It was a difficult decision, Acez is a beloved member of the community, the fan base and of the entire team. He is the last original member from Xbox, it was the hardest conversation I have had to do in the time with this team.
Naturally it started with the postseason debrief and assessing where we could improve upon for 2021 and onwards. From our reflection and conversations it was apparent that our support line-up was notwhere it needed to be. Not having a natural support player in the lineup we started discussions around bringing Acez back in, but then some movements happened in Europe and NA and some very interesting profiles became available on the Free Agency.
With the commitment we are making to the team and to the APAC region in the environment of during and post COVID it would not feasibly be responsible of me to run a roster of 7 players and 2 staff. Being that Acez didn’t have the skillset in the depth of roles that other players have and it was a direct contest for the support position as well as Alphama being experienced at the top level and IGL’d before. This allows other members that were IGLing to have more focus on their roles; bringing Alphama in it not only bolstered the support line up directly but also allowed more growth for the other players and roles.
As part of the original Mindfreak roster, Acez shared joint-honours with the Team Envy squad (now Giants Gaming) to become the first APAC representatives at an international event when they competed at the Six Invitational 2017 on the Xbox.
Three seasons later, when the Pro League was introduced to the APAC region on the PC, Acez became the only member from that SI squad to continue on as a player and qualify for both the region's Pro League and the 2018 Six Invitational.
There, while being largely written off by fans, Mindfreak stunned the world with victories over the European team of ROOM FACTORY -- which included JoyStiCK, ShepparD, and Shockwave -- and an upset over the soon-to-be Pro League champions of Team Liquid to qualify to the playoffs on the main stage.
Three months later, the Mindfreak roster joined the Fnatic organisation, with them attending the Season 7 and 8 Finals, as well as the Paris Major.
This meant Acez had also been part of the historic squad that had recorded arguably the biggest upset victory to this day -- a 2-0 win over high-flying Evil Geniuses at the Season 8 Pro League Finals. With Fnatic's in-game leader Mag (then Magnet) unable to travel due to appendicitis, the game saw Acez play alongside their coach of Dizzle for the first time since the SI17 event.
Acez had then continued to attend international events, adding to his two Six Invitational and two Pro League Finals appearances with a third for each in 2019, but was briefly benched for Speca in Season 10 of the Pro League.
While he had returned to the playing roster for Season 11, he was benched once again prior to the format change in 2020. As such, Acez had not played in Stages 1 and 2 of the inaugural APAC North Division.
Now, as Alphama joins the team from France, the team was stretched to a seven-man roster which meant that Acez was no longer needed as a sixth man. This ends a four-year stay on the roster across two platforms, three Six Invitationals, three Pro League Finals, and three regional titles.
Fnatic will kick off its APAC North season on the 19th of March with the new lineup, with Alphama on the bench until his visa is secured:
Etienne "Mag" Rousseau
Jason "Lusty" Chen
Patrick "MentalistC" Fan
Tex "Tex" Thompson
Riley "Stigs" Mills
Léo "Alphama" Robine
Jayden "Dizzle" Saunders (Head Coach)
Laurent "Crapelle" Patriarche (Strategic Coach)