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Faze are your winners of ESL One New York & in a dominating fashion to say the least. The Barclay’s center saw Liquid and Faze in a very unexpected Finals match-up. The star studded Faze team took home half the prize money amounting to $125,000 after a crushing victory over Team Liquid.
Faze has made some roster changes as recent as August of 2017. These roster changes were effected after several consecutive near top finishes. Now those are good results by a large margin, but the pursuit for success means that anything less than the trophy is unacceptable for Faze. The Faze roster with Kioshima was already very strong and definitely a world class team. They had multiple big tournament finishes within the top four, and yet it was not enough. Faze’s search for “The Best Team” in Counter Strike and the opportunity post the Major meant that they were able to stitch together “The Best team” ( at least on paper)
In order to understand the development and the difference for Faze, we have to take a look at their results before the Major. These results are the results of one of the best teams in counter strike, but the only absence from them is the ability of the Faze roster to win a tournament. The Group stage finish in the PGL Major was the final straw in the hat.
Faze Results before the Roster changes
- IEM Katowice 2017 :2nd
- SL Starseries Season 3 finals : 1st place
- IEM Sydney : 2nd place
- ESL Pro league S5 : 7th place
- ECS S3 Europe : 1st place
- ECS S3 finals : 2nd place
- ESL One Cologne : 3rd-4th place
- PGL Krakow Major : 15th-16th
You can easily notice the poor results at the Major. Faze did not perform well in the Major. It’s not a case of seeding or some close matches that ensured their ouster from Krakow. Their three losses include matches against BIG Gaming, Flipside and Mousesports. This is definitely a downgrade for the team considering their potential and their past results.
Faze’s strife towards excellence drives them to being the best. As an organisation they are not afraid to make the risky bets in order to win. This time they seem to have struck gold with the changes effected by the team. Faze made two big ticket roster changes, partially possible due to the unstable CS GO rosters post the major. While rumors were afloat about roster changes on many teams, NaVi was the first team to actually effect a change.
The roster change which involved NaVi and Gambit ( the Major winners) was definitely a big surprise to the community. Gambit won the major and this is probably the first time in history that a Major winner immediately had a roster change. Faze Clan added Olofmeister to their team to replace KioShima. While Olofmeister is nowhere near his best form, he is still a ticking time bomb. He is a player who provides a lot to the team and once he gets back into form, he has the potential to be one of the best players on the roster.
The next big change that Faze initiated was the acquisition of Guardian. Guardian left Na’Vi after the Major. NaVi crumbled at the Major and part of it was the uninspired players in the roster. While the reasons for Guardian’s departure are not important right now, it proved to be a boon for Faze. Faze added Guardian to their CS GO roster on the August 3rd.
With these changes the Faze roster was :
- Guardian (AWP)
- Karrigan (C)
Events post the Major
Faze have attended two events post the Major. With the new roster, they were never expected to be extremely strong right off the bat. However they have already proven their worth and given us a glimpse of their potential by winning ESL One NY 2017.
Dreamhack Malmo was the first event for Faze after the roster changes. It was barely a few weeks after the roster changes. The team definitely did not have enough time to practice as the roster changes were effected during the player break. Dreamhack Malmo exposed several problems with the new roster for Faze. Most of these problems were principally due to the players not being in form. They were unable to make any impact and bowed out meekly in the Group stage itself. The biggest surprise for the team was their 8-16 loss to NIP. The Ninjas are no longer a strong team. Despite certain signs of brilliance by the Swedish roster, they remain largely a Mediocre Tier 2 team.
A more recent event for Faze was the Eleague Premier Group A. Faze faced off against some Renegades and Na’Vi. While they were always expected to win against Renegades, their dominant win against Na’Vi is definitely something that threw many off guard. Faze are a strong team and the Eleague CS GO premier is an event which showcased the Faze potential in full form. We saw Niko and Rain being extremely dominant with the veteran trio taking on a more supportive role.
With that we come to ESL One New York, the event which brings a lot of focus on the Faze lineup.
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) September 17, 2017
ESL One New York
— FaZe Clan (@FaZeClan) September 17, 2017
ESL One New York saw the team coming together in tandem. While Niko and Rain have always been the strong and performing members of the team ( and in a very consistent manner ), the roster witnessed glimpses of brilliance from the veterans in the team. We have all heard about the strength of players such as Guardian, Olofmeister. While they have not been as strong and in form for the past few months, there is no doubt that their potential is huge. The team did not drop a single map in the entire tournament. Despite being in the tougher of the two groups, Faze unfazed as they defeated both Astralis and Virtus Pro in a very dominant manner. With the score lines being 16-5, 16-6 the Poles and the Danes never really stood any chance against the multinational star studded team.
Niko and Rain have been the stars on the team for quite sometime. Niko is one of the best players in the world and there is not a single person in Counter Strike who would say otherwise. However he has not had the support of a well-performing team around him. With the acquisition of Guardian and Olofmeister, it was a lot of pressure off the shoulders of Niko.
For the first time in over 26 months, there were two North American rosters in the semifinals of a premier $250k+ tournament. For an event held in NY, this was a very commendable feat. However the jubilance was short lived as Faze decimated both the teams and took home the trophy. They did not even receive any challenge by either team.
Was this the most dominant tournament win ever? Has anyone ever won a $250k+ tournament with less round losses than 39?
— Viktor Jendeby (@vuggo) September 18, 2017
The Semi Finals was a walk in the park for Faze as they defeated Cloud9 with scores of 16-4 and 16-3. The Semifinals put forth the true potential of Faze as they were able to unleash the full force of the roster. The biggest performer for Faze in that match was Guardian. When Guardian tops the scoreboard of this star-studded team, it spells the doom for their opponents. We had anticipated this result in our match preview, however Faze’s dominance and especially the scoreboard was beyond our expectations.
The Finals were also quite a similar story to the semifinals. There might have been a happy feeling around the fact that two NA teams were in the semifinals of a big $250k+ tournament after almost 26 months, it was definitely short lived. Both The teams were dismantled by Faze who found an extremely easy path to the trophy. The finals saw Faze win 3-0 over Liquid.
Liquid’s surprise wins over the past few weeks have definitely come to an end as they were face to face against an International team filled with stars. The team has been able to secure Best of Three wins over teams such as Astralis, SK Gaming etc. But Faze were simply able to out-aim them despite not being strong in the strategic department. Liquid might have a better tactical aspect to their gameplay, however they are definitely no match for Faze when it comes to firepower.
Faze is a team that is destined for greatness. The players are all individual superstars and can individually change the outcome of any match. The “honeymoon phase” for Faze is definitely looking good right now but only time will tell how they can keep up the same performance.
Faze is a team of superstars and they need to ensure the stars keep performing continuously. The lack of a dedicated support player means that they have to manage several aspects around the team not related to gameplay. These include the players’ ego, their coordination, their trust on each other and also the ability to not be the star within the team. With several top players on the roster we might have a situation where the players try to outshine each other. This is a situation that will spell the doom for the Faze roster.
Right now, Faze will be the best team for sometime to come. Their performance is definitely improving and the novelty factor around the team is something that is going to propel them to the top. Whether they can sustain it or not is another question altogether. The first step towards answering that question will be winning the Eleague Premier CS GO tournament which will have it’s playoffs in a few days time.
Finally we leave you with a quote by Niko to news website HLTV;
“We’re going to try to win every event possible, I think now we have everything that is needed to do that, so it’s just up to us to put the time and to work as a team, I think.”