Image: Ubisoft/Kirill Bashkirov
After missing out on the Charlotte Major, FaZe Clan found themselves under significant pressure. Another failure to qualify for a Major would have derailed their season and would have forced them to compete in the regional qualifier for a Six Invitational 2023 spot. There was no more room for failure.
But the Sweden Major champions responded in fine form. In Stage 2, following an overtime victory against Team Liquid, they managed to qualify to the Copa Elite Six by just one point and, one month later, were just one round away from winning the Berlin Major.
“We got to improve our play style very quickly because we changed drastically our way of playing,” explained Leonardo “Astro” Luis in a written interview with SiegeGG. “We started playing more aggressively together, that made our confidence grow a lot.”
Following their narrow loss in the grand-final, FaZe had a great start to Stage 3. Playing against w7m esports, who had dominated in Stage 1 and 2, they made sure that w7m’s first match with Julio “JULIO” Giacomelli would not be a win.
Despite a loss to Black Dragons, FaZe jumped up to first place after regulation victories against Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team oNe. As a result, despite four games still left, the Berlin Major grand-finalists already had 11 points to their name.
“We focused a lot on collective and quick plays, which was very important in those games,” explained Astro. However, FURIA Esports brought their momentum to a screeching halt with a near-flawless victory.
“The last week of the Brazilian championship is always highly contested, all the teams want to show their work and all of the games are contested,” said Astro of that loss.
Overtime victories against lower placed teams MIBR and TropiCaos once again invited pressure onto FaZe, though, with their final game in the season set to be against the equally titanic Team Liquid. If they lost in regulation time, that was it for their hopes in Stage 3.
Depending on how the results played out, one of them – or even both – could have finished outside of the top four and would have been forced to play in the Six Invitational 2023 regional qualifier.
“We don’t agree with the current format, we hope Ubisoft makes it more fair for the next few years,” said Astro, unhappy with how the current format seems to penalize Brazilian teams.
Playing on Theme Park, FaZe Clan were cruising as they secured match point at 6-3 on the board. It was then when a Lorenzo “Lagonis” Volpi play resuscitated Liquid, who eventually forced overtime and won the match. That, however, was the ideal result for both Team Liquid and FaZe Clan, as well as the Brazilian fans.
Both squads qualified for the Copa Elite Six and later booked their tickets to the Jönköping Major. It also virtually ensured that both FaZe and Liquid will qualify to SI 2023, should they perform as expected in Jönköping.
The team’s long rivalry with Team Liquid then continued into the Copa Elite Six, where they lost two more times against Luccas “Paluh” Molina’s roster.
“We had some problems finishing the two maps but I think the details were very small and we will try to fix those as quickly as possible,” Astro said, not seeming too worried about two losses that were, in effect, not very impactful.
“We have a lot of work in front of us and we know that we are a very strong team, we must stay calm and show our work.”
Now, FaZe Clan return to Sweden arguably as favorites to win the Major – especially with Rogue’s absence.
Regardless of other teams' results in different regions, FaZe’s map pool is deep and they have been consistently strong stage after stage. As shown in the Berlin Major grand-final, their international experience, strong mentality, and proven adaptation skills are hard to look past when predicting a winner in Jönköping.
Nevertheless, Astro and FaZe are not getting ahead of themselves.
“[The others] are teams that have played very well in their regions and we must be very careful with them. It's likely that we will have good results, we must stay calm and trust in our work,” Astro concluded.
Tomorrow, almost exactly one year after winning the Sweden Major, FaZe return to the Nordic country. This time, they will be facing Mirage, Dire Wolves, and Wolves Esports in the group stage, with the Brazilians the clear favorites to win the group.
Tune in starting tomorrow, Nov. 21, as FaZe get their Jönköping Major campaign underway.
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