FaZe Clan entered the competitive CS:GO landscape early in 2016. Undeterred by the organisation’s lack of experience within the scene, the team ploughed ahead, brimming with confidence and perhaps more importantly, a full wallet. After acquiring the former Gamers2 squad, FaZe made several roster changes, cramming the roster with popular players. Although each lineup has looked impressive on paper, each iteration of FaZe has failed to win a top tournament.
Over the many years of their existence, FaZe Clan have established themselves as a household eSports brand. It was not a cheap transition into the scene, as the acquisition of the former Gamers2 lineup cost an amount that had been teased by prominent figures such as Richard Lewis as being more than any transfer seen before it.
When the story surfaced in late January, the transfer amount was confirmed as $700,000 US dollars. For such a large investment, the Call of Duty organisation would surely be aiming for top tier results. Yet over the following months, FaZe would achieve results that would be comparable to that of a pub star team rather than a top tier contender.
The evolution of the FaZe lineup shows a clear trend – replacing the current weakest player as a ‘bandaid fix’ for the team’s larger issues. Although often considered a poor organisational practice, under performance has always been the fastest way to find yourself kicked out of the FaZe Clan’s door.
However, the diagnosis of the problems within the team takes place seemingly, without any critical thinking. Not until mid October, with the acquisition of Finn “karrigan” Andersen from Astralis, did the US based org have a strong leader capable of producing groundbreaking strategies. Undervaluing an in game leader has often led to the demise of the Clan, being unable to close out matches on the offensive half.
Even with the addition of karrigan, results have yet to improve significantly, which may not be entirely indicative of the level of the team, but rather the time needed to gel with a new lineup.
The current iteration of FaZe Clan isn’t as reliant on pure firepower as the past few lineups have been, it now harbours a combination of solid leadership, steady fragging and young firepower. Along with the AWP of Aleksi “allu” Jalli, the team looks as if it can be a contender to be a spoiler team in upcoming tournaments, with the potential to place in the top four.
Although the team has not had the immediate success that FaZe was looking for with a $700,000 buy in, they have gradually managed to build a squad which is looking to go toe to toe with the world’s elite in the next few months going into the ELEAGUE major.
Karrigan may yet be the gatekeeper to the world’s top squads, if the new lineup can live up to the potential that it clearly has on paper. The first test for the new lineup will be IEM Oakland, with FaZe going up against some of the best squads on the planet in a LAN setting.