There may not be a better example of how social media can turn something most people at the time probably considered as useless waste of time in to a lucrative business than FaZe Clan. Their story starts in Los Angeles back in 2010 when a group of friends started to post videos of Call of Duty trick shots to YouTube, never having any intention to enter competitive gaming.
However, as their popularity grew, soon the seven FaZe members posting the videos saw their followers grow to seven figures each and the name was suddenly known worldwide. The original crew still has never competed in the game, but their videos remain wildly popular. They formed a competitive team in 2012 which was to enter in to the Major League Gaming (MLG) Winter Championships 2012 and the team stays active in the Call of Duty scene to this day.
In early 2016, FaZe Clan decided to expand their field first to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and some months later to Overwatch. The Overwatch team is based across the pond, but their CS:GO team was to be placed to a more fertile stomping ground: Europe. With the acquisition of the G2 Esports roster in January 2016, the team was up and running with one of the original members still remaining in the active roster to this day.
After two disappointing results, FaZe decided to turn to a true Counter-Strike (CS) legend for help. They signed a Swedish former Ninjas in Pyjamas and SK Gaming star Robert “RobbaN” Dahlström as their coach, a man who is widely considered as one of the best to ever play the game. Despite a strong start in their first premier event, Intel Extreme Masters X – World Championship in Katowice, the team disappointingly crumbled and saw an early exit in the group stage.
The results would not impress until the arrival of their current captain, Finn “Karrican” Andersen only a day before Intel Extreme Masters XI – Oakland, which slowly started to turn their ship around. The real breakthrough however happened in February 2017 when the FaZe decided to splash the cash and acquire one of the CS:GO’s biggest stars from mousesports, the Bosnian Beast, also known as Nikola “NiKo” Kovač.
This move shot FaZe Clan to the top of CS:GO and they immediately finished second at Intel Extreme Masters XI – World Championships in March 2017 and only a month later they conquered the top spot at StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3. This was followed by solid second place finishes at Intel Extreme Masters XII – Sydney and Esports Championship Series Season 3 – Finals, but their disappointing performance at PGL Major Kraków 2017 led to more changes in their roster.
To continue the trend of blockbuster signings, the last two pieces to complete their current powerhouse roster were the world class sniper Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács and Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer, once ranked as the best player in the world. Despite the star studded squad, immediate success didn’t follow as at DreamHack Masters Malmö 2017 Gambit served them yet another dish of early group stage exit.
But only just over two weeks later they were flawless, not dropping a single map at the prestigious ESL One: New York 2017 and crushing the American Team Liquid in the final cleanly 3-0. This wasn’t exactly a surprise, as major bookmakers did fancy their chances with the likes of Betway ranking them as third favourites for the title and similarly second favourites at 7/2 for this year’s Blast Pro Series. With the signings of some of the most prolific players in the CS:GO scene, one can only expect the trend of receiving low odds to continue.
At the time of writing (September 27) they have only lost two of their last 14 matches against the toughest competition available, with the maps in these fixtures going FaZe Clan’s way 15-4. Their fine recent form has led them to be ranked high in many global rankings, with the only way looking to be up. Gosugamers.net, HLTV.org and ESLgaming.com all rank them currently as the fourth best in the world, ahead of some serious competition.
Looking at their current roster completed with a coach of this calibre, they are one formidable opponent for any team to face. This combined with their current form and the upwards trend of their results, one can only imagine what this squadron will be able to achieve in the remaining 2017 tournaments with more practice under their belt.
To wrap it all up, a piece of advice for all the CS:GO fans out there: get ready to roll that highlight reel.