FaZe Clan Narrowly Beat Complexity to win IEM Sydney, CS2’s First Big Tournament
The big debut event for Counter-Strike 2, IEM Sydney, is now over. This tournament was full of twists and turns, culminating in a grand final featuring North American players on both sides. In the end, FaZe Clan came out on top over Complexity Gaming to claim the IEM Sydney trophy.
FaZe Clan did not have at easy road at IEM Sydney. Their first match ended in a best-of-one overtime loss to GamerLegion on Nuke. From there, FaZe had to run through the lower bracket to even make the playoffs. They took down Team Vitality, Natus Vincere, and GamerLegion all with 2-1 results to do just that.
Climbing the Playoffs Mountain
FaZe was not favored coming into playoffs due to their close results against weakened teams. On top of that, a pair of tough teams stood in the way of the first ever CS2 grand finals. First up was ENCE. The European squad was ranked second in the world coming into IEM Sydney. However, FaZe had no problems dispatching ENCE in record time.
After taking their own Nuke pick in a one-sided 13-5, FaZe moved to ENCE’s Anubis. Little did ENCE know, they would be on the receiving end of the first 13-0 in CS2 esports history. FaZe completely dominated their opposition from the T side. Leading the charge was Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken who clocked in a 16-3 K-D ratio and 126.5 ADR, good for an incredible 2.47 HLTV rating.
Following that 2-0 sweep, FaZe moved on to face MOUZ in the semifinals. FaZe once again got to start off on Nuke. Their T side campaign was tough for MOUZ to handle, resulting in an 8-4 lead at the half. Those four rounds were all MOUZ got as FaZe swept their CT side and closed out the 13-4 victory.
Next was MOUZ’s Vertigo pick, a staple for them and a rare sight to see FaZe on. Vertigo was FaZe’s permaban in CS:GO, so it was surprising to see them let this through. Twistzz once again put in his share of work, earning two 4K’s and 13 totals kills on defense as the B anchor. Swapping to T side the duo of Håvard “rain” Nygaard and Robin “ropz” Kool each put up 10 frags in 10 rounds, propelling FaZe to a 13-9 win and the IEM Sydney grand finals.
An Unlikely Foe
Facing down FaZe in the grand finals was Complexity. The North American team surprised everybody by making it this far. Their run included wins over Cloud9 in groups, the rising BetBoom Team in quarters, and a one-sided win over G2 Esports in semifinals. Complexity and FaZe were above and beyond the competition at the IEM Sydney playoffs, and their match would be the best of the tournament.
Map one was Overpass courtesy of COL. FaZe got on the board first with a 1v3 pistol round clutch by ropz. COL’s attack kicked into gear the second they got guns out, winning five straight to take a 5-2 lead. FaZe did have a late-half resurgence to keep the lead going into their T side.
Despite losing the second pistol as well, Complexity looked comfortable on their home turf. They consistently shut FaZe out of rounds. FaZe failed to win consecutive rounds or get up to match point. With three straight to end the map, Complexity took Overpass 13-11. In-game leader Johnny “JT” Theodosiou was especially impressive, putting up a 1.47 HLTV rating.
FaZe Sprint towards the Goal
Now FaZe was back to their old stomping ground in Nuke. COL got a head start thanks to the pistol, but then ran in to the same problems as everyone before them. FaZe’s Nuke T side was just too overwhelming. They pushed Complexity to their breaking point, winning eight of 10 rounds to go up 8-4 at the half.
Much like how FaZe did on Overpass, COL also won both pistols on their opponent’s map. After an initial gun round win, COL was brought back into the game. Complexity found success with fast, aggressive plays. FaZe’s response was to get aggressive right back, leading to this play out of Helvijs “broky” Saukants to bring FaZe to map point. One round later, they secured the 13-10 to tie the series.
The final map of IEM Sydney was Ancient. Right off the bat, everything was going right for FaZe. They took the pistol and the first gun round. Complexity only found one point in the first nine, falling behind fast. Luckily for them, they did grab two rounds to close the half. Still, FaZe had a commanding 9-3 lead going into their T side.
They even won the second pistol, setting themselves up for a clean close out. However, Complexity was not done in this grand final. They forced up in round 14 and won a retake to get on the board in the half. COL used this momentum to set up for a stalwart CT campaign. After winning six in a row, they were on the brink of tying up the score. Instead, FaZe found an answer and claimed match point off the back of a rain clutch.
A Photo Finish
Needing to win out to send the map to overtime, Complexity forced up what they could. They managed to hold the A site with a Scout, Pistols, and SMGs. Two rounds later, COL once again stopped FaZe short of the site to complete the comeback.
This match was not done delivering. Multiple OT rounds came down to one or two players left on both teams. All this time, Complexity AWPer Håkon “hallzerk” Fjærli was racking up the kills, nearly clutching a 1v2 to put his team on the brink.
Instead, Complexity would have to settle for a second overtime thanks to an explosive B site hit, matching FaZe’s two T rounds. Back on the defense, FaZe found their groove with the championship on the line. A 3-0 hot streak brought them up to 18 rounds and gave three chances to end the game. On their second T round, they would break through.
This win is huge for FaZe Clan for several reasons. For the team, they had been on a slump ever since their ESL Pro League S17 win that clinched their Intel Grand Slam earlier this year. Getting a win at the start of CS2 is a sign that this roster still has what it takes to win. That said, it’s likely that this FaZe roster will not be sticking together in its entirety.
FaZe Clan was just recently purchased by GameSquare, the same company that owns Complexity Gaming ironically. This is an American organization that has ties to American investors. It’s likely that they have to choose a single roster to move forward with due to Valve’s rules, and it’s more likely the European roster takes their leave. It’s already rumored that Twistzz will be leaving the team and moving back to Team Liquid.
No matter what happens to FaZe Clan CS, they can at least hold their heads high.