FaZe Clan have surprised just about everybody in the CS:GO community with their campaign at IEM Cologne 2021 so far. The international team was playing so poorly in online tournaments that no one really expected them to perform well at the first premier CS:GO LAN since IEM Katowice in March 2020.
All of the sudden, though, everything clicked for Finn “karrigan” Andersen’s troops and they’ve made it into the playoffs, taking down great squads such as Team Spirit, Vitality, and Heroic in the main event and breezing past Evil Geniuses and Complexity in the play-in stage.
Now that FaZe have secured at least a top-six finish at the most-stacked tournament of the year so far, the org’s fans and players can dream of winning it all. “We didn’t have the goal to win the tournament, but now that we are here, we think we have pretty good chances to make a deep run,” karrigan said during a press conference.
For the Canadian star Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken, one of the benefits of being on LAN is that FaZe have a lot of experienced players.
“Teams with a lot of experience should benefit from being on LAN,” Twistzz said. “Our team has numerous veterans, we have a Major winner here, I’m a Grand Slam winner. I think we handle the pressure a lot better than other teams and I think it helps us a lot.”
A tough challenge lies ahead of FaZe, though, since they’ll face Gambit in the quarterfinals of IEM Cologne. The Russians became the best team in the world in 2021 and have won numerous prestigious tournaments so far, such as IEM Katowice, IEM Summer, and BLAST Premier Spring Final. But this victorious lineup is yet to win a big tournament on LAN, where the pressure is higher.
“I think that no matter how you put it, the pressure is on Gambit,” karrigan said. “They are No. 1 in the world, before this tournament we were ranked 36th [in HLTV’s ranking]. It would be a huge disaster for them not to win this match. Even if we beat Gambit, we are underdogs in the next game. Every game we play from now on, we are in the underdog role, and I’m happy to take that. It will relieve a lot of pressure from this team after we’ve made it this far. If people play freely, the pressure is on Gambit’s side, I think that is where we have our opening.”
The playoff stage of IEM Cologne will kick off tomorrow at 9am CT with Virtus Pro vs. Astralis. Gambit vs. FaZe will follow that match at 12:15pm CT.