The Swedish CS:GO juggernaut has been sputtering as of late, and the recent benching of Xizt and Twist indicated that a roster shakeup was imminent in a bid to return to former glories. In the end, Fnatic opted to re-create most of the lineup they’ve won their last two events with over two years ago by bringing back flusha and GoldeN.
Fnatic originally announced on August 21st that they’d bench Xizt and Twist with immediate effect as they look to enter a “new phase” off the back of their failure to reach the main stage of the major for the first time in their history. Despite back-to-back LAN final appearances earlier in the year, the team failed to establish any sort of consistency, and a string of disappointing results at DreamHack Masters Dallas, the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals and ESL One Cologne served as a series of red flags en route to crashing out of the Europe minor.
The official announcement states:
"As such, a new era dawns, with flusha rejoining Fnatic for a second time and Golden arriving on loan until the end of 2019. Both players had spells in Los Angeles with Cloud9 since initially leaving Fnatic last year.
Golden most recently stood in for Ninjas in Pyjamas during the Berlin Major, where they fell in the Legends Stage. Flusha, meanwhile, took a break from Counter-Strike that, after interviewing him again, we believe has made him not only more determined for success with Fnatic but also has helped him grow as a human being.
With added experience, self-awareness, self-fulfilment and all good things Swedes don’t usually get in the dark months of the year, we now look to the rest of 2019 as a chance for not just a return to glory but growth as players and people."
Fnatic hasn't won a single event since the departure of the two players, winning IEM Katowice and WESG 2017 last spring. Since then, both players spent some time as part of the ever-imploding Cloud9 project. GoldeN then went to NiP on loan to fill their roster for the Berlin major while flusha took some time off the game after the unfortunate passing of his mother. He was a highlight of Cloud9's run at the Katowice major.
This change means that the only difference between the title-winning Fnatic side and the current one is the addition of a promising young talent in the form of Brollan instead of Lekr0. Since that side was notably struggling with internal disagreements, it remains to be seen whether this second attempt will have a happier ending. In fact, flusha does seem to reference this in his comments given to the organization's website in the announcement, stating that "we all made some mistakes in the past that we have learned from and I believe we have all matured".
Though flusha's return is permanent, GoldeN only joins the side on loan until the end of 2019, with a permanent decision likely to be made later down the line.
The team's trial by fire takes place this afternoon as they partake in ECS Season 8.
Photo credit: HLTV