With several key players leaving Fnatic, the organization was faced with the monumental task of rebuilding their former World Championship semi-finalist team around the remaining two players, Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten and Martin “Rekkles” Larsson. Finding 3 top tier players is hard enough in itself but it was made even more difficult due to the reputation the organization had acquired throughout the 2015 season.
In the Spring Split of 2015 Fnatic’s roster consisted of Febiven, as mentioned above, as well as Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim, Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin, Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, and Pierre “Steelback” Medjialdi. Despite some shaky performances throughout the season, the team managed to win an LCS title their first split together. What was even more impressive was their performance against SK Telecom T1 in the semifinals of the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), in which they took the Korean juggernaut to a five game series. This was the tournament in which Huni entered the conversation about the best top laners in the world, thanks to his stand-out performance throughout the competition.
Despite this surprisingly good run, Fnatic opted to replace Steelback with a former player of the organization, Rekkles. Unfortunately for the young AD carry, the experiment that was the star-studded line-up of Elements did not produce the expected results. With Rekkles back on the team and with a support he was familiar with, Fnatic went on an 18-0 run through the regular season of summer, only losing games to Origen in the finals of the playoffs. During just one year together, the team managed to win two EU LCS titles, reach the semifinals of the World Championship, and go on a record breaking, undefeated streak for the entirety of the Summer Regular Season.
However, even with all the success the team has had, it is clear that there was room for improvement. While they have proven they had the talent needed to make it to the finals of the World Championship, they fell flat against the KOO Tigers in the semifinals due to their lack of willpower. After Fnatic lost a very close first game, the team (with the exception of Febiven) went on tilt. They were very uncomfortable playing from behind, and as a result could not stay levelheaded, leading to many simple mistakes. Mistakes that the Tigers were not hesitant to capitalize on.
With a new year come new beginnings, and Fnatic is no exception to this. Rekkles and Febiven will be joined by Lee “Spirit” Da-yoon, Noh “Gamsu” Yeong-jin, and Lewis “NoXiAK” Felix.
By replacing YellOwStaR, NoXiAK has arguably the biggest shoes to fill. However, with plenty of experience on teams like MeetYourMakers, Giants Gaming, and even Fnatic Academy, this player might be the perfect fit for the job.
His aggressive playstyle seems to compliment Rekkles much better than the protective style of YellOwStaR, allowing the AD carry to make plays. In addition to this, NoXiAK already has experience in playing and working with Rekkles from his time at Fnatic Academy. This will mean that the two players will have a much easier time getting used to each other’s in-game habits.
When Huni joined Fnatic, he was a rookie when it came to competitive play. In comparison, Gamsu is a player with experience from top tier teams such as Samsung Blue and Dignitas already under his belt. This means that while Gamsu may not be as talented as his predecessor he definitely brings his own advantages. As he is an experienced player, there is less chance of him making mistakes similar to those of Huni. Unlike Huni, we’ve seen Gamsu not only perform on carry champions but also on support focused top laners such as Shen and Maoki. With Gamsu comes more flexibility for the team’s style of play and a much more relaxed play style.
This former Samsung Blue and Team WE jungle carry is probably the most prolific new player to join Fnatic. Spirit has a wealth of experience and is a definite upgrade over Reignover. He is well known for his aggressive play style and therefore will fit right into this team. His jungle Nidalee, Rek’Sai, and even Fizz are going to make up for the more conservative style of Gamsu and play a big part in the team’s future success.
At the end of the day, it is safe to say that this new Fnatic roster can definitely live up to the old line-up and even do better than it. Maybe the team is not as strong, but it is definitely more experienced and therefore, has a much lower chance of making mistakes that can cost them the game.
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Featured image credit: Aynoe