People are sometimes sceptical about the achievements of Maltese players on the international esports stage. We’ve put pen to paper to try and list down what in the author’s sole opinion reflects the top ten achievements in international esports by Maltese players.
Malta also has a number of hyper-competent foreigners who permanently reside in Malta and who have had impressive achievements in esports:
- Mateja “qpert” Mijovic, who is from Serbia plays Valorant for Cloud9;
- Patrick “Piatrix” Campagne, is a Dutch national and the national Rocket League coach for Team Netherlands;
- Luciano “Mose” Calvanico, from Italy, is a Halo European champion.
But this list will focus exclusively on Maltese nationals, with the hope of inspiring other Maltese enthusiasts in following in their footsteps!
There are many more achievements which have gone unmentioned in this list. Ultimately, we had to choose ten. We’ve taken into account a number of factors when creating this list. This includes:
- The prestige of the competition, especially in relation to first party championships organised by the developers of the game themselves;
- The quality of the competition involved, including the level of other competitors involved, such as whether the competition involved the best players in the world, or in a particular region;
- Whether the competition was online or offline;
- The prizepool for the event;
- The popularity and competitiveness of the esports title;
- The individual’s contribution towards the achievement.
We will TRY to list only one achievement per player. I said TRY.
This list reflects the author’s opinion, and it does not represent the views of the Malta Esports Association.
7th/8th – The MIXUP 2022 – Lyon “Lyonidas” Buhagiar – Tekken 7
The Maltese Tekken scene has a highly competitive but cooperative community, and apart from FIFA, is probably the game where Maltese players have tried to venture the most beyond our shores. The best performance ever by a Maltese Tekken player abroad to date was at The MIXUP in October 2022. The MIXUP, which is held in Lyon, France, is one of the most prestigious FGC events in Europe, attracting hundreds of competitors from around the continent, from across the Atlantic, and even from Asia, since it feeds Tekken World Tour points, and also in view of its prestige. Local Tekken player Lyonidas, who plays for Project Eversio, managed to win his group, and proceed to a stacked playoff bracket, where he managed to knock out top EU players such as Jodd, Super Akouma and SephiBlack. Lyon had previously turned heads when he qualified to the IESF World Finals 2021 in Israel by placing 3rd in the European Regional Qualifiers, beating the national players of various countries including Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg.
12th – FIFAe Nations Series 2023 EU Online Qualifiers – Shaun “bransha” Galea & Luke “LukeBartolo99” Bartolo – FIFA
The Maltese National Team for FIFA had a fantastic performance in the FIFAe Nations Series 2022, despite the gruelling path to attempt to qualify to the final stretch of the $400,000 FIFAe Nations Series. The 2 vs 2 event had Malta’s top FIFA players start out in Division 2 of Conference 1. Over 4 weeks, Malta placed 12th out of 15 countries in the Conference, and made it to the Online Qualifiers. This is where Malta shined in Group C, placing an overall 3rd in a group of 8 nations. Malta cleared the group stage with 6 wins, 4 draws and 4 losses. In the bracket stage, Malta lost to Spain 1:2, but then went on to defeat Slovenia and Romania to make it to the next stage – the Playoffs. Malta once again did really well in the groupstage of the Playoffs, placing 2nd in a group of five. In the bracket stage, Malta lost to Scotland, defeated Hungary, but was ultimately knocked out by Italy. Italy went on to place 3rd/4th in the main event of the FIFAe Nations Cup. Malta had one last chance to make it to the main event, and was required to face France in a fight to the death. Unfortunately, Malta lost 3:4 to the French National Team, missing qualification by the tightest margin.
3rd/4th – ESL Go4InfiniteCrisis Season 1 Finals – Adam “tSpark” Gatt – Infinite Crisis
Infinite Crisis was never a huge competitive title, but the MOBA titles competitive support attracted the interest of major players in the esports community back in 2014. Adam “tSpark” Gatt used Infinite Crisis as the launch pad of his esports career, as his team was picked up to represent renowned organisation H2k Gaming. H2k became a top team in the scene, behind the likes of NAVI and Team Dignitas. H2k qualified for the first offline finals held in the ESL Studios in Germany with a €10,000 prizepool. tSpark’s H2k placed 3rd/4th. tSpark transitioned into a player-manager role following Season 1, and even became a caster for the game. Today, tSpark acts as an esports tournament official and referee for major esports productions in Malta and abroad, including Playcon Fortnite Royale, ESL Pro League, the Intel Extreme Masters, and more.
13th-16th European Masters Spring 2020 – Jake “Stxrm” Camilleri – League of Legends
League of Legends Coach Jake “Stxrm” Camilleri has many accolades to his name, including his first place in the Dutch League 2020 Summer with LowLandLions, or his Nordic Championship 2020 Spring win with Team Singularity, and most recently, Hive Athens’ 3rd place in the GGL 2022 Spring Playoffs. Undoubtedly however, we cannot mention the Dutch Championship or the Nordic Championship wins without pointing towards his qualification into the Group Stage of the 2020 European Masters Spring as coach for Team Singularity. Stxrm is currently a consultant for Immortals and Maryville University.
