The upcoming IEM Katowice Major for Counter-Strike may turn out to be one of the most exciting events of 2019 but for the likes of the once legendary Fnatic, 2018 may still weigh heavily on their minds. For the team that CS:GO fans around the world grew up praising, we could only hope they focus on the positives that happened throughout the year and come into 2019 stronger than ever. Let's take a quick look.
The tournament format for Katowice has gotten a complete overhaul when you compare it to the Valve Majors of the past. With the “New Challengers” pool of teams now being seeded by player opinion, all 16 teams that qualified to appear were given a survey to determine the seeding of the pool. And it just happens to be that Fnatic got rated as the number one New Challenger, which shouldn’t surprise anyone, given that a team of their caliber should have undoubtedly found their way into the “New Legends” stage if not for a rocky 2018.
Coming into the major, the boys of Fnatic could thrive from a “nothing to lose” mentality. Simply said, 2018 was not their year and they head into 2019 with the past well behind them thanks to a solid finish. They were able to end the year with the PLG Grand Slam win, and also entered the new year with a 3rd-4th place finish at iBuyPower Masters with some roster adjustments. Their last major trophies came early in the year at WESG and IEM Katowice — and you better believe they will be looking for a repeat in Poland — but other than that, the rest of 2018 was relatively quiet for them.
Struggles aside, this is not at all saying that their opposition shouldn't be afraid of them — they absolutely should. Krimz and JW remain as the core foundation of this roster. With years and years of raw CS experience, and some of the best résumés in the community, these two represent themselves as pure, seasoned veterans. With the fairly new additions of twist and Brollan, Fnatic boasts a really solid set of fraggers coming into Katowice, and there's one more remaining piece.
That remaining piece is Richard “Xizt” Landstrom — a true icon in the long list of CS fraggers that Sweden has produced. Frankly, there's no one better to call the shots for such a talented team. His achievements within the ranks of NiP and FaZe make Fnatic’s success nearly inevitable once they begin to find their groove. And though every player, no matter the sport, experiences unavoidable ups and downs throughout their career, there is absolutely no reason why Xizt would not be able to lead Fnatic through a successful Major campaign in Katowice.