FaZe's Unstoppable Force: Why Inconsistency Won't Matter in Their Quest for Major Glory

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    It was only last month that FaZe celebrated victory at ESL Pro League Season 17 and finally wrapped up their Intel Grand Slam.

    The Intel Grand Slam, an idea originally created to become more of an indicator of a team establishing an era, looked to be something FaZe would speedrun throughout 2022. With their first win of the year coming at IEM Katowice 2022, it wasn’t long before they added ESL Pro League Season 15 and IEM Cologne 2022 to their list.

    However, that was where the trophies ran dry for FaZe in 2022. As their dominant surge halted, they would only make one final for the rest of the year, and not even at an ESL event. To make matters worse, they embarrassed themselves at the second Major of the year as they were eliminated 0-3 in the Legends Stage.

    FaZe’s early 2022 form had been the stuff of dreams for their IGL, Finn “karrigan” Andersen. The legendary Dane, who suffered the biggest loss of his career during his first tenure with the organization in the ELEAGUE Boston Major final, had spent the next few years of his career rebuilding the loss of faith in his abilities that the defeat had resulted in.

    Image via Stefan Petrescu/PGL

    Credit: PGL/Stefan Petrescu

    Laughably shipped out to a bizarre Envy team on loan, karrigan would later find a home with MOUZ. An organization he had previously played for both in 1.6 and in Global Offensive, there we saw a glimpse at what a returning peak karrigan would look like. A man capable of getting a lot out of a lesser team, karrigan was the man responsible for turning Robin “ropz” Kool into a superstar.

    Later rejoining FaZe as the organization was nearing the end of the banter era that followed the benching of karrigan and the ascension of Nikola “NiKo” Kovac to God Emperor, karrigan had almost all of the pieces required to turn the team into a championship-caliber roster.

    The final piece of the puzzle would come at the start of 2022 when the team would acquire his former protegee, Robin “ropz” Kool. Now with a team that finally had both the required role balance and firepower to do the business, karrigan could truly get to work.

    FaZe’s playstyle used their pieces to perfection. karrigan and FaZe stalwart Havard “rain” Nygaard would serve as the aggressive pieces, finding openings into rounds and providing clutch moments anchoring their respective sites. Russel “Twistzz” van Dulken, Helvijs “broky” Saukants and ropz would be a deadly late-round trio, crushing teams who wrongly believed they had gotten the drop over FaZe in a round.

    Image via Stefan Petrescu/PGL

    Credit: PGL/Stefan Petrescu

    For the first half of 2022, this worked exceptionally well. A player who had once been heavily criticized for still having the spot on the team, rain put in an MVP performance at the PGL Antwerp Major as he and karrigan completed their redemption arcs four years after their Major final loss at the hands of Cloud9.

    At the other three tournaments the team won, ropz and broky would both claim MVP awards. And while an MVP would elude him, Twistzz once again became one of the most reliable players in CS:GO history, just as he had been during Team Liquid’s Intel Grand Slam run.

    So then, with a team that at one point looked like an unstoppable force, a team that had repeatedly knocked back the immovable object of Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev’s NAVI, where did it all go wrong?

    Sadly, it was the very playstyle that had seen the team become so frightening in the first place. That playstyle, predicated on the firepower of the team’s components, couldn't possibly hope to succeed in the long run.

    Image via Adela Sznajder/ESL

    Credit: ESL/Adela Sznajder

    For the playstyle to succeed, players couldn’t have quiet tournaments. rain would need to keep on opening rounds, ropz would need to keep finding lurk timings, broky would need to keep making unwinnable clutches look like a breeze. It simply wasn’t sustainable.

    As Faze have dropped off to a level where they are just one of the top teams, not the top team, that playstyle hasn’t changed either.

    When they took down Cloud9 in the final of Pro League Season 17, they did so with ease, and it was because all four of their star players were able to play at their peak levels in their map wins.

    rain was the star on Overpass, broky was on Inferno, Twistzz was the man to bring it home on Ancient and ropz was at his best across all four maps. It was a display of the FaZe Clan we were once used to seeing, one that had now seemed long gone following the second half of 2022.

    Image via Stefan Petrescu/PGL

    Credit: PGL/Stefan Petrescu

    The win was followed by a problematic RMR campaign that would see them lose three BO3s on the bounce to NAVI, Bad News Eagles, and MOUZ, and a disappointing IEM Rio where they would be eliminated in 9th-12th following a 2-0 loss to Vitality. The silver lining is that they still managed to qualify for the BLAST.tv Paris Major through the Last Chance Qualifier, but their performances following their Intel Grand Slam all but eliminated belief that FaZe were back and ready to contend with G2 and Heroic for top dog status.

    All of this is to say that FaZe are inconsistent. They’re a team that have the firepower to take on any team in the world and win any event at any time, but a team that can only do so if the stars align.

    But now we’ll tell you why none of that matters.

    To put it into footballing terms, Heroic have been the best team in the world for nine months now, so for the sake of the analogy, they’re Liverpool. Their style is the same heavy metal, all-out, gegenpressing stuff that has become typical of Jurgen Klopp’s side, but that doesn’t mean they will consistently win silverware.

    Image via Stefan Petrescu/PGL

    Credit: PGL/Stefan Petrescu

    Their style is based more on the team being better than the sum of its parts. A style based on finding a consistent way to hurt their opponents without having a true superstar like the G2s, FaZes and NAVIs that surround them at the top.

    On the flip side, FaZe are Real Madrid. You know, that team that has taken down Liverpool in not one, but two Champions League finals in the past five years. They are a team built for tournament success.

    They may not be able to sustain their levels over an extended period of time, which, if Counter-Strike was run in a league-like system more akin to football, Heroic would almost certainly win, but they can turn it on for just long enough that they become unbeatable when it matters most.

    As we head into the BLAST.tv Paris Major, the final Major of CS:GO, perhaps no Major has meant more to those at the top of CS:GO than this one. Although all of the FaZe players have already won Major gold, it offers one final chance to write their names into the history books, one final chance to cement their names as some of the greatest of all time.

    FaZe might be inconsistent, but none of that will matter if the stars align as they have so many times since ropz’s arrival. As the curtains close on May 22nd, if those stars do align, it will be with FaZe Clan as two-time Major champions.

    Feature Image Credit: BLAST/Michal Konkol

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    CS Virtual Trade Ltd, reg. no. HE 389299 Registered address and the principal place of business: 705, Spyrou Araouzou & Koumantarias, Fayza House, 3036, Limassol, Cyprus
    Copyright © 2024 BLIX.GG. All rights reserved.