What ESL Pro League taught us about fnatic's new roster

The new-look fnatic had their debut at ESL Pro League Season 14, reaching the round of 12 after beating BIG, FaZe, and Evil Geniuses.

fnatic's performance might have come as a surprise to many, as the newly formed roster was not expected to perform at this level from day one. This adventure at EPL gave us an insight into a new, yet familiar fnatic — for better or worse.

After a disappointing 2020 and 2021, fnatic decided the best course of action to maintain a competitive CS:GO roster was to partially move away from their Swedish identity and embrace an international roster, something becoming increasingly common amongst teams that had fielded single-language rosters such as G2 and, until recently, BIG.

fnatic were unable to carry their 2019 form into the online era

What has changed?

After careful considerations and three rounds of interviews with fnatic management, it was decided that Alex "⁠ALEX⁠" McMeekin was the best option to lead the team's new era and alongside him, it would be compatriot William "⁠mezii⁠" Merriman who would round out the roster. Jesper "⁠JW⁠" Wecksell and Maikil "⁠Golden⁠" Selim were moved to the bench after both players had underperformed for some time and no change in setup was able to turn their form around.

It wasn't just the playing roster that underwent a change. Andreas "⁠Samuelsson⁠" Samuelsson became fnatic's team director with his previous role of head coach being filled by Jamie "⁠keita⁠" Hall.

One of the most significant results of this change has to be shifting communication from Swedish to English. It seemed like a serious move for a core of players that had never been on an international roster before, but the team claim they don't see that as a big issue. "I wouldn't say we had big struggles... I feel we are getting more and more comfortable every day," said Jack "⁠Jackinho⁠" Ström Mattsson in during a press conference ahead of the EPL playoffs. "It's always easier to communicate faster in Swedish, I guess, but I wouldn't say it has been a problem so far."

Map pool

A visible shift could be seen in fnatic's map pool, with ALEX seemingly adopting his repertoire from his Cloud9 experience. The Swedish-British team have strayed away from their old home of Inferno, a map where they had put up good performances even at their worst patches of form, ending 2020 with a 64.6% win rate. Instead, ALEX has elevated Overpass and Nuke at the center of the new fnatic map pool, playing the two maps eight times out of 13 at ESL Pro League. With victories against BIG, FaZe and a close game against Natus Vincere it can be said that the boys in black and orange look more comfortable on Overpass than any other map.

Nuke has been the second most played map over the last twelve months across top 30 teams, so any team that wants to compete at the highest level would need to have this map nailed down, and ALEX understands that. It is one of the maps that the Brit tried to master with the Cloud9 lineup and looks to be giving it another go with fnatic. However, so far they have lost the majority of their games on Nuke as they struggled on their T sides, rarely being able to build an advantage on the offensive.

So far fnatic have yet to play any games on both Vertigo and Ancient, with the latter being first-round banned in all their group stage vetoes.

ALEX has always prepared his teams to play Nuke

Playstyle

As predicted, it seems that fnatic attempted to approach their EPL group games with more structure compared to the previous iteration of the roster, which thrived in fast-paced environments and individual flair. The new structure seemed to benefit their CT sides, where they showed flashes of brilliance, especially on Overpass during the group stages. Despite this they are still clearly a team in transition and yet to reach their full potential, and their issues can mainly be seen in their T sides.

fnatic left a lot to be desired on their offensive sides during EPL, most notably against FaZe on Overpass and Liquid on Nuke, but those were not isolated incidents. fnatic displayed a lower than average percentage of T rounds won on almost all maps they played, for example winning only 31.4% and 42.7% of offensive rounds on Overpass and Nuke, respectively.

One possible explanation for this poor offensive record is their inability to get opening kills, with the team only being able to find the first kill in 38.2% of Terrorist rounds. To put it into perspective, Complexity have recorded a 47.7% opening duel win rate during the same period of time, while fnatic themselves won 43.8% of their opening duels on the T side with the previous iteration in 2020.

The old fnatic lineup played a looser style of Counter-Strike

The difference comes mainly in personnel. Last year most opening duels were taken by Ludvig "⁠Brollan⁠" Brolin and JW, whereas the new lineup has ALEX and Brollan attempting the most entries. Similar to previous teams, the British IGL has been the main entry for fnatic, with Brollan taking the second most opening duels but a slightly higher success rate. In line with other AWPers, Jackinho displays the best record in the team by winning 72.5% of duels but attempting fewer of them overall.

Of course, this underperformance on the T side can just be the result of the recent changes, with both the coach and IGL changing. It will take time for the squad to adapt to ALEX's calling and integrate new strategies into their playbook.

