Before IEM New York 2020, FaZe Clan’s CSGO team had gone 338 days before winning an event at Blast Copenhagen in 2019. After taking the top spot in the EU IEM, Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovač showed why the elite talent would be missed if this really was the last dance with FaZe.
There’s no sugar-coating the FaZe star’s woes in the last year, that was only made more apparent with the team’s placements at events.
Up until October 2020, FaZe failed to make any notable finals and posted an 11th place finish at CS Summit 6, 9th-12th at ESL One Cologne, as well as a 13th-14th placement at ESL Pro League Season 12.
This didn’t help public perception for Niko, who was starting to notice CSGO fans’ flak towards his own IGL capabilities and new teammates on the roster.
Throughout 2020, Niko actually hasn’t been having a bad year. His HLTV rating for the year is sitting at 1.11, a decline from the 1.19 and 1.18 ratings for 2019 and 2018, respectively. The Bosnian has never posted below 1.04 at an event this year.
IEM New York could serve as a turning point in FaZe’s fortune so far. Not only did the team take top billing, Niko soared above his squadmates with a 1.28 event rating with 22.3 kills per map with 55.1% headshot rate to boot.
With questions in the air about Niko’s future in FaZe, the 23-year-old star’s performance at IEM could be an indicator of better things to come as long as he’s on the team.