Corey ‘corey’ Nigra’s FaZe Clan has always been there or thereabouts in Valorant, but they’ve never been number one. Corey is confident though, FaZe, can break that barrier though and cement their place in history with the Valorant Champions Tour in 2021.
Corey is one of North America’s most exciting prospects in Valorant. The duelist player is the backbone of a FaZe Clan that is slowly rising up the rankings.
While they were once completely outside of the Top 5 conversation, Corey believes the team is firmly moving towards the top, just in time to peak ahead of the Valorant Champions LAN in December.
Leaving behind Overwatch
FaZe Clan are somewhat of an enigma in NA Valorant. The way they play is fast, aggressive, and punishing. It’s almost like watching a completely different game compared to the methodical nature of others like 100 Thieves.
That niche they’ve carved out for themselves is nature, not nurture.
Unlike most other teams, FaZe have a spine of four ex-Overwatch pros — Corey, Rawkus, babybay, and ZachaREEE. This, ultimately, dictated how they approached the game.
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“We have the most unique style of play for a team because of how aggressive we play and the way we use our abilities to take certain fights and space away. It’s something a lot of teams say when they play us — we don’t let a lot of teams get into their comfort zone,” Corey told Dexerto.
“On top of that, I actually think we’re a very impatient team, and that comes from Overwatch when you’re just running around doing stuff, so it’s really hard for us to sit still and wait.”
When Corey departed Overwatch, he was widely considered one of the game’s best rising stars, having made a splash on an otherwise-mediocre Washington Justice in 2019. He left behind the Overwatch League as he was peaking, but he doesn’t regret the move one bit. He’s been able to leave behind the stress
“I have no regrets for sure. I actually personally think Overwatch is really stressful and you constantly had to play all day, every single day. The way you communicate in Overwatch, the way the game works, it’s something. After you play a long six-hour day, you’re just beat,” he admitted.
While some have tried to pin a rivalry between him, the other Overwatch players, and OWL 2019 MVP-turned-Valorant star Jay ‘sinatraa’ Won, Corey doesn’t see it.
“I honestly wouldn’t really call him a rival. We were teammates, and I was on the Justice and he was on the Shock, so I don’t even know if a rivalry was really there — we didn’t win,” he laughed.
“Playing versus him now, he still plays the same way he’d play in Overwatch in Valorant. He plays really aggressive, doesn’t care at all. In a sense, he’s alpha, he’d just go in and fight. I play the same in Valorant as I do in Overwatch too — I just take 1v1s and swing and fight.”
FaZe, no longer the underdogs of NA
FaZe’s start in Valorant was rocky. First, there were the roster issues with jasonR. Then, once they got their full squad together, it took some time before they posted decent results. However, running into 2021, they’re finally getting into their stride.
Corey admitted there’s a long way to go yet. The team doesn’t even believe they’re at their full potential. However, they can no longer be considered the underdogs they once were, and have a real chance at becoming NA’s best team.
“We definitely weren’t satisfied with how we were playing, especially recently. We’re not at where we are happy with everything we have so far. We’re still adding a lot of stuff to our play. We were pleased that we are able to still find our way through the bracket and still beat teams even if we are underperforming,” he said.
“I wouldn’t necessarily call us an underdog [though]. When we started we definitely were just because of our tournament placings and how we were playing. Nowadays, you can’t really consider us an underdog.
“We destroyed Envy in our match in JBL. We destroy teams who are high in the list, and even if we don’t beat them, we make them close games. Anyone can beat anybody at the top, and whoever has the stronger will will come out on top.”
— #FaZeUp (@FaZeUpdate) February 14, 2021
This is all leading up to a big chance to show up at Valorant Champions. With only three slots for North America, FaZe is hoping their experience on stage in the past will pay off when LAN comes around.
“LAN is a big thing for us because we were playing on LAN in every single match in Overwatch, and that’s what drove us to keep trying our hardest. Playing online is a little bit rough for us.
“It’s like ‘cool, I’m playing you at home in my chair;’ it’s kind of whatever.
“We also genuinely think there are just onliners. When it’s time to actually play on a stage, in front of that crowd, people will crumble to that pressure. There are a lot of new names in Valorant that’ll have a tough time.”
FaZe next play in the Valorant Champions Tour Challengers 2 Closed Qualifier on February 20 against Sentinels.