Everyday, Finn ‘Karrigan’ Andersen wakes up to 14-hour days of CSGO. Now in his second stint with FaZe Clan, the veteran IGL has unfinished business with the org, and is determined to capture lasting glory.
Karrigan’s hoisted more silverware than some orgs have to their name. Trophies are the goal, no matter where the Dane goes. However, he’s convinced a lasting legacy will only be supplemented with one thing: a Major.
It’s, admittedly, a dream shared by many. But at this point in his 14-year career, he’s setting his sights on the “end goal as a player,” as he puts it; and it’s why he’s back in FaZe.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think we could be the best team in the world,” he told Dexerto, confidently.
FaZe has a wealth of talent already on the team but they need a good IGL to take them to the top — a situation that’s all too familiar.
An awkward FaZe
CSGO fans could look at this FaZe makeup and draw comparisons between now and the last time Karrigan wore the black-and-red shirt.
At the time, in 2017, the team was packed with legends of the game. When they won, it looked great and the FaZe Army marched to multiple top-2 finishes.
But when the team lost, it looked awkward. Set plays would be off, clutches ran dry, and rounds would start to mount against them. Voices on their team were loud and plenty.
“In my first time with FaZe, I was too much of a ‘democracy-leader,’” he said. The team had its troubles, and it was even more apparent after Karrigan left.
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Regardless, the lineup with Olof ‘olofmeister’ Gustafsson and Ladislav ‘GuardiaN’ Kovács was incredibly strong. They practically lived in the Grand Finals throughout 2017 and took home plenty of hardware to boot.
If it wasn’t the unstoppable force of two-time Major winner olof’s rifle, then it was the immovable object of GuardiaN’s AWP that would shut teams down.
FaZe’s success was remarkable, but it was just short of legendary.
“I feel like I built a boat. I came over to cross the ocean, and right as we have to go into the harbor we fell down and drowned,” Karrigan said, proudly remembering the trophies with FaZe, but clearly thinking of one he doesn’t have: The 2018 Boston Major.
GuardiaN and Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovač didn’t maintain their form when FaZe needed it the most. Olof was making a strong case for best player at the event until the final, and Håvard ‘Rain’ Nygaard was the highest rated player in the first two maps — that’s not a good thing considering the other names mentioned.
As for tactics, well Jake ‘Stewie2k’ Yip was bolstering C9 in a uniquely NA brand of CS. The soon-to-be-crowned MVP Tarik Celik and the rest of the rambunctious Americans would knock down any kind of sophisticated set up Karrigan & Co. made.
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The Turkish-American’s 1.43 rating fueled C9 in Game 3. The frag on FaZe’s IGL sealed Tarik’s 4K in the 27th round and sparked the boys-in-blue to a 22-19 Double-OT win to take the Bo3 reverse-sweep.
It was a memorable Major for Cloud9 and North America, but a learning experience for Karrigan.
“After FaZe, I had to look inward to figure myself out. It was a tough period at the end of FaZe,” he recalled. The Dane fell one round short of glory.
He doesn’t want his legacy defined by one trophy, but he knows a Major will lend itself to the “big legacy” he’s after.
FaZe Clan 2021: Reborn
Now it’s 2021 and Karrigan is running it back with Rain but with superstar Marcelo ‘coldzera’ David, American standout Russel ‘Twistzz’ Van Dulken, and rising talent Helvijs ‘broky’ Saukants on the team.
There’s a mix of seasoned veterans, explosive in-game fraggers, and some rising talent to foster. FaZe’s IGL approached the idea of his team’s prospects with humility. The 30-year-old Dane is stepping into a championship-caliber team built on inconsistent talent.
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If this project is going to work, he’s going to have to draw from what he learned in mousesports and FaZe Clan.
“What I learned is that [I couldn’t bring the democracy-leader approach to] mousesports,” he said. On FaZe there were a ton of veterans with even more ideas on how to approach the game.
On mousesports, however, he quickly learned that a “one-way street” approach would be more effective. Consider their team at the time, that included a hyper-aggressive AWPer in Özgür ‘woxic’ Eker, star-in-the-making Robin ‘ropz’ Kool, and 16-year-old David ‘frozen’ Čerňanský.
But FaZe isn’t mousesports. He had to update his style the first time he “FaZed Up,” then adapt it even further on mouz. And there’ll have be another evolution in 2021.
“I have to find the mix of them both, where I still have to keep the players in line, Make sure they understand the philosophy I’m trying to bring to the team, working together as a unit,” he explained.
“I always make sure to talk individually with the players. What they like to do, what they don’t like to do. Try to push them in that direction, that I let them play however they want, to begin with. And then I try to force them outside of their comfort zone… In the end, I just have to be the strong voice in the middle of the round.”
That’s why Karrigan is going to ask Rain to get comfy playing outside of his lurk position that he’s been doing for years. It’s why a coach and strong supporting cast behind FaZe is vital to his plans. And it’s why coldzera is going to be a strong voice on the team.
“If the players work hard, well we can do better than the last FaZe… Having this team behind us, it feels like a completely new situation. It’s not as it used to be.” he said. “I would say [we’re] the reborn of FaZe Clan, or getting-that-Major-we-never-got type of FaZe Clan.”
FaZe Clan plays Team Vitality to open their Group B climb in the ESL Pro League on March 13. This lineup is going to be a work-in-progress, but Karrigan has seven months until the 2021 PGL Stockholm Major where a legacy awaits.
“I want to re-lift that boat,” he finished. “[I want to] sail it one more time, and this time finish it with a Major win. That’s the reason I am here.”