Having went from a bunch of Call of Duty highlight reels to one of the biggest organizations in esports, the history of FaZe Clan as a whole is a fascinating one. In this article, however, we want to focus on one of the biggest aspects of their current business model, the FaZe CSGO team.
Making it from plucky underdogs to esport goliaths all the way to a middling roster that seems to have trouble getting back to their winning ways, the CSGO FaZe Clan story is one of many twists and turns. Let’s explore them together.
The FaZe CSGO Story
The year was 2016, and FaZe Clan was mostly associated with Call of Duty skill shot compilations, rather than funding an esports team in a considerably less casual game. Yet, with swathes of cash coming in from investments fueled by their YouTube empire, FaZe Clan was ready to put their money on the line to create an esports empire.
They bought the then-G2 Esports roster consisting of Mikail “Maikelele” Bill, Ricardo “fox” Pacheco, Joakim “jkaem” Myrbostad, Philip “aizy” Aistrup and Havard “rain” Nygaard for a whopping $700,00. Only the latter still remains from that roster. The team found moderate success with this lineup, usually ending their A and S-Tier tournament runs in the quarters.
FaZe made a number of changes in that time, first getting rid of mercurial star player Maikelel in favour of a more stable presence in French site anchor Fabien “kioShiMa” Fey. After that change didn’t bring any results, the organization decided to replace fox with Aleksi “allu” Jalli, a reputable name in the scene with a reputation for making dumb plays that eventually earned him the mantle of “Bot Allu”. The team also added Swedish CS 1.6 legend Robert “RobbaN” Dahlstrom to their roster as coach in that time.
Despite attempted improvements, FaZe continued to be stuck in semi-final purgatory. The new roster hadn’t managed to impress over the remainder of 2016, prompting management to replace jkaem with legendary Danish In-game Leader Finn “karrigan” Andersen. While karrigan’s leadership added some much needed structure to the squad their fates hadn’t changed, leading management to drop the underperforming aizy in favour of Nikola “NiKo” Kovacs.
NiKo was widely regarded as a contender for the title of best player in the world, however, he was also considered to be “stuck” on an underperforming roster with mousesports. “Free NiKo” memes were largely prevalent at the time. Niko’s impact was almost instant with FaZe placing second in IEM XI and then winning StarSeries Season 3, both S-Tier tournaments.
The FaZe CSGO team was considered one of the favourites coming into the 2017 PGL Major in Kraków, yet a very disappointing showing saw them become the first team to be eliminated from Major contention, prompting what was at the time, the biggest single roster move in CSGO history.
The two notoriously under-performing members of the team, Allu and KioShima were quickly replaced with Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer and Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs, two players who have been consistently rated as some of the greatest players CSGO has ever seen.
This was an unprecedented move in a time when most superstars stuck to their regional markets. The general attitude towards CSGO rosters back then was that you needed a balance between superstars like NiKo, Olof and GuardiaN and support players like KioShima. A roster where four out of five players were capable of being the top fragger on a Top 5 CSGO team was a revolutionary idea, one that many people said simply wouldn’t work.
They couldn’t be more wrong. After a disappointing first showing in Malmo, FaZe went on to win the next two S-Tier events—ESL One: New York 2017 and the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017, as well as placing second in IEM XII Oakland. They also ended their year with a bang by beating Mousesports to win the ECS Season 4 Finals.
Coming into the 2018 ELEAGUE Boston Major, FaZe weren’t just favourites, they were the favourites. Given their recent performances, as well as shaky recent form from other top teams it was obvious that FaZe would be hard to stop. They quickly confirmed that by going 3-1 in the New Challengers Stage and then surging to an unstoppable 3-0 in the New Legends Stage. They then reached the final without losing a single map, plowing through mousesports and Na’Vi, seemingly ready to run through local heroes Cloud9 to finish the tournament in style.
Then, the unthinkable happened. Tied 1-1 against Cloud9, FaZe took a 15-11 lead on Inferno. This was their moment. All they needed was one out of four rounds to end it. Yet, round after round, Cloud9 held on. Eventually, after 2 Overtimes and a heroic effort from GuardiaN, FaZe were defeated, while Cloud9 took NA’s first title in history.
The next few months brought about a few more wins in S-Tier tournaments including ESL One: Belo Horizonte 2018 and Epicenter 2018. The latter of which was their last S-Tier tournament win. Epicenter 2018 also turned out to be the last S-Tier tournament for karrigan.
With the departure of their in-game leader, FaZe have failed to win another S-Tier tournament and have went through multiple standings including major champions Dauren “AdreN’ Kystaubayev and Filip “neo” kubski. Eventually, the chaos lead to GuardiaN leaving and FaZe signing another major champion in Marcelo “coldzera” David along with young Latvian superstar Helvijs ‘broky’ Saukants.
So far, results haven’t improved much, but with a roster like this, you have to think a win might come soon.
Who’s the best FaZe CSGO Player?
While at the moment, NiKo is probably the best player on the roster skillwise. However, the player who has the greatest legacy is the one player who stayed with FaZe since they bought the G2 team all those years ago. That player is rain. While his skill has deteriorated over the last few years, he’s been the rock upon which FaZe was built back in the day, and the player whose resurgence could lead them back to the top.
FaZe Clan has won 7 S-Tier tournaments in their time in CS:GO. They are currently ranked at #10 in the world and are still participating in ESL Pro League 11 at the time of writing. The best placement in the HLTV Top 20 for a FaZe player came when NiKo placed second in the 2017 HLTV Top 20, losing out only to future teammate Coldzera.
FaZe CSGO Stickers
Having participated in every major since they joined the ranks of CSGO teams, you can support FaZe Clan with various stickers, the most expensive one being a Gold NiKo sticker from the PGL Kraków Major which comes in at around $500 dollars at the time of writing. If you’re looking to simply support the team, a Foil sticker from Atlanta will set you back around $70.
However, the best time to buy Stickers is sure to come during the upcoming ESL One Rio Major in November. With Team Patches suspected to be a part of the drop system during the competition as well, you’re sure to find a good way to rep your FaZe fandom.
Is It Time to FaZe Up?
FaZe are one of the richest competitors in esports, and even though they’re currently going through a slump, it’s hard to see it continuing beyond 2020. While more roster changes might be on the horizon we’re almost sure to see FaZe come back to title contention sooner than later. One thing’s for sure. If you’re looking for the team that defines glitz and glamour, FaZe is the way to go.