Dota 2 The International 10 Team Profile: Fnatic
It’s always disheartening to feel unnoticed, especially when you stand next to someone who grabs all the attention. There are several players from the SEA region that stand out from their regions’ Dota 2 scenes and transition to larger teams abroad. Players like MidOne, NothingToSay, Meracle, and iceiceice have left the nest of Southeast Asia to compete on international rosters, leaving behind the players that propped them up domestically. In light of these high-profile departures, Fnatic decided to focus on creating a roster that will bring the Aegis from the Dota 2 The International to Southeast Asia for the first time. The call of The International for Dota 2 is difficult to resist, and with southeast asian gamers transitioning to mobile gaming, the Dota 2 scene in several SEA countries has taken a hit. According to a report by Newzoo, mobile gaming accounted for $3.1 billion of the southeast asian gaming market’s revenues, taking up 70% of the market overall. With a dwindling scene and less opportunities for domestic competition, can southeast asian squad Fnatic compete internationally in Dota 2 and hold up the Aegis of Immortals?
We’ve been doing team profiles on Dota 2 teams participating at The International 10. Leading up to the first day of group stages, the goal is to provide detailed team profiles on all teams competing to give new viewers and returning fans improved insight for this year’s event. If you’re curious, check out profiles we’ve published on Team Undying, Elephant and OG. As always, stay on the lookout for more blogs on The International 10 to come in the future.
Who is Fnatic? A Legacy Brand Standing at the Sunset of Southeast Asia
Those familiar with the Fnatic brand recognize their accolades in games like League of Legends and CSGO. Fnatic’s League of Legends team has 7 LEC titles including a League of Legends World Championship. Fnatic’s Dota 2 squad hasn’t seen similar success outside of a 4th place finish at The International 2016, 2nd at DOTA Summit 8, and 3rd at Dreamleague Season 11. It’s been hard for the Fnatic Dota 2 squad to snag first place wins in international competition, even with extraordinary players like Mushi, 23savage, WinteR, iceiceice, and UNiVeRsE sitting on the roster.
The Fnatic brand in Dota 2 has been synonymous with the southeast asian region since 2015, being one of the few foreign brands to compete in the region alongside organizations like Mineski, MiTH (Made in Thailand), and TNC Predator (formerly TNC Pro Team). The longevity of their presence in the region should be commended, even if their rosters haven’t secured the success of some of their contemporaries. The one strength Fnatic can rely on is that the organization has made it to The International for Dota 2 every year. Regardless of their performances during the year, Fnatic always manage to buckle down and secure their spot at The International whether it be through qualifiers or direct invites. Fnatic is not easily dispatched, and they show gumption every year at The International group stages. The question is whether The International 10 will provide them with the environment that Fnatic needs to win.
Fnatic – Recent Results & Roster Changes
Since the departure of 23savage and iceiceice back in 2020, Fnatic have been relying on a squad of supporting actors whose performances allow star players to stand out in-game and gain international renown. Out of all the players on the Fnatic roster, carry player Raven and team captain DJ stand out as the most recognizable players on the roster heading into The International 10.
Most of Raven’s career in Dota 2 has been defined by his time on TNC Predator, a team that saw middling successes at The Internationals 2016 and 2017. Throughout 2017, Raven and TNC Predator would see 2nd place at MDL Macau, 4th at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018, and 1st at the World Electronic Sports Games 2019, despite being on loan from Lotac at the time.
Raven has stood out on whatever squad he’s been on as a reliable carry that enjoys playing for the late-game, even though he’s capable of contributing to team fights early as his keen and aggressive game sense can catch opponents off guard. While Raven is quite competent in his role, and may be considered one of the best carry players in the Philippines, it seems as though his preference for super-late games may be holding him back as recent patches have prioritized team compositions that can scale early and finish games quickly. This tendency to play for the late-game may set him apart from other carry players at The International 10, but it doesn’t mean that the team fight mentality the Philippines are known for is a tool that has fallen out of use in Raven’s toolbox.
DJ acts as Fnatic’s captain and in-game leader. Perhaps the one player on Fnatic’s roster that’s stuck around the longest. DJ’s had the pleasure of supporting some of the SEA region’s best players, and having one of the most interesting careers in SEA Dota 2 history. Starting out in Korea, DJ played in Nexon’s Starter League and Korean Dota League before traveling to Malaysia to play for Fnatic. He’s played with Malaysian legends like Mushi, Ohaiyo, MidOne and other notable SEA players. He hasn’t stood out much in the support role, but DJ’s experience playing against a variety of Asian teams and in the company of SEA’s greatest players makes him an invaluable asset to Fnatic’s squad. If he can take all his years of experience and lead his team effectively, there’s the possibility that Fnatic will secure some surprise wins against some of the bigger teams at The International 10.
ChYuan, Jabz, and Deth round up the rest of Fnatic’s team. Jabz is a consistent and seasoned support player who came into prominence playing for Team Faceless back in 2016 and won the Dota 2 Asia Championship in 2018 with Mineski. Deth saw some time on Complexity’s roster playing with Meracle, Limmp, and Zfreek back in 2019. Deth also saw 5th place at this year’s Singapore Major while playing for OB Esports x Neon, a team that managed surprising wins against Fnatic and Vici Gaming. ChYuan resides in the midlane for Fnatic and unfortunately has not shown great performances on teams like Geek Fam and Team Aster. His time with Fnatic has continued that trend, unfortunately.
Together, there’s hope that this squad can perform at The International 10. Their 2nd place win at BTS Pro Series Season 7: South Asia saw them perform admirably at the event and secure a win against Team SMG, a team that fields MidOne who has seen great success with Team Secret and Moon who previously played midlane for Fnatic.
Their performance at the Southeast Asian Qualifier for The International 10 saw them in a close contest against TNC Predator. The grand final of the event was even with either team going to The International as the second SEA representative, but Fnatic were able to capitalize on the carry Axe and midlane Puck to secure early kills on the support Earth Spirit, which led to successful trades that prevented the offlane Death Prophet from coming online.
Overall, domestic performance for Fnatic has been spotty, and Fnatic’s international performance fails to impress as well.
Fnatic – Predictions for The International 10 for Dota 2
I don’t foresee Fnatic doing extremely well at The International 10 for Dota 2. I feel like it takes the entire team to set the pace for early rotations rather than ChYuan or Deth making smart movements alongside Fnatic’s support players. It often feels like Raven must peel away from farming to join fights mid or lead fights in his own lane, preventing him from securing farm for himself. As the patch moves away from creep stack farmers to steroid lane farmers, we could see Raven on a hero that he loves to play: Juggernaut. If there’s a good Juggernaut game, we can expect Raven to show off the versatility of the hero and play it aggressively.
I genuinely believe ChYuan may be the weak link on Fnatic’s squad, and he may falter playing against teams that carry from the midlane like Team Secret and PSG.LGD. Even among teams that prefer tanky cores or sustain-heavy lineups, ChYuan may struggle against more experienced midlane players.
Overall, if Fnatic are capable of adapting to a faster pace of gameplay, they can grab wins from stronger opponents. However, it’s unlikely that this will happen and Fnatic will lead the pack of some of the weaker teams at The International 10, like Thunder Predator, Elephant, and SG esports.
Fnatic still deserve respect for being one of the few teams to have competed at The International every year since its inception. It wouldn’t be The International without their inclusion, and SEA still remains one of the most stalwart and fanatical regions for Dota 2. An International without Fnatic cannot feel like a true International.