Former Dark Sided player Ryan "Speca" Ausden has joined Fnatic as their new sixth player -- the same role Jake "Virtue" Grannan was initially signed for (also from Dark Sided) at the beginning of Season 9. Fnatic had previously said that this "sixth member" role will not be a plain substitute, but will regularly take part in games throughout the season, but after Virtue's signing, now-outgoing player Daniel "NeophyteR" An did not play a single game for the team.
Now, with Speca joining the team in the same capacity, it will be interesting to see if Fnatic will rotate players in their lineup as they had claimed they would when Virtue had been signed. With the way they have been performing with Virtue in the lineup, though, and the role changes they have had, many might feel it unwise to unnecessarily tinker with the winning formula.
Speca had formerly been on the DarkSided roster, stretching back to the Six Major Paris ANZ qualifiers. Unfortunately for him and Dark Sided, they were unable to make it to the APAC Qualifier LAN, losing to SYF Gaming in the Semi-Finals. This was then followed up by a Season 8 third-place finish -- the first time the team had missed out on a Pro League APAC LAN.
Their showing at the Six Masters 2018 netted Speca his first substantial earnings as Dark Sided finished joint-third out of the four teams, falling to eventual champions Fnatic in a 1-2 loss. Yet another failure to make it to the APAC Qualifier LAN -- this time for the Six Invitational 2019 -- started having questions raised about Dark Sided, given that 0RGL3SS had now stood in their way to three LAN events in a row.
The Summer Series saw Dark Sided finish second to none other than 0RGL3SS, and after a season that threatened to fall off the rails for Dark Sided before it started thanks to the team almost not keeping a 3/5th roster, they managed to get to third at the end of the first half. Now, though, Speca has moved on, making a step to the best team in ANZ, and one of the best in the world.
SiegeGG spoke to Fnatic coach Jayden "Dizzle" Saunders to ask about how Speca will fit into the Fnatic roster.
You're bringing on Speca as a 6th player in the place of Neo, essentially. What makes him a better fit for your team?
Speca shows great leadership and lends another dominant voice in game. He offers a more dynamic playstyle to say for example Acez, who is by far one of the best support and hard anchor players in the world. Speca can also help Magnet in game with shot-calling and works very well off other players. He has already received accolades from a few of the guys that he is very easy to play around.
An area we needed to improve on was communication as Siege is an ever evolving game and we must do the same; this is why and where Speca will contribute to the teams success.
What kind of a role will Speca be playing? Ergo, who will he be swapping in and out with?
We are still adjusting and experimenting with our line-ups. There are both short and long term goals associated with our ideology of this roster. Ideally, at full functionality we will be able to swap out players at will depending on opponents, map picks and bans, likely operator bans and playstyle we wish to achieve that week (or for that opponent).
Short term it will likely be Speca, Acez ,and Lusty rotated through, but long term it will be up to the players and their operator pools with how they perform and improve to solidify a core spot on the starting line-up, a concept not dissimilar to traditional sports.
Speca himself was also happy about the move.
I'm more than thrilled to be presented with this opportunity, it's the biggest that anyone can get from the Australian region. Playing with like-minded people who are doing all that they possibly can to be the best player that they could be, it's just such a great environment.
I'm hoping the addition of myself to the roster helps take our team to the next level and obtain a top four position at the next Invitational. However, there is a lot of catching up for me to do, which gives me more drive to improve so that I don't ever let my teammates down.
It will be interesting to track how the rest of Season 9 progresses for Fnatic. The Australians will also be taking part in the Six Oceanic Cup from the 16th of March to the 23rd, and that may be a prime opportunity for Speca to stake his claim for more regular play time. Their first match after the break in the Pro League will be against Oddity Esports on the 13th of March at 7 PM AEDT (GMT+11), broadcast on the Rainbow6ANZ Twitch channel.