The Fnatic LEC 2019 roster features a mix of returning players and new names, all of which were brought in to take the 2018 Worlds runner-ups to the top in 2019.
In the world of esports nothing stays the same for so long. Squads we have grown to love and hate have come and gone. In League of Legends, the goal is always only one thing: becoming World Champions, and everything short of that is, of course, a failure.
It has been more than a month since the League of Legends World Championship Grand Final, and all the professional teams have already been making moves in order to be able to lift the Summoner’s Cup next year. Our runners-up of Worlds 2018 in Fnatic are no different— the winds of change swept through the undisputed kings of the EU LCS in 2018.
Here is a breakdown of what has happened so far for Fnatic in the offseason.
Fnatic LEC 2019 Roster: Who Left?
Fnatic fans, brace yourself for the following news: 2018 EU LCS Summer Split MVP Rasmus “Caps” Winther has left the organization and has found a new home in G2 Esports; EU LCS mainstay Paul “sOAZ” Boyer has also chosen not to renew his contract with the team and went over to Misfits Gaming; head coach Dylan Falco was also taken in by FC Schalke 04 Esports upon his announcement of free agency.
With the loss of Caps, Fnatic loses the best mid laner in Europe. However, this might be for the better. Overaggressive at times, Caps still has a long way to go to become the best player he can be, and Fnatic could use someone with more restraint.
sOAZ brings leadership, creativity, and stability into a team. He can play any kind of champion. He has seen it all and he has done it all on Summoners’ Rift. His capability to create situations to come back from a seemingly insurmountable deficit is one of the rarest qualities to be found in any player in the esport. Without sOAZ, the loss is not the carry threat, but the team dynamic and energy that he brings.
Dylan Falco’s effect on the team is a little bit difficult to read. While he was able to propel Fnatic to good finishes both domestically and internationally, he is also known for some questionable drafting from time to time. Generally speaking, though, Dylan Falco appears to be usually stable and his departure might cause a change in drafting priority and the team’s early game.
Fnatic LEC 2019 Roster: Who Remained?
Fnatic still has Gabriel “Bwipo” Rau in the top lane, Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen in the jungle, Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, and Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov in the support position. They retain most of their starters, but they lose their flexibility and adaptability.
Bwipo, even after a stellar rookie year in competitive League of Legends, still appears to have a lot to prove and improve on. If he is able to find consistency in his play, then he could finally be turning into a player that may take the EU LCS by storm.
Broxah has had the tournament of his life at Worlds, and he has finally cemented himself as a top-tier jungler. The questions for Broxah would now be about his strength without Caps in the mid and jungle 2v2. There is no doubt about his mechanical ability is top-notch, but the shoes he would have to fill as shot caller and playmaker are quite huge.
The duo lane of Rekkles and Hylissang still find themselves in the bottom lane. In 2018, Rekkles was left in the bottom lane, usually on champions with decent wave clear, and was left to scale until the late game usually on champions like Sivir. Hylissang then would go to assist Caps, attempt to get him ahead, and then let him snowball from there. The problem with this approach was that they seemed to be a lackluster 2v2 lane— when on lane-focused drafts for the bottom lane, Rekkles and Hylissang seemed to struggle. Here’s to hoping a shift in dynamic can translate to better results for Fnatic’s bottom lane.
Fnatic LEC 2019 Roster: Who’s New?
The Fnatic legacy is not defined by deep runs at Worlds, or the greatest number of EU LCS Championships. Those are merely by-products of Fnatic’s true legacy, and that is honing mid lane talent. Fnatic has done it three times. First with Enrique “xPeke” Cedeno, then with Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten, and then with Caps.
Now Caps has left and a new mid laner makes his way to Fnatic— Tim “Nemesis” Lipovsek. Nemesis is a newcomer to the LEC, but he has competed in the national Leagues under MAD Lions E.C. He has competed as well in the past two European Masters tournaments. In his games in 2018, one thing is certain: fans must not think that he is the second coming of Caps. Caps usually played a high-risk, high-reward style of play, usually on carries with huge outplay potential. Nemesis could play both an aggressive, carry-oriented style on champions like Irelia and Akali, a roaming-heavy style with Galio and Ryze, and a supportive style with Lulu or Malzahar.
Unlike Caps, Nemesis is the more well-rounded player. His arrival to the Fnatic LEC 2019 roster is huge. Hopefully, Fnatic can work their magic on him once again and tap into his potential.
Given Fnatic’s success historically, one would think that obviously, they should be competing for championships and that they should be going deep into international tournaments. With a talented roster like this, after all, why shouldn’t they?
Even with having four out of six of the previous season’s roster, Fnatic would still have to reintegrate themselves into this new setting. Bwipo no longer shares his position in the top lane with anyone. If he becomes emotional, no one will be there to relieve him of the pressure. Caps is replaced by Nemesis, a player that will still have to prove himself on a bigger stage. Dylan Falco has left, and the team’s drafting and early game will be immensely different.
The team is full of talent, surely. But talent needs to grow, talent needs to be nurtured. That is why despite the Fnatic roster still being ripe with talent, the burden is on the coaching staff. Joey “Youngbuck” Steltenpool will need to make sure the team has direction. Youngbuck has an ongoing record in playoffs in EU. This roster will be his test if he can sustain his record. There will be growing pains, of course, but in the end, proper nurturing of young talent can be rewarding.
After all, the last time Fnatic invested in young talent, it took them a while, but it led them to the Grand Finals of Worlds.
What do you think of the Fnatic LEC 2019 roster? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.