final behind them and go one further this term. Shakz leads the way alongside Kilzyou and Brick – expect neither side to take a backwards step here.
Last up is a fascinating battle as Hashtag United clash with ASUS ROG Army. New they might be to Elite Series, but ASUS ROG Army's SFV squad looks awfully familiar; Shivs and JonesArcade have plenty of experience inside the Gfinity Arena, and FlawlessDeku has impressed enormously in Challenger Series. Standing across from them are a Hashtag side looking to improve after only one win from four last season; any team with the likes of DarkMoonHado and JesterPower in their ranks are ones to watch.
Make sure to join us LIVE tonight, 6 PM BST to catch all the action! You can get FREE tickets for the Gfinity Arena, or you can watch in the confort of your own home on Facebook!