The last six months have been tumultuous for FaZe Clan and their FaZe fans. They’ve lost their coach and cycled through two replacements for their ex-IGL Karrigan. They started with Adren, who won a Major with Zeus at PGL Krakow. During Adren’s tenure with the team, NiKo was IGLing, and the team met with some success. They won the ELEAGUE Invitational, as well as BLAST Pro Series Miami.
Unfortunately, they didn’t think this lineup had legs long-term, especially with NiKo IGLing, and so they dropped Adren for NEO, pf Virtus.Pro fame. The results have been interesting, as they’ve tried to navigate a new team structure. Their most recent result at BLAST Pro Los Angeles is an encouraging one, but who knows how they’ll perform at the 2019 StarLadder Berlin Major.
Last Six Months Stats (on LAN)
Team K/D: 1.03
- Nuke – Played 6 times, 66.7% win rate
- Dust2 – Played 7 times, 57.1% win rate
- Vertigo – Played 2 times, 50.0% win rate
- Mirage – Played 5 times, 40.0% win rate
- Train – Played 5 times, 40.0% win rate
- Inferno – Played 6 times, 33.3% win rate
- Overpass – Played 1 time, 0% win rate
- NiKo – Rating 1.19, K/D 1.09
- Rain – Rating 1.10, K/D 0.97
- Guardian – Rating 1.06, K/D 1.07
- Olofmeister – Rating 1.00, K/D 1.02
- NEO – Rating 0.84, K/D 0.80
This team weirds me out. They have all the talent in the world, in theory. They have a half of fame IGL, in theory. They have a championship pedigree, in theory. On paper this team looks like they should be in the running to win the StarLadder Berlin Major, but I just don’t buy it.
They have series wins over NiP, G2, NRG, and North, with map wins against Liquid, MIBR, and Renegades. That’s not a bad resume, maybe enough to give them a serious case for top eight in Berlin.
On the other hand, their map pool is terrible, I don’t feel overabundantly confident in anyone on this roster besides NiKo, and I don’t know if they’ve really integrated NEO into the team. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was still being viewed as a stopgap for this team.
Through all of FaZe’s ups and downs, NiKo kept his claim as one of the best players in the world secure. While his team was floundering in groups, he was continuing to put up a 1.19 rating on LAN, with several standout events. A 1.26 at StarSeries, a 1.37 at EPL, a 1.44 at BLAST Pro Miami, all of that is exceptional. His consistency has been FaZe’s saving grace since he was added to the roster, and that hasn’t stopped recently.
Rain is one of my absolute favorite players in Counter Strike. Aside from the fact that he has maybe my favorite clutch ever, which you can see here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzaokGhGyXU), he plays an integral role in a team that he doesn’t get enough credit for, and he’s been the sole surviving member of the Kinguin lineup that eventually became this FaZe roster.
The most important thing to remember about Rain is that he really started to come into his own as a winning player after the addition of Karrigan. While he was always able to frag, playing with a rel IGL turned him from fragger to star, and it was incredible to watch. Since FaZe began their IGL carousel, his performance has dipped. It’s yet to be seen whether he’ll be able to hit those heights again while playing with NEO.
I get the feeling this could be GuardiaN’s last Major. He’s talked about retiring on and off for over a year now, and his performance has slowly been declining from his peak. He definitely has enough left in the tank to at least contribute at the StarLadder Berlin Major, but I’d be surprised if he had more than one or two stand out maps.
It’s gotten to the point where GuardiaN is a replacement level player, and I can’t help but wonder if FaZe wouldn’t be better helped by a young player, about to hit his prime.
Olof is probably the most overqualified support player in the history of Counter Strike. I occasionally talk about how Xyp9x is overqualified for his role, but that’s nothing compared to Olof. Here we have a former best player in the world, playing third fiddle to NiKo and Rain.
While Olof’s stats won’t knock your socks off, he’s an incredible player who was best in the world on the backs of both his aim, and his game sense. Now that he has switched roles, he’s relying on the latter more than the former, and it’s impressive how effective he’s been.
I still don’t really have a handle on what a NEO led FaZe looks like. My worry, like I said before, is that he’s being viewed as a stop gap IGL by the rest of the team. If that’s the case, they’ll likely pug out at the StarLadder Berlin Major, then proceed to kick him for some young Danish player or something like that.
If not, can NEO lead a team that isn’t Virtus.Pro? He played with the same four guys for more than five years, so I imagine it’d be a pretty big adjustment to start playing with a brand new core.
FaZe might have the worst map pool we’ve looked at so far. It hurts my eyes to look at it. No win rates over 70%, multiple maps under 50%, no real go to map, really no positives at all. It looks like their best asset in a pick ban is their Nuke, which isn’t a good sign. All the tier one teams will play Nuke at a much higher level than FaZe. Would you take them over Astralis on Nuke? What about Vitality? I know I wouldn’t.
While there’s a chance they shored up their weaknesses over the player break, I can’t imagine they had the chance to straighten out their map pool to be tier one quality.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Yeah, NiKo is probably their best asset right now. Their map pool is bad, their IGL is questionable, no continuity, lackluster depth. All they have is a lone Serb, with very good aim. And in a lot of matchups, that could be enough. NiKo could very well carry FaZe into a placing that looks way too high for the quality of the team at the StarLadder Berlin Major, and I wouldn’t be surprised.
Beyond that, this team is kind of a mess. They’re definitely still middle of the pack at least, due to the individual players’ abilities. They’re better than foRze and Syman at least. But we have higher expectations for this team based solely on name recognition, which is a dangerous thing to do.
FaZe are a low ceiling team at the StarLadder Berlin Major. I could see a miracle run to top eight, especially considering the fact that they’re legends, but I’d be genuinely shocked were they to go any further.