Now let's talk about some positives

The IGL being more involved in playmaking is not unusual these days, as players such as Hampus "⁠hampus⁠" Poser and Aleksi "⁠Aleksib⁠" Virolainen like to perform aggressive maneuvers to gather information or find opening duels. ALEX's contributions when leading from the front seemed to create some of the best moments for fnatic during EPL, most notably on Mirage where he would push B apartments on the CT side.

Speaking of the British additions, mezii seems to have integrated well into the squad and comfortably made the step up into the tier 1 scene. His performances against Natus Vincere, BIG, and FaZe were commendable and key to his team's success in reaching the playoffs.

Brollan ended the tournament as fnatic's highest-rated player alongside mezii, with the young Swede also recording the highest impact rating in the team, showing that he is still capable of being the star player. Meanwhile, the ever-reliable Freddy "⁠KRIMZ⁠" Johansson did not play his best tournament, but the Swede has proven multiple times that he's able to come back into form, so this event should not be cause for concern.

What can we expect from fnatic?

While their presence in the knockout stages at EPL against Liquid might have seemed underwhelming, it must be recognized that the team was able to finish in the top three in what people had defined as the "group of death." With drastic changes in the structure and composition of the team suggesting that this project would not be able to bring success from day one, the fact that fnatic made it through by itself needs to be considered a success.

The more time ALEX and keita have to build their system and the longer the Swedish core spends communicating in English, the better the team will become. fnatic play like a top 20 team now, and if Jackinho becomes more consistent, KRIMZ finds form again, and the team is able to improve their T sides, then the top 10 is a realistic prospect.

