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Fnatic bei The International

In den letzten 24 Stunden gab es einige Diskussionen hinsichtlich unserer Voraussetzung, dass Fnatic mit Era bei The International antritt, und wie sich diese Situation von der Auswechslung von Fear bei Evil Geniuses unterscheidet. Volle Transparenz scheint uns in solch einer Situation der richtige Ansatz. Wir hoffen hiermit, jedermann Aufschluss zu dieser Situation zu geben.

If you are not familiar with the situation we are referring to, please read Fnatic’s update first.

There have been a number of situations over the years, both public and private, where we have had to make difficult decisions around player involvement in The International. A few months ago, Fear from Evil Geniuses developed an injury that could jeopardize his ability to play. As a result, EG had been playing with their proposed substitute, Mason. EG informed us that there was a high likelihood that Fear wouldn’t be cleared medically to compete. With the data of his injury brought to our attention well before invites were decided, we discussed whether or not EG with Mason would still be above the bar for an invite. We agreed they were, and invited EG knowing that it could be either player on the team. When Fear’s medical options ran out, we changed the invite from Fear to Mason.

We review each roster change brought to our attention on a case-by-case basis, with the goal being to make the best decision for players and fans. At the point where there appears to be other agendas in play, our default position will always be to protect the individual players ability to compete in the tournament they were invited to. This is the pattern we followed based on the data we received, specifically the assertion from Era on June 13th that he was healthy and ready to play, and that the team was not acting in his best interests. All of the correspondence between Valve and Fnatic on this issue can be found below.

On May 29th, we were contacted by Patrik Sattermon from Fnatic. He said that Era was dealing with some serious medical issues, and they had concerns about his ability to play. That e-mail is shown below. We expressed our concern for Era’s health and asked to be kept in the loop on how things were going. Fnatic participated in The Summit with Xcalibur as their stand-in.

From: Patrik Sättermon [mailto:<removed>]
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2014 8:31 AM
To: Icefrog; Erik Johnson
Cc: Danijel Remus; Sahil Deva; Anne Mathews
Subject: Fnatic Dota 2 – Concern

Dear Erik and Icefrog,

First of all, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Patrik Sättermon and I work as the COO at Fnatic here in our HQ in London, UK.

I’m today reaching out to you regarding an unforeseen and inconvenient situation in our Dota 2 team. We would really appreciate the highest grade of confidentially on the matter I’m about to address, so we can guarantee the integrity and understanding of the player in question that we are currently having issues with.

A few days ago I had to take the decision to urgently send Adrian „Era“ Kryeziu back home to Sweden from our pre Summer bootcamp here in London. This was made out of health concerns of the player in question, as Adrian has recently suffered from a lot of anxiety, that the past weeks has grown to severe panic attacks and a full-blown depression. As you can imagine this has put Adrian in an extremely fragile mental state, which obviously requires immediate professional healthcare.

Yesterday I had a follow-up call with Adrian’s family regarding his first contact with the psychiatrists in Sweden and the verdict is that Adrian must be admitted into a programme, as well as being put on anti-depressive drugs that for the first 3-4 weeks will make his mental condition worse.

This for Fnatic, and obviously our Dota 2 team, means that Adrian will not be capable of exercising his profession in the nearest future. Since we have an upcoming tournament in a few days(BTS), we are therefore forced to look into a replacement player so we can not only secure a five-man line up, but also get back to practice which is a must considering we are steadily moving towards the busiest Summer season of all time.

Now, several of our players have raised concerns about what implications our situation can result in when it comes to our participation at TI4. As you can imagine it’s still quite up in the air whether Adrian will be able to return to our team during the Summer season. For the sake of us being able to prepare for the future, and guaranteeing success for our team, we must turn around every stone in order to be as ready as possible for the biggest eSports competition till date.

Finally, I’m hoping to hear back from you as soon as possible so we can explore what options we have. My colleague Danijel has already put me in a Skype chat with you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out there as well.

Best regards,

Patrik Sättermon

Chief Gaming Officer



And our response:

From: Erik Johnson
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2014 1:45 PM
To: Patrik Sättermon; Icefrog
Cc: Danijel Remus; Sahil Deva; Anne Mathews
Subject: RE: Fnatic Dota 2 – Concern

Hi Patrik,

Thank you for your mail. We’re upset to hear that Adrian is having a tough time right now. To the extent that you’re talking to him and his family, please pass along our concern for his health.

It sounds like things are somewhat fluid right now, but we appreciate you letting us know what is happening currently. We will of course keep this confidential.

Let us know how things develop in the coming weeks and we can talk through different options if we end up needing to explore them.

Erik Johnson



The next mail we received related to this was from Era on June 13th, shown below, with our reply.

From: Adrian Kryeziu [mailto:<removed>]
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2014 7:19 AM
To: Icefrog; Erik Johnson
Subject: The Internation 4

Hello guys, as you both probably know already I am Era from Fnatic, the reason why I’m writing this mail to the two of you is due to very bothering situations. About 2 and a half weeks ago I was sent home from our Bootcamp in London due to anxiety issues, as I wasn’t able to see a doctor nor therapist there. I’ve now been home and I’ve seen both a doctor and a therapist. These anxiety attacks has occured before, either a day before or just when I’m about to fly out to a different country. It only got worse with the time, hence the reason why I wasn’t in Vegas aswell as this Summit. After two weeks at home without a PC and meetings with professionals regarding the issue, I’ve been told that my current state is very positive, and that I would be ready to play and participate in Dreamhack, ESL aswell as The International – however they also said that I should just stay home and relax for another week or so, meaning that I wouldn’t be able to travel back with the team to the bootcamp after Dreamhack.

