Jabz returns to Fnatic

By Kenneth WilliamsOctober 13, 2020
Anucha "Jabz" Jirawong is returning to Fnatic’s starting lineup in the soft support role. The announcement comes just over a month after Jabz was initially kicked for Nico "eyyou" Barcelon. Djardel "DJ" Mampusti has been moved to position 5 and will retain captaincy for the Southeast Asian squad.
Eyyou lasted for one week before his departure alongside superstar offlaner Daryl "iceiceice" Xiang. Both players are currently teamless. Fnatic played with stand-ins at both ESL One Thailand and BTS Pro Series S3, where they achieved bronze and last place respectively.
Jabz is known for his leadership in a captain-less region, his incredibly clutch late-game decision-making, and his longtime relationship with fan-favorite iceiceice. The two players stuck together through multiple sponsor changes and roster reworks stretching back to 2016. Their crowning achievement was winning Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018, the first DPC Major taken by a Southeast Asian team.
Fnatic’s roster still isn’t complete; the team lacks an offlaner. They’ve been using Lee "Forev" Sang-don as an indefinite stand-in.

Where will Fnatic go from here?

Despite bustering out at BTS Pro Series S3, Fnatic has managed to keep it together through the drastic roster changes. A steady play environment would no doubt help the team, as competition has grown even fiercer in the online era. SEA mainstays like BOOM Esports and TNC Predator have been outpacing Fnatic, and several Tier 2 teams like Motivate.Trust Gaming and Neon Esports are picking up steam.
Fnatic came very close to earning SEA superteam status earlier this year. An undefeated streak from February to June earned the team a combined $153,266 in prize money. On paper, the core of Marc Polo "Raven" Fausto, Jabz, and DJ looks incredibly difficult to beat. If the team gets enough time to settle in and make a playbook, they could resume that dominance in a heartbeat.
Another thought-provoking notion is where Fnatic’s former playmakers will eventually wind up. Iceiceice has previously mentioned a desire to play in another region. Both players could be eyeing China, inspired by fellow SEA veteran Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon’s transfer to Vici Gaming. The move is more likely for iceiceice given his name recognition, but eyyou’s successful tenure on TNC Predator could make CN managers look twice.
Header image credit to EPICENTER. Jabz at the Epicenter Dota 2 Major, 2019.
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