Lessons From New York: Where Now For FaZe Clan?

In our last post, we talked about the challenges that faced FaZe Clan as they slumped to their first loss with their new-look lineup following a dismal showing at the StarLadder Berlin Major. The much-anticipated signing of Brazilian superstar ‘coldzera’ was perhaps the worst kept secret in Esports history, yet the European side arrived at ESL One New York still yet to announce the former MiBr star as a part of the roster.

With this far from ideal preparation weighing down on them, no one quite knew how what to expect from FaZe going into their crunch match against the newly acquired Evil Geniuses roster. A bright start on Nuke was the only highlight of note for the side as they, perhaps understandably, ran out steam about midway through the map and slumped to a 16–12 defeat.

However, if Nuke was disappointing for FaZe, the next matchup on Vertigo was an absolute disaster. The team looked completely disjointed throughout as they fell to a staggering 16–6 defeat to the North American side. So bad was this performance that even FaZe legend ‘Niko’ found himself on the end of criticism, racking up only 14 kills on Nuke and a measly 3 on Vertigo.

However, there was worse to come for FaZe in their match against Optic Gaming.

FaZe Clan During ESL One New York

Finding themselves in the loser’s bracket and just one loss away from an unceremonious exit from the competition, most fans and pundits expected a competent, solid performance from the 2017 Champions. To everyone’s surprise however, FaZe never got going in their do-or-die match.

Optic Gaming were ranked 19th in the world at the time and hadn’t even qualified for the minor qualifiers for StarLadder Berlin, let alone qualify for the major itself, however they raced into an early advantage on Nuke and never looked back. The Danish outfit were quicker to every shot, far more competent with their grenades and completely humbled their opponents.

Falling to a 16–11 defeat on Nuke and then 16–8 on Dust II, FaZe had bombed out of ESL One New York. Four maps, four losses for the European side. 64 maps lost against 37 won. It all makes for quite grim reading for a side that, on paper at least, looks pretty star-studded.

The thing that will most concern FaZe and their fans however is the performance of their marquee signing ‘coldzera’. A titan of a player that usually seizes the big occassion, this was the first competition where the Brazilian had a negative ‘kill/death’ ratio in his career. His performance against Optic in particular should worry the FaZe fans out there; racking up 11 kills in game one and just 9 in game two, it was a shocking return for a player of his calibre.

Ultimately, it’s not quite time to hit the panic button for FaZe just yet. This was their first tournament together and, with just a few days to prepare, it’s somewhat unsurprising to see them underwhelm.

The talent is undoubtedly there for FaZe — players such as ‘Niko’ or ‘coldzera’ are so huge in the community that they no longer have to justify themselves to anyone, and the org seem to have unearthed a serious gem in the young Latvian ‘broky’ who impressed during his first ever tournament for side in New York.

However this level of talent also means that there will always be a level of expectation that will be hard for them to hit in the immediate future. The European org has invested a lot into their current lineup, but they can’t afford to drop too much further below the likes of Evil Geniuses and Natus Vincere, let alone the behemoths of Team Liquid and Astralis.

Whichever way FaZe swings in the next few months, it’s sure to be a fascinating watch.

The guardian of Stamford Bridge. #GloryHuntingDays. Will forever be haunted by the Shevchenko signing.

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