Clayster: "Next Year Will Be Make Or Break For Me"
Veteran Call of Duty player and current FaZe Clan captain James “Clayster” Eubanks sent fans into a panic with two tweets discussing a video he would be putting out after the team’s relatively poor showing at the Call of Duty World League Championship over the weekend.
I just hope you guys accept and respect the decisions we make through this crazy ride. If it wasn't for y'all I'd have been gone awhile ago— FaZe Clayster (@Clayster) September 6, 2016
Immediately, his fans thought the worst. Hundreds of thousands of CoD enthusiasts replied to his tweets, pleading for the iconic veteran not to retire. His fanbase was in disarray for around three hours, waiting for the video and explanation.
Once it came, there was a collective sigh of relief.
In his video, Clayster discussed numerous things, but made one thing absolutely clear: he will be returning for at least one more year of Call of Duty esports. There was more to the message, though. He wanted to get to the root of his obvious public frustrations and explain his problems to everyone.
At CoD Champs, Clayster and FaZe were knocked out of the tournament after getting swept 3-0 by Team EnVyUs and narrowly being beaten in a game five by Splyce, which are two scenarios that Clay directly references.
“One of the main things that really upsets me nowadays is the way that I take losses,” Clayster said. “In all honesty, it’s probably the only thing that really upsets me anymore. Losing and losing badly or getting stomped or losing in a game five. This kind of thing eats me up.”
According to Clayster, the team practiced for this event harder than they had all year for any other event. The practice was so intense that it was “mind-numbing” and made the players “get testy” with each other.
“I’m not really upset with any of the guys on the squad,” Clayster said. “We put our all into CoD Champs. The way we practiced and for us to fall short the way we did, it eats away at you.”
This FaZe roster has been together for over a year now, dating back to the UMG Dallas event during Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. While the team was together during Advanced Warfare, they saw massive success, only placing outside of the top-eight at one tournament. Because of this, the squad decided to stick together when Call of Duty: Black Ops III rolled out, to see what they could do if they stayed together for the entire duration of the game.
Success has been limited. A far cry from the team’s performance in Advanced Warfare, during Black Ops III, FaZe has failed to make it to the finals of any event. What is worse, is that the squad dropped down to a top-eight finish at four separate events. And at the biggest event of the year, they also finished top-eight.
“These kind of things are something I’m really tough on myself about,” Clayster said. “To hold L’s all year long, especially under my leadership, I feel like I let my fans and my team and FaZe down.”
The loss at CoD Champs was almost a breaking point for Clayster. As his team was knocked out, Clayster was devastated. Still, fans were encouraging him from the crowd and telling him to keep his head up.
“I feel really bad about it, but I didn’t even have the respect to at least thank all those people,” Clayster said. “I couldn’t even look at them. I couldn’t even raise my head and look at them.”
A player very familiar with success, playing under the likes of compLexity Gaming, OpTic Gaming and Denial Esports (with which he won CoD Champs 2015), the year of failures was difficult for Clayster and it all came to fruition with the elimination at Champs.
“I honestly thought about quitting,” Clayster said. “I’m tired of holding L’s. This year’s been on me. I should have been a better leader. I should have been a better captain. I should have been more strict.”
Quickly, though, Clayster discussed his plans for the rest of the year and for the next Call of Duty, ensuring fans that this event would not be the last one the former champion competed in.
“I’m not quitting,” Clayster said. “I can’t quit. I love this too much. It’s my passion. It’s what I truly, truly love to do.”
Though future plans for the FaZe roster are unclear, they will be attending UMG Orlando in October, likely the last Call of Duty event for Black Ops III, and with a $100,000 prize pool.
“We’re gonna try to win it,” Clayster said. “We’re gonna give it our all. We wanna bring tournaments home for FaZe.”
The most important part of the video, though, was Clayster’s explanation of his plans for next year.
“I want you guys to know, this next year is probably going to be a make or break year for me,” Clayster said. “I don’t know how much longer I can take doing it. This type of stuff really does tear you up inside.”
The next Call of Duty could be Clayster’s last, but he will not be going quietly.
“I know how to be the best leader I can be now,” Clayster said. “I’m finally understanding what I need to do to fix it. What I need to do as a captain, as a player, as a leader, as a streamer for you guys. I understand the player and the person that I need to be.”
Next year, it is make or break.
Will Clayster revive his winning ways and return to glory, or will he fall flat next year? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.