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Published: February 22, 2022

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • Fnatic has decided to remove their AWPer smooya from the active CS:GO roster
  • The reason is smooya’s inconsistent performance the last few months
  • He is replaced by 19-year-old Fnatic academy graduate regali

In a critical moment just before the open qualifiers for PGL Major Antwerp 2022, Fnatic has decided to bench their main AWPer.

Smooya is Benched

With an important CS:GO Major coming soon, one might expect organizations to have already decided on their roster composition. However, some, like Fnatic, are making last-minute changes. The organization has decided to remove Owen “smooya” Butterfield from its active roster, replacing him with Iulian “regali” Harjau.

Fnatic explained in a blogpost why they came to this decision. It comes just a few days after the team claimed a 9th-12th finish at IEM Katowice 2022, being defeated by Astralis 2-1 in the lower bracket of Group-B.

“AWPer Owen ‘Smooya’ Butterfield joined us on trial in October 202,“ the Fnatic writes in the blog post, “and has delivered some memorable moments as our international roster has continued to develop in recent months.” The team explains that despite that strong start, smooya has had a more inconsistent performance this season. The organization finally decided to replace smooya with 19-year-old Romanian AWPer regali.

Why Fnatic Came to This Decision?

The decision that Fnatic arrived at is predicated by the fact that the organization wants to optimize its roster as much as possible, just like other teams. The problem is that smooya’s performance has not necessarily been bad, but rather inconsistent. This brings way too many variables, which could mean Fnatic’s success in matches will be hard to predict.

The team is not one of the directly invited European teams, so it will have to make its way through one of the four open qualifiers, set to take place between 22nd February and 6th March. To do this, the organization is relying on one of their recently graduated talents regali. Unfortunately, this means the more unstable performing smooya had to step aside at least for now, and be relegated to Fnatic’s inactive roster.

“We acknowledge and appreciate the hard work and amazing plays Smooya put into our Katowice run but we have come to the conclusion that he is currently not the right fit for our main CS:GO roster,” explained Fnatic’s Team Director Andreas Samuelsson in the official blog post. “We think now is the best time to allow Smooya to explore his options within the game.”

Albeit he excelled in Fnatic’s academy, regali has a tough challenge before him now. This is the first time the talented marksman has played as part of a top CS:GO team. Regali will be taking on responsibilities ahead of the most crucial qualifiers that Fnatic has played so far in the competitive season.

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