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FaZe Clan Breaks Title Drought, Wins IEM Chengdu

Zakaria Almughrabi

FaZe Clan has taken the IEM Chengdu trophy after sweeping MOUZ in the Grand Finals. This victory marks the fourth tournament win for FaZe since Counter-Strike 2’s release and is very timely. Following their loss at the PGL Copenhagen Major Finals two weeks prior, FaZe has broken their five-month trophy drought.

FaZe Clan IEM Chengdu

Image Copyright: Enos Ku, ESL FACEIT Group

IEM Chengdu has been a very interesting event, with most attendees within one of two groups. Since it began directly following the Major, many of the attending teams were experiencing fatigue. PGL Copenhagen winners NAVI, Team Vitality, and Team Spirit (three out of five of HLTV’s top five teams) all opted out of attending. Specifically, FaZe, G2, and MOUZ were all coming into IEM Chengdu after playing in the Major Playoffs a week prior.

The other teams featured squads that either exited the Major early or didn’t qualify for it. Notably, Team Liquid and Astralis would be appearing to show their strength after disappointment at their regional RMR events.

After the Group Stage was done, we ended up getting a mix of the two groups of teams in the Playoffs. Liquid and Astralis qualified, as did FaZe, G2, and MOUZ. The Playoffs would test the major attendees’ mental and physical fortitude.

FaZe Clan ended up on the same side of the bracket as Liquid and Astralis. Although FaZe had made every single Grand Finals in CS2 so far, they would be tested heavily if they wanted to keep that streak alive.

A Hard-Earned Finals Berth

In the quarterfinals against Liquid, FaZe Clan narrowly avoided disaster on their pick of Nuke. Liquid refused to be put away and fought through to overtime thanks to a clutch 2v4 play from Casper “cadiaN” Moller. A lesser team might have crumbled, but instead, FaZe dug deep to keep their pick safe. A 16-13 win gave FaZe an advantage in the series.

They nearly closed it out on Liquid’s Anubis pick, too. However, Liquid improved greatly from their pre-major form and could take a map off FaZe. With the series tied a one apiece, Mirage would be the decider. FaZe’s T side was impressive out the gate, especially from Håvard “rain” Nygaard who went 12-7 with 120.2 ADR. Liquid played well overall, but they just couldn’t keep the same pace on their attack. A 13-10 win sent FaZe to face Astralis in the Semifinals.

This matchup was a rematch from the Group Stage. FaZe Clan were admittedly hazy in that game since they had just played a Major Grand Final a week before flying across the world to China. Astralis took advantage of the preparation and freshness difference and swept FaZe dominantly.

Now, on the Playoffs Stage, FaZe had woken up. Astralis had to show another level of form if they wanted to make the Grand Finals in the stage debut of their new-look roster. FaZe once again chose Nuke and played the map even better. Their T side netted seven rounds which let FaZe cruise to a 13-10 win.

Ancient was up next, courtesy of Astralis. In this map, Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz threw a fastball straight at FaZe, rushing them down round after round. FaZe couldn’t respond to the aggression and fell quickly 5-13. Again, map three was required. Luckily for FaZe, they would get a shorter affair this time around.

After a close 7-5 first half, Astralis’s defense crumbled at the hand of FaZe. At least we got another dev1ce monitor punch following what appeared to be either an accidental Alt-Tab or a game stutter, this one with much more force than usual. In the end, though, the exhausted FaZe side earned another CS2 Finals berth.

A Familiar Foe

Meeting FaZe in the IEM Chengdu Finals was MOUZ. The young squad has been one of CS2’s brightest and most consistent, finding their way into the Playoffs in every event they’ve attended. However, they have yet to find a trophy in CS2, largely thanks to FaZe. Of their six prior CS2 playoff appearances, MOUZ fought FaZe and lost in five of them.

Now, MOUZ had yet another chance to conquer their demons. Meanwhile, FaZe was fighting for a much-needed trophy to keep their morale up. This match was especially important for David “frozen” Čerňanský. The 21-year-old had left MOUZ at the end of last year to join FaZe and win titles. Despite FaZe being the number one team throughout 2024, they had yet to win a trophy with frozen.

The match began on MOUZ’s pick of Overpass. This was supposed to be a punishment pick, as Overpass is in the bottom half of FaZe’s map pool. Instead, it was MOUZ that looked lost on the map early. Starting on the T side, MOUZ lost the pistol round and force buy, putting them at a 0-3 deficit. They did find some early ground with an economy break of FaZe, but that was about it. FaZe dug in their heels and claimed a huge 8-4 lead at the half.

After claiming the second pistol, FaZe also had 11 rounds to just four. To MOUZ’s credit, they found a large streak on the CT side with impressive retakes. However, it was only a matter of time before FaZe finally broke through. Winning two of the last three rounds, FaZe stole Overpass 13-10. Leading the server was Helvijs “broky” Saukants. His 1.65 rating and solid rifle work were a big reason for FaZe’s success.

FaZe Remains MOUZ’s Kryptonite

With Overpass lost and Nuke up next, MOUZ had their backs against the wall. They needed to show a much stronger form if they had any hope of bringing this match back. FaZe had no intentions of letting them, though. Starting on the less favored T side, FaZe played their best Nuke yet. Spearheaded by frozen himself, FaZe stormed through MOUZ on their way to another 8-4 half.

At this point, there was no question about who would win. FaZe claimed both pistol rounds to bring them even closer. Stuck on the attack with no room for error, MOUZ struggled to find any way to break through the wall that was FaZe. After just seven rounds in the half, FaZe Clan put a lid on it. The 13-6 domination secured the sweep for FaZe and the IEM Chengdu trophy.

With this win, FaZe’s record against MOUZ in CS2 climbs to 7-0. The young guns just can’t seem to shake the experience and poise that is FaZe Clan. Still, MOUZ’s future is bright. They have many exciting and promising stars and a solid and learning in-game leader. They’ll be back in the Finals for another chance soon.

FaZe is back to its winning ways, this time with Frozen getting a piece of the pie. Obviously, traveling across the world nonstop and playing in high-stakes competitive matches will drain the energy from even the best players. However, lifting a trophy and feeling that high will help keep a team motivated. The IEM Chengdu trophy is exactly what FaZe needed.