Thursday, July 24, 2008

CELgames08 - Champion, Finally...

After winning the CELgames08 and finally being a champion after so long, i've decided to write about my life as a part-time professional or should i say, a competitive FIFA gamer. This might be an extra long essay about the experiences as a gamer, but it should be an interesting journey for me to read back in the future.

[W|nDs] A13x - "Impossible Is Nothing!"

The Start
It all started in 2003, when my long-time friend cum schoolmate, Lum Wai Fong and i spotted the WCG03 ad on a newspaper. We decided to participate just for fun since we were playing FIFA03 also that time. As a newbie, i did quite well by qualifying into the 2nd round but Wai Fong was knocked out in the 1st round. During the 2nd round, i was in the same group with the time's FIFA legend, Nigel Goh aka Gel who was undefeated in the 8-men round robin group stage. I was totally humiliated by his experience and skillful game-play. He was such a friendly person, giving me some advices while complimenting the hidden talent that i had after our games. Then, he proceeded to win the WCG03 Msia FIFA03 title. A year later, he formed Msia's first FIFA clan and proudly named it, [W|nDs] - Winning with an |rresistible, No-nonsense & Delightful Style. After playing my first competitive FIFA tourney, i didn't stop playing but instead i went for all the FIFA tourneys that were held in KL ever since. After knowing Nigel, he later introduced me to the other friendly clan members whom i got really well along with.

Nigel Goh (Left) & His Younger Brother, Francis Goh (Right) During EFC 2006.

Being A Part Of [W|nDs]
Only in 2006, Nigel offered me to join the clan, after seeing that i fulfilled most of the requirements, which were talent, good behaviours and commitments to join tourneys. That was also after i managed to fight myself into the Final 8 during WCG06 Msia but then i lost to [W|nDs] Si_jali, who just made Msia proud by achieving a 4th place in the WCG05 Grand Finals in Singapore and also winning the Asian WCG06. The CELgames06 was my 1st tourney as a [W|nDs] member, proudly achieving the 4th placing while losing to clan-mate LoOn4tiC. That was so close to getting my 1st Top 3 achievement! During WCG07, i achieved better achievements by finishing as one of the Final 6 while during the CGS07 Msia Qualifier, which was a professional gaming league that offers a USD30k contract to gamers held in Msia for the 1st time, i achieved a even better result by grabbing the 3rd spot. Unfortunately, the event was just to find 1 best gamer (for FIFA) to represent Msia to compete in the CGS Grand Finals, in which LoOn4tiC was picked as he won the event. There were actually no prizes for the Top 3 winners but Astro decided to only award the Champion RM500 and the 1st Runner-up RM250 as rewards but not to the 2nd Runner-up! Well, it seemed that God thought it wasn't time for me to win any prizes yet even though i finally won myself as 1 of the Top 3 in a tourney =(

[W|nDs] Final 4 During CGS07 Msia Qualifier.
From Left: A13x, Vin (Look At How Happy He Smiled!), Host Julie Hoi, LoOn4tiC & Leoninho.

The Time Has Come
After 5 years of experiences since my 1st competition, i have encountered and learned many useful things which money can't buy, from the intense nervousness while playing as an underdog to getting so close in being on the podium and winning prizes. The experiences surely made me a better gamer. I have told myself that this year might be my final year to play FIFA competitively as i will start entering the working world by next year. Fear of having insufficient time for training and competitions while working like a mad dog, i knew that i must achieve at least something this year, to make myself proud and not feeling wasted for all the time and money i've spent on traveling to KL for competitions. With a better me this year, i've managed to do very well in the 1st FIFA major tourney, the CGS08 Msia Qualifier. Sadly, CGS08 Msia Qualifier didn't have any sponsors and we had no idea to why Astro pulled out from the event this year. Thus, the qualifier was held in a cyber-cafe called FTZ in Subang with the previous year's officials and GM (General Manager) of Msia's CGS team, KL Taufan to monitor and look for the best players for this year. The format was just a simple round-robin group play consisting of only 14 players of [W|nDs] and our rival clan, -MyFes- members. The result was Si_jali at the top of the table while i was 2nd. That meant Si_jali was picked as KL Taufan's FIFA08 representative while i was the taxi player, in other words, a reserved player to replace Si_jali if he couldn't make it to Wuhan, China to compete for the Pan-Asian Finals 08.

FIFA Gamers Competing During CGS08 Msia Qualifier At FTZ Subang.

