After a shaky end to 2019, ANZ’s Rainbow Six powerhouse Fnatic brought in some fresh blood in Aerowolf’s Patrick ‘MentalistC’ Fan and Sinister’s Tex ‘Tex’ Thompson.
The roster move came as a surprise to some, and an even bigger surprise to the two players expected to fill the shoes of Ethan ‘RizRaz’ Wombwell and Ryan ‘Speca’ Ausden.
Aerowolf had just come off the back of a legacy-making run at the Season 10 Pro League finals in Tokoname, Japan. They took down European squad Giants Gaming to make the top four in their first ever appearance at an international LAN.
However, it was expected to be MentalistC’s last appearance as a pro. The Siege veteran had finally qualified for the event he had been chasing for his entire career, but his studies back home in Singapore were starting to nip him on the heels.
“I was surprised when Fnatic made the offer to me, especially since I was distraught over the fact that I might have to quit R6 for my studies in Singapore,” he said.
Sinister, on the other hand, had just struggled to keep their heads afloat in Pro League. A sixth-place finish in ANZ with only two wins had Tex teetering pixels from relegation.
However, the two players’ paths converged at the perfect time, ready to help weather the storm for a struggling Fnatic. The team synonymous with Rainbow Six in not only Australia but the wider APAC region failed to qualify for the Season 10 finals, with bridesmaid Wildcard getting their time in the spotlight for once.
“While I only had an outside perspective during their period of ‘mixed results,’ I can confidently say that now, with the new roster, the boys and I can rebuild and exceed the former glory that they held.”
Tex ‘Tex’ Thompson
The new Fnatic rolled through the ANZ qualifiers for the Six Invitational, before demolishing Cloud9 and Xavier at the APAC finals to qualify for the event in Montreal in February. The team were starting to look like the Fnatic Australia fell in love with four years ago back in the Mindfreak days, and that was partly thanks to the fresh blood.
“We were really excited to qualify for the Invitational after prior setbacks at the Season 10 finals, and also felt relieved that we made it without too much trouble,” said MentalistC.
It wasn’t without its hiccups though. They were pushed to the edge by the SEA young guns on Consulate, almost blowing a 5-2 lead and their chance at becoming one of a few rosters to qualify for every Six Invitational.
“Xavier’s comeback from the 5-2 scoreline had everyone pretty tense,” said Tex. “We had anticipated the playstyle from Xavier, although once they started to pick up the pace on their Consulate attacks we weren’t able to win our heads-up gun fights.”
“We underestimated the effectiveness of [their ultra-aggression],” added MentalistC. “Their playstyle worked based on some of our weaknesses which we will look to address before the Invitational.”
Two more in Black & Orange. ??@MentalistC_ already went global, now he’s here. When we heard he may be forced to retire, we couldn’t let him go. His journey isn’t over; it’s just started.@TexR6_, formerly known as Copper, arrives having recently played for @TeamSiNisterGG. pic.twitter.com/DJ7QtVdzgg
— FNATIC (@FNATIC) November 29, 2019
Qualifying for the Six Invitational is only the first step for Fnatic’s new faces in trying to prove themselves in the region. With Season 11 Pro League finals firmly in their sights, and a chance to try and upset the world’s best in Montreal around the corner, the pressure is ramping up.
However, the duo remain unphased through it all. After all, they’ve been through it before with their previous teams.
“There will always be a pressure to perform and be as consistent as possible but I wouldn’t be here and come this far if I couldn’t handle it,” said Tex. “Still being quite young, I feel I have matured quickly and understand what it takes to be a professional player in a team environment, so I feel I was ready for the opportunity.”
“I didn’t put too much pressure on myself,” added MentalistC. “I knew that I am a very different player from RizRaz and Speca and my strength is what Fnatic wished to incorporate.”
“I never compared myself to them. I stick to what I know I do best.”
Patrick ‘MentalistC’ Fan
Nevertheless, for MentalistC especially, it was hard to let go of the past. The bonds he built with the Singaporean roster were, and still are, unbreakable. While joining Fnatic was a no-brainer to continue his illustrious career, jumping into a new environment is daunting.
“It was both very difficult and easy [choosing to join Fnatic],” he said. “It was easy because it’s a great opportunity that every ambitious Siege player would dream of, but at the same time it was hard knowing I’d have to leave the people I have spent four years playing with.”
The team has two goals in Montreal. Prove to themselves that they can once again cement Fnatic’s place at the top of APAC Rainbow Six, and gun for the title so many doubters have written an APAC team off for.
“Initially the power difference between APAC and other regions was huge due to the gap in knowledge and meta,” said MentalistC. “But as the years go by and the competitive scene in APAC starts to grow, the gap in knowledge is pretty much gone.”
“I just look forward to being on stage in front of all the fans and having some really competitive games for us to prove ourselves with,” Tex added. “I’ve been watching pro CS:GO, League, and Dota for so long and it’s going to be a lot of fun to be on the other side of the monitor and create a legacy.”
There’s very little doubt in their minds as to who can take the title. While eyes are on the likes of Empire and Team SoloMid heading into the big event, there’s only one place Tex, MentalistC, and Fnatic want fans to look.
The Six Invitational starts on February 7, with Fnatic joining fellow Australian team Wildcard in Montreal. You can catch the action on the Rainbow 6 Twitch channel.