After the unsuccessful performance of Faze Clan at the PGL Krakow Major, where the European team did not make the playoffs, the organization decided to change the roster. Two of the best players of 2015 were added to the team, Olofmeister and GuardiaN. Both Faze recruits also failed at the Major and were looking for a new challenge in the European lineup, so they accepted the offer without hesitation.
Before this line-up appeared in CS:GO has never been such a starry team. The most promising young player in the world, one of the main clutchers on the scene, the honorable Danish captain, the best player of 2015 and the best sniper of recent years - all in one lineup. It is not surprising that immediately after the appearance of such a team, it was predicted a long and successful future.
However, The first faze Clan tournament in the new line-up significantly reduced the excitement. At the DreamHack Masters Malmo 2017, the European team finished second to last after a poor performance in the group stage. For the entire tournament, Faze won only against Mousesports, while losing far from the strongest NiP and Gambit, from which Zeus just left. It seemed that the fears of many skeptics were confirmed, and the team assembled from only stars will not work in CS:GO, a game sharpened on team interactions. This was the opinion of many, until three weeks later ESL One New York 2017 was held – the tournament that will forever go down in the history of Counter-Strike for one of the most dominant performances of the team in the history of esports.
5 teams from the top-10 came to the event (SK, Astralis, FaZe, Liquid and Virtus.pro), as well as three more strong lineups (Cloud9, Na`Vi and Envy). The tournament lasted only three days, but it was played for $250.000, which was still considered a decent amount of prize money for 2017. A group stage in the GSL format, two semi-finals as well as bo5 grand-final – a classic scheme for a big event at that time.
Faze Clan's first opponent at ESL One New York 2017 was the legendary Virtus.pro, which in 2017 noticeably sank both in terms of game and results. Despite the fact that the Polish team was only two positions behind Faze in the HLTV rating before the match, there was a huge gap between the teams in both skill and tactical terms. Karrigan and his teammates easily closed the Cache with a score of 16:5 and remained one step away from reaching the playoffs.
In this highlight the entire match could be easily described. NiKo and Rain played so cool that they scored 47 frags for both of them - and this is only for 21 rounds.
In the second match of the tournament, Faze Clan met their eternal rival Astralis. Before that, the teams played against each other 17 times, and their score on personal meetings was 8-9 in favor of the Danes, which allowed us to hope for a close match. This did not happen – Faze destroyed the opponent for the second time in a row, not allowing Astralis to take more than 6 rounds.
These two wins were enough to win the group. Once again: in the group stage, Faze Clan let opponents grab only 11 rounds for two maps. Given that only a couple of weeks ago, the team flew away in the group from Gambit, this result was considered an unreal success. Of course, one of its creators again became NiKo.
In the semifinals, Faze faced Cloud9. The Americans slipped into the playoffs, twice defeating the weakened Natus Vincere. Faze Clan was considered the favorite in the match, but no one could even guess how one-sided this match would be. The team led by Karrigan won Mirage with a score of 16:4, and then defeated the team from the American team on Overpass, giving them only 3 rounds.
In a post-match interview, Karrigan directly stated that this success of the team is the result of having a bunch of stars in the squad, who also played well with each other. Naturally, the Dane was a little deceitful, because in CS:GO it is impossible to beat the top teams with such a gap, having only well-prepared solo performers in the team. A huge role in such an outstanding performance was played by Karrigan himself, who managed to set up, distribute and train the rest of the four so well that it simply tore the opponents apart on the skill.
The grand-final promised to be more intense than previous Faze Clan matches, as the opponent this time was Team Liquid – a strong American team that had already won the tournament Virtus.pro, Astralis and SK in Bo3. Coach Zews admired his players, and FalleN said it was the best version of Liquid he had ever played against.
To the disappointment of the Americans, Faze were to good at this event and did not give their opponents a single chance. On the starting card of the final, Inferno FaZe won 15 first rounds in a row and closed the game with a score of 16:3 on it, Faze proved that with so many talented players, it is able to do anything: close any point at zero for protection, win rounds in the minority, and timely aggression.
The second map (Overpass) was the only one in the tournament where Faze Clan met a real resistance, and in many ways FaZe created issues for themselves. With a lead of 13:4, the European team lost a force-buy and brought the game to the score of 15:14. On the 30th round, faze Clan itself had lack of money, but it came out of it as stylishly as it could – thanks to three kills by NiKo and Stanislaw's suicide.
On the third map Liquid could not recover from the recent punch and won only 4 rounds. Faze Clan won ESL One New York with more confidence than any other team at a big CS:GO event has ever managed to do. Even Astralis at their peak did not win so confidently, leaving the opponent no chance.
NiKo was recognized as the MVP of the tournament, who scored an inhuman average rating of 1.7 for 7 maps. 21 frag on average per map for 9 deaths was an insane result.
One of the features of that FaZe Clan lineup was that they could play equally well on almost any map. On ESL One New York, the team stomped opponents not on one particular map, but on all of them. Cache, Inferno, Mirage, Overpass - on each of these maps, FaZe were good in their own way and could destroy an opponent for both defense and attack.
39 rounds - that's how much Faze Clan gave to their opponents for the entire event. Some teams lose the same amount in a single Bo3, and FaZe were enough for the entire championship. ESL One New York 2017 was the perfect demonstration of how strong a team of individual performance can be when each player on the roster is at the peak of individual form.