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Fnatic Rainbow Six: Year in Review

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Exactly one year ago, Fnatic made massive waves in the Rainbow Six scene by becoming the first top-tier organisation to sign an APAC roster. SiegeGG looks back at all they have achieved since in this new article series.

12 April 2018. It’s a Thursday, SiegeGG’s website is alive and kicking, but is about to go down the next day for about a month. At 8AM in Sydney, FaZe Clan starts their game against BRK e-Sports in Season 7 of the Latin American Pro League after Team oNe has defeated Bootkamp Gaming. Of the four organisations, only FaZe Clan would remain in the Pro League scene a year on.

Asia-Pacific, meanwhile, gears up for the Season 7 APAC Finals. The Mindfreak roster announced the day before that it left the organisation, and has been the team to watch. After all, they had beaten Team Liquid and Room Factory at the Six Invitational before demolishing ViewSonic DarkSided 15-1 in the ANZ Cup and finishing undefeated in the online portion of the Pro League.

Everyone knows a new organisation is about to join the scene with this team. Most people suspect it is Renegades. Most people are wrong.

At 5:16PM Sydney time, the news drops, and the Rainbow Six scene goes wild. APAC has their first top-tier organisation, with Cloud9 becoming the second one only just under exactly a year later. Two days, is all it takes for six Australians to go from playing for Mindfreak to playing for Fnatic.

Since then, Fnatic has soared to even greater heights, proving all skeptics wrong and shutting all naysayers up. What, exactly, did they get up to? SiegeGG traces their journey.

Season 7 APAC Finals, Sydney

Immediately justifying Fnatic’s faith in them, the organisation’s new roster won the Pro League Season 7 APAC Finals not two days later. The players would be going to the international stage yet again, but this time with one of the best organisations in the world.

The tournament started off with a blistering 10-0 victory for them against Sengoku Gaming Extasy -- the first in the region. Fnatic then came up against the tough Southeast Asians of Team CryptiK in a rematch from their Six Invitational 2018 Qualifier LAN, and narrowly defeated them to book a slot at the Season 7 Finals in Atlantic City.

In the final, played purely for seeding purposes, Fnatic flexed their muscles and took NORA-Rengo apart 5-1 5-2 to get the highly favourable first seed for the Pro League Finals. Step one towards APAC domination… complete.

Season 7 Finals, Atlantic City

Fnatic’s second outing against Team Liquid was not as successful

After having earned much of their international reputation when they had defeated Team Liquid, Fnatic was once again drawn against them in the fourth and final quarter-final at the Season 7 Finals. Unfortunately for the Australians, the magic performance was unable to be replicated, and they fell 0-2 to the eventual champions.

No one on the APAC team had a rating greater than 0.98, and it was clear that despite their strengths, a lot more work was necessary for them to become consistent, international threats.

Six Major Paris

Fnatic’s troubles continued at the Six Major Paris, much to the dismay of their countless supporters at home and abroad. Placed in Group B with G2 Esports, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Mock-it Esports, it was never going to be an easy task for them to qualify.

The tournament started off with a 0-2 loss against Season 6 runners-up Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP), but the team rebounded strongly with a 2-1 victory against Mock-it Esports the next day. Unfortunately for them, they would be unable to mastermind a second appearance on the main stage of a Major event, falling to NiP once more, although by a score of 1-2 this time around.

“We took the knockout pretty hard,” said the team’s coach Jayden “Dizzle” Saunders to Matt Andrews after the loss. However, he noted that they were “still an inexperienced team” and vowed to come back stronger, and come back stronger they would.

Season 8 APAC Finals, Tokyo

Once again, Fnatic faced off against Sengoku Gaming Extasy, who must have no doubt been smarting from their 0-10 loss the previous season. Once again, though, Fnatic came out top -- but not without dropping a map. Next up were the APAC Finals debutants Xavier Esports, and Fnatic cleared them in an overall smooth 2-0.

While they were through to the Season 8 Finals in Rio de Janeiro, Fnatic still had to play the seeding match against NORA-Rengo. Unfortunately, Fnatic suffered their first APAC Finals loss since Season 6, falling 0-2 at the hands of the Japanese in Tokyo.

Six Masters 2018, PAX Melbourne

Just two weeks later, the two APAC giants met again, but back on Fnatic’s turf in Melbourne at PAX Aus. After a fairly grueling semi-final game against Dark Sided, Fnatic came out on top against NORA-Rengo by two maps to one and reaffirmed their position as a team to be wary of.

Season 8 Finals, Rio de Janeiro

The brackets for the Season 8 Finals

“Evil Geniuses? No chance.”

