The legendary Swedish squad has recently seen the departure of long-time member Jesper “JW” Wecksell and Maikil “golden” Selim after a disappointing series of results during the last twelve months. Fnatic did not maintain momentum into the online era and found itself struggling to recreate the success of late 2019- early 2020. Currently, it is rumoured that the mantle of IGL will be taken by Danish veteran Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen, with Fnatic looking to host an international roster.
If the rumors have any weight behind them, this would mean a drastic change in identity for Fnatic’s CSGO division. Not only would they be moving away from a full Swedish roster for the first time since 2013, but they would also be abandoning their iconic playstyle. Will this be the move that finally injects Fnatic with a much-needed dose of consistency?
One of the many reasons why Fnatic has been appealing to many fans has been their chaotic, but equally entertaining play style. The Swedes relied on the great chemistry between the core of veteran players and some incredible mid-round calls by various members of the team. Fnatic managed to produce some truly magical moments that very few other teams could. Fast rotations, aggressive CT plays, and a loose system that allowed the various members to showcase their individual prowess on both sides of a map were all key tenants of a Fnatic team that captured every viewer’s imagination and frustrated every opponent they faced.
This identity and style contributed to the first Fnatic golden era under Markus “pronax” Wallsten and carried over to following iterations of the roster eventually ending with golden’s second stint with the team. An argument could be made that Fnatic produced some of the most entertaining Counter-Strike ever during the first seven months following golden’s return in 2019.
Regardless of his current form or recent failures, MSL is still one of the best IGLs around, with a resume few others can match and his arrival could result in yet another Fnatic resurgence. His appointment at the head of the team would, however, be accompanied by a drastic change in the way Fnatic would approach the game.
MSL, due to his own experience and knowledge of the game, would bring a clear and different idea on how to approach CS and how to use the players at his disposal. The system he would look to introduce in Fnatic would be a 180° turn from the traditional Fnatic attitude.
The Dane is well known for his meticulous approach to tactics and preparation before games. In a stereotypical Danish IGL way, MSL is a type of player that likes to implement certain protocols and be rather diligent when it comes to preparing tactics.
It is also worth mentioning his desire to maintain a more disciplined team atmosphere as mentioned by himself on a previous “Counter-Points” podcast, where he spoke about the reasons behind the decision to remove some very good players from North due to “out the game stuff”. While the remaining core of Fnatic (Krimz, Jackinho, and Brollan) do not seem to have a reputation to be difficult teammates, MSL might come in expecting some additional commitment outside the server. Fnatic has almost never been associated as a team that has been drilled by its IGL, and holding a deep tactical playbook so this will be an unusual change for them.
This being said, MSL will have good pieces to start a promising project: Brollan still looks like one of the best talents in Sweden and shows in-game maturity way beyond his age, Jakinho has shown some promise online while Krimz is a well-known and reliable quantity on LAN. It will all depend on who the last player to sign for the team will be and how quickly MSL manages to figure out how to best use the players at his disposal. He could be the one to push Brollan to take the next level and become the world-class superstar that Fnatic needs him to be.
For a long time, Fnatic has been a team that won by commitment, a machine that looks impenetrable when every cog turns smoothly but one that looks irreparable when one struggles to function. MSL could very well bring the necessary reforms to finally stabilize the ship and bring some much-needed consistency to a squad that not too long ago was winning trophies.