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Spirit, Fnatic part ways after tough 2016 season

For the first time since Season 2, Fnatic missed Worlds.

Riot Games

Fnatic and starting jungler Da-yoon “Spirit” Lee have parted ways after a difficult season, the team announced in a press release Wednesday. Spirit joined the team in December and played as its starting jungler in both splits. The team finished in fifth place in the spring regular season and sixth in the summer, missing the finals in both splits — previously, Fnatic had never missed an EU LCS final.

“I am very happy that I worked with Fnatic,” Spirit said in the release. “They really helped me to improve myself as a player and as a person. I grew up a lot and I just want say thank you Fnatic. Also, Fnatic management is actually insane, I love them! :D”

Previously with MVP and Samsung in Korea and Team WE in China, Spirit was signed to replace Yeu-jin “Reignover” Kim, who left for North America after Fnatic’s incredible 18-0, European-winning 2015 that culminated in a Worlds semifinal appearance. Three of Fnatic’s starters from that team left for North America, and the European powerhouse struggled to recover, making multiple roster changes at top lane and support over the season.

“Working with Dayun for the last year has been an absolute pleasure,” team manager Finlay Stewart said in the release. “Never before have I seen a player with such intense amounts of dedication and attitude towards a single goal of winning. Even after living in a foreign country surrounded by an unusual culture and losing his two closest friends on the team, Spirit gave it his all day in, day out.”

Despite Fnatic’s struggles, Spirit was one of the strong points of the team, playing a carry-oriented style and winning multiple games basically by himself. He was one of three European junglers to top 100 kills this split, joining the region’s other top-tier junglers: G2 Esports’ two-time MVP Gang-yun “Trick” Kim and H2K’s Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski.