The FIFA 22 eChampions League finals are here, with the competition’s remaining eight pros battling it out in Stockholm, Sweden for this year’s eCL title and a cool $75,000. For arguably the scene’s most recognisable name, Donovan ‘Tekkz’ Hunt, it presents an opportunity to scoop a title at a FIFA LAN event for the first time since the pandemic struck.
Speaking to The Loadout, Tekkz describes his journey to the eChampions League finals as a mixed bag. The online group stage was a self-confessed “slog” – however, the knockout stage, which was played on LAN a few weeks before today’s final, was “a breeze” for the UK player.
He now faces a potentially short route to the grand final and that eCL trophy thanks to his strong knockout stage performance, starting in the winner’s bracket. If Tekkz replicates his faultless display from the knockouts, then he may only need three series of FIFA to claim the title. He says he has been trying to focus on this on-paper simplicity, and speak it into existence when talking with family and friends before the finals.
He is also buoyed by his current form. “With the way I was playing, I think I would have won it had the final been that weekend,” he says, reflecting on the knockout stage. “I was just playing really well.”
Tekkz is aware that despite his confidence, the level of competition for a one-day blast through a bracket is incredibly high. He identifies fellow winner’s bracket players Nicolas ‘nicolas99fc’ Villalba and Umut ‘Umut’ Gültekin as likely grand finalists, and also identifies the defensively-strong Matías ‘Matias’ Bonanno as a potential thorn in his side – Matias has “clamped” Tekkz’s attacking style in past matchups, he says.
When asked if he had any secret weapons up his sleeve for taking on these top players, it seems a rather underused Icon card (in FIFA esports circles, anyway) might be the difference maker.
“You [are allowed to use] three Icons,” Tekkz explains when talking about squad restrictions for the eCL Finals. “So my Icons will be the typical R9 [Ronaldo] and Pele. For the third Icon, everyone’s going to be using Gullit, but for me, I’m pulling out Ronaldinho – he’s the key player. He’s going right wing, and he’s going to be the playmaker. He’s going to be instrumental.”
For Tekkz, this weekend could also see two European title celebrations in as many days. If he were to be crowned eCL champion, and his beloved Liverpool were to topple Real Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday, he admits things might get “messy”.
Looking ahead past the eChampions League Finals, and a golden month of competitive FIFA awaits. Across three consecutive weekends in July, the FIFA eClub World Cup, FIFA eNations Cup, and FIFA eWorld Cup (where FIFA 22’s individual world champion will be crowned) will all be played in Copenhagen, Denmark – and all on LAN. At the very start of July, the FIFA Global Series Playoffs (which see the year’s top pros qualify for the eWorld Cup) will also take place.
Hey, Copenhagen! 🇩🇰 We’ve got a message for you 📨
Introducing the #FIFAe Finals 😍
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🔥 USD 1.2 million in prize money
🗓️ July 2022
More info 👉 https://t.co/1n9CITVehQ pic.twitter.com/WhQ6E4SBhF
— FIFAe (@FIFAe) May 18, 2022
For Tekkz, who is tracking to qualify for all three events, it could present a hectic month of majors, but he’s keen on the changes that have been made to the end-of-season schedule.
“I’m a big fan of the changes, to be honest,” he says. “Usually the eWorld Cup’s at the beginning of August, but I’m happy it’s all been squeezed into July. I think [the eWorld Cup] is two weeks after the Playoffs, so there’s not a big break in between the two anymore. If you get some momentum going, you can also bring that over [to the next event].” He also admits he can now “enjoy his August” with the season wrapping up earlier than usual.
From the moment he shocked the FIFA world with his famous major win in Barcelona as a 16-year-old in FIFA 18, Tekkz has always had world champion potential. With his less-experienced days and COVID behind him, could this be the year?
“I think I’m the best player this year,” Tekkz says confidently. “I’m ranked fifth right now, but if it wasn’t for penalty shootouts, I’d be ranked first. [In 1v1 and 2v2 tournaments] I’ve felt really good, and I’m not scared to play anybody right now. There are always going to be players that are harder to play, but in games I’ve played this year, even when qualifying for this eChampions League, I’ve been beating players by hefty scorelines.
“If mentally I feel good, I know I won’t bottle it in the moment – I feel much more mature. And even just in how I’ve been playing, I feel like I’m at the level I was at in FIFA 19.”
It’s clear that Tekkz is backing himself for a bumper end to the FIFA 22 season, and you can watch him attempt to hoist the eChampions League trophy today, May 27, over on the EA Sports FIFA Twitch channel or the UEFA YouTube channel. The action gets underway at 4am PT/ 7am ET/ 12pm BST.