Over the last couple of months, it has been revealed that Karrigan has stepped down as the primary In Game Leader for FaZe clan and allowed star-player Niko to take the reins and have primary control of the strategic direction of the side. When the roster was first put together, it was expected to be challenging the title spot for the best team in the world. However, in the latter half of 2018 FaZe have fallen into the middle of the top 10 teams in the world and seem out of contention for the top spot so, with Niko now in charge, do they stand a chance of reaching No.1?
Well, it was announced that Niko took over at some point during the FaceIt Major in September where they went out in the Quarter-Finals to Astralis so let’s look at the results that they’ve achieved after that.
The first tournament that FaZe attended was ESL One New York 2018 where they went out in dead last-place after a 2-1 loss to a struggling G2 line-up under old IGL Ex6tenz. So, at first things weren’t panning out too well. However, at the next LAN FaZe looked incredible. They placed first overall at Epicenter defeating NiP, Liquid and NaVi all 2-0 in order to claim victory. Niko was the overall MVP tournament with a 1.33 HLTV rating only being behind S1mple who had a 1.45. Next up was the Blast Pro Series Copenhagen in which they placed 4th, admittedly after only losing 2 BO1 matches. The most recent LAN FaZe have attended was IEM Chicago. They had a deep run here as they made the Semi-Finals and even won a BO3 series against the tournament winners Astralis here.
Online, the team have been performing worse placing 5th in the ECS Season 6 and 11th in the EU ESL Pro League Season 8.
While the LAN performances are better than they work before, they haven’t been challenging the title enough when Astralis are present and they also haven’t been qualifying for certain tournaments due to their lack of success in the online leagues. So, it looks like Niko’s Leadership has improved the side but isn’t enough to have them challenge the top spot. Meaning, it looks like a roster move is what’s necessary to push them to the top. As always with a roster move, you should ask two questions. Who should be replaced? And who should be brought in?
Across all of the LAN’s FaZe have attended, Niko and Rain’s individual stats have both increased with Niko performing the best every time since he took the leadership reigns. He averaged a 1.22 rating across all the tournaments and averaged a +37 kill differential. As these two are the best performers then is it the others that get replaced? Well, Guardian is the team’s primary awper and as a result is difficult to replace because there is a lack of availability for awpers at the top level who could perform at his level. This leaves Olofmesiter and Karrigan. Logically, Karrigan would be the one to go as his main asset to the side was his ability to be a tactical leader. As he’s no longer in charge it looks like he’s the most likely candidate for replacement.
With regards to who should join, what FaZe need at the moment is an effective supportive role-player that can effectively use utility to set up opportunities for the great star-players on the side. The issue is, there aren’t many players like that available that FaZe could pick up. The Ideal choice for this role would be players like NBK or KioShiMa. However, NBK just signed a contract with Vitality and Kio just signed to Cloud9 so they’re too difficult to acquire. Potentially, Dennis from NiP could be a viable option as he’s been with NiP for 9 months now and the organisation haven’t won any major tournaments during that time. It looks like the best option to go for is Krimz. He’s been with Fnatic for over 2 years now and has won 2 majors with Olofmesiter so his joining the side could be the component that FaZe are looking for to push them up into the top position.
Ultimately, it looks like it’ll take more than just Niko’s lead to be the element that puts FaZe on the top of the competitive scene and perhaps the addition of a new player like Krimz could be just the thing to do it.