The Fall of FNATIC
The online era witnessed some radical changes in team rankings throughout 2021. However, the team that took the biggest fall during this period is undeniably FNATIC. They saw themselves drop from number 10 in February to their current spot of 63, their second-lowest of all time. Their most notable achievement this year was a second-place finish at cs_summit 7 where they beat the likes of Complexity, OG, Cloud9, and Heroic. However, since that tournament, their journey has only been downhill. They finished IEM Summer, IEM Katowice, and Flashpoint in last place. Even in EPL Season 13, they saw little success as they could only manage a 17-20th place finish.
FNATIC’s Rebuilding Phase
Pertaining to the string of disappointing results, the team decided to make some eminent changes to the roster. The beginning of July saw the departure of Maikil “Golden” Kunda Selim from the active lineup. The 27-year-old in-game leader received a fair share of the blame for FNATIC’s early exits as he struggled to put up numbers, averaging only a 0.76 rating since February. In less than two weeks after Golden’s departure, Jesper “JW” Wecksell was also benched, ending his long haul of seven years playing in the black and orange jersey. The Wonderchild was known for his ferocious AWPing style and his entries with the big green. Unfortunately for the Swedish AWPer, he continued to lose his edge in the online era as he could only secure 0.85 rating in the past six months. This shocking yet indispensable change left FNATIC with core members Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson, Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin, and Jack “Jackinho” Ström Mattsson.
It was time for the resurrection of the fallen legends. After FNATIC’s coach Andreas “Samuelsson” Samuelsson teased an international roster, the UK-based organization signed Alex “ALEX” McMeekin and William “mezii” Merrima who will reunite after an anticlimactic dissolution of Cloud9.
Nicknamed the ‘King Of Britain’, mezii has made achieving success look easy. After performing well in UK-based teams, he got his first major breakthrough when he was signed by GamerLegion. It only took a few months for his talent to catch the eyes of Cloud9 as he was picked by them soon after ending his tenure at GamerLegion with a 1.16 rating. Due to new roles, mezii couldn’t perform the same way he was known for. After Cloud9 left CS:GO, mezii was acquired by Endpoint to be their star. Hei recorded ten events with Endpoint and finished each one with a positive HLTV rating. His godlike performance caught the eyes of Samuelsson and mezii ended up joining FNATIC. Samuelsson said that the motive behind signing mezii was to “fulfill the role of the hungry up-and-coming player who shared our drive and ambition.” Backed with great communication skills and versatility, he believes in mezii’s innate ability to blossom as a great teammate.
Being one of the most proficient tacticians available on the free-agent market, picking ALEX to lead the squad was a no-brainer for FNATIC. Having played for French-speaking teams like Vitality and LDLC for most of his career, it will only be the second time ALEX will get to play with an English-speaking team, the first being Cloud9. Even though Vitality flourished under his leadership, many believed their success had more to do with ZywOo’s excellence than ALEX’s calling. After getting signed by Cloud9 for a three-year deal worth $1,650,000, it was time for the beginning of a new chapter for the Brit. Unfortunately for ALEX and Cloud9, the Colossus project turned out to be a disaster. People became uncertain of his leadership skills. His individual performance was also standard as he only managed a 0.99 rating in the 5 months he played for Cloud9. Not only has FNATIC given him pieces like Jackinho, Brollan, and mezii, but also a chance to redeem himself as a leader.
Jackinho joined FNATIC early this year as a rifler. The online period hit JW hard and he stopped feeling comfortable with the big green. Due to these role clashes, Jackinho soon transitioned to the primary AWP over JW. While the team’s performance has been underwhelming ever since, Jackinho has shown some great promise. His display of carrying the squad to push them over the line single-handedly has made the core believe in his potential. However, the inexperienced Jackinho’s lack of consistency has been an issue. He sometimes puts up a monstrous 1.50 HLTV rating on the first map only to average a 0.50 rating on the next. Under the leadership of ALEX, he is the guy to look out for. If FNATIC finds structural intricacy within the team, Jackinho’s flex with the big green will be a sight for sore eyes.
KRIMZ is one of the first players who come to mind when you think of Swedish Counter-Strike. A two-time major winner, he is the pride of Sweden. Even for someone as well-versed as KRIMZ, 2021 has been a rough year. His personal struggle has been so stressful that he lost interest in the game. In an interview with Expressen, KRIMZ said that he hasn’t touched the game at all during the player break and he sold all of his skins. While his inability to perform well this year has been detrimental to FNATIC, his experience remains the key to unlock this fresh lineup’s potential. With young guns Brollan, mezii, and Jackinho, the 27-year-old rifler’s shoulders have been burdened with responsibility more than ever. After the much-needed player break, his motivation has been rejuvenated and he is ready to shoot heads.
Brollan was only 16 when he joined FNATIC in 2018 when he replaced Robin “flusha” Rönnquist. Young Brollan had big shoes to fill and he delivered. When the krieg shaped a new era in CS:GO, Brollan took his performance with the SG 553 to another level. Many believed that after the krieg was nerfed, Brollan would be handicapped. But that wasn’t the case. Brollan thrived more as the situation got more challenging. He has proven himself time and time again by pulling FNATIC out of multiple slumps in the past. Even though FNATIC has had a rough year so far, Brollan has continued to shine. He averages a 1.23 rating in the past three months. The 19-year-old Swede possesses unparalleled raw talent. Playing in an international roster will be challenging for him but with him firing on all cylinders, FNATIC will have ample firepower to dismantle the opposition.
FNATIC’s first real test
The third group of ESL Pro League Season 14 kicks off today (27th August) with FNATIC taking on Natus Vincere at approximately 16:45 CEST. The world’s number one team is going to be the favorites going into the match although overcoming the international roster won’t be easy even for them, and an upset might be on the cards. FNATIC will then go on to face BIG, FaZe Clan, and Evil Geniuses in the following matches of the group stage. Even though they are the lowest-ranked team in the group, the points table might tell a different story as the newly formed roster will be playing under minimal pressure.