Heading into the COVID-19 crisis and the postponement of pretty much any large scale event, Fnatic was the team to beat in competitive gaming. They acquired the world’s best Fifa player, Tekkz, and were on the cusp of finishing as runners up at this year’s League of Legends Spring Championships, but it was in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive that Fnatic was really on the rampage.

The side’s current roster of JW, Golden, Krimz, Brollan, and Flusha was formed back in October 2019, after their previous lineup containing Xizt and Twist failed to qualify for a Major Championship for the first time in Fnatic’s entire history.

The Swedish side roared back soon after however and stunned esports betting markets everywhere by beating out the likes of Astralis and Team Vitality and winning that year’s Dreamhack Spring Masters on home soil in Malmo, just a month after forming together.

From then on, it was nothing but consistent performance after the consistent performance for Fnatic. Over the course of the next five major events that they attended, they never finished below the top five in any of them. The side rose from 27th in the HLTV World Rankings from the day they crashed out of the Berlin Major qualifiers, to as high as 3rd following the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals in a run that coincided with wins over Astralis, Natus Vincere, Ninjas In Pyjamas, Evil Geniuses and even Team Liquid.

The Showboaters Become The World’s Best

On form and full of confidence, there isn’t a side like Fnatic found anywhere else in the world. Known for their daring and unorthodox plays, they push the limits to what is possible in-game to the very limits, breaking the rules on what teams are ‘supposed’ to do and, instead, opting for the strategies that blow everyone away.

JW and Flusha in particular are notorious for their use of R8 Revolvers, MAC-10s and a vast armada of Knife kills that only serve to showboat and make their opponents look pretty silly. It helps to make Fnatic one of the most fun teams in the world to watch and has been instrumental in keeping them at the forefront of everyone’s mind within the competitive scene.

Their rich vein of form seemed to culminate at the ESL Pro League Season 11 in April. After making it all the way to the Grand Final at Season 10 only to lose against Mousesports, Fnatic found themselves in another final against the same opponent after besting the likes of Astralis, Natus Vincere, Faze Clan and even Mousesports themselves in the groups. In a pulsating final that would go on for over four hours, Fnatic emerged victorious with a 3-2 win.

It was a result that took Fnatic to the number one spot in the world rankings for the first time in over four years.

Trouble Online

Following their triumph at ESL Season 11 however, Fnatic has been seriously lukewarm in the server. In the qualifying tournament for the Major Championship set for November, Fnatic finished in a lowly 12th position in a regionalized group containing only Northern and Western European sides.

This campaign saw them once again beat a mentally-drained Astralis, but lose out to ENCE, Movistar Riders, and, perhaps shockingly of all, their Swedish rivals Ninjas in Pyjamas and Dignitas. They weren’t the only major side struggling to adapt to life online, but they were the key talking point given their place amongst the world’s best beforehand.

Their poor form has continued into the current Dreamhack Spring Masters, the title they are the holders of and have only just limped through into the next round, despite going 1-2 in a group containing a Faze Clan (with no Olofmeister), Team Spirit and GODSENT.

With the Dreamhack Masters and BLAST Premier Series looking like the last two events Fnatic will play before some sense of normality and LAN play return with ESL One Cologne in July, it’ll be fascinating to see how scarred the Swedes come out of this crisis going forward.