The Story of FaZe Clan – Part 1

FaZe Clan roster team

FaZe Clan (Image credit: BLAST Pro Series)

FaZe Clan is an esports organization founded in 2011. However, their expansion into the Counter-Strike world happened a few years later, in 2016 to be exact. They didn’t want to start from scratch so they decided to sign the whole roster of G2 Esports for a whopping $700,000 and that was the beginning of their journey. Stay tuned to this 2-part article and check out the whole story behind FaZe clan.

Professional CS:GO scene beginnings

FaZe Clan was considered as a Tier 1 team from the very beginning because they already had a built-up roster composed of former G2 players. The initial roster was composed of: Håvard "rain" Nygaard, Mikail "Maikelele" Bill, Ricardo "fox" Pacheco, Philip "aizy" Aistrup, and Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad. On these grounds, the team was able to compete at high-tier tournaments and the first LAN tournament FaZe ever took part in was DreamHack Open Leipzig 2016.

FaZe Clan first lineup

FaZe Clan's first line-up at Leipzig 2016 (Image credit: Liqupedia)

They had a solid start with a win against notorious Luminosity Gaming and Brazilian CS:GO godfather Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo. However, the very next match was against Natus Vincere which was a complete disaster.

Although they failed to make it out of the group stage, the victory against Luminosity showed that they can be on par with some of the best teams out there. Eventually, FaZe were eliminated from the tournament in 5th-6th place. Not bad for a first time

First changes – new coach

A newly-established team had potential but lacked experience. Therefore, they had to bring someone to shake things up. Finally, on February 9, 2016, FaZe Clan added a new member to their roster. That new member was Robert “RobbaN” Dahlström, a former Counter-Strike legend known for his successful career in Ninjas in Pyjamas and SK Gaming. He was appointed as head coach with the sole purpose to prepare the team and introduce them to new tactics.

That job wasn’t easy as he had only one month to get the team in shape for the next tournament, IEM Season 10. Even with RobbaN on their side, FaZe once again failed to grab the title and finished their journey in the group stage of the tournament.

First Major appearance – MLG Columbus 2016

The whole of 2016 was a growing year for a newly-established roster. Finally, they got a chance to prove themselves at a Major event. However, their first match was a disaster and they lost against Team Liquid which put them into the lower bracket.

There, they faced Splyce and won the match 16-3 which put them into the loser finals. At the finals, team Fnatic wasn’t so kind and FaZe got thrown out of the tournament and finished 9th-12th.

Clearly, something had to change. After the Major, their team captain Maikelele stepped down from the active roster and was replaced with French pistol-round magician Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey.

Group stage struggles

The first 3 tournaments CS:GO team FaZe Clan played all had the same outcome – the squad kept getting knocked out in the group stage. And things didn’t get better – in fact, they got worse. FaZe didn’t win a single match in DreamHack Masters Malmö and got knocked out in the group stage without seeing the playoffs. The next big tournament was ELEAGUE Season 1. They were once again stopped in the group stage after losing to Nikola “NiKo” Kovač and his mousesports.

Some roster changes were made and fox was replaced with a new AWPer – Aleksi "allu" Jalli. Despite that, bad results followed them throughout the whole year and they didn't manage to win a single tournament.

The “karrigan” effect

FaZe is one of the biggest esports organizations and they weren’t satisfied with their results on the CS:GO scene. Therefore, big changes had to be made. The org was never afraid to shake up their roster and experiment with the team. The best thing they could do at that moment was to sign a new team leader, and they did.

Enter former Astralis player Finn "karrigan" Andersen, one of the best and smartest in-game leaders in CS:GO history. With karrigan in the team, FaZe were finally capable of competing at the game's highest level.

FaZe Clan karrigan

Finn “karrigan” Andersen (Image credit: StarLadder)

The results were immediate. The team started to perform better and they finally managed to get out of the group stage. FaZe played at the semi-finals of the next four LAN tournaments but they still couldn't win a single one. However, the organization was happy with karrigan and they knew they are on to something.

Superstar FaZe Clan

The old squad had failed as an experiment so the organization decided to do something that was never seen before. They were impatient and didn’t have time to wait for the team to grow naturally. They wanted to win now, not later.

FaZe wanted to create a team of 5 highly skilled individuals, the best at what they do. Creating a superstar squad, however, may look good on paper, but it doesn’t work in practice.

Let’s take football, for example. It would be like putting Ronaldo and Messi in the same team. It is just impossible. Remember what happened to Kaka when he got to Real Madrid to play alongside Ronaldo? He was benched and his career was over. There is no place for two superstars in one team in any sport or esport and that is the fact.

However, FaZe didn’t want just two superstars, they wanted four of them. They wanted four highly skilled individuals and it is impossible to have four individuals that all want to be stars in one team... or is it?

FaZe were lucky to have karrigan as in-game leader. He is best known for making use of individual talents and finding the roles for them in the team. If someone could do it, that was him. Here is what karrigan himself had to say on the matter:

“I want to show to the world, that you can make a super team, with four big stars who are able to play around each other, have a deep respect for what everybody does on the team, and perform on a high level."

Finally, on August 20, 2017, FaZe Clan assembled perhaps the most ambitious line-up in the history of CS:GO. They signed 3 of the 5 players who had been in the running for the world's best player in the previous year: Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer Gustafsson and Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács.

With rain being the best CT-side player and karrigan as a world’s best team leader, it seemed like nothing can stop them. With that team, FaZe sent a clear message to the CS:GO community: “We are here to win a Major”.

FaZe clan roster superstar

FaZe Clan's superstar team (Image credit: Liquipedia)

They all wanted to win a Major title and only one of them (olofmeister) had won before. The Major title was a must for this caliber of players.

But... the story of FaZe Clan isn’t over yet. Make sure to stay tuned for the second part of their tale about FaZe clan and their way to the top. Come back to EarlyGame and check out how this superstar team performed so far and what to expect from them in the future.

Do you like reading about the greatest teams in esports? Check out our other pieces in our Story of series:


And as always, keep it here, with EarlyGame, for all news, videos and tips about CS:GO and your favorite games. Also, give us a shout on YouTube and tell us what you want to see more of!

Antonio Kaurinovic

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