1st – ESL Benelux Championship Autumn 2022 – Kyle “Xaka” Gatt – Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Kyle “Xaka” Gatt is the undisputed best Maltese player to ever play Counter-Strike, with numerous national championships to his name. Xaka competed in the Benelux scene for years, and managed a 2nd place in the ESL Benelux Championship twice with Project Eversio, before ultimately taking the win with KRC Genk Esports in the Autumn 2022 iteration in the €10,000 event. Xaka also placed 2nd in the Elite Series 2022 Summer Split with KRC Genk Esports, and is currently on a break from competition.
1st – Crossfire Devotii Challenge 4 – Steve “toxic” Micallef – Wolftenstein: Enemy Territory
Steve “toxic” Micallef is without a doubt Malta’s esports pioneer. Steve played Enemy Territory, a team-based shooter released back in 2003, and which had a burgeoning scene before Call of Duty was ever a thing. Steve became one of the most prolific players in the game, especially for his skills as an in-game leader, and played for teams which at different points in time were considered the best teams in Europe, and probably the world. These included The Last Resort, Impact-Gaming, evolve-gaming and more! Steve’s trophy cabinet must be packed, with multiple Eurocup wins and numerous top 4 placements on LAN. However, Steve’s crowning glory was his win at the Crossfire Devotii Challenge 4 in Enschede, Netherlands with The Last Resort in 2008 with legends from the game such as Night and feruS. The prizepool at the time was only €1,500, but the prestige was unparalleled.
12th – PUBG Global Invitational 2018 North America – Jurgen “Richy3” Cutajar – PUBG
PUBG is not the game that comes to mind when discussing Maltese esports, however, Jurgen “Richy3” Cutajar is the guy who made it to the top of the North American PUBG scene all the way from Malta. Jurgen played for the North American team Nova Esports, and participated in a number of high profile tournaments, including the Global Loot League S1 in Romania, where he placed 9th/10th, as well as 9th-12th at the DreamHack Austin 2018. However, his participation and 12th place at the $150,000 PUBG Global Invitational 2018 in Burbank California was the feather on his cap, competing against the likes of OpTic Gaming, Cloud9, Dignitas and more.
5-8th – FIFA Global Series 2019 Playoffs PS4 – Christian “ChrisMeister” Spiteri – FIFA
Christian “ChrisMeister” Spiteri is well known for having dominated the Malta ePremier League for its first two iterations, however Christian’s achievement abroad across FIFA19, FIFA20 and FIFA21 have made him one of the most decorated Maltese players in esports. Christian played at the highest level of the game, with top 8 placements in the biggest events, including the eClub World Cup 2019 with The Imperial, the PGL Masters Bucharest, and qualification into the eChampions League 2019. However, in 2019 Christian qualified for the FIFA Global Series which was held in Berlin, and through sheer skill and perseverance, managed a top 8 placement, taking home $10,000. Today, Christian is a coach to professional Italian FIFA team Mkers, with whom he placed 13th-16th in the EA Sports Cup 2023 in London.
3rd/4th – FIFA eClub World Cup 2018 – Kurt “Kurt0411” Fenech – FIFA
In May 2018, Maltese FIFA sensation Kurt “Kurt0411” Fenech achieved 3rd/4th place at one of the main three international FIFA competitions organised directly by EA Sports. Kurt formed part of the Mkers team who qualified to the $50,000 eClub World Cup, which was held in Paris and defeated some of the best teams in the game together with his Italian teammate, Prinsipe. Notably, Kurt knocked out Paris Saint-Germain to take the $5,000 prize.
3rd/4th – FIFA eWorld Cup 2018 – Kurt “Kurt0411” Fenech – FIFA
Kurt “Kurt0411” Fenech undoubtedly holds the most prestigious achievement ever attained by a Maltese player in esports. Kurt0411 was a mainstay, and a top contender in all Tier 1 FIFA tournaments between 2016 and 2019. Kurt placed top 8 twice in a FIFA Global Series competition, as well as top 8 and top 16 placements in FUT Champions Cups held in Barcelona, Manchester, and Atlanta. Whilst we already mentioned that Kurt’s 3rd/4th placement at the eClub World Cup 2018 was a huge achievement, in view of the prestige of winning one of the top 3 yearly FIFA competitions organised by EA Sports, the achievement is only topped by his 3rd/4th place in the biggest FIFA event of the year, the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018. In August 2018, Kurt0411 made Maltese esports enthusiasts dream, by qualifying to the $400,000 eWorld Cup, winning his group consisting of the best players in the world in a very convincing manner, and making it all the way to the Semi Finals by knocking out FaZe Gorilla, and ultimately falling to the eventual champion, Msdossary. That night at the O2 Arena in London, Kurt took home $20,000, and cemented the biggest achievement in Maltese esports history to date.