While FaZe Clan's CS:GO roster was one of the most hyped rosters ever, things have begun to spiral, with the future of the roster now looking incredibly bleak.
FaZe Clan entered professional Counter-Strike in early 2016 when they acquired the entire G2 Esports roster, which featured Håvard ‘rain’ Nygaard and Joakim 'jkaem' Myrbostad . At the time, it was the most expensive transfer of players in the history of Counter-Strike at a value of around $700,000.
The players had only been with G2 for a few months and, outside of their semi-final appearance at DreamHack Open Cluj-Napolca, had not placed particularly well at tournaments. Nevertheless, the acquisition made a statement: FaZe Clan have the money and they will do whatever it takes to get the best Counter-Strike team. What has happened to that attitude? Why are the team so reluctant to sign a permanent fifth player?
Well, signing the best players in the world is an expensive business, and in the midst of legal battles, it may be that FaZe Clan can no longer afford to splash out like they did In 2016 and 2017, when they assembled one of the most talent-heavy rosters to ever exist. Just two months after getting their team, they purchased Fabien ‘kioShiMa’ Fiey from Team Envy to replace Mikail ‘Maikelele’ Bill.
Six months after that, they grabbed Finn ‘karrigan’ Andersen from Astralis, and over the next year they stacked star after star onto the roster by adding Nikola ‘NiKo‘ Kovač, Ladislav ‘GuardiaN’ Kovács, and Olof ‘olofmeister’ Kajbjer.
Each player came with a tremendous buyout figure that FaZe appeared to pay with ease.
The lineup they built was something the world had never seen before and was almost inconceivable. They had one of the top in-game leaders in the world, one of the finest AWPers in the world, and easily the best rifling trio you could ask for at that time.
The first six months with karrigan, rain, olofmeister, NiKo, and GuardiaN saw them win three large international tournaments and come close to a Major in Boston. The talent of their roster almost guaranteed them a place at the finals of every event they attended.
Olofmeister’s period of inactivity in mid-2018 for personal reasons was a turning point for the roster and eventually the organization. When he returned, they had a group stage exit at ELEAGUE Premier 2018 and quarter-final appearances at DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018 and the FACEIT Major: London.
This caused the players to turn their backs on karrigan – they had lost faith in him and handed the reins over to NiKo to lead the team. The old FaZe Clan would have replaced karrigan immediately and paid any price to get a new fifth player, but that didn’t happen.
Karrigan hung around on the roster for five more international tournaments before finally being replaced by Dauren ‘AdreN’ Kystaubayev in January 2019. AdreN was a free agent and it was immediately announced that his signing was a temporary move. They have since replaced AdreN with Filip ‘neo’ Kubski, who was also a free agent and is unsurprisingly listed as a temporary addition.
They could have instead grabbed Mathias ‘MSL’ Lauridsen prior to him joining OpTic Gaming, or gone all-in with a star pick-up like Valdemar ‘valde’ Bjørn Vangså. Valde has conveniently started in-game leading for North, which is something FaZe need to free NiKo back up as one of the best players in the world.
Members of the team have mentioned that they haven’t added a long-term fifth player because they can’t find one they like, but in my opinion, the issue extends well beyond that. CS:GO is much further down the totem pole of importance at the FaZe headquarters than it was previously.
On top of that, the company have found themselves in the middle of legal trouble. Last year, FaZe Clan were sued by an apparel company for alleged trademark infringement and now they are embroiled in a new lawsuit with Fortnite Battle Royale player Turner ‘Tfue’ Tenney.
The financial toil from their legal troubles will almost certainly have an impact on their teams and if they weren’t willing to spend money on a new player before, they definitely won’t be willing to now.
Also, the financial return from selling their superstar players might be too tantalizing to pass up. Unless something changes, they have either accepted that they’ll never have a top roster again or plan to exit CS:GO entirely in the coming months.
Despite it being pure speculation, I am convinced they won’t have a team come this time next year.