Tex Thompson and Riley "Stigs" Mills have been benched by Fnatic after the end of a second successive disappointing season for the APAC North team.
Fnatic released the news on its Japanese Twitter account on Oct. 26, and stated that it will be "looking at new options for the starting line-up".
The team had moved Jason "Lusty" Chen to the sixth-man position ahead of the start of Stage 3 in a bid to renew his confidence, with Léo "Alphama" Robine and Patrick "MentalistC" Fan playing alongside each other for the first time.
It is currently undecided if Lusty will return to the main roster in the coming months. When asked by SiegeGG, Fnatic head coach Jayden "Dizzle" Saunders stated that the team will look to transfer Tex and Stigs, and failing that, let their contracts lapse.
It is also unclear if the team will sign two new players to continue its tradition of a six-man roster, or if it will only sign one to keep its team at five players. This, said Dizzle, will depend on whether Lusty will be able to return to the core roster.
In the 2021 APAC North season, Fnatic had finished fourth in Stage 1, third in Stage 2, but had slipped down to fifth in Stage 3. The corresponding Stage 1 and 2 APAC Playoffs had seen the team eliminated in the Lower Bracket Finals and Lower Bracket Round 3, as well.
Fnatic's next game was set to be during the Six Invitational 2022 APAC qualifier, but roster lock rules mean that the team will either need to play with at least one of the two coaches, or bring two of Tex, Stigs, and Lusty back to the main roster.
As such, it is likely that Fnatic will not participate in the SI qualifier again, after having opted to give the 2021 qualifier a miss.
Fnatic is yet to complete its move to Japan, a move that had been formally announced in 2020, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put an indefinite hold on those plans.