Normally, this should feel like the start of a new Dota Pro Circuit. It certainly doesn’t, but we are nevertheless in September. And this is the time to make roster changes if you’re not satisfied with how things went in the previous season.
Fnatic’s 2019 – 2020 Season
Since Fnatic has decided to make an important roster change, we must ask: what did they achieve last season?
To be fair, it’s hard to regard the 2019 – 2020 season as a real season. Because for 8 months or 2 thirds of it, the global crisis ruined every single LAN event. Tournament organizers were forced to think regionally and Valve abandoned 3 of its Majors plus The International. So what exactly did we have? Two Minors, Two Majors and some online tournaments as consolation.
Fnatic took part in both Majors and finished 9th – 12th in each case. Apart from these results and the trophy they won at DOTA Summit 12, they also won a number of regional events: ESL One Los Angeles 2020 SEA, BTS Pro Series: SEA, ESL One Birmingham 2020: SEA, and World E-sports Legendary League. In their last 3 SEA tournaments, Fnatic finished 3rd, 2nd, and 3rd. My guess is that it was this last 3rd place result that pushed Fnatic to make a roster change. This is a team that aspires to be one of the best in the world. Subsequently, being ranked 2nd or 3rd in a region that’s considerably weaker than Europe, China, CIS, and even North America is completely unacceptable. At least locally, Fnatic should be the number 1 team.
The Roster Change
Jabz had been Fnatic’s captain for 2 years. He had his good moments and his bad moments, but overall he delivered. And now that he’s gone, we will see a new Fnatic, for good or for worse.
Jabz got replaced by eyyou, who used to play for TNC Predator in 2019. He spent 6 months there and got a lot of modest results. But in his last tournament with TNC, The International 2019, he managed to finish 9th – 12th. After this result he put a stop to his Dota 2 career and we haven’t heard from him for an entire year, until he was brought in by Fnatic.
Given the situation in Asia, I think that eyyou’s move to Fnatic will prove to be a wise one. It’s not yet clear what the new pecking order is, but I think it’s safe to assume that the usual suspects haven’t changed: TNC Predator, Fnatic, BOOM Esports, and Geek Fam seem to be one step ahead of everyone else. In particular, TNC and Fnatic are likely to continue to dominate the region and get top placements at every important event.