The Kings have fallen. After a streak of six first place finishes, Fnatic have finally lost their first tournament since November. The streak was among one of the most impressive in CS history and cemented the Swedes as one of the greatest roster in not just CS:GO, but in any iteration of CounterStrike. However, all good things come to an end, and it was only fitting that Fnatic’s came at the hands of longtime rivals Astralis.’
After a dominant series against FaZe yesterday, Fnatic were prepared to get back on track on their road to a seventh consecutive title. They had recovered in a fantastic way after an intense loss to Team Liquid in their winner’s match the previous day. With multiple clutches, strong AWP performances from Olof and JW, and clean rotations, Fnatic looked as on point as ever.
Within a few rounds of playing Astralis, however, problems began to appear. Despite the incredible mechanical skill of Fnatic, Astralis were quick to pull ahead. Coordinated ambushes, pincer movements and multi-nade setups caught Fnatic off guard. On Cache, the Swedes were able to rally back, but the push wasn’t enough. Astralis finished with a 2-0 win over Fnatic, sending them home from a Major for the first time in months.
Fnatic’s loss, while unfortunate, is a valuable growing experience. Over the past several months, Counterstrike has evolved in depth. The meta game has forced teams to change their style of communication and direction, with the sixth man becoming far more essential. In stark contrast to Fnatic’s quiet stoicism, constant communication between players has become the dominant common trait of successful teams. Fnatic have always pushed the meta in game. With this loss giving them an opportunity to reevaluate their style, they now look to push the meta outside the game.
The Once and Future Kings will be back.