The League of Legends community was shocked to see Fnatic, once considered one of the most dominant teams in Europe, suffer a sharp decline in performance over the past few seasons. What was once a powerhouse organization that consistently placed among the top teams in international tournaments has now struggled to maintain its position as a contender in their region.
With a legacy spanning over a decade, Fnatic’s recent slump has left fans wondering what went wrong and what the future holds for this legendary team .In this article, we will examine some of the reasons behind Fnatic’s decline, including changes in the competitive landscape, team management, and player personnel.
Fnatic’s website boasts that their general manager, Dardo, has transformed their League of Legends operations into a “well-oiled machine,” always vying for the title. But let’s be real here, that’s just a load of baloney. Dardo’s track record speaks for itself: every team he has managed has suffered considerable decline. In fact, it’s almost impressive how consistent he is at driving teams into the ground.
Take Origen, for example. Dardo joined the team in 2016, and they disbanded after a horrendous year, despite making it to Worlds the previous year. Then there was H2K, a team that made it to the semi-finals of the World Championship a year before Dardo took over, but completely imploded under his leadership.
And now, we have Fnatic. A team that used to dominate Europe alongside their rivals G2, now struggling to even make it to the finals. In fact, they finished 9th this year, the worst position they’ve ever gotten. But don’t worry, Sam the owner is completely behind Dardo. According to Sam, only a “minority” is making a fuss and it’s all just “drama based on unsubstantiated rumors.” Sure, Sam. Keep telling yourself that.
It’s not just Dardo’s incompetence that’s the problem here; it’s the fact that the owners seem willing to ride or die with him. Even if he truly doesn’t think Dardo is the problem (which, let’s be honest, is highly unlikely), he should recognize the immense damage to the public image and reputation of the organization that’s become associated with him. But no, Sam is too busy getting into Twitter arguments with fans that he knows look so bad he deletes them after posting them, just for the sake of this guy.
In a recent video, former coach Yamatocannon revealed that Fnatic’s management, likely led by Dardo, wanted to bench their starting support Hyllisang for Rhuckz. Yamatocannon refused to comply and as a result, faced the axe. Rhuckz, who was part of the current roster, was without a doubt the worst support in the league. This just goes to show that Dardo doesn’t know anything about the game, yet wants to interfere in decisions related to the game.
But that’s not the only instance of Dardo’s questionable decision-making. According to rumors, he was the one who benched Nemesis instead of Selfmade, despite the team members not willing to play with Selfmade. This move completely destroyed the harmony within the team and further contributed to their decline.
It’s one thing to have a general manager who doesn’t know anything about the game, but it’s another thing entirely to have one who actively makes decisions that go against the team’s best interests. Dardo’s interference in the team’s roster decisions is not only misguided, but it’s also causing irreparable damage to the team’s cohesion and morale.
It’s time for Fnatic’s ownership to take a hard look at Dardo’s performance and make some tough decisions for the sake of the team’s future. Otherwise, they may be facing even more embarrassing finishes in the years to come.
Another major factor contributing to Fnatic’s decline was their coaching staff. While Head Coach Crusher and assistant coach HIVA both had potential, neither of them had significant experience coaching top-tier teams. This made it difficult for them to manage some of the best players in the world at an organization where anything less than top two is seen as a failure.
Furthermore, their drafting strategy was often poor. Rather than having a well-planned approach, they relied too heavily on player comfort picks. At other times, it felt like they were trying to copy other successful teams instead of responding to their opponents’ drafts. A prime example of this was their insistence on picking engage champions for their support Rhuckz, even though such champions were not in a favorable state at the time.
It’s essential to have a strong coaching staff that can help players improve and make the right decisions during games. Unfortunately, in Fnatic’s case, their inexperienced coaching staff often led to suboptimal decisions that cost them victories. Without a strong coaching presence, it will be challenging for Fnatic to climb back to the top of the League of Legends scene.
