With six new teams joining the Gfinity Elite Series for Season 3, a dramatic shift in the landscape was expected – and so it proved, with three of the newly-arrived franchises taking home the silverware on Finals Weekend this past week. AS Roma FNATIC romped to glory in FIFA 18, Renault Team Vitality clinched the Rocket League trophy and Nordavind capped off a dominant SFV season with victory in Saturday night's Grand Final.So, you may be forgiven for thinking the veterans of the Elite Series were blown away in Season 3. But one look at the Franchise Championship tells a different story – one of consistent strong performances across the board that helped Team Envy lift the Franchise Trophy despite not outright winning any of the three individual championships. Two incredibly close semi-final defeats and one Grand Final appearance are a rich reward for the franchise who have been a key part of the Elite Series since Season 1. Let's take a look at how they did it.
How The Franchise Championship WorksThe Franchise Championship is the fourth and possibly most important championship for our teams in Gfinity Elite Series, and is our way of finding out the best franchise overall across all three games. The Franchise Championship awards points based on the results each team accrues week-by-week, with one point being awarded for one win, three points for two wins and five points for a perfect three-from-three weekend. Previous franchise champions include Epsilon in Season 1 and Reason in Season 2, and Envy's victory this season is the first time a franchise has won the overall championship without winning one of the three game trophies – an illustration of just how important consistency across multiple disciplines is in Elite Series. Let's break down Envy's season game-by-game:
Semi-Finals, Lost 4-7 to FNATIC on Penalties
Group Result: 1st, Group A
2 Wins, 1 Loss, 2 Draws.It was always going to be fascinating to see how the existing Elite Series teams, most of whom didn't field FIFA 18 rosters already, adapted to the introduction of FIFA 18 in Season 3 replacing CS:GO. Alongside fellow semi-finalists Method, Envy were far and away the best of those teams at hitting the ground running in the new division. Alongside UNILAD in Group B they were the only team to make it through the FIFA 18 group stage unbeaten, with two wins and two draws safely sealing their passage into the semi-finals as group winners. Ultimately it took one of the most insane FIFA 18 matches of all time and a sensational performance from Zimme to finally outlast EisVogel and topple Envy in the playoffs. On any other day, Envy could – and perhaps should – have won that match, and given FNATIC went on to lift the Elite Series FIFA 18 trophy, that's saying a lot for just how impressive Aero and EisVogel's season really was.
Grand Final, Lost 1-4 to Vitality
Group Result: 1st, Group A
4 Wins, 2 LossesTo paraphrase Scooby Doo, Envy would've gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids of Vitality. The only team Envy's Rocket League squad lost to all season was Vitality, with the second loss unfortunately coming in the Grand Final. But if Vitality were the strongest team overall in an ultra-competitive Elite Series season, Envy were definitely deserving runners-up after a strong set of performances. They matched their FIFA 18 counterparts by winning Group A, snatching top spot off Vitality by beating exceL in the final round of league play, and an impressive victory over Epsilon's young chargers netted a place in the Grand Final. In context of Envy's previous two Rocket League seasons, this was a marked improvement; Mout and Waffle had never even made playoffs before, but the addition of EyeIgnite from the departing Prophecy franchise was the missing ingredient that ignited (see what I did there?) this side into playoff contention. All three players were making their first ever appearance in the Grand Final, with EyeIgnite having made semi-finals twice before with Infused and Prophecy. So despite the disappointment of coming up just short in the final, Envy's Rocket League unit can still be very pleased with their season.
Street Fighter V
Semi-Finals, Lost 2-4 to FNATIC
Group Result: 1st in Group A
3 Wins, 2 Losses.Okay, stop me if you've heard this one already; Envy win Group A, advance into the semi-finals, then lose an ultra-close match to FNATIC.No, I promise I haven't just copy-pasted the FIFA paragraph and knocked off for lunch.On paper this was actually Envy's weakest SFV season in Elite Series history – but given their previous two finishes were runner-up and champions, they had set the bar pretty high for themselves. And ironically, their semi-final defeat means they match arch-rivals exceL's record as reigning champions in Season 2. Funny how everything seems to come back to Envy vs exceL, huh? Speaking of the men in black and orange, Envy were able to beat them for the third straight time on their way to winning Group A, completing the trifecta of Group A victories for Envy this season. They also gave Nordavind their toughest test in Group A, and the losing bonus point they gained in that 4-3 defeat was enough to pip Nordavind to the post in the final reckoning. As for that semi-final, it took a phenomenal performance from FNATIC's squad of Elite Series all-stars to eliminate them – and even then Envy went down swinging in defeat, exuberant and exhilarating to the very last. They gave their title defence a good crack – and having seen Nordavind take their crown, all eyes will be on that particular rematch should it happen in Season 4.