Fnatic’s hard support Jabz will be immediately released from the team and replaced by free agent Nico “eyyou” Barcelon, the organization announced today.
This marks Fnatic’s second player change in two months. Fnatic previously replaced rookie Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon with star Filipino carry Raven at the end of July.
Fnatic cited a “severe lack of commanding” without offlaner iceiceice, who is currently on a break until the restart of the Dota Pro Circuit. For the latest tournament, ESL One Thailand, Fnatic had been playing DJ in the hard support and captaining role to compensate.
Since both Jabz and DJ performed better in the four role, Fnatic was left to decide between the two. In the end, DJ was the one chosen to retain his soft support position. Jabz and Fnatic’s management decided that it was in the “best interest” for both parties to “mutually part ways, while the organization took the opportunity to “work with a player that excels at position five.”
Eyyou entered the picture with recommendations from DJ, Raven, and coach SunBhie. The Filipino previously played with Raven on TNC and Lotac and was briefly under SunBhie as a stand-in for Team Secret in the MegaFon Winter Clash.
The decision to seek out a capable captain while iceiceice is away is a strange one. The veteran offlaner has repeatedly cited his admiration for Jabz on stream and they’ve played together for four years through different organizations, such as Team Faceless and Mineski.
It’s well known that Jabz has preferred position four throughout his short playing career. Initially a mid laner with Faceless, the Thai made a splash as one of Southeast Asia’s most exciting playmakers with Mineski after switching to support, where the roster became the first SEA team to win a Dota 2 Major.
Even then, the team has made it work. Despite a disappointing first-round exit at The International 2019, Fnatic had been going from strength to strength in the preceding season, establishing themselves at the top of the food chain in SEA along with powerhouse TNC Predator.
Jabz posted that he’ll now be a free agent.