FaZe Secure Second Straight Trophy with ESL Pro League S15 Win over ENCE
FaZe Clan has completed their ESL Pro League S15 campaign with a 3-1 victory over ENCE in the grand finals. This win marks the second straight CS:GO title earned by the international squad, coming right after their IEM Katowice championship. The organizations’ first ESL Pro League title in franchise history comes with $175,000, a spot at the BLAST World Finals, and a second notch towards the Intel Grand Slam.
FaZe Clan entered ESL Pro League S15 in Group B. While this was a group of death, FaZe was expected to advance to playoffs as the newly crowned kings of Katowice. However, FaZe started their journey with two losses to ENCE and Outsiders. They needed to go undefeated from here on out to ensure their participation in the playoffs.
FaZe were able to pull things together and ended with a 3-2 record thanks to a 2-0 sweep of Team Vitality and a close 2-1 win over group victors FURIA Esports. They had advanced to the next stage, but the road would not get any easier.
Another Group of Death
Their third-place finish relegated FaZe Clan to the lowest playoff seed possible, and the group draw was anything but kind. They had Players (aka Gambit Esports) in round one and Natus Vincere waiting in round two. The CIS powerhouse duo would be the toughest route to the grand finals.
FaZe took this in stride. Their performance against Players reiterated their strengths, winning their map of Mirage 16-4, then taking the tiebreaker on Overpass 16-9. The stage was then set for a world number one vs two showdown for the right to continue their run at ESL Pro League.
The quarterfinals matchup should have been a competitive set between tournament favorites. Instead, FaZe showed up ready to dominate. They held strong on their home map Inferno for a 16-11 win before schooling NAVI on their Dust2 pick 16-12. FaZe would ride this momentum into their semifinals match against FURIA. Although this game was close than the previous, FaZe overwhelmed their opponents for another 2-0 sweep to move on to the finals.
Ending Where we Began
The ESL Pro League S15 grand finals would take place between FaZe Clan and ENCE. FaZe would have a chance for revenge at the team that handed them their very first loss of the tournament. While FaZe was still technically the favorite, ENCE could not be discounted as a young squad on the rise.
Map one was Vertigo chosen by ENCE. FaZe notoriously permabanned the map, so ENCE were actually favored to go up 1-0 in the series. Instead, FaZe’s last minute preparation paid off in spades. After fighting to an 8-7 score at the half, FaZe took off like a rocket on their T side. They won eight of ten gun rounds to steal ENCE’s map 16-11.
Next was FaZe’s Overpass. This was their chance to get to an early championship point. However, ENCE truly came to play. They earned a dominant 10-5 lead at the half. Despite FaZe fighting back to force overtime, ENCE had their number and tied the series at 1-1. Now, ENCE had the chance to go up a map on another one of their picks.
FaZe Clan Clean Up
Instead, FaZe Clan put together the most dominant map of the finals on Mirage. The first half stayed close with ENCE finding some success on their T side to only go down 7-8. Their standing would never improve from there. FaZe’s T side began with seven straight round wins to put the match out of reach. Three rounds later, Finn “karrigan” Andersen ended things in style to put FaZe on match point.
The fourth and final map of the series would be Dust2. Previously, ENCE beat FaZe on this map in their group. Things were different this time. This was the third map that went to the half at an 8-7 score line. FaZe was on eight, meaning they had more rounds in one half here than they did on the entire map in their group stage matchup.
After losing the second half pistol round, FaZe were able to build momentum once they had a full buy. For every round ENCE were able to squeeze out, FaZe went up three. By round 25, FaZe were up 14-11. Two dominant defenses later and FaZe closed out Dust2 16-12 to take the ESL Pro League S15 trophy.
With this win, FaZe Clan have taken the second S-Tier trophy of 2022. They now have two of four required event wins for the Intel Grand Slam, the most prestigious CS:GO accolade aside from perhaps the Valve Major. Speaking of which, the PGL Antwerp Major is set to kick off in exactly one month’s time. FaZe Clan are hot, likely the hottest team in the world. If they can keep up this level of play, they’ll be a sure favorite.