Tuesday marks the beginning of the third annual ePremier League tournament, with 40 of the UK’s top FIFA 21 players battling it out for one of the most sought-after prizes in UK eSports: the ePremier League trophy.
Watford were the winners of last year’s tournament, joining Liverpool who were victorious in the debut season, but the Hornets will not be able to defend their crown this year following the football club’s relegation to the Championship.
So we’re guaranteed to have a change in title holder for 2021. Will Liverpool become the first two-time ePremier League champions, or can another team join them and Watford as title winners?
How does the tournament work?
Each Premier League team has two representatives, one for Xbox and one for PlayStation. This year’s ePremier League tournament starts on Tuesday 23 March with the Xbox group stages. The PlayStation group stages will be played the following day and the final eight competitors will battle it out for the £40,000 prize money on Friday 26 March.
All players have been drawn into groups of five and allocated seed numbers which will decide who they will face, and when they will play their games. The lowest two seeds in the group (No. 4 and No. 5) will play first and the winner of that match will go on to play the top seed. Seeds No. 2 and No. 3 of the group will then play a single game to contest for a chance to play in a qualification match (against the winner of the game involving the No. 1 seed). Whoever comes out on top here will move into the Finals.
Watch those feet ? The best PS4 skills from week 3 of the #ePL playoffs ?
? 23 March – XBOX group stages and quarter-finals
? 24 March – PS4 group stages and quarter-finals pic.twitter.com/kj4lMyw34L
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 22, 2021
To put this into context, on Playstation we have Shellzz (Manchester City) as the top seed in his group. This means H1TheGoat (Manchester United) and SAF Hammond (Chelsea) will be fighting it out over two legs to play a winner’s match against Shellzz. In the meantime, EthxnH (Southampton) and Fully (West Ham) will be competing against each other for a place in the qualification match.
Those who don’t win their first games do get a second shot at qualification, with a round of losers’ matches being played in order to decide the best loser. The loser of the initial qualification match will play a second qualification match against the “winner” of the losers’ path (the second-chance round). The winner of this will advance to the quarter-finals.
ePremier League 2020/21 schedule
Tuesday 23 March: Xbox group stages and quarter-finals
Wednesday 24 March: PS4 group stages and quarter-finals
Friday 26 March: Xbox and PS4 semi-finals, finals and Grand Final
Ones To Watch
It is evident that we have been spoilt for choice in the tournament this year, with some very familiar faces returning to the competition. Most notably, we have last year’s winner, HashtagTom who will be flying the flag for Spurs after previously representing Watford in 2020.
As No.1 seed on PS4 and reigning champion, there’s no doubt that he will bring the excitement to this year’s competition once again. There is, however, one that goes by the name of Donovan “Tekkz” Hunt who will be looking for redemption. Tekkz won the competition in 2019 and came up short last year when he was beaten in the Xbox final 5-3 on aggregate by MarcMarleyyyy of Bournemouth. There is no doubt that the Liverpool representative will be coming into this year all guns blazing to reclaim his title.
Strangely enough, both of last year’s finalists represented teams that were ultimately relegated in the Premier League that year, which is why we also see MarcMarleyyy representing a new team in the shape of Brighton and Hove Albion. He has also made the move from Xbox to PS4 and has been drawn in the same group as Hashtag Tom, which means we may see a repeat of last year’s final very early on in the competition.
Looking forward to the ePremier League next week, stacked tourney but hopefully I can go further than last time?? pic.twitter.com/nApBa3y9qK
— Shellzz (@Shellzz) March 16, 2021
Another juicy game to keep an eye out for will be Shellzz vs SAF Hammond. These two PlayStation players faced each other in the 2020 quarter-finals where Hammond beat xShellzz 4-1 over two legs and have been drawn in the same group this year round. But with Shaun “Shellzz” Springette coming into this year as the top seed in his group and Hammond fourth seed, there’s every chance of even more personal vendettas being put to bed in the opening days of the tournament.
With all that being said, this year’s game is different to last years and the new META’s may throw a few spanners in the works. With the gameplay being faster, the library of skill moves being improved and the introduction of Agile Dribbling, it is going to be a case of either get to know, or get your coat. All things said, this year is shaping up to be a thriller and certainly not one to be missed.
How to watch the ePremier League Finals
The finals will be broadcasted live across the Premier League’s official YouTube channel, EA Sports FIFA’s Twitch, Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport online.