Fnatic weren't themselves at Masters Copenhagen - Upcomer
Fnatic Boaster
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - JULY 22: Jake "Boaster" Howlett of Fnatic prepares to compete at the VALORANT Champions Tour: Stage 2 Masters Semifinals on July 22, 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

Fnatic weren’t themselves at Masters Copenhagen

Mini: 'Obviously they played well — and respect to them — but we were off today. We were off all tournament.'

Fnatic are finished at Masters Copenhagen. Fourth place doesn’t sound so bad, except when you come into the event looking like favorites like Fnatic did. With one of the strongest duelist duos in the world, a capable IGL and heaps of LAN experience, Fnatic had the recipe for success, but they failed to deliver.

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Fnatic fell to FunPlus Phoenix 2-1 in the lower bracket. In their last five matches, Fnatic had always come out on top of FPX, their regional rivals in Europe, Middle East and Africa. The sixth time proved too much. In the post-match press conference, Fnatic’s coach Jacob “mini” Harris gave his thoughts on what was different this time around.

“I mean, they banned Icebox, which is a good start,” he said. “I really hate to be salty and give one of those answers where it’s about ourselves, but I think it’s ourselves today.”

Mini spoke critically about his team’s performance, not just in this match but throughout the entire tournament. Fnatic’s troubles began when they were swept by Paper Rex in the upper bracket. In the lower bracket, they looked shaky at times, especially compared to their dominance in EMEA.

It all caught up to them against FPX.

“Generally speaking, I think it was our bad today and not so much them just coming out guns blazing,” mini said. “Obviously they played well — and respect to them — but we were off today. We were off all tournament.”

Fnatic’s run at Masters Copenhagen comes to an end

LAN jitters would be an easy excuse for a team playing in front of a crowd for the first time, but that didn’t appear to be a factor in the loss. Fnatic were the clear audience favorites, throwing their support behind the well-known org and the charismatic in-game leader, Jake “Boaster” Howlett.

“I don’t even think the crowd affected us,” Boaster said. “I think it was mostly the mistakes that were happening through the whole tournament were still happening.”

Even Fnatic’s 17-year-old rookie Emir Ali “Alfajer” Beder looked like he was long past his bout of nerves from earlier in the tournament.

Emir Ali “Alfajer” Beder of Fnatic poses at the VALORANT Champions Tour: Stage 2 Masters Semifinals on July 22, 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark. | Photo by Colin Young-Wolff. Provided by Riot Games.

It wasn’t that external factors hampered Fnatic against FPX; their own gameplay was what did them in. Mini pointed to their slow starts, while Boaster pointed to the team’s weak defense sides.

“We’re playing maps where it’s defender-sided and we’re not even getting favorable rounds,” Boaster said. “Just having better decision-making and not throwing 5v3s would be great.”

Looking ahead to Champions

The fact of the matter is that Fnatic have some kinks in their gameplay that need to be worked out. And they’ll have to do it over the next few months if they want to be in top form for Champions 2022. Fnatic have already qualified for the event through accumulated EMEA circuit points. What’s more, the team will undoubtedly be fan favorites on account of Alfajer’s Turkish nationality.

“I am excited for Champions,” Alfajer said. “We have a lot of fans in Istanbul.”

Champions doesn’t begin until Sept. 2, 2022. In the meantime, Fnatic will be looking to clean up their game and figure out what block has prevented them from lifting an international LAN trophy.

“Rome wasn’t built in one day, so I guess it’s back to the grind, trying to fix some stuff again,” Boaster said. “But I think it’s safe to say we all had a blast while we were up there.”

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Coby Zucker
Coby Zucker is Upcomer's resident CS:GO writer. He's also played League of Legends at the collegiate level and is a frequent visitor in TFT Challenger Elo. He's a firm believer that Toronto should be the next big esports hub city.