DBLTAP's Max Mallow sat down with professional FIFA player Joksan Redona to discuss winning back-to-back FIFA eClub World Cup championships with Complexity teammate Max "MaXe" Popov, playing in a recent Twitch Rivals event with Castro_1021, how EA Sports needs to improve FUT Champions and more.
DBLTAP: Congratulations Joksan on back-to-back FIFA eClub World Cup titles. What did it mean to bring home another trophy to Complexity alongside your teammate MaXe?
Joksan Redona: It means a lot. My teammate MaXe and I have put in a lot of work. We managed to qualify after a long process. Once we qualified, we knew we could win it again. Going back-to-back is really difficult, in my opinion, and it means a lot to us.
DBLTAP: It's been an up-and-down year in terms of gameplay this year. The game that came out in October is very different from the game we're playing now. The meta has changed drastically as skill moves like stepovers, the bridge, and more are some of the few that standout. What's your opinion on gameplay this year compared to previous titles?
JR: I'm glad you asked. FIFA 20 had really slow gameplay. Drop Back, Overload Ball Side, just very slow overall. At the beginning of FIFA 21, we had the stepover meta and I thought I was very good and one of the best at that meta. Then we had a couple of patches, the stepovers were gone and I felt a little bit lost. I started playing five at-the-back, and now we have that as the meta which is kind of crazy. I didn't like it because I was giving up too much space. I switched back to the 4-4-2 which is the formation I started the year with. It's been working for me. Every year has different gameplay, but I'm happy I've adjusted to every patch so far.
Joksan Redona Discusses Back-to-Back FIFA eClub World Cup Wins, How EA Sports Should Improve FUT Champions and More
DBLTAP: What was it like having 5-3-2 become a popular meta tactic since previous FIFA titles have relied on formations such as 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2? You were an influential voice in making that a popular tactic this year as well.
JR: I saw someone play 5-3-2 and I figured I'd give it a shot. I'm a good defensive player, so with that formation, I was keeping a lot of clean sheets. I was noticing that my attack was horrible, and I'd get a couple of lucky goals. I didn't like how the games were going. 5-3-2 is good, but if you concede first it's over.
DBLTAP: Did you experiment with certain players in the wingback positions? Going for specific Team of the Year defenders or maybe even wingers?
JR: I've used Theo Hernandez, Joao Cancelo or Juan Cuadrado mostly. I don't think it was a matter of using the right players, I just didn't know the formation. I really struggled going forward. If I lost the ball, I'd have to defend with the five defenders and struggle with just three midfielders. My opponent would have most of the possession.
DBLTAP: You competed in a recent Twitch Rivals event alongside Edwin "Castro_1021" Castro and we've seen more and more professional footballers streaming on Twitch. There's Sergio Aguero, Diogo Jota, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. What were your thoughts on competing in the Rivals event and seeing Twitch participate more in the FIFA community considering how big the game is on the platform?
JR: Playing with Castro was awesome, I consider him the GOAT for FIFA streaming. He lives like 15 minutes away from me, he's a really cool guy and it was great exposure for me. I'm glad Twitch is getting more involved in FIFA. It's a game everyone plays. The format was fun with the 2-v-2, a couple of things could've been fixed but overall it was really fun.
DBLTAP: People have been talking about how this is one of the stalest years in terms of FUT. Players are upset with content and criticize the game for being unrewarding. Is there something in particular you want to see change in FIFA Ultimate Team for next year?
JR: Yeah, I agree. When Weekend League was first introduced, the rewards were crazy. I'm a huge advocate for better rewards. If you get Top 200, you deserve to get the best of the best. Every time I get 30-0 or Top 200, my rewards are bad. I still stream them, but people don't want to see you get an 82 rated in-form, or four 75 rated in-forms. Getting a 30-0 at the end of the day is for your ego, but what's up with the rewards? There are so many things you can do with FIFA. Co-op Rivals was fun at the beginning but maybe bring back the Daily Knockout Tournaments. Or, next year include a co-op Weekend League.
DBLTAP: As a professional player who has won tournaments, gone 30-0 and hit Top 200 numerous times in FUT, what's one piece of advice you'd give to players who are looking to improve their gameplay?
JR: Before you even jump into that, I think it's important to make sure you have the right equipment if you want to take it seriously of course. I'd lose multiple games just because of playing on WIFI compared to an ethernet connection. For gameplay, be patient and be smart. Just because someone has a better team than you doesn't mean they're better than you. Mentality is very important as well, especially during the Weekend League. And then in terms of getting players, any form of Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar Jr will help a ton.