Then it was the WCG08: Kick Off (my previous blog), which was a first time event prior to the real WCG08 Msia to select the representatives for Msia to compete at the Asian WCG in Singapore. Previously, there was no qualifier to find who will represent Msia at the Asian WCG as the previous champions of WCG Msia were automatically chosen. However, this year they gave other gamers the chance to beat the defending champions for the place to Asia WCG. The WCG Msia defending champions did not have to play in the WCG08: KO tourney but they were waiting at the Finals to meet the new winners of the event. For FIFA08, Si_jali was the champion during WCG07 Msia and thus he was the one who will be representing Msia to the Asian WCG this year. As for the end of the WCG08: KO tourney, our clan-mate Vin emerged as the champion who then met Si_jali to determine who will be going to Singapore but Si_jali still managed to defend his title by beating Vin. As for me, i was in the Semi-Final as well but i lost to LoOn4tiC again, sparking the reminiscence of my CELgames06 defeat. -MyFes- Warrior lost to Vin on the other Semi-Final but then we didn't play the 3rd/4th placings because it didn't matter after all as there where no prizes for Top 3.

After Losing To LoOn4tiC During The WCG08: Kick Off Semi-Final.
*Inset: Champ Vin Showed His Handsome Face Before Playing Against -MyFes- Warrior.

The 3rd major tournament for this year was the CELgames08, which was held annually by GameAxis since 2006. Earlier, i've joined one of the Preliminary rounds, which were held to allow gamers the chance to get seeded straight into the Final 16. Vin and i joined the Tbun Prelim on 21st June and we qualified into the Final 16 together as only the Top 2 of each prelim will get seeded. Luckily, Vin was at the upper bracket while i was at the lower bracket, meaning if we were to win all of our matches from start, we will only meet each other at the Final. Lucky for both of us, we won our matches all the way and met in the Final for the 1st time but in the end i lost to him, costing me to bring home just a SonicGear headset while he got the SonicGear Enzo 500 speaker.

CELgames08 Tbun Prelim Winners. From Left: Shukor (3rd), Vin (Champ) & A13x (2nd). Both Vin & I Qualified Into The Final 16 Of CELgames08.

So on the 12th July 2008, it was the real and final event where FIFA08, NFS: Pro Street and C&C3 were the official games to be competed by gamers. CELgames08 was held together with the GameAxis LIVE! event at the Mid Valley Exhibition Hall. As my birthday had just passed a day ago, i still felt that i have some luck because LoOn4tiC and Vin were both at the upper bracket while i was at the lower bracket. The reason i feared these 2 were because they were the favourites to win the tourney, after their great performances in previous tourneys. I knew i have to only get through 3 opponents to be in the Final. My first Final 16 opponent was none other than my clan-mate @ Clan Manager, the veteran [W|nDs] Quicknet! Haha he is the oldest member in our clan and has the most experiences in business dealings, therefore he is appointed as our Clan Manager to manage the clan wisely after the retirement of Nigel from the gaming scene. He didn't have time for intense training as he's a married man with a job so i was a better gamer than him since i played and trained more. I beat him in both Home & Away games with a total goals aggregate of 5 goals. At the Final 8, i met an unknown player or should i say, a newbie who has less experiences than me. So it was quite an easy win for me as i punished him with all of the mistakes he made and got myself into the Final 4. Here i met my clan-mate Jotaro, who has always been coming over to Vin's house to train with us so it would be a tough opponent for me, although i beat him before during WCG08: KO. After the 2 games, i managed to win him to get myself to the Winner's Bracket Final while he dropped to the Loser's Bracket.

[W|nDs] LoOn4tiC vs [W|nDs] A13x During CELgames08 Winner's Bracket Final.

CELgames08 - The Final 4
Again, guess who dominated the Final 4 spots? Yeah, 3 of them were the same guys who got themselves into the WCG08: KO Final 4. This time instead of -MyFes- Warrior, [W|nDs] Jotaro managed to earn himself a place in the Final 4, making it another clean sweep by 4 [W|nDs] members along side with LoOn4tiC, Vin and i. The Final 4 was known on that day but we were to play only on the next day, which was Sunday, 13th July 2008. The funny thing was, 4 of us actually spent the night together at Vin's house and car-pooled in the same car that Jotaro drove. On our way home that day, we joked in the car that if something were to happen to us altogether, there will be no FIFA08 winners for CELgames08 haha. On the next day, we really hoped that the car would not break down or there's a massive jam ahead but it was not a thing for us to worry even if we were late to the event as they will still need to wait for us lol.

