Riddled with inconsistency and disappointing results, it seemed Faze Clan wanted to go in a new direction, with Karrigan benched from the active roster. Niko had become the de-facto in-game shot-caller even during the final few events with Karrigan in the active roster.
But, the next step was what was the most important one – Which player to bring in to replace Karrigan? With just a little bit of time left before the roster deadline, Faze had very little options to choose from, as the ‘BIG players’ were unlikely to swap teams so close to the Major. Faze took a calculated decision in bringing in Adren, who was earlier placed on the transfer list by Gambit.
Adren wasn’t the only addition though. Faze chose to hand a trial to YnK as well. The analyst-turned-coach had done a more than decent job during his time at mibr and would come in with fresh ideas to incorporate.
The move was under-appreciated and kind of flew under the radar. But, in Adren, Faze brought in a player with former experience of winning the major along with added firepower. But, along with it, Adren brought in with him a flame to prove himself after being placed on the transfer list by Gambit.
YnK came with a similar fire burning under his belly as he wasn’t given enough time by mibr to incorporate his tactics, with the Brazilian team choosing to return to the roots with a full Brazilian lineup.
The tools for success was there. Adren could ably assist Niko in his shot-calling abilities and YnK was there to nurture his compatriot for the role. Like most lineups, this one had a slow start, with a couple of losses to Ghost seeing them bow out early at iBuyPower Masters.
The lineup though, soon recorded their first title, winning the ELeague CSGO Invitational 2019, thus gathering some momentum before the Major.
Faze started the major with a bang as well, routing HellRaisers. But, they were soon brought crashing down to Earth, with consecutive losses, albeit close ones, to Renegades and AVANGAR. Boasting a score of 1-2 and facing the short end of the straw, Faze seemed submissive, losing Cache to complexity without much of a fight.
But, Mirage was where we saw the YnK effect kicking in. Faze picked up 10 rounds on the T side and genuinely looked like they knew what they were doing in most of the rounds, which is a far-off from the final days of the lineup consisting karrigan.
Dust2 was a close affair but YnK’s timeouts worked to perfection, with complexity eliminated thanks to some well-calculated fakes. The game against Cloud 9 was no different. Cache went down to the wire but Faze managed to grind it out.
Back to Dust2, Faze dominated the T side and locked in their win and a place in the Playoffs, thus reaffirming their status as Returning Legends for the Starladder Major as well.
One of the main reasons Faze managed to land a spot at the Playoffs was their T side, which would have been impossible without the influence of YnK and the entries provided by Niko himself.
While Niko is the designated IGL, the addition of YnK surely liberated him to perform better individual wise and take up more responsibility of opening up sites, instead of having to play lurk and call the shots.
YnK has a more hands-on approach with his coaching, which did not suit mibr well, according to the man himself, as they were set in their ways. But, Faze are hungry for success and they seem to be willing to adhere to their coach to achieve it.
The camaraderie shown by the players with YnK after their wins show just how much the Serbian has influenced their gameplay. As far as Adren is concerned, the stats show it all. The CIS veteran is the second-highest rated Faze star at IEM Katowice so far, boasting an overall HLTV Rating 2.0 of 1.09, behind only to Niko, who is averaging 1.25.
It would be safe to say the experiment has reached it’s minimum expectation – to retain their Legends Status for the next major. Now, they will shift their focus to one of the big bosses in Natus Vincere, their opponents in the Playoffs.
Regardless, with the minimum expectation achieved, the organization will now be looking forward to the post-Major shuffle and what it brings for the current lineup.