Unless you were hibernating under a rock on the dark side of Mars, you’ll have heard this week that two new franchises have joined the Gfinity Elite Series for Season 3 – FNATIC and Vitality. Exciting times, right? It brings the number of teams up to ten and adds an extra layer of intrigue going forwards, with two huge teams looking to mix it up with the established names.
With all that in mind, let's bring you up to speed on the two newest members of the Elite Series.
Of the two new franchises, FNATIC will be the ones coming in with the most experience and highest expectations. Formed back in July 2004 and based right here in London, they carry a wealth of success, trophies and experience on their shoulders, fielding teams to great success in – amongst other things - League of Legends, CS:GO, Dota 2, Vainglory and Rocket League. It's the first two games in which they’ve had the most success, holding the record for most League of Legends Championship Series split titles – five from seven – of all time. Their equally highly-regarded CS:GO team have won three major titles, including two back to back, and are commonly held up as one of the greatest CS teams of all time.
See what we mean about high expectations?
FNATIC come in with a wealth of experience and knowledge of how to win tournaments at the highest level of esports competition, so don't expect them to be phased by nerves in the slightest. What is worth noting, however, is the relative inexperience of the teams they will be fielding in Elite Series competition specifically. They will be forming an SFV team from scratch, and their Rocket League and FIFA squads were only formed earlier this year. This being FNATIC, expect everything to be done with the highest level of preparation and quality possible – their FIFA team are partnered with the AS Roma football team, and the Rocket League trio have already had success in the Shift Pro League and RLCS Season 4 Europe.
Expect the veteran outfit to hit the ground running across the board and cause a stir right off the bat; the big guns of Elite Series will be braced for an almighty battle.
Whilst not quite having the wealth of experience and trophies as FNATIC, Team Vitality still bring a huge amount to the table. Founded in 2015, the French-based outfit compete internationally in League of Legends, Call of Duty, FIFA, Halo and H1Z1, and whilst their COD squad are ranked 3rd in the European Call of Duty Pro standings, it's their FIFA successes that are perhaps most impressive.
You have to be doing something right if your team kit makes into the FIFA 18 game itself, and Vitality have performed consistently strongly in the burgeoning FIFA scene over the past two years. Most significantly of all though might be the fact that Vitality's own Rocky took victory in the 2017 FIFA Ultimate Team World Championship. All of this means they will probably be most confident about success in the FIFA 18 element of Elite Series – with the UT world champ leading their roster and everyone else starting from a relatively clean slate, they have every chance to go for gold right away. They will be forming two brand new squads for Rocket League and SFV, so a lot will depend on strong recruitment and how fast each team gels – but given FNATIC are in a similar spot with SFV, that matchup will be absolutely fascinating to watch.