Having looked destined for roster changes following a rough outing at the FACEIT Major: London, FaZe Clan were able to stick together and claim victory at EPICENTER.
The tournament had a clear upper echelon of teams, highlighted by Team Liquid, Natus Vincere and FaZe, each with a chip on their shoulder.
FaZe entered what was generally regarded the more difficult group – A – alongside Natus Vincere, HellRaisers and ENCE eSports.
The format was a bit more forgiving in the group stage, with three of the four teams making it through to the play-offs. The group went as expected for FaZe, with a 2-1 victory over ENCE that saw them win comfortably and lose narrowly, before an 2-0 loss versus Natus Vincere in the winners’ match.
In the quarter-finals, FaZe faced a NIP team who appear to be fading quickly after showing some nice flashes of play towards the end of summer.
However, after that 2-0 success, FaZe seemingly had a mountain to climb, with a desperate Team Liquid squad awaiting them in the semi-finals.
Yet in perhaps the most surprising result of the event, not only did FaZe Clan come away with the victory but they did so with the often-criticised karrigan leading the way, despite having been demoted from in-game leading duties back at the Major.
FaZe won comfortably, 2-0, with a rematch against Natus Vincere following for all the marbles. However, this appeared to be a completely different FaZe side, with GuardiaN having a much better performance compared to their first bout with Na’Vi.
The first map went FaZe’s way despite s1mple’s best effort, with the 16-12 victory on Mirage putting them in the driver’s seat entering Dust 2.
Ever since its reintroduction into the competitive map pool, Dust 2 has been a very one-sided map, with the team that wins the early economic duel typically running away with the game. In this case FaZe seized the early momentum and never looked back, cleaning out Na’Vi easily in a 16-3 stomp to claim the first-place prize.
Consistency still an issue
After NiKo seized the in-game leading duties from karrigan during the Major, it appeared as though things were going to get a lot worse before they got better for FaZe.
Sure, their skill remained world class, but the team as a whole appeared to be crumbling before our very eyes. Ever since then FaZe have lacked consistency, but given the sheer talent on this roster, they are the type of team who can beat anyone when they get hot.
NiKo has been the best player by far since the role switch – fairly expected given his previous star performances when leading the likes of mousesports back in the day.
However, concern grew as to whether or not karrigan could find any semblance of relevancy for the squad, and he has struggled thus far.
The glimpses shown by GuardiaN and rain in particular throughout this event are positive signs moving forward for FaZe, as this team only functions at a high level when one, if not both, of them are firing on all cylinders.
What next for FaZe?
The next upcoming LAN for FaZe sees them at the BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen, with Astralis standing firmly in their way.
Certainly FaZe were impressive at EPICENTER, but success at yet another top-tier event, with the likes of Astralis and MIBR in attendance, would go a long way in solidifying this roster for the future.
karrigan’s play will certainly be something to track at that forthcoming event, given it is in his home country and that he has always played with extra fire against his old squad of Astralis.
Astralis are currently hot favourites for victory in Copenhagen – Dafabet offer 1.699 – with FaZe fourth favourites at 9.150.