FaZe Clan are one of the scarier teams early on in the Valorant Champions Tour. After seeing how they fared early in Masters, Zachary ‘ZachaREEE’ Lombardo likes his team’s chances for taking the whole event.
FaZe Clan made a great impression on the competitive scene in 2021 with performances in the JBL Quantum Cup and subsequent Challengers stages.
But Masters is reserved for the very best of the region. Teams who are structurally sound in both offense and defense are going to go deep into the $150,000 tourney to call themselves NA’s first Valorant Masters.
It’s for that reason FaZe picked up coach Thomas ‘Trippy’ Schappy. Now, within just a few days, ZachaREEE and the rest of the squad are realizing the full potential of the “smeag.”
FaZe rolls through XSET in Masters run
— #FaZeUp (@FaZeUpdate) March 12, 2021
FaZe Clan’s Masters debut couldn’t have gone better. They rolled through XSET in consecutive matches with blinding speed and were unapologetic in their aggressiveness throughout.
“We thought we wouldn’t struggle against XSET at all. The last time we played them it was kind of a fluke,” ZachaREEE said; not so much trashing his opposition but being proud of how good he knows FaZe can be.
BabyBay was playing his style of Jett: Carelessly leading into a site with an Operator just to be rewarded with a multi-kill, or enough intel where his team can then make a decisive play elsewhere.
Playing on the Breach, ZachaREE was charged with the ‘support’ role, but was lighting it up on FaZe’s map pick of Bind with a 13/7/6 KDA. He had the most assists in the server at the end of the series with the highest headshot accuracy (34%) and ADR (114.8).
As much as their individual performances denied XSET 10 rounds throughout the series, the 20-year-old American credits his team’s ability to ‘enable’ each other in order to pull off freestyle site-takes.
“That extra step [we make to] play together and enable each other is the most important thing we’ve done,” ZachaREE said.
“Everybody is on the same page, everybody’s comfortable, everybody feels like no matter who they’re playing, that that person is going to trade them or enable them. You can tell [we’ve been getting better] during our matches now.”
Everyone on FaZe ended with a positive K/D against XSET. Bryce ‘PureR’ Lovell and Brendan ‘BcJ’ Jensen are more than capable of putting up a good fight, but FaZe were simply firing on cylinders.
Now, ZachaREEE and his team are going up against the Number 1 seed at Masters, Team Envy. A matchup between some of NA’s most potent frontlines, and FaZe fans might just see the evolution of the infamous smeag.
FaZe in ‘sophisticated smeag’ mode
The ‘smeag’ is FaZe’s way of describing their pure-offense barrelroll into the opponents. Many things that come out of the smeag is unorthodox, they look a bit troll, and it’ll almost always catch the opponent off-guard – at least once.
“Honestly, we were pretty much five-manning and running at people,” ZachaREEE said. “We were pretty much brute forcing teams.”
But that’s why they picked up Trippy. While they can outfire plenty of teams, FaZe needs a solid base that will really accelerate their potential going forward, and it’s already showing in the server.
“Before people would say that we’re just running it down and just fighting, there’s no aim or point to it,” ZachaREEE said, noting how perfect BabyBay’s updated term of “sophisticated smeag” describes FaZe perfectly since adding their coach.
“Now we know where we want to fight, when we want to fight, what causes us to take the fights, and how to enable ourselves during the fights. We’re setting ourselves up for success, we’re not just taking them because we think we’re better.”
In the XSET post-game interview, BabyBay said FaZe is “extremely confident” to play against them considering how they’ve been improving. The team is playing calculated and winning decisive fights by their own volition.
“If BabyBay is confident [about winning against Envy], then maybe it’s gonna happen,” ZachaREEE added.
“Whenever he’s confident, everyone’s confident which is important.”
- Read more: VCT Stage 1 Masters Global hub
While he recognized that anything can happen in Valorant, the team has been happy about the ‘strategic’ improvements that they’ve been able to develop thus far.
For a team that isn’t short of confidence, every win, every scrim is giving them more reason to trust in their process.
“We’re all homies on the team. Everybody loves playing with each other. Even when we’re at our lowest points, nobody’s getting mad at each other. And when we’re playing well everyone’s in a good mood, good vibes.
“The fact that everybody feels happy and confident playing with each other is just going to push us to go even further.”
“We weren’t really in the right space as a team for that match,” ZachaREEE later recalled of FaZe’s first encounter with XSET.
“[But after that game,] we got a few scrims with the teams that were already qualified for Masters and we felt we’re in a good spot. We can take it all the way.”