The FIFA Ultimate Team Asia All-Stars Tournament Recap
23 March saw some of the best FIFA players from the region convene at Avalon, Marina Bay Sands Singapore, to play for the biggest cash prize ever offered at a FIFA Ultimate Team tournament — a mouth watering AUD$10,000. Set in the glitzy crystalline outcrop fronting the Marina Bay, the grand spectacle, organized by Gamespot Asia in collaboration with developers EA (Electronic Arts), brought together fan favourites Zara (Singapore), HumptyDumpty (Australia) and Stansmith (Japan) for the era-defining BO1 (Best-of-1) showdown.
While the opening of the event was marred by several technical faults and delays, things quickly picked up at half-past five, local time, when Zara, the former Mad Catz player re-emerged in Flash colors for his first game against Stansmith. Falling behind in the first half, Zara decided to shakeup his formation at half time but to no avail, as the Japanese representative dismissed his Singaporean counterpart with an early goal in the second half to seal the deal 2-0.
Zara’s grief though was nothing compared to what his national compatriot gninja had to endure. Suffering the worst point tally at the end of the round robin, gninja (Ed) crashed out albeit the roaring home support. Lining up to play in the quarter finals, first round leader Stansmith was paired with 8th seed Gurka, 2nd seed Gurka pitted against the other Singaporean survivor, Kamil, Japan’s Kuranyi against 5th seed Jun and finally 3rd seed FayMuzza against home boy 6th seed Zara.
Streamed live to over 30,000 viewers at one point on the Gamespot official Twitch channel, the world tuned in as the quarter finals kicked off at the stroke of seven. Seeking to make amends for his last minute mistake which cost him the game in the first round was Gurka, who was playing against the very same opponent who forced the error, Stansmith. Producing what was one of the more nail-biting halves of the night when all things were square, the Australian let slip a couple of good opportunities and allowed his Japanese counterpart to put two past him in the second half, condemning him to a 3-1 rout.
Elsewhere, Kuranyi, Zara and HumptyDumpty were made to work for their wins as they all edged their respective opponents by single goal margins. The semi-finals ensued and HumptyDumpty, in his red jersey and fedora, rose to the occasion to dispatch a resilient Zara, effectively putting out the prospect of a Singaporean winner. There was little time to mourn their losses however as the predominantly Singaporean crowd was treated to a surprising turn of events as firm favorite for the night, Stansmith, was ousted by his fellow countryman, the dark horse, Kuranyi.
It was quite evident then and there that a trend was emerging. Using what many veterans to the game would call a “pace exploit”, victors usually ran their opponents ragged by packing their midfield with speedy players, inducing swift hard-hitting counter-attacks that left the ill prepared fumbling and struggling to withdraw with sufficient cover. Such was the game plan of the Japanese exponent as he took to the stage to face off his Australian equal, HumptyDumpty in the grand finale.
Not known to the fans, who were spectating over the live stream, was that the Final was actually the second time that Kuranyi would have had to play HumptyDumpty that night. Not steamed live in the first round, HumptyDumpty put the Japanese representative to the sword in what Kuranyi now recalled as a game of “bad luck”. Seeking to right that wrong in the highest stakes match for the day, the Australian and Japanese saddled up after a boxing-esque pre-fight photo session.
Making the best possible start, the 25 year old Japanese surged into the lead after only 12 in-game minutes. However, after having a goal adjudged to be scored from an offside position in the 30th minute, HumptyDumpty forced a well-deserved equalizer 7 minutes on. Looking more likely to score of the duo, Kuranyi made a mockery of Humpty’s defence when a well taken corner led to the Japanese finding the net. Having a goal dismissed in the 65th minute due to his player running on from a offside position did not faze the game leader, instead his patience was rewarded in the 74th minute after Ba capitalized on a superb containment effort that sparked a well executed counter-attack.
Thus it was, ecstatically fist pumping to the bass of the pounding music, the Japanese ace rose to collect his well earned reward of ten grand Australian dollars. Quite easily the MVP for the night, his other FIFA compatriots did not look too disappointed but instead savouring the unique and highly significant moment that it was for them and the FIFA Ultimate Team scene. Here’s hoping that given the success the FIFA Ultimate Team Asia Tournament, more of such tournaments will be organized here in future!
Best game of the night: Zara vs. Gurka (First round)
Taking the lead through Darren Bent, Zara surrendered his lead to a masterfully orchestrated leveling goal in the second half. Pulling ahead with another goal shortly after, Gurka then let slip a rebound in the 80th minute, setting the stage for an extra time bout. With Gurka needing the points given his precarious position on the table, nerves got the better of him as Zara nicks a vital goal in the short amount of time left to play. However, instead of running out the clock, sportsmanship let Gurka back into the game in the dying moments of the final half. With everything else that follows being history, Zara capped off a nail-biting shootout with the winning goal, affording him the comfort of all 3 points as the first round of games drew to a close.
What do you think of the FIFA Ultimate Team Asia All-Stars Tournament? Which match up did you most enjoy that night? Let us know in the comments section below!
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