Sweden Ludvig 'Brollan' Brolin
Ludvig 'Brollan' Brolin
Age:
19
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
879
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.67
Sweden Jack 'Jackinho' Ström Mattsson
Jack 'Jackinho' Ström Mattsson
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.98
Maps played:
140
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.67
Sweden Hampus 'hampus' Poser
Hampus 'hampus' Poser
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1223
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.70
Sweden Maikil 'Golden' Selim
Maikil 'Golden' Selim
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.90
Maps played:
827
KPR:
0.62
DPR:
0.70
Sweden Freddy 'KRIMZ' Johansson
Freddy 'KRIMZ' Johansson
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
1668
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.64
Sweden Jesper 'JW' Wecksell
Jesper 'JW' Wecksell
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
1879
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.68
Finland Aleksi 'Aleksib' Virolainen
Aleksi 'Aleksib' Virolainen
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
931
KPR:
0.65
DPR:
0.66
United Kingdom Alex 'ALEX' McMeekin
Alex 'ALEX' McMeekin
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
1045
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.71
United Kingdom Jamie 'keita' Hall
Jamie 'keita' Hall
Age:
28
Team:
Sweden Andreas 'Samuelsson' Samuelsson
Andreas 'Samuelsson' Samuelsson
Age:
30
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.52
Maps played:
1
KPR:
0.07
DPR:
0.44
United Kingdom William 'mezii' Merriman
William 'mezii' Merriman
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
383
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.63
Fluke imo
2021-09-15 16:12
9 replies
how? its not like they beat some crazy amount of teams
2021-09-15 16:16
7 replies
#48
 | 
Portugal Lost_fly
the whole project is a fluke, they only have good seeding and rank because they are permanent partner teams in some tournaments, just like EG
2021-09-15 18:33
6 replies
The whole project? The one that has been going since the beging of csgo? I disagree
2021-09-15 18:55
4 replies
#54
 | 
Portugal Lost_fly
a person with 2 braincells can see that im talking about the project currently, they are wasting a good spot in a lot of Tournaments
2021-09-15 19:07
3 replies
they changed two players? dont see it as a complete different project and its not a waste of space
2021-09-15 19:09
2 replies
#56
 | 
Portugal Lost_fly
its not the change of two players im talking about and i hope that this change brings then up to form, its still early to tell, but look at their results, its mostly only losses, and because they have reserved slots in tournaments like pro league, blast groups and IEMs, their ranking never falls to low, and lets be honest there are better teams right now that could put that slot to better use
2021-09-15 19:15
1 reply
oh yeah i agree but that but before this tournament, i doubt it will be now
2021-09-15 19:18
#62
 | 
North America 007DBR9
wtf are you on, the only have de jure spots in main esl events, and have to qualify for everything else, and they didn't get lucky either, I don't know how their seeding was good when they were in the hardest group, but if you want to just spout nonsense without actually figuring out what's going on that's cool
2021-09-15 21:03
You mean fallens recent form? Yeah I agree it’s most likely a fluke.
2021-09-16 13:48
#2
 | 
United States Rayduh
Just don't lose to Eternal Fire
2021-09-15 16:12
17 replies
#7
 | 
Europe bevern
they will :(
2021-09-15 16:15
11 replies
no chance man, EF needs to figure out every aspect of their team. 5 guys practically never played together while 3 of the fanatic bois and alex and mezi are used to each other
2021-09-15 16:17
10 replies
#14
 | 
Europe bevern
yeah, but some teams like ENCE play better vs t1 teams. Maybe same case with EF. I havent watch many games of EF cuz most of the streams are in turkish. But I wouldnt be suprised if fnatic lose to EF.
2021-09-15 16:20
9 replies
EF doesnt have a teamplay and tactics at the moment. they cant even organise enough to watch their flanks ffs. they get flanked to death by tier 4 teams. i feel like brollan and mezi gonna have a field day
2021-09-15 16:23
8 replies
#20
 | 
Europe bevern
oh.. I see. GL! For me I want to see fnatic back to LAN. Was a long time ago now, and then maybe they can be a top 10 team
2021-09-15 16:25
EF needs a decent igl first then they can start thinking about teamplay and tactics
2021-09-15 17:22
5 replies
we all know that. but turkish scene doesnt have one. someone has to try and since he has the most exp, xanti is a better option to evolve into that role
2021-09-15 17:25
4 replies
Yes but he doesn't have an igl mentality, he has a fragging mentality
2021-09-15 17:27
1 reply
he does. idk if he will be able to evolve into an igl either. but these are early times for 5 guys who never played together for years. if things go as bad as this ofc a change is needed. 4-6 weeks should be enough to see if thats the case i think
2021-09-15 17:31
ef should just go international tbh, as you said there are no igls in turkish scene except majer but he is a old man now. they should just find any igl that is not at retirement age. He doesnt even need to frag just run around and give strats the other four can already frag more than they need to. -imorr would be the logical choice obviously, -calyx means higher ceiling lower floor due to imorrs erratic playstyle. all in all i would say -calyx +foreign igl
2021-09-15 18:24
1 reply
#80
 | 
Slovakia Daev0n
-CALYX would make the most sense. He has been very underwhelming so far.
2021-09-16 13:16
i hope they get better tactics, i want EF to succeed, really like the roster
2021-09-16 07:07
dont let him tell you what to do fnatic boys!
2021-09-15 16:15
#9
 | 
Czech Republic TOP_MaTy
you just destroyed this whole text
2021-09-15 16:15
Dont worry, they will.
2021-09-15 16:23
the turkish super team that isn’t turkish, super or a team
2021-09-15 16:27
1 reply
underrated comment, even more underrated nick
2021-09-16 14:18
#3
 | 
United States Rayduh
Not even being biased, but it should've been FaZe not Fnatic
2021-09-15 16:13
2 replies
faze shouldnt have choked it, imo it was a very shitty showing from them on ovp that game
2021-09-15 17:31
+1
2021-09-16 07:09
Overrated as f*ck
2021-09-15 16:13
3 replies
#65
B1T | 
United Kingdom M1LGR1M
Whos overrating them
2021-09-15 22:35
2 replies
