We write about FPSes each week in Triggernometry (opens in new tab), a mixture of tips, esports, and a celebration of virtual marksmanship.
To witness greatness in real-time is a rare gift. From Michael Jordan's second three-peat run with the Bulls to Gretzky's titles with the Oilers, many wish they could be transported back to see such feats unfold in their moment of taking place. The greatest lineup in CS:GO history may very well be the current FNATIC lineup, and it's far from done yet.
This five man FNATIC squad, completed late last June, has amassed a record which gives them a legitimate claim to the throne of the great Ninjas in Pyjamas, which seemed impossible to even approach. FNATIC has won 10 offline titles, made 13 finals and reached the top four in 17 out of 18 tournaments. Teams like LDLC (now EnVyUs) and TSM have had their moments, the latter perhaps still on-going, where they appeared to be the best team in the world, but the FNATIC train keeps rolling along and consistently gets deep in tournaments and then out-paces its rivals by being better against the field.
The personnel to dominate
The easy way to describe a historically dominant line-up like this would be to say that they're simply 'too good,' but in a sense that's accurate. FNATIC's success has come first and foremost as a result of having a line-up which is too good in terms of talent and the roles they can perform at a world class level in. In the early days of their initial run of dominance, beginning in October, they were led by the impeccable fundamentals of KRiMZ, locking down bombsites entirely and helping define a meta of CT-side dominance, which would sweep the entire top end of the CS:GO scene.
The sidekick at that time was JW, the impossible-to-predict and supremely explosive AWPer/rifler hybrid. With KRiMZ's providing a solid backbone to the team and the others being excellent team-players, JW was freed up to be the ultimate wild-card player, going where he pleased and finding the right moments from which to explode into opposing teams. While those two have had their moments and tournaments since, the new star of the team has been olofmeister, whose skill level is ridiculous. Olof is an all-around package player the likes of which has probably never been seen before in CS:GO, as he is one of the world's elite riflers and yet can also AWP as well as almost every primary sniper in the game.
Spurred on by olof's individual peak, FNATIC have been able to supplement his play with much-improved form by Flusha, the man whose dip in form late last year and early into this year partially accounted for FNATIC's brief drop-off. Flusha is not just the reliable clutch round player he built his career upon being but has recently also been topping scoreboards and even bringing some sniping into his game, successfully. FNATIC take the cliche "embarrassment of riches" and make it seem only apt to describe the luxuries they possess in terms of players. Take any other top five side in CS:GO and switch around which players will carry the team and you'll likely find yourself with a significantly worse team, while FNATIC are again winning titles and reaching finals again and again, even winning their major in the post-KRiMZ era.
Gods of Inferno
In two of FNATIC's early big international offline competitions they found key losses on inferno contributing to their elimination. That map would become both the home ground for FNATIC in the coming months and one of the most dominant maps of any team in the game's history. A team mastering a specific map is an often overlooked aspect of dominance. Ideally, it should be one that other elite teams play, ensuring it won't be banned, and then forces respect bans from lesser teams, opening the map pool even more for the dominant team. FNATIC's Inferno is the perfect example of such a scenario in CS:GO.
FNATIC have lost less than 10 times offline on inferno with this lineup, despite having played it at least 32 times. This was the map which both put all of the FNATIC players in their ideal positions, but also took advantage of the massively CT-sided meta of late 2014. Today, FNATIC still maintain their dominance in the map, despite the meta having shifted and teams racking up many more T-side rounds in a time when the Tec-9 is particularly strong.
While the great NiP lineup is long gone and they seek to establish a new championship team, FNATIC is still very much in the flow of their run of greatness. Winning their last two events and having made the final of four of their last five offline events, FNATIC are still the best team in the world and the best against the overall field of teams. Their last title came after a brutal 3:0 victory over Virtus.pro, a great CS:GO line-up in their own right, in the final of Gfinity Spring Masters II. FNATIC have more in the tank, so tune into their greatness at an upcoming CS:GO tournament.