Fnatic’ problems started on September 9th when Jabz, its captain, left the team and had to be replaced. His replacement was a player named eyyou who hadn’t played professionally for an entire year. Prior to that he was part of TNC, but a year without playing is an eternity in esports. Few people can make a comeback after such a long break and compete directly against the best opponents in a region without getting smashed. Needless to say, eyyou didn’t last for long. In fact, he may have broken some records.
Fnatic’s Defeats in BTS Pro Series Season 3 Southeast Asia
With its new roster, Fnatic started to play in BTS Pro Series Season 3 SEA. No doubt, everyone expected them to do worse than usual and lose against the strongest teams. But absolutely nobody imagined that they would get dismantled by regional no-names like NEW Esports and 496 Gaming.
After 3 consecutive losses (and keep in mind, these were Bo2 matches), Fnatic’s players probably started to engage in some heated discussions. When it happens in your pubs, you know how things end up. But at the professional level, where chemistry is essential for long-term success, that’s unacceptable.
We can’t know the inside story, unless one of the players will reveal it to us. But what we do know is that one week after he was signed, eyyou essentially got kicked. And iceiceice also left the team. The first “loss” isn’t a problem. In fact, it’s the solution to some of Fnatic’s struggles. But the second one certainly is. With over 10 years of professional experience and two years played for Fnatic, iceiceice is the type of player that you really don’t want to lose. This guy finished 4th at two editions of The International and won numerous other trophies in his career. Now, at 30, he’s exactly what a team needs for the offlane position.
After separating with eyyou and iceiceice, Fnatic immediately brought in two temporary stand-ins. One of them is Forev, who had been inactive for more than a year, and the other is Xepher, who recently left Geek Fam. These two players aren’t necessarily terrible, but at the highest competitive level of Southeast Asia, I don’t see how they could improve Fnatic’s performance. And I’m not taking the team’s performance at BTS Pro Series as a benchmark. Rather, I’m comparing Jabz’ Fnatic to this one. And the question is: will the team play better in this new and “improved” formula? I’m certain that it won’t. In fact, it may be months before Fnatic returns to its usual results and becomes a regional force once more.
The main issue with Fnatic’s newest players is simple: one has decent past results but was out of the game for too long, while the other has been active over the last few years but is less successful overall. The good news is that Geek Fam did have some notable results in 2020, and I have to assume that Xepher played an important role in them.