• Anthony Vitale

Without a Home: Pujan "FNS" Mehta

Pujan “FNS” Mehta’s time on Cloud9 proved to be the shortest time he would spend with a team under contract in his career, spanning a mere 1 month and 24 days total.

Another North American leader on the market up for grabs.

Back in April of this year, Cloud9 had lost Stewie2K to SK Gaming and were in need of a replacement, as many cult followers of the scene may already know. It was not a secret that the team was lacking a proper leadership figure in the team, using Tarik “tarik” Celik as their leader and captain for a majority of his tenure in the team since he had joined. FNS was playing for compLexity Gaming at the time and had been for roughly 3 months with promise being shown in an otherwise rather lackluster roster of players showcasing murky results.

The decision likely came down to chemistry between tarik and FNS behind the game, as well as the fact that he was the best dedicated in-game leader left available for the team to pounce on, which seemed like a dream come true. With the contract signed and the move made, the team jumped right into upcoming LANs, visiting DreamHack Masters Marseille, the IEM Sydney Championships, and the ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals, placing no higher than 5th-8th in any of them. Not even 2 months’ time and the team has decided that they should instead go their separate ways rather than attempt to keep moving forward with the system that FNS had brought to the team.

Since FNS’ move to inactivity, Cloud9 have chosen to take a look into adopting Nathan “NBK-“ Schmitt as the latest member of the team with tarik absorbing the in-game leader role for the team once again, per rumors. Now there only one question remains; what is next for FNS? Well, with most North American teams already content with the leaders they have, these are the options that FNS may have open to him.

Joining a Younger, Inexperienced Team

One route that the versed leader could take would be to drop down to a lower level with his knowledge of the game and attempt to, once again, raise up talent to one day become contenders for the better of the North American teams and simultaneously bring more attention to his name while doing it. It’s clear that Team Dignitas could use a leader with players like Grim and Infinite in the roster, as well as with the slightly more experienced Ronnie “ryx” Bylicki and Peter “ptr” Gurney who have seen their way through the scene.

As you can probably tell, I suggest he replaces Mitch "mitch" Semago in the roster for that team to work. Dignitas could even bring back Ryan "Snakes" Amann in place of another player for even younger raw talent, seeing as he was one of the biggest rising North American talents before the ESEA Premier age restrictions were put in place. The names of Dignitas seem to have the best young players for FNS to attempt to mold into stars.

A chance in the project of Valve Major banned players’ Kevin “AZK” Larivière and Braxton “swag” Pierce of ex-Torqued could also be a possibility with their lack of leadership presence in their lineup. We have seen that FNS is no slouch in working and developing younger players. His experience in the field of raising young talent with Team Solomid as an example proves that this could be a beneficial option for him.

FNS' experience in Team Solomid makes this a perfect opportunity to repeat history with young talent in the American scene.

Linking up With Ex-Splyce

In terms of teams closer to an ESL Pro League level, his best chance at a team in that area would be joining the members of ex-Splyce, currently playing under the boxr name, who recently picked up the Estonian AWP / rifle hybrid player of Kristjan “FejtZ” Allsaar. The most likely candidate to be replaced would have to be Kory “SEMPHIS” Friesen, seeing as he acts and portrays himself as the team’s primary caller. A move like this would possibly make this team a competitive fighter in the upcoming eighth season of Pro League, with David “DAVEY” Stafford and the aforementioned FejtZ being leading roles in the play that FNS could put on for the North American Pro League.

Start a new Project

With a still motivated AWP player, and familiar face, like Josh “jdm64” Marzano on the market for free come June 10th and a plethora of undiscovered talent in North America to be molded, the option to start a project of his very own with a new core of players is not off the table. It could be his biggest gamble in terms of his short-term future, but it could also be one that pays off in the long run. With FNS being one of the better in-game leaders in terms of not only the cerebral part of the game, but proving that he’s still dedicated to the game will make other regional teams more than happy to have him on their team once he becomes available.

Good friend and previous teammate Josh "jdm64" Marzano would be a perfect piece to a new North American lineup to be formed.