FaZe Clan Makes History at IEM Katowice, Sweep G2 Esports in Grand Finals
FaZe Clan have defied all odds, taking the IEM Katowice 2022 title by sweeping G2 Esports 3-0. This historic victory marks the FaZe Clan’s first ever IEM Katowice trophy, and with a stand-in no less. Despite a flawless playoff run, this championship was anything but simple for the international roster.
FaZe Clan had a new addition to their roster in January. They signed Robin “ropz” Kool, reuniting him with his former mousesports in-game leader Finn “karrigan” Andersen. However, the FaZe train would be derailed right before IEM Katowice began. Ropz tested positive for COVID-19, forcing FaZe Clan to find a stand-in. The man they found for the job was Justin “jks” Savage.
FaZe Clan started their IEM Katowice journey in the Play-Ins. It was unsure how well the team would gel together on such short notice. After taking down Sprout in their best-of-one, FaZe found themselves against MOUZ for a spot in the main stage. The tight three map series ended with FaZe winning 16-14 on Mirage to claim that right.
Pieces Fall into Place
FaZe kept on rolling into the Ground Stage. Their first match against a revamped Team Liquid ended in their favor. That night, the news hit that ropz was cleared to finally debut on stage with this team. Now at full power, FaZe rolled through Fnatic before narrowly falling to the defending champions and tournament favorite, NAVI, in the Group B finals. Even with the loss, FaZe still earned a spot in the prestigious Spodek Arena for the IEM Katowice Playoffs.
Leading up to their quarterfinal matchup against Gambit Esports, FaZe Clan took another hit to their lineup thanks to COVID-19. This time, FaZe’s longest standing player, Håvard “rain” Nygaard, would be out of commission. Jks once again had to step up to the plate, this time in front of thousands of fans and millions more at home.
Rising to the Occasion
Even in these circumstances, FaZe Clan looked unfazed. Their first playoff match came in decisive 2-0 fashion. The young Gambit squad couldn’t stand up to the LAN veterans and fell by the wayside. One day later, FaZe Clan repeated that feat. This time Heroic were the victims of this white-hot international squad. After taking down two potential title contenders, FaZe found themselves in the Grand Finals against G2 Esports.
A Thriller for the Ages
This ultimate matchup started out on FaZe’s pick of Inferno. Things didn’t go their way immediately however. G2 on the CT side got off to an oppressive 11-2 lead. Rounds were then traded back and forth on both sides of half-time. By round 22, G2 had themselves a 15-7 lead and eight map points. All they needed was one more round to go up a map in the series.
FaZe Clan had other ideas. They wouldn’t let G2 get any more rounds on Inferno at all. A massive rally saw FaZe win eight straight rounds, culminating in a ropz ace to send the map to overtime. FaZe’s momentum was far too much for G2 to overcome, and four rounds later, FaZe secured map in the Grand Finals 19-15.
Marathon Map on Mirage
The second battleground between these two squads was Mirage. This time, the script looked totally flipped. FaZe Clan were able to take a commanding lead out of the game and earn an 11-4 lead at the half. Some good early T side calls allowed them to reach map point at 15-10. However, G2 were not about to give up the trophy that easily. They put together five straight to force an OT of their own.
An incredible five overtime periods ensued, neither team able to break the deadlock. Star players took turns clutching back and forth. Two breaks were needed as the map stretched into 60 rounds, over two full games of standard Counter Strike. It was stand-in jks who found a 1v2 to end the marathon and put FaZe two maps up.
Closing out the Championship
Now on their own map again, FaZe Clan were primed to end the series with a sweep. This time, no team was able to earn a decisive edge over the other. The score going into the locker room was 8-7 in favor of FaZe. Everything was on the line as the teams took the stage again.
The score remained tight with no team earned a lead over three points. As the round counter ticked higher, overtime was on everyone’s minds. The score reached 14-14 soon enough, filling the arena with tension. Here, FaZe Clan was able to shut down G2’s advances in back-to-back rounds to claim the IEM Katowice title for themselves.
Too Much History to Make
With this win, FaZe Clan have earned their first IEM Katowice trophy in franchise history. Not only that, karrigan has won his first Katowice title after five Grand Finals losses throughout his career. This is the first time a team with a stand-in has won an IEM title, and jks is also first Australian player to win a tier one CS:GO event at the same time. FaZe Clan have broken their drought here of over 800 days without a LAN championship, and what a way to do it. This FaZe Clan run will be remembered for a long time to come.