[W|nDs] Final 4 During CELgames08. From Left: A13x, Vin, Jotaro & LoOn4tiC.

The Finale - The Gamble That Paid Off
At the Winner's Bracket Final, i had to play LoOn4tiC AGAIN while Jotaro had to play against Vin in the Loser's Bracket Final. Thinking about all the efforts i had put in to reach the Final, i would not want to lose at this stage again. It was NOT EASY to get into a Final of any competition and the feeling of losing out in a Final is awfully terrible. Thus, i had already prepared myself and thought for a strategy to win my opponent the night before. As i've played LoOn4tiC for so many times, i would have known his playing style and all of his strengths and weaknesses. As i chose Brazil on the team selections screen, i could hear whispers exchanging between the spectators behind me. In FIFA08, Barcelona is the best team to be used and most of the participants were using Barcelona throughout the tourney, including me during the early stages. As i already thought of a possible way to win the experienced LoOn4tiC, i had to use Brazil, which is also actually my favourite International team. It was a gamble because the strategy i will use has its advantages and also some disadvantages. After much thoughts with myself the night before, i decided to play with the risk as i believe, with great risk comes great success but if things go wrong, it would be a huge disaster.

[W|nDs] A13x Finally Beat [W|nDs] LoOn4tiC Twice!
*Why Vin Is Always Beside Me? My Lucky Angel Perhaps? =P

So everyone was anxious to know what my mind was thinking while some even thought i was stupid for not choosing Barcelona. Anyway, the Winner's Bracket Final Home & Away games were played and the results favored me. I drew both of the games but i was the winner as i won by a better Away Goals Aggregate. In my Home game, i scored a goal while LoOn4tiC also scored 1 goal. In my Away game, i scored 2 goals and even though LoOn4tiC scored 2 goals too, i had 2 Away Goals on my hand while he only had 1. So LoOn4tiC dropped to the Loser's Bracket to meet Vin, who had beaten Jotaro with a score of 4-0 for both games. Even with a scary win of 8 goals scored against Jotaro, Vin couldn't beat LoOn4tiC. LoOn4tiC won both games by a small margin of 1-0 for each game. LoOn4tiC actually was the one who knocked Vin to the Loser's Bracket when they met earlier. With LoOn4tiC's 2nd win against Vin, he had another chance to beat me for the title. Since i didn't lose from the start, LoOn4tiC will have to beat me TWICE (2 Home & 2 Away games) in order to secure the title. The Final of the Final started and he was at Home for the first game. Everything was intense while i still used Brazil against his Barcelona and there were still no goals for the first 70 minutes. It was bad for me as getting away goals were very important. At around 78 minutes into the game, my Robinho was dribbling all the way on the left flank. As he reached the inside penalty box, he made a low cross to the middle where Ronaldo rushed in to tap the ball past Victor Valdes. This was the only goal of the game and i was quite relieved to get at least 1 Away Goal and a win. The 2nd game started with me as the Home side and things were not good for me as LoOn4tiC opened the scoring early in the game. I've learned not to lose composure during this kind of situation and i managed to equalize later on. Then, right after the 2nd half, i made a mistake and conceded another goal. This was really bad for me because if LoOn4tiC won this game 2-1, he would win because of the 2 Away goals he scored. Even though i knew i have another chance to play him again if i lost, i told myself i would not take anymore risk. I had the 1-0 win advantage from the 1st game and i want to win this too to end everything at once. As Lady Luck heard my prayers, i was lucky enough to grab myself another equalizer, which made it 2-2. The game ended and i won LoOn4tiC with a 3-2 goals aggregate. A weird feeling surrounded me as i could not believe i actually won my first major title, what's more i didn't even lose a single match throughout the entire tournament!

My Dream Of Holding A Champion Mock Cheque On Stage Finally Came True! XD

Lucky 13
After smiling towards the flashing cameras and getting interviewed by Spotgamers, my long-time training partner Vin came up to me and told me "You know why you have the luck to win CELgames?" as he raised his hand up at me to show me his watch. As i looked at it, i saw the number 13, the date of the day i won my first ever FIFA title. That made me even happier as i didn't aware it was the 13th due to my full concentrations and preparations for the Final. Prior to CELgames08, i actually played in the LYN FIFA08 Online League and won the Season 13, grabbing the Gold Medal, Golden Shoe award as well as the Clean Sheet award. I was flattering around and jokingly said that i won the Season 13 and all of the awards just for Michael Ballack, who initially started to drive me crazy with his player number who many think it's unlucky. I'm so obsessed with the number until i vowed to myself that i'll get 13 for my future's car number plate. Now that i was being crowned as the CELgames08 Champion on a 13th, i guess the number will stick with me forever.