Those were the words that had been bandied about when the Rio de Janeiro brackets had been revealed. Fnatic, with a grand total of three international victories to their name, were going up against the Six Invitational 2018 finalists, the Six Major Paris finalists, and a team that was looking unbeatable in the lead-up to the Finals. Top of North America versus second-best in APAC, but Fnatic were gearing up and were prepared to give their esteemed opponents hell.

Then, disaster struck.

On the morning that Fnatic was scheduled to fly to Rio de Janeiro, team captain Etienne “Magnet” Rousseau felt a stomach-ache coming on. Four hours later, and the pain had still not subsided. At 10AM, Magnet finally visited the doctor, and was immediately rushed to the hospital -- he had appendicitis.

Fnatic flew to Rio without their team captain, and immediately began scrambling for a replacement. APAC pros? EU pros? NA pros? No dice. Nothing worked. There was only one option to avoid disqualification, and that was for Fnatic’s coach, Dizzle, to step in.

Dizzle had not played competitive Siege on this scale for nearly two years, and certainly not on the PC. Thankfully (in hindsight) technical issues with a player’s PC during the regular Pro League had caused Dizzle to fill in on one occasion, so he was not entirely out of practice.

So what did Fnatic do against Evil Geniuses, with their coach playing instead of their captain? Well, they won -- two maps to none -- and made it to their first semi-final of any international event. “This is like a dream,” said Ethan “RizRaz” Wombwell after the match, voice hoarse from screaming.

While their fairytale was given no room to continue by G2 Esports in a brutal 0-12, Fnatic had already achieved their goal, and the experienced gained against the eventual champions was just a bonus.

Six Invitational 2019

Coming into 2019, Fnatic were riding a definite high. They were undefeated in Season 9 of the Pro League so far, and had just added Jake “Virtue” Grannan to their stable to mark a return to a Pro League team running a six-man lineup.

The groups for the Six Invitational 2019

Put into a group with North American high-flyers Team Reciprocity, and Brazilian powerhouses FaZe Clan and Ninjas in Pyjamas, it seemed unlikely that the Australians would be able to repeat their run from a year prior. As RizRaz had himself admitted, the performance against Evil Geniuses was essentially a fluke. They’d played “ranked”, essentially.

But with the addition of Virtue, Fnatic did not need to repeat that performance. They bettered it. Not only did they take down Reciprocity 2-1 in their opener, they followed that up with a brilliant 2-1 victory over FaZe Clan and made it to the main stage once more. And, with NORA-Rengo their next opponents in the quarter-final , there would be an APAC team in the semi-finals of a Major event for the very first time. Fnatic wanted to be that team.

Virtue’s performance at the Six Invitational was immense (SiegeGG Infographic)

Unfortunately for them, NORA-Rengo would even the running tally of wins between the two rosters as Fnatic’s players fell just short of their Asian counterparts. Nevertheless, their performance was a joy to behold, with newcomer Virtue fitting in like a glove, finishing the event with the highest overall rating of 1.44.

The first Fnatic departure

Just a little under two week after, though, Daniel “NeophyteR” An announced that his contract would be lapsing. Since Virtue’s signing, NeophyteR had not played a single game, from the Pro League to the Six Invitational.

Ryan "Speca" Ausden then joined Fnatic as their new sixth player -- the same role Virtue was initially signed for at the beginning of Season 9. Fnatic had previously said that this "sixth member" role was not meant to be the same as a substitute position, but would see the player regularly take part in games throughout the season.

Six Oceanic Cup 2019

The statistics from the Six Oceanic Cup 2019 grand final

Coming off the back of their stellar performance, the Six Oceanic Cup saw Fnatic take their foot a bit too much off the pedal. Regional rivals 0RGL3SS pipped them to the title 2-0, although Fnatic did take down Ex Nihilo 2-1 in their semi-final. With the Season 9 APAC Finals scheduled for just a month after, though, it isn’t unlikely that they were aiming for the bigger prize -- qualification to the Pro League Finals in Milan.

Season 9 APAC Finals

And that, ladies and gentlemen, brings us to today. From 2018 to 2019, it has been an incredible journey for the Australian team. From transitioning from Xbox to the PC, getting to the main stage at the Six Invitational 2018, and soaring to new height with Fnatic, none of the team's players will hold any regrets.

The Season 9 APAC Finals Bracket

Fnatic now gears up for their appearance tomorrow at the Season 9 APAC Finals where they are going up against Cyclops Athlete Gaming from Japan, and have a possible meeting with Aerowolf or Cloud9 ready in the semi-final the next day.

Catch the action on the Rainbow6 Twitch and YouTube channels from 10AM GMT+10 onwards, read up on everything you need to know about the event, and stay tuned for more coverage here at SiegeGG.