mainly UK fans but also some old fnatic fans who now think fnatic has a chance to win tournaments
2021-09-15 23:01
1 reply
i dont think they will win tourneys but it will hopefully build to some deeper runs and then over time with some team development they can win some tier two tourneys at least
2021-09-17 00:54
I've noticed that mezii > cr7
2021-09-15 16:13
#6
 | 
Poland B0rdo
ok
2021-09-15 16:14
so much effort to make a news about them only to lose vs Eternal Fire and dont make it to the major lol
2021-09-15 16:15
1 reply
#29
 | 
Turkey orionski
eternal fire has no igl
2021-09-15 17:22
Step in the right direction for sure No tier 1 team can keep old players for so long, that's the reality
2021-09-15 16:19
What a joke hahah "-fnatic play like a top 20 team now".
2021-09-15 16:20
-Botinho +smooya
2021-09-15 16:20
Fnatic awper is playing so passive and have no idea what to do in t side. Positioning also very poor
2021-09-15 16:24
pog!
2021-09-15 16:33
#23
 | 
Poland xMBTx
that they suck?
2021-09-15 16:36
That such an article is a waste of time.
2021-09-15 16:50
Losing to sinners
2021-09-15 17:12
#26
 | 
France niouke
No international team will ever dominate the scene. You need the proper mother tongue for the best communication possible and gain an edge in coordination.
2021-09-15 17:13
translation: they are still shit but not as shit as before
2021-09-15 17:13
That they need 5 Swedes again. BROLLAN FLUSHA KRIMZ NAWWWK OLOFMEISTER/PEPPE JUST DO ITTTTTTT
2021-09-15 17:20
1 reply
Or.. Brollan Krimz Forest Nawwk Flusha
2021-09-15 17:46
if they lose to eternal fire in the iem fall qualifier it will be so bad for them. in ESL they won versus two really bad teams, they kinda play okay vs big, and they show some promise vs navi and liquid, its better than before, but they have a lot to improve.
2021-09-15 17:31
it taught us that jackinho isnt t1 material
2021-09-15 17:35
1 reply
sad but true
2021-09-15 17:45
All I learned is that they suck
2021-09-15 17:41
Proved to be a decent enough team. Perhaps, they can become a consistent Top20 after smoothly integrating.
2021-09-15 17:52
jackinho is worse than my dog
2021-09-15 17:54
Yep, agreed, even thought fnatic werent able to take the win in crucial matches they still put up a fight and their matches mostly ending in close encounters being able to get double digits scorelines, plus its still considered a new team and once they are able to start getting openning frags first ot should help them start winning some matches unless they do start getting openning kils but would then face a new problem in being unable to keep the man advantage and still end up losing rounds gl
2021-09-15 17:59
#43
 | 
Sweden Zeepter
Just re shuffle: Krimz f0rest Hallzerk Rez Hampus ---------------- Krimz dev1ce xyp Rez Brollan/f0rest
2021-09-15 18:01
#45
 | 
Russia Feuerbach
This roster belongs to a garbage can. Just keep Brollan and sign some better roster like MAD Lions, DBL Poney, Extra Salt
2021-09-15 18:28
#47
JW | 
Sweden EntonXD
jackinho has shown he can compete, but just dissappears some games. It's clear he's got loads to learn and adjust to coming from svenska elitserien (a huge gap from t1 cs) mezi is dangerously hyped by alex. sometimes he jsut baits brollan, gets a trade kill and dies. highest rated player but with the second lowest iompact ratingh. while brollan is still one of the highest rated players in fnatic with the highest impact rating. brollan is a proven prodigy and thinking mezi is the same is just wrong.
2021-09-15 18:33
4 replies
Been watching youtube vidoes again?
2021-09-15 18:36
1 reply
#64
JW | 
Sweden EntonXD
why. Its in all their games and stat pages.
2021-09-15 21:21
Mezzi isn't playing the same role as brollan of entry fragging. He and fnatic have been open about it that he plays passive in early round so he can trade / clutch in late rounds. He is basically the 2015 krimz. But to shed negative light on him is just unfair , his performance has been insane. His game sense is unbelievable , plays like a major winning veteran , and his aim is on point.
2021-09-16 03:27
1 reply
#83
JW | 
Sweden EntonXD
im not saying he's entryfragging, but hes baiting brollan when he really shouldnt. yes he's been amazing but his stats are padded and it hurts players like brollan. thats what i mean. im fine with him being the third man in or whatever but having the highest ratings yet second lowest impact rating proves my point i think. alex has described him as an überchild xD
2021-09-16 15:08
it told us they are still washed up as ever
2021-09-15 18:49
#51
 | 
Liberia rationale
Save krimz and brollan that's what we've learned
2021-09-15 18:52
still bad
2021-09-15 19:02
#58
 | 
Germany Shackrag
the timing is pretty bad after they just lost to sinners yesterday
2021-09-15 19:19
GOLDEN COME BACK
2021-09-15 19:52
resume: trash
2021-09-15 20:30
Resume: -jackinho. They need a decent awper so bad
2021-09-15 20:40
in conclusion: trash
2021-09-15 21:04
#67
gob b | 
Poland NHZb
linup ?
2021-09-16 00:01
ALEX overrated
2021-09-16 00:09
They need a more meta IGL
2021-09-16 00:37
1 reply
Golden was the perfect igl for fnatic
2021-09-16 03:23
#70
 | 
Australia Beard43
Okay so it turns out this is probably just a random case of perspective but from watching them I really thought they've been worse than the lowish expectations I had. Looking at their match page I've seen all of their recent games down to NaVi (28/08) except for the 3 wins mentioned in this article hehe, my bad. Cheers for filling in the gaps for me! 😃
2021-09-16 01:04
1 reply
They ARE worse than expected , losing to 00nation , Copenhagen wolves , sinners (bo3). They pick nuke all the time even thought their players are dogshit on it , especially krimz who never played that map. U force him to play nuke ofcc he will bottomfrag. Jackinho is draken 2.0 , inconsistent as hell and misses ez shots. Mezzi and brollan are hard carrying this team and it's still not enough. I think they need to focus on mirage info and overpass and remove jackinho for nawk or kennyS
2021-09-16 03:22
Running T4
2021-09-16 07:35
Jackinho displays the best record in the team by winning 72.5% of duels but attempting fewer of them overall Classic AWP abusing noob
2021-09-16 10:36
-jackinho +regali Ez top 5 team
2021-09-16 12:28
feeling bad
2021-09-16 15:43
#85
 | 
Russia de_bloom
gl
2021-09-16 20:20
#86
 | 
Venezuela CACHi
Sadly this team dont have enough talent for a t1 scene.
2021-09-16 23:51
Noob team
2021-09-17 00:32
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