(Banner image: Ubisoft/Kirill Bashkirov)
Following a failure to qualify for an international event in Stage 2 for the first time in four years, FaZe Clan are back at the top of LATAM regional competition.They not only topped the BR6 standings but also found redemption by winning the CES Stage 3.
Alongside Team Liquid and Team oNe, FaZe has been the best team in the region this year. In the Brasileirão, they finished in the Top 2 in every split played this season. Despite that, they could not convert such consistency into an international appearance in Stage 2, thanks to a group stage exit at the Copa Elite Six.
A lack of good results in the first two Copa Elite Six -- fifth in Stage 1 and seventh in Stage 2 -- has left the team with just 365 SI Points, which makes it very difficult for FaZe to qualify for SI 2022 through the Global Standings.
Such results for an organization used to attending international events regularly in "Siege" could have led to departures. But the team stuck together and added a new analyst, Cesar "Dark" Adriano, who would work alongside the coach, Matheus "Ramalho" Ramalho.
"Every year since we made the team, players came and went. We had a talk with the organization and we decided to have a long-term roster to improve our team-play, a better understanding of the maps, and the organization supported the idea," said Leonardo "Astro" Luís in an interview with SiegeGG.
Astro also admitted that the signing of Dark helped the team in many areas, as "he has studied every team in the region". Unfortunately, the Brazilian player revealed that Dark will not be traveling to Sweden, though he will be “helping from [a] distance” in Brazil.
FaZe Clan has shown impeccable consistency throughout the third split, with the team losing just two matches -- both of them in overtime. In fact, Stage 3 will go down in the history books, as FaZe Clan broke Black Dragon’s 2018 for the most consecutive wins in the Brazilian top-flight league, with the record now at seven back-to-back victories.
"It was amazing, it motivated us to keep working, and it helps to show that the team is playing well," said Astro.
Following their great performances in Brazil, the Copa Elite Six Stage 3 was next, with no margin for failure. But the FaZe of old was back, and would qualify to the Sweden Major in November, which puts the team on the home stretch for SI 2022 qualification.
Each one of FaZe Clan’s rivals -- Team Liquid, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team oNe -- have been able to add ‘Siege’ international silverwares to their collection. FaZe, meanwhile, has only been able to watch.
But Sweden could be FaZe Clan’s best shot to date.
The team’s preparation in terms of maps is probably one of the best ones around the globe, as FaZe Clan has played every map in the map-pool during Stage 3. They have looked unbeatable on Villa, having last lost on May 20 -- since then, FaZe Clan have won five games in regulation and a sixth in overtime.
Overall though, the team looks set to face any international opposition in Sweden, be it in a BO1, BO3, or, as FaZe will hope, a BO5 series.
"We are ready and calm, soulz is a very good player and (the rest of) our experience helps him," said Astro regarding his teammate’s inexperience, which is in stark contrast with the rest of the team. Astro and Gabriel "cameram4n" Hespanhol have played 40 games so far at international major competition, and both Jaime "Cyber" Ramos and José "Bullet1" Victor have competed in three and four SI events, respectively.
The combination of momentum, motivation, preparation and experience is probably the most efficient one, and most of the teams in Sweden lack a few of them. With FaZe Clan having all of the mentioned above, that makes the Brazilians one of the favorites to join the "big four" with a title win.
Astro, however, disagrees. Despite him seeing Brazil as the strongest region in the game, he does not consider his team as the favorite to take the title. The player admitted that his team just "wants to play the games" and that "BDS and Team oNe are very strong."
With the groups announced about a week ago, FaZe Clan will be sharing Group A with Oxygen Esports, the APAC debutants Chiefs, and Rogue, who return to LAN after a near-two years international absence. On paper, the Brazilians are the clear favorites to make it to the next stage.
"Every team has its own game-style, so we will have to be patient when facing some of these rosters. I think we will be fine and give our best," concluded Astro.
With the Brazilians in an eight horse race to compete at SI 2022, FaZe Clan desperately need a good performance in Sweden. Catch them against Oxygen Esports on Nov. 8 at 10:30 UTC.