Poor Bot Lane Synergy
The bot lane duo of Rekkles and Rhuckz was supposed to be a force to be reckoned with. However, what ended up happening was quite the opposite. The two players had completely different playstyles, resulting in a complete lack of synergy. Rhuckz preferred to play melee champions like Leona and Nautilus, while Rekkles was more of a hypercarry player, favoring ranged champions like Sivir, Xayah and Tristana. This led to a mismatch between the two players, with Rhuckz refusing to play ranged enchanters that would work well with Rekkles’ playstyle. As a result, the bot lane felt more like a liability rather than a strength, holding Fnatic back from achieving their potential.
If they had a good enough coaching staff, they might have tried out things like Xayah and Rakan or Sivir and Lulu down in the bottom lane, but they never did and it felt like Fnatic’s top side was completely isolated from their bottom side due to them having no clear sense of direction throughout the game.
Razork’s Bad Form
The role of the jungler in a League of Legends team is vital. They are responsible for maintaining control over the jungle, securing objectives like Dragon and Baron, and ganking lanes to help their teammates get ahead. Unfortunately for Fnatic, their jungler Razork was not in good form during the winter split.
Razork’s playstyle seemed overly cautious, lacking the aggression and confidence needed to make plays happen. He seemed hesitant to take risks, opting to play safe and farm his jungle rather than making aggressive moves on the map. This playstyle was particularly frustrating for fans and analysts, as Razork has shown in the past that he is capable of making big plays and taking risks.
One of the main issues with Razork’s play was his lack of proactivity in the early game. He would often avoid making moves on the map, instead opting to farm his jungle and play for the late game. This led to a lack of pressure on the map, allowing the enemy jungler to take control and make plays happen elsewhere on the map. Eventually to make up for it, he engaged in high risk plays that backfired every single time for his team.
Another issue was Razork’s lack of impact in team fights. He would often be caught out of position or fail to provide enough support for his teammates. This was particularly problematic in the mid to late game, where one bad team fight could cost the team the game.
The team’s poor performances led to speculation that Razork may have been suffering from nerves or lack of confidence. However, it is also possible that he simply wasn’t playing well. Either way, his lackluster performances were a major factor in Fnatic’s decline this split.
In order to turn things around, Razork will need to regain his confidence and start taking risks on the map. He will need to be more proactive in the early game, providing pressure and setting up his laners for success. Additionally, he will need to improve his team fighting skills, positioning himself better and providing more support for his teammates.
Wunder vs Rekkles
In League of Legends, there are three lanes: top, mid, and bot. The top and bot lanes are considered the “side lanes,” while the mid lane is referred to as the “mid lane.” Each lane has its own unique characteristics and roles. For example, the top lane is typically played by champions who are strong in one-on-one fights and can sustain themselves for long periods of time, while the bot lane is usually played by two champions who work together to take down objectives like turrets and dragons.
In professional play, teams often designate one of their side lanes as the “weak side.” This means that the player in that lane is expected to play defensively and not take too many risks, while the other side lane and the mid lane take on a more aggressive role. The idea is to funnel resources and attention towards the stronger side of the map, while minimizing the potential for the weaker side to fall behind.
For Fnatic, their top laner Wunder and bot laner Rekkles were both designated as weak side players, which meant that they were expected to play conservatively and avoid making mistakes that could cost the team. This strategy can work well when paired with a strong mid laner who can carry the early game, but it requires a delicate balance and can easily backfire if the mid laner doesn’t perform.
Unfortunately for Fnatic, their mid laner Humanoid was unable to consistently gain early leads and carry the team. This put a lot of pressure on Wunder and Rekkles to step up and be more aggressive, but they were both reluctant to do so. Wunder preferred to play tanks like Gragas and Gnar, which are strong in teamfights but weak in lane, while Rekkles favored scaling champions like Xayah and Ezreal.
This playstyle resulted in Fnatic often falling behind in the early game and struggling to catch up in the mid to late game. Teams were able to take advantage of their weak side and snowball leads, which put Fnatic in a difficult position. While it’s important for a team to have a balance of aggressive and defensive players, Fnatic’s over-reliance on playing for the late game ultimately cost them in many matches.
