FaZe Clan has the largest target on its back of any CS:GO team right now. This team dominated its runs at ESL One New York and the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier and has done it with an all-star cast of players no one sane could have believed would work as no one had ever done this before in the history of CS:GO.
But you have to give props to Finn “karrigan” Andersen for both pulling the trigger on the lineup change and making it work to such a crazy extent.
I’ve now seen two tournaments from this team and so far the team itself doesn’t have obvious holes beyond anti-ecos. But that’s covered up by the fact that FaZe’s pistol rounds, ecos, and forcebuys are all unreal. This team can use both tactics and firepower. The teamwork is surprisingly good for an all international mix from different cultures, too.
Anyway, I’ll focus on what I think have been the general patterns of the CT-side as we have the most information on how they play it thus far. It seems to me they’ve set it up so that there are three primary playmakers: Rain, olofmeister and GuardiaN. They are loose in the sense that they can all make plays on their own. The dangerous thing about this is a few things. They have good simple setups that allow them to trade if one of them loses the duel. Second, even in a 4-v-5 or 3-v-5, the remaining players (including karrigan) have all proven they can playmake from down-man positions to get the round anyway, which only bolsters the confidence of the first wave of attackers. Finally, they don’t always go on the attack. It’s their primary option, but they can also play standard, simple, smart CS when they want creating a sense of real unease for the T-side.
This comes to my second point: North at ELEAGUE Game 1 on Mirage. North’s T-side looked to be the most effective we’ve seen from any team, at least in terms of theory. (Though Liquid’s 14-16 on Overpass worked in a similar fashion, but I’ll focus on this game as it’s more recent and on FaZe’s better map, I think). If you take into account how the CT-side of FaZe works, long defaults will naturally favor FaZe because one of two things happen. Either they make the early plays and are now in a power play position, or their early plays don’t work and someone else on the other side of the map will make a play or will play off of the information gained from the earlier play. So even in down-man situations, FaZe is never out because each concurrent play may be a worse position for them, but the information gained and any remaining player that’s left knows how to use it to take back the round.
So what was MSL’s answer from North? Here is how the gun rounds played out.
R5: Fast map control into an A split.
R6: Fast A execute.
R8: Fast B split
R9: Same round run as R5.
R12: A slower paced R5.
R13: Fast A execute again.
In almost every round, MSL is relying on well-coordinated fast hits. This denies the time FaZe has to make plays and allows MSL to maximize the strength of his own team, which is the strength of their coordinated executes and hits. At the same time, he varies up the hits so that FaZe cannot get used to or adapt to what he is doing. This could be a potential blueprint for how teams in the future deal with the FaZe CT-side on all maps as the theme of this is similar to Liquid’s own 14-16 map against FaZe on Overpass. We’ll have to see how it unfolds.