We have a rematch between Fnatic and NAVI – two teams that have a long history. Who will come out on top in their first tournament of 2023?

FNATIC and Natus Vincere (NAVI) are the two teams from the EMEA region that have made it to the playoffs stage of VCT LOCK//IN. They will face off against each other in the semifinals of the event, and the winner will make the finals, while the loser goes home. Both these teams, albeit with different iterations have faced off several times in the past. This rematch, eagerly anticipated, will decide for the first time in 2023 who is better.

Once again, FNATIC and NAVI (ex-FPX core) take the stage against each other.
Once again, FNATIC and NAVI (ex-FPX core) take the stage against each other.

The history between these two EMEA titans

The first time the core of these two teams clashed was way back in 2021, at VCT EU S1: Challengers 2. The series went to all three maps but FPX eventually came out on top. FPX had their core of Zyppan, ANGE1, and Shao, while that iteration of FNATIC only shares Boaster in common with their current team.

The second clash was at Red Bull Home Ground #2, where FNATIC, with the addition of Derke came off on top. It was a best-of-one, but a dominant 13-3 of a victory. Round three was at VCT S1: EMEA Challengers 2022, where FPX collided with FNATIC twice. In the upper bracket finals, FPX managed a dominant 2-0 win, and one of the maps was a 13-0, the most humiliating loss in FNATIC's history.

Never forget. Image courtesy: vlr.gg.
Never forget. Image courtesy: vlr.gg.

FPX, after winning the whole thing earned a spot at VCT Masters Reykjavik but unfortunately, due to visa issues, had to sit it out.

In VCT EMEA S2: Challengers 2022, FNATIC got their revenge in week one of the group stage after a close 2-1 victory. Both teams qualified for the playoffs, and in the upper bracket semifinal, FNATIC once again came out on top with a 2-1 win. To cap it all off, the teams clashed in the grand final where FNATIC made a statement of a victory, with a 3-0 win despite two games heading into OT.

Both teams qualified for Masters Copenhagen off of their performances, and in the upper bracket quarterfinals, FNATIC won 2-0 pretty convincingly. However, the two teams clashed again in the lower bracket, where this time it was FPX who sent FNATIC packing, eventually going on to win the tournament.

Event
Winner
VCT EU S1: Challengers 2FPX (2-1)
Red Bull Home Ground #2FNATIC (1-0)
VCT S1: EMEA ChallengersFPX (2-0)
VCT S1: EMEA Challengers FinalsFNATIC (2-1)
VCT EMEA S2: ChallengersFNATIC (2-1)
VCT EMEA S2: Challengers FinalsFNATIC (2-0)
VCT Masters: CopenhagenFNATIC (2-0)
VCT Masters: CopenhagenFPX (2-1)
The score till date is 5-3 in FNATIC's favor but FPX do have an international VCT trophy while FNATIC don't. It'll be interesting to see what happens next in the Fnatic NAVI rematch at VCT LOCK//IN.

Roster changes for FNATIC and NAVI

With both roster cores being picked up by EMEA-partnered organizations, they've undergone changes. For FPX, whose roster minus Ardiis was signed by Natus Vincere, there's only been one change. They picked up Mehmet "cNed" Yağz Ipek, one of the best VALORANT players in the world. cNed was a key reason ACEND won VCT Champions 2021 and has been looking increasingly deadly over the course of VCT LOCK//IN.

cNed vs Derke is the clash everyone's been waiting for in the Fnatic NAVI rematch.
cNed vs Derke is the clash everyone's been waiting for in the Fnatic NAVI rematch.

He had the highest ACS on the server in NAVI's games against Leviatán and Team Secret.

As for FNATIC, only Boaster remains from the roster's first ever iteration. In 2022, the team picked up some insane firepower in the form of Derke and Alfajer, but they still struggled against the other EMEA teams. For the 2023 season though, they've signed Chronicle of Gambit Esports fame and Leo from Guild Esports.

FNATIC's newest iteration has the firepower across the team they might need to finally lift a VCT trophy. Will he help Boaster and co. in the Fnatic NAVI rematch?
FNATIC's newest iteration has the firepower across the team they might need to finally lift a VCT trophy. Will he help Boaster and co. in the Fnatic NAVI rematch?

Both players bring some incredible value to the team on the initiator/flex roles and seem to have been the missing piece of the puzzle for FNATIC.

“We're not only did we kind of fix up some of our overall tactics and gameplay and style. We've also added two super legendary players who are obviously popping heads and making big rounds for us that sometimes may not have been made in previous rosters. So yeah, I mean, it's kind of it's kind of that like my past teams have been good. But this this one takes the the cherry on top.”

At LOCK//IN, both teams tore through the Omega bracket with solid 2-0 wins against all their opponents. Now they'll clash in the semifinals of the event, but the single-elimination format means there's no room for mistakes, no second chances. NAVI certainly seem confident.

I hope we're going to play 100 Thieves. It's boring to play FNATIC. We already beat them twice on stage, so give us 100 Thieves.

Boaster's response was pure Boaster of course.

Zyppan's got a little fight talk in him there. I know he goes to the gym, but we're going to have to pipe him down in the server, I feel like."

Boaster's response to Zyppan.

Fighting words from both teams, but only one will remain standing. The semifinals will decide who is the victor and who goes home, and it promises to be an exciting match. NAVI's core already have a VCT trophy under their belt and for FNATIC to achieve the same feat finally, they have to beat their biggest rivals.

Stay tuned to Esports.gg for more esports news and head over to the VCT LOCK//IN event page for everything you need to know about the tournament.

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