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Opinion

Olof and GuardiaN might not alter the FaZe-SK-Astralis dynamic too much

Chiu on This
A short and regular opinion blast from Stephen Chiu

‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast

I’ve been thinking about the dynamic of the old SK-FaZe-Astralis wheel after FaZe changed its roster. Although it’s hard to ascertain the dynamic between SK and Astralis off of one best-of-three, there are enough matches to do it for FaZe-SK and FaZe-Astralis. Each of the teams has a different approach and methodology to how they win the game.

Astralis has the best structured system in the sense that it doesn’t let go a round go haywire. No one is making individual plays outside of their roles so long as they are in a 5-v-5, and even in smaller man situations, they seem regimented in how to play off of each other.

SK is a hybrid of a structured system and playing off individual skill. The Brazilians know what it is they want to do in a given round and what everyone’s role is in a given round. Each player knows how to individually act within the given round. The difference I think is that they are completely fine with letting the game turn to chaos because Coldzera will almost always clean up in those scenarios.

FaZe is a team that has a loose freestyle system that comes together near the end of a round. Each player has a position and a role they run in a default. The two playmakers are Rain and NiKo, with Karrigan and (previously) Allu or Kioshima being a potential third way of attack. Karrigan lets the players do what they do best, and the teammates feed him information. He analyzes that with the information he knows about the team and the information he knows about the round, and he can make a mid-round call or in the next round call for a tactic he thinks will counter what the enemy is trying to do. When FaZe games devolve into mass chaos, it is almost always in favor of FaZe, which has the better individual skill and Karrigan, who can make sense of all of it.

So here is how the dynamic works. When Astralis plays SK, Astralis is favored in the pure structured part of the game in the 5-v-5. Astralis can break apart what SK is doing and win the game from there, the chief part being to snipe one of the opener players on the SK side. In their match at Krakow, it was FalleN.

When SK would play FaZe, both teams would play-make, and it could devolve into small man 3-v-3 scenarios. While I think NiKo is one of the best players in the world and in some ways better than Coldzera, Coldzera is by far the best in these chaotic 3-v-3 situations where he is allowed to read the game, make the right decisions and kill off all pockets of resistance that are spread across the map.

When FaZe would play Astralis, the playmaking of the FaZe guys broke apart the structured style of Astralis in the 5-v-5, forcing these chaotic situations where the FaZe players and Karrigan’s calling is superior to the individual players of Astralis and the calling of gla1ve in those specific moments.

With the addition of olofmeister and GuardiaN, I still have no clue how this all changes. If you look at the FaZe matches in this respect, then it makes complete sense why FaZe does so well when either kioshima or Karrigan show up. Both players often end up in these strange post-plant, retake, 3-v-3, 2-v-2 scenarios, and this is where both players get a lot of their impact kills. While players like NiKo and Rain can do it, both players are being put in playmaking positions, so there is no guarantee they survive to that point in the round.

If we look at olofmeister and GuardiaN, though, both players have proven to be good in these types of scenarios as well, so in a sense maybe FaZe is trying to bolster this part of their game, though I think Kioshima was already really good at it and the current form of GuardiaN makes it a gamble more than a guarantee.

Guess we’ll see at Malmo.

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