Fnatic are one of the world's most famous esports organisations, with teams spanning almost every popular competitive game including CS:GO, Overwatch, and League of Legends. Their Heroes of the Storm team were in Katowice competed at the IEM Western Clash recently, so we sat down with team captain Dob "Quackniix" Engström to talk about all things Fnatic.
Sporting a 70% win rate since October 2015, Fnatic have consistently been one of the best teams in Heroes of the Storm. Three first place finishes in 2015 have been followed by multiple second-fourth place finishes in 2016, and Quackniix is considered by many to be the best assassin player, specialising in Greymane and Falstad.
Other teams up there with Fnatic are Misfits and Dignitas, and the team Quackniix considers to be their main competitor, Tempo Storm. "Outside of the European scene, they're the one team to look out for the most, especially since we didn't scrim them at BlizzCon."
Those of you who have followed the HotS competitive scene for some time will know that Fnatic haven't been without their share of roster changes and role switches. In 2016 they had French player Ménè leave for Natus Vincere, who was replaced by British player Atheroangel but left four months later to join teh89.
Quackniix thinks they've found the ideal roster now though, after all their trials and tribulations. The current roster has been together for nearly a year, and with that has brought better chemistry and stability, especially since the lineup consists of only Swedish players now. "We've finally found a roster that feels like home," he said. "We're all such good friends, and it's much easier to create that bond when we're all Swedish. When things get tough, it's way easier to communicate."
Interestingly though, the guys don't hang out when not playing the game, despite being really good friends and Quackniix, Smexystyle, and Breez living fairly close to one another in Sweden. "This game is my work, right? We play for six hours a day, and on top of that we play solo queue sometimes," Quackniix explained. "So when we're not playing the game, we want to hang out with our actual real-life friends because we don't get to see them as much, and for me I'm with my girlfriend a lot of the time. I do want to do it more though, especially with Smexy and Breez since they're so close."
On the HotS esports scene in general, he said he's impressed with the amount of money being invested. "It's really cool to see how much work and money is being invested into the scene, it'll help the esport grow for sure. It should result in more sponsors, allowing more teams to stabilise and put more work into the game, because if you don't have a solid income, it's hard to put as much time as you want to into the game, due to working commitments. But here they've given every team the chance to focus on HotS as a full time job, so I hope that with more time, it'll become an even better esport."
As with anything, if you do it too much you start to get bored of it, and Heroes of the Storm is no exception for Quack. He considers this his full time career and takes it "100% seriously" when playing, but sometimes if they're absolutely dominating a lower tier team, they start to lose focus and joke around since they're such good friends. But Quack insists he always tries to put his foot down and says "we're here to practice, let's not fool around, even though we're stomping, this is our work".
They say in football that the fans are often the 12th man due to the support and atmosphere they provide, and in HotS it's no different for Fnatic. "It's such a good feeling to have so many fans and people backing you up, because when it's not going so good, they're there to support you and pick you up."
Quackniix and Fnatic progressed all the way to the final at this event, but fell at the final hurdle to Dignitas 3-2, yet still walked away with $20,000 USD between them. How strong do you think Fnatic are at the moment?