Starting the tournament with a 0-2, FaZe Clan bounced back (3-2) to make the playoffs.
On the 27th of February 2022, FaZe Clan won IEM Katowice. For FaZe fans, some who have been waiting for a long time for some CSGO trophies, this was a moment of celebration. The team won the trophy despite a roster change and a stand-in. Coming into ESL Pro League Season 15, FaZe Karrigan is confident on the team’s ability to perform despite the slow start.
At the start of the year, FaZe made a change to its roster replacing Olofmeister with Ropz. The win meant a lot for the players, but more so for Karrigan, who reminisced 2018 right after winning Katowice.
But the team had a very slow start to ESL Pro League Season 15. They lost to ENCE and Outsiders and another loss would have almost surely sealed their chances in the tournament. Their third match of the series was against Sprout and FaZe won it convincingly. It was a much-needed confidence boost for the players who were still finding their synergy after Katowice.
Karrigan: “[After the 0-2 loss to Outsiders] We just took it game by game and started playing with some confidence.”
The loss to ENCE was a particularly disappointing one as FaZe lost Overpass, a map that they are favored on.
Karrigan: “Obviously the ENCE game was really tough. We watched it together and we thought this is not how we normally play since adding Ropz. Plus they won a lot of clutches which they shouldn’t but that’s just part of the game some time. Obviously, after losing 2-0 to Outsiders, it was tough for us. It was out of our hands basically. We just took it game by game and started playing with some confidence.”
FaZe played Katowice with a stand-in. With Rain back on the team, the players took some time (and a few matches) to adjust the roster synergy and find their groove.
Karrigan: “We had a rough start in the group stage. Not playing with Rain at Katowice, so the synergy in the beginning was a little off. I think we came pretty cold into the tournament. But yea, I’m happy we managed to turn it around.”
It didn’t help that FaZe was in one of the toughest groups at ESL Pro League season 15. Group A featured Entropiq, NiP, Fnatic, G2 esports, Mouz, LookingforOrg alongside FaZe. With such a stacked group, it was always going to be a tough task to secure a top three spot.
“Obviously, our group was pretty tough. After our group stage was done you can see five out of the six teams were in the top ten of the rankings. Rough group, but I’m happy we managed to come through but we are in the playoffs now”Karrigan
But FaZe managed to do just that, continuing with their momentum after the win versus Sprout. Their next match, a do-or-die match saw Karrigan take on apEX in the FaZe vs Vitality match-up. The match was a clash of various playstyles, a clash between FaZe, a team that has had some time to find its footing versus Vitality, a star-studded roster, but with a clash of ideas.
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Karrigan on Team Vitality
Even though FaZe won against Vitality 2-0, Karrigan has high hopes for the Vitality team.
Karrigan: “I think Vitality has a long road in front of them. Obviously, the team they made, three of them played Danish CS for a long time. And the French people, it’s just a learning curve for them. Obviously, I hope they find some form soon. Because of the players, it’s a really good team. I have trust in what they’re doing.
And probably in the middle of the year you will see a bit of talent, the roster is really good. Playing (on an) international team is hard if you’ve never been there before. Only one of the players, I think Magisk has been there. So yeah definitely a long road, but I think they are going to be way stronger, especially in the end of the year.”
Vitality bowed out of the ESL Pro League group stage with a 2-3 score. The loss to FaZe (10-16, 2-16) eliminated them from the tournament. Dupreeh, Magisk and zonic joined Team Vitality at the start of the year, pulling together five of the best players in the world on one team. With an award-winning coach in Zonic, expectations are very high for this team.
“I think beating Vitality the way we did was to send a signal that even though we had a bad start, we can also turn around,” a determined Karrigan continued.
“I think what this taught us is that even though we didn’t play the best CS, we can still manage to get out of groups. That’s what we learned at this tournament was that even though we were 0-2. We’re not having good synergy in the server, we can always grind it back. And using that for the next tournament. We can just remind ourselves that even though you are 0-2, you can always go 3-2. So yeah, tough start to the tournament, but in the end we managed to go through with a 3-2.”
The turning point: Ropz joins FaZe Clan
FaZe Clan’s results have improved dramatically after adding Ropz to the team in January 2022. They won Katowice, they are already in the top eight of ESL Pro League at the time of writing.
I guess in-game the team is more or less the same as it was in Mouz. Just way better players on paper and a pretty higher ceiling for sure. Role-wise it’s almost :1 and everyone on this team has been extremely supportive and helpful to try to fit me in. It’s been working out well as you can see from our tournament win. I guess practice sometimes is rough because we are trying to make it perfect. It’s hard to make CS perfect every once in a while and hope we can continue the form.
With a 1.15 impact rating, 0.74 ADR (average Damage per round) and 0.75 KPR (Kills per round), Ropz has seamlessly transitioned into FaZe.
FaZe have some tough teams to beat if they aim to win their second even of the year. Their next match is against NAVI, a team that, despite the problems arising due to the war, have been able to maintain their dominance. Naviended the groups with a 5-0 score and a +76 round difference.
Going into the playoffs, FaZe fans will hope the team manages to perform well under pressure.
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