Given the surprise return of captain Bora “Yellowstar” Kim and the unexpected transfer of former G2 top laner, Mateusz “Kikis” Szkudlarek, the departure of Lee “Spirit” Da-yun has hardly raised an eyebrow. Yet with the loss of their Korean jungler, Fnatic find themselves needing to rebuild their roster from the ground up once again.
After Spirit’s former Samsung Blue teammate, Yeong-Jin “Gamsu” Noh, was removed from the team earlier in the summer, everything about the jungler’s demeanour suggested that he would consider leaving at the end of the split. Spirit and Gamsu had forged a particularly strong friendship during their time playing in Korea and Fnatic’s decision to kick Gamsu may have unintentionally pushed Spirit out the door with the same swing.
Following Gamsu’s departure, Spirit took to social media to express his upset:
— 이다윤 FNC Spirit (@FNC_Spirit) 12 July 2016
I dont know this happen
i’m extreamly sad
— 이다윤 FNC Spirit (@FNC_Spirit) 11 July 2016
It’s sad to see Spirit leave after only one season with the European heavyweights. Spirit was never the problem for Fnatic – but equally – he was never the solution Fnatic were looking for either:
“Moving into 2017, we are looking to significantly rebuild our team and the structure of Fnatic League of Legends, whilst Dayun wishes to take on exciting new challenges. Therefore, we have mutually agreed to part ways.”
Fnatic Official Statement
“I am very happy that I worked with Fnatic. They really helped me to improve myself as a player and as a person. I grew up a lot and I just want say thank you Fnatic.”
Lee “Spirit” Da-yun
The departure of Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin certainly left a big hole in Fnatic’s team dynamic – after the failed attempt at embedding Spirit into the role – whomever Fnatic picks up next for the jungle role has the potential to make or break the team.
Fnatic fans will be hoping the side can wield their brand power and experience within the industry to build a championship challenging team from scratch – the team find themselves at square one in the build up to the spring split once again. There’s evident frustration behind the scenes, with mid laner, Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten re-tweeting his dismay at being the fan scapegoat quickly after the announcement of Spirit’s departure:
everytime theres a FNC thread on reddit pic.twitter.com/cpFUtZ0xWx
— OLOF (@flaxxish) 28 September 2016
Fnatic were undoubtedly successful at re-building the team after a series of significant departures in 2015, but were notably unable to repeat the feat throughout season 6. This is not to dismiss the scouting ability of the FNC organisation, but they were certainly very fortunate to pick up a completely unknown top and jungle duo as synergised as Reignover and Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon. It remains to be seen whether that magnitude of talent is available anywhere in the League of Legends scene right now.
For now, the speculation surrounding the team will continue rumble on – with rumours of a Febiven dictatorship continuing to dominate online discussions. Will Kikis return to the jungle? Is there a possibility of the free agent, Diamondprox joining the ranks, or even Rush? This is certainly not the last piece of roster re-structuring we will hear from Fnatic before the start of the 2017 spring split.