FaZe Clan have been on a downward spiral. The multinational European Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team had an extremely promising year in 2017. But since then, they’ve struggled to stay in the upper echelon of competitive play.
The team just haven’t been strong enough to contend with Astralis, Natus Vincere, and Team Liquid. While FaZe are still a formidable force in Counter-Strike, on paper, they should be the very best.
The addition of star Bosnian player Nikola “NiKo” Kovač in February 2017 completely transformed the team and quickly propelled FaZe to the top. The roster continued to grow, later adding Swedish born Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson and Slovakian Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács to the lineup in August.
These roster moves took the team, which was hovering around the mid tier in 2016, to the very top the following year, achieving multiple first-place finishes and contesting countless trophies. They almost looked unstoppable coming into 2018, but that wasn’t the case.
FaZe had some promising results, placing second at the ELEAGUE Boston Major on Jan. 28 and securing first-place at EPICENTER on Oct. 28. But overall, 2018 was a disappointing and dismal year for the team. They didn’t muster the all-important major title, repeatedly dropping out of the tournament when it mattered most.
This has caused the team to gradually reach the point of dismay. The weakest link and shotcaller, Finn “karrigan” Andersen, inevitably departed from FaZe and is now on loan with Team Envy as of Dec. 16, with Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev set to replace him.
One of the redeeming factors of FaZe, though, has been NiKo. He’s a player who’s seemingly been at the top since joining Mousesports in March 2015. NiKo was always considered an extremely-skilled player, despite being on what was considered a weak team at the time. And he’s stayed at the top ever since.
In fact, he’s so consistent that it’s been revealed that he hasn’t had a negative match rating since IEM Oakland 2016, back when he played for Mousesports.
The average rating is 1.00, based on average kills per round, survival rating, overall impact, and multiple other contributing statistics. This means NiKo has stayed above average for over 40 straight events, an impressive accolade all considering.
In comparison, former teammate karrigan rarely scrapped above a 1.00 rating, something that may be expected for a shotcaller on a team with so many star players.
NiKo holds the longest-running positive rating streak of any top 20 player, and it looks like it will take a lot more than his team holding him back for that to change any time soon.
It’s a new year for FaZe, and with the addition of AdreN and perhaps another reliable shotcalling force in the months to come, the team should be able to climb back to the top with NiKo at the helm once again.
NiKo will put his impressive positive streak to the test in one month at the IEM Katowice Major on Feb. 14.