With all this said, I had a skype coference with the team 2 days ago when they returned from LA. They said that they don’t trust my health state and think it would be a risky and bold move to take me to TI as I can’t go back to the bootcamp with them, therefore, they pretty much had me fired of the team (still contract signed) for the rest of the summer, as they think they can do „better“ with a Standin. So, my question here is, are they allowed to do that? Espicially knowing that I CAN play at TI 4.

Best regards, Adrian



From: Erik Johnson
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2014 11:37 AM
To: ‚Adrian Kryeziu‘
Cc: Icefrog
Subject: RE: The Internation 4

Thanks for letting us know what is going on. It is great news to all of us that you’re feeling healthy and took the right course in terms of treatment. This must all be really stressful for you right now, so let’s work toward a solution.

When we invite a team of five players, we are in fact inviting those five players. Each of those players is allowed to control their participation in our tournament solely. To be clear, no, no one else can make the decision about participating in our event other than the player.  If there is a real documented medical issue with a player, we review those on a case by case basis.

Because of the nature of your situation, my opinion is that the decision about what you can and can’t do is best left to medical experts. You should produce documentation from who you’ve been working with that states that you’re in a healthy state and ready to compete. Assuming you have that, the only way Fnatic will competing at The International will be with you sitting in one of the five seats.



We then sent this mail to Patrik Sättermon and the rest of the Fnatic management team:

From: Erik Johnson
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2014 11:45 AM
To: ‚Patrik Sättermon‘
Cc: Danijel Remus; Sahil Deva; Anne Mathews; Icefrog
Subject: RE: Fnatic Dota 2 – Concern

Sounds like there has been some communication around this issue recently. I wanted to make sure our position was clear.

When we invite a team of five players, we are specifically inviting those five players. The final decision about whether a player can compete in our tournament is solely controlled by that player. If there are real medical issues, we will review those on a case by case basis, but the final decision still rests with that player.

Aside from specific rules, our job is to make sure that we are making good decisions on behalf of the community. The Dota audience has a well understood moral compass and sense of ethics around professional player management, and we will always make sure that our decisions around specific issues are reflective of that.

I hope this helps to clear up any potential confusion about how we’re running The International. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


The reply from Patrick six days later mentions compensation for Era in the event that Fnatic was to have a financial windfall from their performance in the tournament, but given Era’s previous mail to us about his actual medical state and desire to play, this felt like an unfair way for a team to improve their roster so close to the start of the tournament, by compensating the player and removing him from the roster.

At this point, we felt like we had the data we needed to make a decision, and insisted that they played with Era.

From: Patrik Sättermon [mailto:<removed>]
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 5:48 AM
To: Erik Johnson; Adrian Finol; Icefrog

Cc: Danijel Remus; Sahil Deva; Anne Mathews

Subject: Re: Fnatic Dota 2 – Concern

Dear Erik, Icefrog and Adrian,

I’m now returning to you after having discussed this matter thoroughly with our Dota 2 team, and also Era’s family.

As you know this period of time has included a lot of turmoil and frustration for everyone involved. This unexpected situation has severely halted our preparation going into what is the most busy and competitive Summer in the history of Dota. The decision the team has now come to, with blessing from Era(Adrian Kryeziu), is that Steve Ye aka. Excalibur will step in as our carry player for the upcoming events, including EMS Frankfurt, and more importantly in this dialogue: The International 4.

We lifted on every single stone around to try work out a solution that would involve Era, since we strongly believe his experience and skill sets would be very needed at the Summer’s events. But as you already know at this stage, Era’s health issues does not only hinders us to prepare accordingly(LAN practice), but also and more importantly, it is risking his own well-being during travelling, something that thus far has lead us to go through two urgent calls for stand-ins just days before two important events, D2L and BTS.

After we have hopefully gotten your approval for the late player change, I believe it’s very important that we together determine a solid strategy when it comes to how to communicate this so it’s done in a manner that protects the integrity of our team, with emphasize on Era. To add additional transparency, I would like to mention that the team wants to reward Era in the event of financial success, this specifically means that him and the replacement player will share any prize money winnings.

Finally, please let me know if any additional information is needed from our end at this point, and on behalf of the team and the Fnatic organisation I want to thank you for your understanding during this stressful period of time.

Best regards,

Patrik Sättermon

Chief Gaming Officer


After having explained that the period for roster changes has passed, we received this mail from Kai Hanbueckers.

From: Kai Hanbueckers [mailto:<removed>]
Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 9:08 AM
To: Erik Johnson
Subject: Re: Fnatic Dota 2 – Concern

Hey Eric,

I’ve put myself into your spot and I can understand your point of view as well. It’s obviously sad for us to hear but we have to accept it.

I wasn’t sure if it was clear in my last email but we are going to attend The International with Adrian in this scenario. Where we end up in terms of results is questionable but we won’t give away an entire year for nothing.


As we’ve said to the players and management of Fnatic, we’re not happy with the stress this is placing on their organization, players, and fans. We don’t minimize medical problems of any kind, whether physical or otherwise. That said, we believe we have a responsibility to make sure that all professional players are being treated fairly, both by their management, and by the decisions that we make that affect all of them. We take this very seriously.

We believe we’ve included all the relevant details in this post, but in the interest of full disclosure, here is a document containing the entire correspondence with Fnatic.

Hopefully this explains our position on this specific issue to people in the community. Our offer to the original five invited players still stands for Fnatic.