Fnatic takes ESEA title amid cheating accusations
The most controversial team in Counter-Strike has added another title to their growing collection.
The road wasn’t an easy one for the top Swedish team. Fnatic lost in their first meeting with Virtus Pro in the upper bracket final, meaning they'd have a tough road ahead during the competition’s final day.
The team would first have to contend with the competition’s highest-placing local team, iBUYPOWER. If they could beat the Americans, Fnatic would then have to win two series consecutively over Virtus Pro in the grand final.
And that’s exactly what they did.
Fnatic won six straight games on Sunday, sweeping iBUYPOWER before sweeping Virtus Pro twice. All six of the games were competitively played, especially the final two maps that decided the tournament. But each time Fnatic were up to the task.
Fnatic’s grand final performance was keyed by Olof Kajbjer and Jesper “JW” Wecksell. The two snipers consistently made plays to keep their team ahead of Virtus Pro.
The win comes at a time when the team is under heavy fire.
Kajbjer and Wecksell have both been accused of cheating in the week since bans there were recently handed out to top professional Counter-Strike players.
Those accusations pale to those that have been directed at Robin “Flusha” Ronnquist, whose performance in the final series against Virtus Pro was lackluster.
After the team forfeited at DreamHack Winter following a controversy over a map exploit, rumors of the current roster’s dissolution began to pick up steam. Such discussion seemed to be given weight by vague comments made by the team’s members on social media.The ESEA win may abate such concerns.
Fnatic's storyline wasn't the only highlight of the tournament. Denial had disappointed in their live event debut at the CEVO final earlier in the Fall, but their performance in Dallas was much improved.
The team’s losses came after multiple overtime periods against Titan and in close matches against iBUYPOWER, with wins over Elevate and, most notably, Cloud9.
The victory for Denial over Cloud9 marks the first moment in some time that an American team outside of the Cloud9 and iBUYPOWER duo have made such a mark at a premier event.
Screengrab via ESEA/Twitch