If you've followed us for any length of time, you'll know we at Gfinity are pretty proud of our Challenger Series and particular the graduates who have come through the system. When we say that it's an opportunity for gamers from any background to compete for a professional contract and to make a name from themselves, we absolutely mean it. And we've talked already about a number of success stories the Challenger Series has produced, producing hugely talented players like Rannerz, Broski, Boltstrike and more who have gone on to great success in the Elite Series and beyond.
So like a proud parent, today we want to wax lyrical about another graduate from the school of hard knocks that is Challenger Series – FIFA 18 ace EisVogel, who currently play for the world famous Team Envy.
The Initial Rise
Back in December 2017, EisVogel was causing a stir in the FIFA 18 scene by regularly breaking into the Top 15 in the Weekend League rankings. That same month, STARK eSports launched a brand new FIFA academy, and EisVogel was one of the three headline signings for the new initiative. From there, he competed in the ESL Germany series as a free agent and started to build in the professional scene.
All of this just so happened to coincide with the third Challenger Series starting up in January 2018, right as EisVogel was on his rise to prominence. He dived straight in, competing against a mix of amateurs and already-established veterans like reigning FIFA eWorld Cup Champion Gorilla of (then) UNILAD. The open nature of the Challenger Series is an additional part of the competition's appeal – everyone from rookies to established international superstars start on an equal footing and get the chance to compete against each other. Much like when a third-tier club gets drawn against a Premier League team in the FA Cup, this platform for players of all skill levels to take on the biggest and best in the world was not lost on EisVogel in particular.
The Envy Of The Division
The Elite Series draft rolled around for Season 3, and with FIFA 18 making its bow in Elite Series competition, some of the established franchises – as well as a few of the new ones arriving in the series – needed to draft a FIFA 18 roster. That placed an even greater emphasis on the Challenger Series, and for Elite Series stalwarts Envy they drafted both Aero and EisVogel to their squad. The lineup flew under the radar initially, with other big names like Gorilla, Shellz, Mobacha and Zimme attracting the most attention.
But by the time the season got underway, the secret was out – Envy had a great pairing on their hands.
Starting off with a bang by defeating exceL 2-0 in the opening week of league play, EisVogel established himself as a vital part of the team as they went unbeaten through the league part of Season 3. Finishing as Group A winners, perhaps their biggest result was sending much-vaunted Hashtag United crashing out in the final round of the league. They moved on to the semi-finals and faced FNATIC in an absolute classic of a match – one described by Gfinity casters Brandon Smith and Richard Buckley as one of the craziest FIFA matches they'd ever seen. The second-leg game between EisVogel and Zimme was an absolute classic as the two exchanged the lead back and forth through extra time, but unfortunately there had to be a loser – and it was the German star after an unsuccessful penalty shootout. Zimme advanced to the final with FNATIC and lifted the trophy, with Envy finishing joint-3rd place with Method. And regardless of such a heartbreaking semi-final defeat, EisVogel had made his mark – and on any other day could've been in his first Elite Series Grand Final at the first time of asking. Thanks to the efforts of team Envy's players, the organization became the Franchise Champions of Season 3.
The Road To The eWorld Cup & the FIFA eWorld Cup Clubs Vice Championship
After this excellent debut season in Gfinity Elite Series, it was on to the international stage and the FIFA eWorld Cup qualifier events – and EisVogel was more than capable of continuing the great form he showcased in the Gfinity Arena week-to-week.
Even before Season 3 of Elite Series wrapped up, EisVogel enjoyed a successful weekend in Manchester for the FUT Champions Cup, clinching a runner-up finish just behind MSDossary7, who just recently was crowned the FIFA 18 Champion of the FIFA eWorld Cup. From there it was onwards and upwards – he and Aero took Envy to a 2nd-place finish at the FIFA eClub World Cup, just losing out to defending champions Brondby in the finals. Then came the big one – securing a spot at the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018 with a 9th-16th place finish in the PS4 Global Series Playoffs at the start of June.
Together with his Envy teammate, french player Aero, Eisvogel reached the finals of the FIFA eWorld Cup Clubs and was crowned VICE Champion.
This August, Eisvogel also made it all the way into the prestigious eWorld Cup Grand Finals in London, England and was one of the 16 last players standing in the tournament. With him where top level players like the aforementioned Aero, Faze Gorilla, and the newest champion MsDossary.
From academy prospect, to turning pro and signing with Envy, to Elite Series semi-finalist, to FIFA eWorld Cup competitor all inside seven months. If anyone is living proof of just how quickly one can climb the esports ladder – and just how effective a platform the Challenger Series is for aspiring talent – it's the German sensation.
Interested in trying out a career in competitive FIFA or esports? The Gfinity Challenger Series is FREE to enter, and teams like Envy will be drafting players by the end of the season!