Michael Ballack - My Lucky 13

Something To Be Proud Of
I'm sure everyone has encountered at least one happiest moment in their lives. The feeling is just so wonderful and you often thought you're dreaming, especially if you achieve something big. Winning a gaming competition is not as easy as it looks. In fact, it's never easy to win any competition, be it small or big, as there are always someone better than you in a particular thing and you have to be the best of the best in order to be on top. I was really happy to achieve something this big in my life, being on top for a particular event, although it was just a gaming competition. I'm proud with myself as i finally proved some people wrong and showed them that i'm capable of achieving something great too. What i'm more proud of are being a member of Msia's first and number 1 FIFA Clan, [W|nDs] and knowing the other members who had now become my best friends. I was a no one when i went to KL for WCG03 and i had no friends who are based from KL. I didn't know after indulging myself into gaming competitions, i would make great friends around. After joining [W|nDs], i felt happier as i have friends during competitions and would not play or wander alone. Then came -MyFes-, who initially were individual gamers like me but then they grouped up and formed another clan. I have great relationships with both clan members currently and also knowing more gamers from other genres. It's truly a wonderful thing and i never regret the first step of me joining WCG03. So this title was not won solely with my own efforts alone. It was everything that started from knowing the people who gave advices, encouragements, supports and trainings.

[W|nDs] Won Plenty Of $$ During CELgames08.
*Look At Vin's Cute Face When He's In Contact With Lotsa Cash!

I would really want to thank Nigel for his friendly and kind personality that made me want to go for more gaming competitions and also welcoming me to the [W|nDs] family. Not forgetting all of the members of [W|nDs] and also -MyFes- as well as other gamers who had given me plenty of enjoying moments during tournaments. [W|nDs] Vin aka "fuiyoh geng dou sei leng zhai Vin Der Sar" was the one who made me what i am today. He is a talented and calm gamer who had achieved many great performances. It was him whom i trained most with and i learned a lot of useful and good skills from him that made me a good gamer today. He and his cousin, Des who is also our clan-mate, also welcomed me to stay at their place everytime i'm in KL for competitions, which is really really convenient for me instead of staying at my bro's place where i have to travel alone. Vin's a great friend to be also who always smile and smile and smile all the time! Hahaha at least now i have a close friend in KL who share the same interests with me and we always have fun hanging out together. Jotaro and LoOn4tiC are the other funny members. Jotaro has been driving us around to and from competitions as he's the one who has a car and lives nearby Vin's place while we can't stop teasing each other when we are playing FIFA! LoOn4tiC is a crazy chap who keeps doing and saying silly stuffs, the only member in the clan who shares the same wacky behaviour as mine.

The CELgames08 Final 4 [W|nDs] Walking Together In Style Shortly After Arriving Mid Valley's Car Park.

Sigh it's really something that i'm really proud of, winning a title with prizes while having plenty of great friends around. What's more do i want? Well, my next wish would be getting a TREBLE win this year because there are only 2 major FIFA08 competitions left, the WCG08 Msia on 15th August and the WGT08 on 29th October. If only i could achieve this, i will be really satisfied even if i have to retire from professional gaming next year! I believe in "IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING!" XD

Happy Moments

[W|nDs] During CELgames07 At Lowyat Plaza.

This Is "Brazillll" -MyFes- Jingkung From Sabah.
He's Such An Adorable & Funny Fatty! XD

[W|nDs] & -MyFes- Members During WGT07 At 1 Utama.

[W|nDs] & -MyFes- Members During MMU E-Week Competition 08 At MMU Cyberjaya.

[W|nDs] During CGS07 At Cineleisure.

The 3 Stooges That Won CELgames08.

Haha felt so emo.. =P

Spotgamers - Spotgamers did a short review and interviews with gamers during CELgames08. Check the video out by clicking the link!
Multiplay Lowyat
Clan [W|nDs]
Clan -MyFes-
WCG Malaysia
CGS Asia
LYN FIFA08 Online League

Chapree's Photos
TPK's Photos