From back-to-back majors to obscurity, what happened to the Counter Strike great?
After beginning of his career in Counter Strike 1.6, it became immediately obvious that a young Brazilian prodigy was destined for a career to the very top. Lincoln “fnx” Lau won the ESWC Major of 2006 at just 16 years of age, cementing superstar status amongst the Brazilian Counter Strike scene.
However, in what would be arguably a foreshadowing for what was to come, fnx began to let the fame get to his head, missing scrims and appearing to lack dedication to the game. This would haunt him for the remainder of his time in the Counter Strike 1.6 scene.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
Although, fnx wasn’t going to let his story end there. With the release of CS:GO, he decided that his time to reach the pinnacle of the game had come again, and after cleaning up his reputation playing alongside other up and coming Brazilian talents Henrique “HEN1” Teles and future major winning teammate Epitacio “TACO” de Melo on Games Academy, on which he averaged a stellar 1.13 hltv rating competing mainly against tier two teams.
This great form and renewed dedication to the game managed to earn him another shot playing for the premier Brazilian Counter Strike team in Luminosity Gaming. Here, he would play alongside future number one ranked player in the world Marcelo “coldzera” David, Fernando “fer” Alvarenga, Gabriel “Fallen” Toledo, and Taco.
The team saw immediate success after the pickup and placed second in the FACEIT Season three finals, losing out to FNATIC. After a string of near victories, LG were deservedly one of the tournament favourites going into the 2016 MLG Columbus major, and they definitely lived up to that reputation.
Finally, ten years after winning his first major, the now veteran Counter Strike player had once again reached the pinnacle of the game. Through all his trials and tribulations, somehow fnx had proven the doubters wrong and won another major.
However, the success wouldn’t end there for the Brazilian. After winning the MLG major, LG followed up by winning the ESL Pro League Season three in a thrilling five-game finals against French team G2 Esports, before doing the unthinkable and solidifying their dynasty by winning back to back majors, claiming the title at ESL One: Cologne 2016.
This was to be the peak of his career, finishing 2016 as the number 19 rated player - according to hltv.
The beginning of the downfall
Following this success, issues that had haunted him as a result of his early career began to resurface. Again, fnx had seen the bright lights that came with playing for the best team in the world and once again it led to him seemingly losing his passion for the game. After reaching the top, fnx once again found himself being dropped from the best team in his nation, for reasons other than his in-game skill. Coldzera confirmed this saying: “We’ve realized fnx was in the wrong path, so we’ve decided to kick him.”
Later on, after joining Immortals, the second best Brazilian roster, fnx showed that the problems in his career weren’t caused by a lack of skill, averaging a 1.17 hltv rating whilst on the team. Although, as had occurred so many times before, the biggest issues that he faced were his own. This came to fruition on Counter Strike’s biggest stage, when at Dreamhack Open Montreal 2017, fnx and the rest of his team were forced to forfeit one of the grand finals against North after arriving to the arena late. Whilst the reasons for the late arrival aren’t publicly known, some people speculated that the team were late after being out partying, with at the time CLG in game leader Pujan “FNS” Mehta joking about losing to a hungover team.
Although this wasn't solely down to fnx, with his already scattered past and multiple chances, this would undoubtedly look bad for his reputation. Unfortunately, even though his performances at the time were more than good enough at to be playing at the highest level, this was the last team he would do it on. After being released by Immortals, fnx found himself on the Nao Tem Como team that was dubbed the bad boys of Brazilian Counter Strike, often posting videos of the team partying in nightclubs.
Somehow though, despite the numerous red flags, due to the team owning a major spot, fnx found himself on another tier one organisation. This time 100 Thieves, the North American team owned by Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag. However, in what many in the community would describe as 'the biggest waste of money in the history of the game', the team didn’t play a single official game for the organisation before being released. This would be the final nail in the coffin for the once-prodigal talent. Not since has fnx played at a major and as a now 30-year-old player, it is unlikely that he ever will.
A once superstar player worshipped in his home nation and throughout the Counter Strike world has now become a tale of a misfortune. Leaving a legacy as the only player to win every CS:GO Major he played in (at his peak he was a clutch king and glue that held the world’s best team together), however unfortunately he will be remembered as an enigmatic talent that was wasted.
Images via Maisesports | DevianArt