After their disappointing, near-last finish at the PGL Major Krakow 2017, FaZe Clan needed a retooling. It wasn’t long until a couple new faces were unveiled to freshen the roster.
In February, FaZe Clan signed the hugely talented Nikola “Niko” Kovac from mousesports. Kovac, rightly regarded as one of the biggest stars in CS:GO, had an immediate impact. He was instrumental in the team reaching the final of IEM Katowice 2017 and winning the StarSeries Season 3 Finals.
Those strong performances were undone by the dismal showing in Krakow. The next player to sign up was Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs from Natus Vincere, who replaced Allu. Then, kioShiMa was replaced by another legend in CS:GO circles: Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer.
Having assembled (and paid well for) a star cast of CS:GO gamers, FaZe Clan needed to make a strong showing at this past weekend’s ESL One New York 2017 event.
The tournament featured a number of in-form teams: Danish giants Astralis, the all-conquering SK Gaming, and recent ESG Mykonos runners-up Team Liquid.
Group A got the tournament underway. SK Gaming continued their strong form with a solid couple of victories against Natus Vincere and Cloud9 to earn the group’s top seed. Cloud9 bounced back from that defeat, however, to claim a spot in the playoffs.
FaZe Clan immediately showed its potential in Group B, defeating Virtus.pro and the much-fancied Astralis in comprehensive fashion. Team Liquid nabbed the second spot in the group, earning a 2-1 win over Astralis in an enthralling final game in the group.
Then, Team Liquid started surprising people. They won the first map against SK 22-18. After dropping the next match, they edged the third and final game 16-14 to clinch an unexpected finals spot.
FaZe Clan’s semifinal was a much less even affair. They ripped apart Cloud9 in stunning fashion, winning the opening map 16-4 and then taking the second 16-3.
The question was whether FaZe Clan could do the same over a best-of-five format. While Team Liquid put up a stern fight on the second map of the final — only going down 16-14 in Faze Clan’s toughest test of the tournament — the eventual winners took the first and third maps 16-3 and 16-4 to confirm their dominance and claim the title.
The victory was as comprehensive as it sounds. Their aggregate map score throughout the seven games of the tournament was 112-39, with 14 of those kills against the team occurring in that second map in the final.
It was an impressive and utterly dominant performance by FaZe Clan, who now head into the IEM Season XII Oakland as the latest winners in the Intel Grand Slam tournament. They now need to win three of the next nine DreamHack or ESL events to claim the $1 million prize pool on offer.
StarLadder i-League Invitational qualifiers begin
The final three places in the Dota 2 StarLadder i-League are up for grabs in three qualifying tournaments in Europe, North America, and China. The main event, which already has five teams confirmed, starts Oct. 12.
Direct invites Team Liquid and Newbee were joined recently by Natus Vincere (CIS), SG e-sports (South America), and Mineski (Southeast Asia).
Each of the three qualifiers taking place over the next week or so is a double-elimination bracket event where eight teams will battle for one place in this $300,000 event. The quarterfinal matches that will kick off each qualifier are listed below.
- Team Secret vs. SFTe-sports
- PENTA Sports vs. mousesports
- HellRaisers vs. Team Kinguin
- OG vs. 4 protect five
- The Dire vs. Immortals
- VGJ.Storm vs. Digital Chaos
- compLexity Gaming vs. Leviathan
- Evil Geniuses vs. Blue Pikachu
- LGD Forever Young vs. EHome (Match result confirmed 2-0)
- Invictus Gaming vs. CDEC Gaming
- LGD Gaming vs. Vici Gaming
- iG Vitality vs. Brave Heart
In each qualifier, the winning teams progress to the semis, and the four losing quarterfinalists dropp into the Losers Round 1.
Bet365 is offering a wide range of markets on all these qualifiers for the next week of competition.