Fnatic Won’t Be Playing at the Upcoming StarLadder Major Berlin
Before the start of the EU Minor Championship, I expected this Fnatic team to qualify either through the Minor itself or the 3rd Place Play-in. Yes, the competition was tough, tougher than it’s been in years. With in-form Mousesports, tenacious North, and aggressive, at times outright chaotic, CR4ZY, KRIMZ and the boys definitely had a few proper contests to deal with.
As you all know by now, Fnatic failed to qualify for the upcoming StarLadder Berlin Major. For the first time ever, mind you! Yep, Fnatic was among the competing teams of all fourteen Majors held thus far. Unfortunately, the Berlin StarLadder spectacle will be the first CS:GO Major Championship not featuring the most popular Swedish team.
Fnatic Major Failure | What Went Wrong?
While everything started out as planned for the experienced Swedish team, things turned upside down as soon as the playoffs started. First, they were absolutely obliterated by in-form Mousesports with 2-0 as the end result. Solid Dust II contest and poor performance on Inferno were enough to close the deal for woxic and the company.
But that was just the beginning of the Fnatic Major failure. While Mousesports proved to be more clinical and better prepared (in terms of in-game strats and rotations) in the semifinals fixture, the loss against CR4ZY was a completely different ballgame. The 2-0 end score was mainly the result of a lack of composure by key Fnatic players.
The match was neck and neck for the most part, but all crucial rounds went in favor of CR4ZY. With brilliant performances by ottoNd, nexa, and hunter, coupled with bad reactions from Fnatic players, this extremely aggressive Balkan team got a chance to qualify for their first Major ever. And, my oh my, they took it with proper style, effortlessly defeating North and grabbing their Challengers Stage tickets.
Fnatic’s Problems Aren’t New
The Fnatic Major failure was, to put it simply, a culmination of many poor internal decisions. The most obvious one is the fear of change that seems to be crippling one of the most recognizable esports franchises in the world. Their roster, which hasn’t seen a change since October 2018 even though the teams’ form was on a noticeable decline, serves as the perfect example.
Of course, every roster addition deserves some time to sync up, get on the same wavelength as the rest of the team, and try to find the pace in matches. However, if things aren’t working out even after a few months (and that’s definitely the case with Fnatic here), I really don’t understand why the people in charge of the team haven’t pushed for roster alterations.
Majors aside, Fnatic didn’t really excel at other notable competitions either. In fact, they only had two solid performances in 2019, on IEM XIV Sydney and StarSeries Season 7. The rest of their 2019 competitive campaigns perfectly depict the mess they’re currently in. And yet there still seem to be no roster switches planned for the Swedish side.
What Should Fnatic Do Next?
Personally, I believe Fnatic should’ve acted immediately after their Katowice failure. While they did end up qualifying for the Major’s Challengers Stage, they were eliminated before the proper action had even begun. With just one win to their tally, everyone involved with Fnatic organization must’ve been devastated.
That said, if I were their manager back then, I wouldn’t wait more than two days after the Major to start with the roster rebuilding process. And, trust me, that’s exactly what Fnatic needs right now… and exactly what Fnatic needed back then as well.
They had a brilliant opportunity to sign one of the world’s most prominent in-game leaders, Karrigan, after FaZe benched him and ultimately replaced him with AdreN (NiKo took the IGL role), and now NEO. Instead, the fear of going international left Fnatic with limited options so they ended up sticking with Xizt who was already showing signs of inability to lead the team to new heights.
If they had gone with Karrigan instead of Xizt back then, perhaps we wouldn’t even have this discussion right now. Karrigan is a player known for elevating other players’ performances. He’s a natural-born leader with impeccable game sense and solid mechanical know-how. With his experience and game IQ, KRIMZ and JW would definitely end up having much better performances in crucial matches and rounds. And don’t even get me started on just how much of an effect Karrigan would have on the young Swedish talent, Brollan.
Worst of all, if the big heads from upper management don’t act fast, Fnatic could sink even further down the pecking order. This team is desperate for a change and let’s collectively hope we’ll see them soon. Otherwise, one of the most resounding names in the history of CS:GO could fall as a victim of its own organization…