Where to go from here?
Fnatic’s first priority should be finding a top-tier coach who can bring structure to the team and help them develop a game plan that suits their strengths. Yamatocannon, who previously worked with most of the players in the team, could be a good candidate. He has a track record of success with teams like Splyce and MAD Lions, and his experience and understanding of the game could be a valuable asset to Fnatic. Grabzz, who had success at G2 Esports, could also be a good option. He has worked with big-name players like Perkz and Caps and could bring a fresh perspective to the team.
LS is another coach who has been mentioned as a potential candidate. While his coaching experience is limited, his knowledge of the game is widely respected, and he could help Fnatic develop a more strategic approach to the game. However, his previous experience negotiating with Dardo may make it difficult for him to work with the team.
Replacing Rhuckz with Advienne from the academy team may not be enough to solve Fnatic’s problems, but it could be a good start. Advienne has shown promise in the past, and giving him a chance to play with the main team could help him develop his skills and gain experience at the highest level. However, promoting rookie top laner Oscarinin to the main team will be a big gamble. While he has shown potential in the academy team, playing at the highest level will be a big step up, and he may struggle to adapt.
Selling Upset, who is currently on the bench, could free up resources that could be used to upgrade the roster. While Upset is a talented player, he hasn’t been able to find a place in the starting lineup, and keeping him on the bench is unlikely to be a sustainable solution in the long term. Selling him could provide the team with some much-needed funds that could be used to bring in new talent or invest in developing the current roster.
What to do with Wunder if Oscarinin comes in?
Having a seven-man roster can definitely give Fnatic more flexibility and options when it comes to drafting and playstyle. With Wunder and Upset on the bench, Fnatic can experiment with different strategies and lineups without having to worry about losing their starting players’ momentum and confidence.
If Oscarinin comes in and proves to be a strong addition to the team, then having him and Rekkles as the starting bot lane could be a good move. Rekkles has shown in the past that he can adapt to different styles of play, and having a more aggressive laning partner like Oscarinin could help him diversify his playstyle even more. Wunder, on the other hand, could be a good fit with Upset, who is known for his aggressive playstyle and ability to carry games.
Having a seven-man roster can also help Fnatic deal with meta shifts and player burnout. If one player is struggling to adapt to a new patch or is feeling fatigued, the team can simply swap them out and bring in a fresh player with a different perspective and approach. This can help keep the team dynamic fresh and prevent them from falling into predictable patterns and playstyles.
However, having a seven-man roster can also be expensive and difficult to manage. The team will have to ensure that all players are getting enough practice time and are being properly integrated into the team’s strategy and culture. It can also be challenging to manage player egos and expectations, especially if there are players who feel like they are being unfairly benched or not given enough playing time.
The Return of Humanoid
It’s true that teams can often be at the mercy of the meta, and Fnatic was no exception. In the Spring Split, the meta favoured aggressive early game junglers, which was not Razork’s strong suit, and his performance suffered as a result. Additionally, the meta favoured ranged supports, which was not Rhuckz’s forte, leading to a lack of synergy in the bot lane. However, with changes in recent patches, the meta has shifted towards mid lane champions having more agency and the potential to carry games on their own.
This could be a boon for Fnatic, as Humanoid has shown the ability to play aggressive champions and take over games in the past. If the meta continues to favour mid lane champions, it could allow Humanoid to shine and take on a larger carry role within the team. This would relieve some of the pressure on the bottom lane, which has struggled with synergy issues in the past.
It’s also worth noting that Fnatic has historically been a team that adapts well to new metas, and has shown the ability to innovate and find success with off-meta picks. With a strong coaching staff and talented players, Fnatic has the potential to turn things around and perform well in the upcoming split.
Overall, Fnatic needs to make some significant changes if they want to compete at the highest level again. Bringing in a top-tier coach and making some changes to the roster could help them develop a more structured approach to the game and address some of their weaknesses. However, it will take time and patience to build a team that can compete with the best in the world, and Fnatic will need to be willing to invest in the process if they want to succeed.