Fixing FaZe: Finding a Frontrunner
Updated: Jul 11, 2019
FaZe have mostly been stuck in limbo since the departure of in-game leader Finn ‘karrigan’ Andersen. Through eight events the FaZe core has played in 2019, they’ve posted a record - mediocre at best - of 25/1/29. The newest iteration of the lineup with Filip ‘NEO’ Kubski shows little to no signs of promise; NEO’s production is below some of the least talented in-game leaders and the original FaZe members have all become stagnant in their production. FaZe placed 9th-12th at Cologne and will attend BLAST Los Angeles before the StarLadder Major. This should serve as plenty of time for the lineup to make serious strides, given the talent between the four superstars. If by the end of the Major, NEO’s individual performance has not improved, and the stars of FaZe are not back in form, then there is no reason to retain NEO in the lineup.
The FaZe core is too talented to be struggling for as long as they have. If FaZe cannot figure a way out of their rut, things will ultimately fizzle out between the core and this lineup will not compete together. Both attempts at replacing karrigan were veterans to the game. At ages 29 and 32, Dauren ‘AdreN’ Kystaubayev and NEO were sought after to bring not just their talents, but the wealth of experience that would hypothetically help FaZe get over the void left by karrigan. The idea is good to FaZe in theory, but it has not appeared to work for them in practice. That is because the idea is not the right one.
FaZe has all the veteran experience and talent they need between the four players. This core has so many big games and big plays under their belts that they do not need another veteran mind. They need to bring in a young and aggressive leader with hunger that only a young player that has not won titles can feel. FaZe has to bring in a player who is willing to accept the in-game leader role at FaZe clan, but at the same time be willing to learn from the other four players who have a plethora of experience before and during FaZe.
When looking for a young in-game leader in the context of the FaZe clan roster, you have to consider the four assets the new player would be joining. All four players will benefit from playing within a system that allows for them to play free and make individual plays when the opportunity is there. Right now, the FaZe machine is stuck in neutral. They need to bring someone in who can kick them into gear. Given the prestige of the lineup, this absolutely would be a risk. However, this risk is a necessary one that would bring a change of culture that FaZe desperately needs.
So, we know FaZe has to go younger. We know they need a loose structure. We know the new fifth needs to be hungry to win and bring energy. He also has to have the qualities necessary to have a voice in the server with four legends. Hypothetically, the risky purchase ideally cannot be too pricey.
So who am I talking about?
The perfect FaZe fifth to lead this core moving forward is none other than Heroic in-game leader Benjamin ‘blameF’ Bremer. The 22 year old is the perfect candidate for the FaZe organization to try to corral as their in-game leader after the Major. He is fiery, aggressive and carries the confidence necessary for a player to come in and comfortably lead such a star-studded roster. Besides his capable demeanor, he had shown impressive individual talent while leading the Heroic roster that beat ENCE in a BO1 and stretched Vitality thin in a BO3 at Cologne. BlameF was head and shoulders the best player on his team at Cologne, leading the team in rating, K/D and multi-frag rounds.
Cologne was not a one off event for him to carry the team. Through the 50 maps this lineup has played together, he is far and away the best of the five. He sits at a 1.17 rating and +147 in K/D difference. Patrick ‘es3tag’ Hansen is sitting in second with a 1.05 rating and a +4 in K/D difference, which is a noticeable drop off between your No.1 and No.2 guys. All of the lineups biggest wins were direct byproducts of blameF’s individual performances and leadership. In their BO3 wins over fnatic and BIG, and their BO1 victory over ENCE, blameF was statistically superior to all of his teammates.
Bringing him to FaZe would liven up the culture inside the FaZe lineup, bring a hunger that the lineup is lacking, and ultimately lead to better results. For Heroic, the move makes too much sense. Heroic are out of the Major qualification process and blameF looks to be too good for the rest of his lineup. After the Major, FaZe can pull the trigger and move on with a fresh lineup led by blameF. Heroic can still move forward with their core and veteran Adam ‘friberg’ Friberg can lead the team moving forward. As for a talent replacement, Heroic still curiously has AWPer Daniel ‘mertz’ Mertz on the bench. Although Heroic has two players capable with the AWP on the roster, mertz is much more talented as an AWPer than anyone else in their arsenal. If nothing else, they are a Danish team which happens to be a hotbed for Counter-Strike prospects.
Although it does not sound wise to sell away your best prospect on an average roster, consider that the roster lacks the talent to be anything more than what it is. It would be wise to sell your best prospects while his stock is still high within the lineup. For FaZe, if they cannot get results with this lineup at the Major, there is no excuse not to inquire about blameF. He is better than any free agent in that position, and would serve as the safest risk with the highest reward for the FaZe lineup. Recently, MIBR star Marcelo ‘coldzera’ David chose to bench himself effective after IEM Chicago. Naturally, his name has been linked to FaZe as a replacement for NEO. Coldzera is too costly of a replacement and would not address the leadership void. At their previous heights, they were led by a Danish in-game leader. It is time to go back to that. BlameF is prepared to take even more strides individually, and FaZe should buy him before it's too late.
All statistics used are from the HLTV database.
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Title photo credit: Starladder