The release of Riot Games’ Valorant posed a new and exciting challenge for Fnatic. Despite winning the first-ever World Championships in titles like League of Legends and Counter-Strike, the European organization are still hungry for more success.
They’re already undoubtedly one of the most historic esports organizations and they’ve already built a legacy that’ll last a lifetime. This is the story of Fnatic’s difficulties chasing their first Valorant title.
It’s fair to say that Fnatic took their time before entering the world of Valorant. Unlike other leading organizations that entered the scene fairly quickly, it wasn’t until the beginning of 2021 that they’d sign the free agent SUMN FC roster, consisting of Boaster, Doma, Mistic, Moe40 and tsack, after an impressive second-place finish in the Valorant First Strike tournament.
However, now under a new name, and the pressure to make their mark piling on, the SUMN FC roster had a difficult start under the Fnatic banner. In the newly announced 2021 VCT circuit, the roster failed to even make it to Stage 1 Masters, and the organization couldn’t just sit around and wait for the stars to magically align.
In an attempt to revitalize, changes had to be made. Moe40 and tsack would soon depart, with Derke and Magnum replacing them just two days before the start of Stage 2 Challengers 2. From here, losing wasn’t an option for Fnatic, and they knew it. Failing to win would mean they’d miss the first-ever Valorant LAN and their dreams of winning Champions at the end of the year would become far less realistic.
With their new additions, and the team roaring to go, the next couple of months could be considered a honeymoon period. Qualifying for Masters: Reykjavik was a walk in the park, as they convincingly took down the best teams in EMEA to claim Europe’s second seed.
Upon arriving at Reykjavik, there was just one obstacle they couldn’t overcome, Sentinels. Fnatic fell to the North American super team in the second round of the tournament. However, they’d eventually face off again – this time in the Grand Finals. Just like their first encounter, it didn’t go in Fnatic’s favor – and the roster was reminded of that stinging feeling of finishing second once again.
While they did solidify themselves as the best in Europe, a storied organization like Fnatic has only one expectation, and that’s to win. Unfortunately, that would become harder than they ever anticipated. The honeymoon period seemingly came to an end in Reykjavik, as they’d come to struggle in Stage 3.
After losing to G2, Guild Esports, Giants Gaming and Team Liquid, Fnatic ultimately missed out on Masters: Berlin. With their dreams of lifting the Championship trophy dwindling, an unexpected miracle came to fruition. Russian organization Gambit Esports began to storm their way through Berlin. If they or another EMEA team won the tournament, it would instantly punch Fnatic’s ticket to Champions. Fortunately for them, that’s exactly what happened as Gambit swept Team Envy 3-0 in the finals.
— FNATIC (@FNATIC) September 19, 2021
With a spot at Champions confirmed, behind the scenes the team was committed to working harder than ever before to get back to top form with their London BootCamp looking like a recipe for only success. Consisting of a high-performance training unit to help with cognitive training and what Fnatic considers the best staff in the world at their disposal, they were once again determined to prove themselves as the best.
And so they did as Champions arrived. After taking down Cloud9 and Vision Strikers, making it out of groups in a convincing fashion, fans were persuaded that the old Fnatic was back. But the hype would be short-lived as KRU Esports’ shocking miracle run stopped them right in their tracks.
In the nail-biting best-of-three, the LATAM team stunned the Valorant world as they came out on top of the skirmish, leaving Fnatic heading to the exit. It was a heartbreaking end to the year of competition for the players, as they went from being sat in their bedroom to playing and eventually falling short again in front of the world.
What followed in the coming months would be anything but a smooth road. Champions proved that changes were needed if Fnatic was to compete at the top level in the 2022 Valorant Champions Tour.
In the opening weeks of the new year, Doma who has been part of the team since SUMN FC’s onset was transferred to TENSTAR, and BraveAF went on to take his spot on the team.