Fnatic is one of the most recognizable names in all of esports. Their Dota 2 side however is currently on a downward spiral that seems to have no end. Having tried and failed to replicate the success at TI6, what’s next for Fnatic?
Fnatic at TI6
Lets rewind the clock back to August 2016, the month of The International. Things are looking good for the team, a solid roster and good performances see them going to TI confident they can surprise a few people. Fnatic surprised even themselves when they managed to finish in a very respectable fourth position.
After a disappointing group stage, Fnatic found themselves in the losers bracket from the get go. After winning a best of one against Escape Gaming, they faced off with former winners Alliance, who the defeated them with relative ease 2-0. They then faced up against Team Liquid and MVP Phoenix, defeating both teams 2-0. Fnatic were finally defeated by Digital Chaos who would eventually finish as the runner up.
The team performed above most people’s expectations and took home a whopping $1,453,932. After such a strong performance in the tournament, the future looked bright for the team. However, as is often the case in competitive Dota, roster changes can and will always happen.
August 19th 2016 will be a sad day in the history of Fnatic, as it is announced that Dj has official left the team to go back to the Philippines. Now, whilst one change is manageable, things went from bad to worse when it was announced on August 24th that both MidOne and 343 were leaving the team. From finishing fourth at TI to having a roster with two official players in less than two weeks. Things looked bleak.
All clouds have a silver lining
In the weeks following the departure of more than half the team, fans were worried as the future looked bleak. However, on September 6th, Fnatic announced their new roster for the Boston Major.
It was announced that Raven, eyyou, and DeMoN would be leaving TNC Pro Team and joining Fnatic. This was a big statement from Fnatic, and the future started to look bright.
The team seemed to be gelling well and the results were started to come, and with Boston on the horizon things were looking up for the team.
True Sight revealed the cracks
Valve True Sight documentary series gave fans an insight into the struggle teams face on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the series showed the struggles that the Fnatic team were having. New additions Raven and eyyou were struggling with standing up to the legend that is Mushi.
The documentary showed that the team was struggling and qualification to the Major looked increasingly unlikely. Fnatic eventually crashed out in the qualifiers and never made it to Boston, spelling the end for the team. On November 28th, Fnatic announced they had parted ways with Raven, eyyou, and DeMoN, leaving Mushi and Ohaiyo looking for three again.
We have a tournament in three days, better announce a team
Fast forward to January 2017, it has been two months since Fnatic has been on a world stage, and ESL One Genting is around the corner. Fnatic had been invited to the event, and with only a few days until the tournament, no roster had been announced.
Fans clamored to find out information regarding the new roster in the lead up to the tournament. Finally, on January 4th, a mere three days before the tournament starts, Fnatic announce their roster.
Dota2: Roster Update
— FNATIC (@FNATIC) January 4, 2017
Yee Fung “Mushi” Chai – Mid/Carry
Muhammad Rizky “Inyourdream” Anugrah – Mid/Carry
Chong Xin “Ohaiyo” Khoo – Offlaner
Yong-min “Febby” Kim – Roaming Support
Ng “YamateH” Wei Poong – Hard Support (Stand in)
[Taken from Fnatic.com]
Announcing a roster three days before a major tournament has panic written all over it. Needless to say things did not end well for Fnatic as they crashed out on day one, and the experiment was a failure. They say when it rains it pours, and this seems to be the case for Fnatic at present. Just five days after announcing the new roster, they had to make more changes.
It was announced that Inyourdream would have to leave the team for family issues. Combine this with YamateH only being a stand-in and Fnatic were left with half a squad once again.
So what’s the plan now?
Fnatic entered the StarLadder qualifiers with practically a pick-up team, and as expected failed to qualify. Having been invited to the SEA regional qualifiers for the upcoming DAC qualifiers, it was announced that they would not be participating and taking the time to identify the correct roster. This was definitely the correct decision as they are yet to find a solid roster and are currently plummeting into uncharted territory.
Things are not all bad though. Throughout all of the issues, they have managed to hang-on to both Mushi and Ohaiyo, and with the recent addition of Febby they have a core roster that has potential. The focus needs to be on taking a break from the international scene to rebuild themselves in the regional scene first. With the amount of talent currently in SEA, it will be difficult for Fnatic to rise back to the top of the pile.
Can Fnatic be reborn?
Fnatic still posses the ability to be a formidable team on the world stage, and it is important that the current players do not lose sight of this. The main problem they will face is that a lot of the teams in SEA have solidified rosters and are unlikely to release players for Fnatic to pick up. Roster changes currently look unlikely as the Kiev Major is scheduled to take place in April.
Fnatic will most likely have to pick up two relatively unknown players in the hope of rounding out their squad ahead of the qualifiers for Kiev. All things considered, it may be better for Fnatic to wait until the inevitable roster shuffle that will follow Kiev as they may have the option to get more recognized players.
Whilst they may be down, Fnatic are by no means out. The next couple of months will be a real testing time for both the players and the organisation. But should they make it through the trials and tribulations, they will grow as a team.