High hopes and tough tasks: Will Fnatic’s new League roster meet expectations in 2022?

On paper, Fnatic’s roster has the potential to fight for the European crown, but there’s much work to be done.

Photo via Riot Games

Fnatic is ranked second among European League of Legends organizations in titles won across the region. With seven under its belt, the org trails just one victory behind G2 Esports’ eight trophies won. That’s an impressive achievement, to say the least.

Still, Fnatic’s past three years weren’t strewn with domestic successes. While the team attended each World Championship in these years, they failed to bring another League European Championship (LEC) trophy home in this time frame.

On the other hand, it feels like if Fnatic were to become Europe’s No. 1 team again, this is the year to do so. Following the roster overhaul made during the latest offseason, the organization surely comes into the 2022 season with enormous ambitions and even higher expectations. 

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Only one player from the roster that ended second at the 2018 World Championship is a part of Fnatic today. Hylissang lacks notable statistics from previous years outside of the second-highest assists of all supports in the 2021 Summer Split, according to League stat tracker Oracle’s Elixir. But he stands out in another way. He often takes the bullet for his teammates, allowing them to safely collect resources before wreaking havoc on the Rift.

Marksmen shine the most next to Hylissang. In the 2021 LEC Summer Split regular season, Upset boasted the highest K/DA ratio (9.3) out of all players in the competition, while the Bulgarian support had the highest average share of the team’s deaths (27.7 percent)

Luckily for Fnatic, Upset is staying with the organization for the upcoming season. The duo has much-needed synergy in the bot lane, which they built in 2021. With it, alongside an extensive amount of experience, Fnatic’s bottom lane should have no problem in the bottom lane.

Potential upgrades in three other roles

Continuing with the same two faces in the bot lane, however, doesn’t mean Fnatic wasn’t looking for potential upgrades after Worlds 2021. And it looks like the org has found them.

Humanoid will be filling Nisqy’s shoes in the mid lane this year. Nisqy occasionally served as a key to his squad’s successes, especially when Twisted Fate landed in his hands. But there’s no denying a back-to-back LEC champion in 2021 isn’t a significant upgrade from the Belgian mid laner.

Photo via Riot Games

Humanoid is not only a spring and summer champion. The player was crucial in MAD Lions’ success last year. In the Spring Split playoffs, he had the highest K/DA (6.8) among all players in the league. In the following playoffs, he barely trailed Nisqy in K/DA (Humanoid was 0.2 points behind) but had higher overall average damage to champions and cs per minute, despite having a lower counter-pick rate.

Razork is taking over Fnatic’s jungle role from Bwipo. As the best and second-best jungler in first-blood percentage and kill participation throughout the 2021 LEC Summer Split, Razork trumped Bwipo in aggressive play. The statistics, however, weren’t so much in the former Misfits jungler’s favor in the Summer Split playoffs, but this is most likely due to the disparity of played games (Razork’s 10 to Bwipo’s 22) and his lack of experience.

Throughout 2021, Razork showcased massive potential on Misfits nevertheless. With Fnatic’s experienced players and staff behind his back, his development in the forthcoming season should take an even quicker pace—especially with veteran top laner Wunder joining Fnatic’s ranks.

Looking for redemption

Former G2 Esports player Wunder is a four-time European champion and has attended three World Championships in the past four years, where his team ended each run in at least the semifinals. He also earned a first-place finish at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational. When talking about practical knowledge among LEC’s top laners, Wunder comes out as a clear winner.

Photo via Riot Games

But, surely, one could point to G2’s—and Wunder’s, no less—disappointing season in 2021. The team had many issues, and the Dane’s underperformances, oftentimes against Adam, were one of them. From the many G2 interviews last year, the problems that echoed the most were lackluster drafts, poor champions pools, and struggles of finding a new leader in-game. With a new environment around him, Wunder may once again flourish and become a formidable top laner who stands his ground on the Rift.

All the pieces are set, but there’s much work ahead

On paper, Fnatic has enormous potential and undoubtedly should be a contender for the top three in the league. But, with so many strong voices and characters in its ranks, it doesn’t take much to turn the squad against each other.

It takes an even stronger and smarter individual to mold Fnatic’s five players into a title contender. And as far as capable coaches go, YamatoCannon is the man for the job. He was the squad’s head coach last season and worked with Wunder in Splyce in 2016. He should have little issues in making this Fnatic roster a strong unit, ready to reclaim Europe and once again stun fans at Worlds. 

Fnatic’s new roster will soon be tested on Summoner’s Rift when the team begins their 2022 campaign on Friday, Jan. 14. The squad will meet Team BDS in their opening match of the season, before facing off against Team Vitality on Sunday.

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