The dust has finally settled on Gfinity Elite Series Season 3. It's taken a while. And we kinda miss it already. Anyone ready for Season 4 to start tomorrow? For now, it's time to look back across the season just gone – starting off today with our End of Season Awards that were handed out on Thursday evening's The Last Word show. As put forward by our panel of expert casters and as voted for by you the fans, let's have a look at all our award winners and the best moments on their respective highlight reels.FIFA 18
Breakout Player of the Season: Aero (Envy)
There's no way anyone will be forgetting the FIFA 18 semi-final clash between Envy and FNATIC in a hurry – the match declared by casters Brandon Smith and Richard Buckley as perhaps the craziest FIFA match ever seen in top-level competition. But in amongst the chaos and heart-stopping drama that EisVogel and Zimme provided in their second-leg battle, it's easy to forget that EisVogel's teammate Aero actually won the first leg against the highly-rated Rannerz. And that might well be the story of Aero's season; quietly getting the job done and banking the points for Envy no matter how tough the opponent he faced. When you analyse Envy's excellent season in which they topped Group A without losing a single match, Aero is a huge part of that – and the main reason he takes our Breakout Player of the Season award.
Goal of the Season: Rannerz (FNATIC, vs Nordavind Chnewar, Quarter-Finals)
With even the knockout stage matches often being packed with goals, we were spoiled for choice with this award – but ultimately it goes to a player who could easily have been in contention for Breakout Player of the Season in FNATIC's Rannerz. Starting the season as a Challenger Series draft pick, he forced his way into the starting lineup against the odds and ultimately became a mainstay of FNATIC's championship-winning campaign alongside the peerless Zimme. And his final goal against Chnewar, a goal that capped off a 6-0 drubbing and an astonishing 12-1 aggregate demolition of Nordavind in the quarter-finals, is what clinches this award for the outstanding Irishman.
Player of the Season: Zelonius (Method)
In an incredibly close-fought field of nominees, it was very hard to look past FNATIC's Zimme for this award. But ultimately what sealed this award for Zelonius was his consistent outstanding performances under maximum pressure that quite literally dragged his team into the semi-finals often against all odds. His reputation as the comeback king was well-earned; in three straight matches he came from behind in the second leg to beat highy-rated opponents in Mobacha, Shellz and Moolzn and come through clutch for his team. The win against Shellz in the final round of group play was what edged Method into the playoffs at the death, and even in defeat in the rematch with UNILAD in the semi-finals he still beat Shellz a second time in the first leg. Consistent excellence under pressure week after week – that's the definition of a Player of the Season, and the definition of Zelonius' Season 3 campaign.
Breakout Player of The Season: Jwols (Nordavind)
This was a very good season for breakout players in Rocket League, and in amongst so many impressive performances it's easy for Jwols' campaign to slip under the radar somewhat. But as Nordavind endured a mixed debut season in Elite Series Rocket League, Jwols was the outstanding force and the bright spark in a roster featuring Elite Series veterans like Reganam, Sniper and Al Dente. Eight goals, 31 saves and four MVP awards in four matches is proof positive of just how big an effect the young Norwegian had on his team; that victory against Hashtag United in their final league match was richly deserved.
Goal of the Season: Rix Ronday (Method, vs Renault Team Vitality, Semi-Finals)
Just like FIFA 18 we were spoiled for choice with our Goal of the Season award for Rocket League. Some staggering moments of skill, incredible finishes and moments that had mouths hanging open around the Gfinity Arena. But despite falling short in his quest to win back-to-back Elite Series titles, leave it to Rix Ronday to steal the show once again with one of the most outrageous solo goals you'll ever see in top-level Rocket League. A triple fakeout that left the entire Vitality team utterly bemused and everyone in the arena absolutely gobsmacked, this was like watching a magic trick – a genuine 'what just happened?!' moment. The fact it came in such a high-stakes match against the team who would go on to win the Rocket League championship for Season 3 makes it all the better.
Player of the Season: EyeIgnite (Envy)
In the first two Elite Series seasons, Envy twice missed out on Playoffs despite having a solid and talented squad. They just couldn't find the missing ingredient. Meanwhile, EyeIgnite twice made semi-finals with Infused and Prophecy respectively but just couldn't go one step further and make the Grand Final. When he and Envy joined forces, it was a match made in heaven. Envy found their missing ingredient, and EyeIgnite led the charge as they stormed not only into the Playoffs for the first time, but all the way to the Grand Final. The stats tell the story of EyeIgnite's all-round contribution to Envy's performances – 28 goals and 50 saves is the perfect illustration of his relentless energy all over the park, driving his team forward with verve and energy. They didn't have quite enough to topple the all-conquering Vitality – and Freakii and Fairy Peak deserve very honourable mentions for this award – but this was overall a fantastic season for Envy, and EyeIgnite's contribution to their campaign cannot be overstated.
Breakout Player of the Season: VegaPatch (UNILAD)
For a season that promised so much, it was ultimately a frustrating campaign for UNILAD's squad of fan favourites. Just one win from four is a disappointing return, but it wasn't for lack of trying – or lack of energy levels in the arena. The main theme of their season was bringing in new talents to gel alongside the established stagers – and alongside Cobelcog and AngryMojoSan, it was VegaPatch who impressed the most. His impressive stats, including 10 round wins in four matches, puts him head and shoulders above his team-mates. And much like Jwols in Rocket League, VegaPatch's one match win for Season 3 was a richly deserved return for his efforts – as is this award. Make no mistake; UNILAD will be looking to retain and build around VegaPatch for their Season 4 campaign.
KO of the Season: Will2Pac (ARES, vs FNATIC Akainu, Group B)
In spite of their brutal elimination at the hands of Nordavind in the semi-finals, this was an excellent debut Elite Series season for Team ARES Esport in SFV. And alongside NastyNas and the outstanding Abdess, Will2Pac took the Gfinity Arena by storm with his charisma, spectacular KOs and some of the best pop-offs in Elite Series history. We've been waiting for a long time for the flamboyant Frenchman to arrive in the Elite Series, and boy oh boy he didn't disappoint. This was one of many great moments on his highlight reel – blowing away Akainu in a clutch round win and sassing out the Gfinity Arena in the way he does best. Please sir, can we have some more Will2Pac in Season 4?
Player of the Season: Phenom (Nordavind)
Quite frankly, hell was more likely to freeze over than Phenom not win this award. What else is there to say? He literally didn't lose a single set all season, and only dropped three rounds in ten matches. Nordavind's only loss of Season 3 came when he wasn't in the side. And when he was, five of those six wins came via 4-0 shutout. This was utter domination on a level we haven't seen before in Elite Series SFV – and it wasn't just who Phenom beat, it's how he won. Like some terrifying hybrid of the Terminator and Ivan Drago, he barely batted an eyelid as some of the Elite Series' best players were left bruised and battered on the canvas. And in the brief moments he was put under pressure, such as in the final set of the Grand Final against a resurgent Akainu, he still came through clutch like it wasn't anything to get stressed about.
Phenom isn't just our player of the season – he has completely redefined what it means to be a great player in Elite Series SFV. And having set the bar so stratospherically high, one wonders just how anyone can go about toppling him in Season 4. For now, the Gfinity Arena is well and truly the House of Phenom.