After a stellar performance at the Worlds 2018 Main Event, it appeared as if Fnatic were ready to return to Europe, now rebranded as the LEC, to exert their international dominance on the domestic stage. But as the preseason entered full-swing, the European League of Legends scene was rattled when news Rasmus “Caps” Winther’s transfer to long-time rivals, G2 Esports, had broken.
The move was reported in almost every major esports outlet, with most analysts wondering how Caps would fit into the star studded G2 roster. With veteran mid-laner Luka “Perkz” Perković still part of G2’s squad, speculation quickly began to mount that he would move into the AD Carry role, a theory that was later proven to be true.
However, this left Fnatic with a huge dilemma; they had no mid-laner, and no coach, after Dylan “Dylan Falco” Falco, also left the roster. But after picking up Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek to fill Caps’ shoes, and Joey “YoungBuck” Steltenpool to replace Dylan, fans were cautiously optimistic that Fnatic could still manage to bring their international form back to Europe.
Unfortunately, fan’s hopes were quickly dashed as the LEC began, with Fnatic looking out of form and sitting at a 2-6 record. To further emphasise how poor their form was, Fnatic’s two wins came against the last and second-last placed teams, Rogue and Excel.
Evidently, it was a roster that seemed completely uncomfortable. Fnatic’s losses, including a record demolition at the hands of G2, showed the lack of coordination and cohesion between the players, while their wins were riddled with uncertainty and shakiness. Still, fans believed that it was just the honeymoon period and the team needed time to truly mesh and reach their expected level of gameplay. But While G2 had wasted no time in integrating Caps into their roster, Fnatic struggled with Nemesis.
However, as the season moves into the second half of the round-robin format, the Worlds Finalists are beginning to show signs of life, winning three out of their last four games and moving just one win away from a playoff-berth. It may be too early to tell just how good this team can be, but as they move into their rematch with Schalke 04 next week, Fnatic will be looking to show that they are a roster that is on the rise, and that a playoff spot would not be wasted on their new-look squad.