After it was announced that Fnatic would not be taking part in the Six Masters 2020, it has now been confirmed that the reason will be due to their move to Japan to compete in the APAC North league, to which Giants Gaming have also been invited. As such, they will join their fellow regional leaders of Cyclops Athlete Gaming, Giants Gaming, and Cloud9 in the new APAC North league to create an elite lineup of teams in the tournament.
As teased in the video, Fnatic will be moving to Japan to compete. This is in line with their previous actions that included setting up a dedicated Fnatic Japan Twitter account to cultivate a Japanese fanbase.
Aside from winning the Six Masters in 2018 and 2019, Fnatic has attended the most tier-one tournaments of any other team in their region including all four of the last Majors and three out of the last four Pro League Finals.
In this time they secured the four biggest upsets in R6 history; against Team Liquid at the Six Invitational 2018 to make it past the group stage for the first time ever for an APAC team, against Evil Geniuses at the Season 8 Finals to qualify for their first-ever semi-finals, and against both Team Empire and G2 Esports at the Six Invitational 2020 as they knocked out the back-to-back World Champions and the reigning Major champions in the space of two days.
This makes Fnatic one of the most successful teams in the world despite being rather isolated.
Now, after their star player of Jake "Virtue" Grannan left to join G2 Esports, Fnatic has re-invested the money well by bringing in the new player of Riley "Stigs" Mills and strategic coach of Laurent "Crapelle" Patriarche.
Following these signings, despite their Singapore-resident player of Patrick "MentalistC" Fan stuck away from the rest of his team due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been announced that Fnatic will be moving to Japan in the hopes in increasing their competitive opportunities as they have better access to the region's other big teams in Japan, Southeast Asia, and Korea.
Giants Gaming, meanwhile, have been a mainstay in the APAC region even since before competitive Siege had been introduced to the region. Despite that fact, the team had qualified to the Six Invitational 2017 and had taken a map off the eventual finalists, eRa Eternity. However, even after securing the Pro League, appreciable success took two years to arrive.
This came in the form of defeating their now-league rivals of Fnatic at the Season 10 APAC Finals, paving their way to become the APAC Champions for the first time. Proceeding that, they, too, managed to follow Fnatic in pulling off an upset against the then-Giants Gaming roster. However, their third international event in the form of the Six Invitational 2020 was far less successful and the team went out without a win.
Now, however, with the backing of an organisation and the employ of a coach with time spent together, they will be taking part in the top-tier of Asian Siege competition.
The APAC North league has, therefore, confirmed the following 12 teams will compete online next season as part of the post-ESL restructuring:
- Fnatic - Invited from ANZ
- Giants Gaming - Invited from SEA
- Qconfirm - Invited from SEA
- CYCLOPS - Invited as Japanese champions
- NORA-Rengo - Invited as the most successful Japanese lineup
- GUTS Gaming - Winner of the APAC Noth Japanese qualifier
- FAV Gaming - Runner-up of the APAC Noth Japanese qualifier
- Cloud9 - Winner of the Korean half-year finals
- Talon Esports - Runner-up of the Korean Open Championship
- SCARZ - Third in the Korean Open Championship
- Xavier Esports - Winner of the APAC North Thailand qualifier
- Team Notorious - Winner of the APAC North Taiwan qualifier
For Fnatic this means they can more readily practice against more higher-tier opponents than what was available in the ANZ sub-region without having huge ping penalties which will theoretically improve the team further.
It is, however, currently unclear how Fnatic will travel to Japan and compete in the North league considering the current travel restrictions in place meaning they will likely have to play most of the season at very high pings from Australia.