The newly minted Fnatic team — comprised of Aussies Etienne ‘Magnet’ Rousseau (Captain), Matthew ‘Acez’ McHenry, Jason ‘Lusty’ Chen, Ethan ‘RizRaz’ Wombwell, Daniel ‘NeophyteR’ An and Jayden ‘Dizzle’ Saunders (Coach, Manager) — has gone from strength to strength, switching from Xbox to PC while managing a top 8 placement at the Rainbow Six Invitational, held in Montreal, Canada in February 2018.
Stevivor had a chance to sit down with Saunders (pictured below) after the announcement was made.
“It’s a huge opportunity for us,” Saunders said. “It’s really great for APAC; we set out to do APAC proud and put APAC on the map in terms of the world tournament. To place top 8 in the Six Invitational and then be signed by one of the biggest Esports organisations in the world is just incredible.”
After an amicable break with Mindfreak — publicised only two days ago — Saunders confirmed that he and his team had multiple offers to consider after making themselves a team of free agents.
— Mindfreak (@Mindfreak) April 10, 2018
“There were a few offers on the table,” he said. “All very attractive — all very reasonable offers — but the moment that Fnatic’s hat went into the ring, mate, it really was a no-brainer.
“They have roots in Australian Esports,” Saunders continued. “What they can do for us as players, as individuals, to help us develop and improve — the support they can offer — as well as being a household name… it was very hard to say no to. We’re very excited to be working with them.”
Saunders said he and his team are excited to leverage the deep experience and resources of Fnatic.
“The local support that they can offer, in terms of boot camps internationally, will help us to keep improving our game and become closer to the best teams in the world,” he continued.”They can help us build our brand and our image, our social media, and become better just all around.”
Both Ubisoft and Fnatic on the whole seem to mirror the excitment of the new R6 Fnatic team.
“We are delighted to welcome an organisation as renowned as Fnatic into the Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Pro League and to our Esports scene globally, especially here in the Asia-Pacific region,” said François-Xavier Dénièle, Esports Director at Ubisoft EMEA.
“It showcases how fast this region is developing, along with the great results at the Six Invitational 2018 back in February. It also proves that the Pro League is evolving towards a more robust and global model.”
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to be establishing another team in the Asian Pacific,” added Patrik Sättermon, CGO of Fnatic. “We’re thrilled to be redoubling our efforts in the region alongside our other operations. Needless to say this squad of guys have been a dominating force with incredible dedication to the game and with the top 8 finish at Six invitational 2018 we feel like this can be the start of a new dynasty team in Australian Esports.
“This comes with a great challenge to continue the growth of the Aussie Esports scene and Fnatic as an organisation that has gone from a home in Australia to the biggest Esports organisation in the world.”
Team Fnatic doesn’t have much time to celebrate its new partnership as the Rainbow Six Pro League finals start up in Sydney this Saturday. Fnatic kicks off the event, which runs over 14-15 April in Sydney, in a match against Japan’s Sengoku Gaming Extasy.
For Saunders, it’s business as usual this weekend.
“We’re going to make sure that we are representing the brand to the best of our ability at all times as well as making sure we’re staying on top of APAC and representing our scene,” he asserted.
“I’ve always told the guys, ‘you just win the matches and I’ll do the rest’. I let them focus on winning, on gameplay. They give me direction on where they want to go, what they want to accomplish, and I help to make that easier.”