Steven R. September 10, 2020
Fnatic’s Dota 2 team has had possibly the most successful year in its history, but the global shuffle is forcing some changes.
Support player Anucha "Jabz" Jirawong is officially out of the Fnatic roster. Replacing him is former TNC Predator Nico "eyyou" Barcelon, who is coming off a yearlong hiatus from competitive Dota 2.
Jabz being replaced by eyyou follows the addition of Marc Polo Luis "Raven" Fausto in July at the expense of Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon. The Fnatic roster currently stands as follows:
- Marc Polo Luis "Raven" Fausto
- Kam "Moon" Boon Seng
- Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang
- Djardel Jicko B. "DJ" Mampusti
- Nico "eyyou" Barcelon
The move to add eyyou comes after a somewhat shaky performance in ESL One Thailand Online. Though Fnatic finished third at the event, a shock loss in the group stage to the unheralded Motivate.Trust Gaming prompted the team to make some changes.
“Looking back at our ESL Thailand run, we realized that there is a severe lack in commanding without Daryl "iceiceice" Koh who was on break during the tournament...After a thorough deliberation, Jabz and the management both decided that it is the best interest for us to mutually part ways and take this opportunity to work with a player that excels at position 5,” Fnatic said on Facebook.
iceiceice is currently on break from pro Dota 2. Fnatic announced he was stepping away from the game ahead of ESL One Thailand Online and would return with the start of the Dota Pro Circuit. With the Dota Pro Circuit now indefinitely postponed by Valve, this move suggests iceiceice could also be on an indefinite hiatus. Lee "Forev" Sang-don stood in for iceiceice at ESL One Thailand, though it is unclear if this is a long-term solution.
Raven and eyyou changes leave Fnatic future uncertain
The online era of Dota 2 has treated Fnatic very well. While some teams have struggled in these unusual circumstances, others have thrived. After winning Dota Summit 12, Fnatic won four online leagues in a row and has placed in the top three of every competition it has competed in.
Despite that, Fnatic has been making numerous changes to its roster. The new lineup is a strong one and once again reunites 2016 TNC Pro Team players eyyou and Raven.
The big question now is whether Fnatic will be improved by this latest change. eyyou is a real talent, but chemistry is king in Dota 2. There’s no shortage of teams with strong rosters that haven’t found success in Dota 2.
Fnatic isn’t lined up to compete in any event at the moment, so fans will have to wait to find out when they’ll get a first look at the new roster.