This week it was the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, home of the Brooklyn Nets, that was the focus of the CS:GO world as eight teams competed for a share of a $250,000 prize pool in their attempt to be crowned ESL One New York champions.
FaZe Clan cruise to victory
Dominant from start to finish, the new line-up of FaZe Clan claimed first place at ESL One New York. After a few poor showings, FaZe Clan revamped their line-up during the recent break, adding GuardiaN and olofmeister in place of allu and kioShiMa. While the GuardiaN move was met with praise, the deal to bring in olof in place of kio was questioned. Concern grew over the amount of star power in the team as it was believed having no support player – a player such as kioShiMa who would throw flashes to let others get kills, etc. – would lead to poor team chemistry.
ESL One New York changed that perspective, however, as FaZe looked absolutely unbeatable all tournament long.
Slump continues for Virtus.pro
FaZe Clan opened up Group B play against Virtus.pro, a team in the midst of a horrendous slump. After dropping the first three rounds of their T-side on Cache, FaZe Clan dominated the rest of the half to the tune of 10-2 to secure a 10-5 half-time score. On the CT-side, FaZe then won all six rounds to pick up a convincing 16-5 overall victory.
Next up for FaZe was one of the pre-tournament favourites; Astralis. Battling it out on Inferno, FaZe once again had an impressive first half, securing 12 of the 15 rounds. While Astralis did manage to win the first three rounds of their T-side, it was too little too late as FaZe grabbed the final four rounds necessary for a stunning 16-6 romp.
Superstar NiKo led the way against Astralis with 27 kills while rain was close behind with 25. This was one of those circumstances where having so many star players pays off, as in-game leader karrigan struggled to get anything going with only nine kills in the whole game. The vast array of talent FaZe has at their disposal therefore allows some players to have poor maps without completely bringing the team down.
Moving on to the best-of-three Semifinals, FaZe Clan squared off against the new-look Cloud9, who play an incredibly similar style to FaZe, given their wealth of talent yet limited tactical prowess. FaZe cruised through another first half, grabbing 11 rounds on the CT-side of Cloud9’s map pick; Mirage. FaZe left no room for error in the second half, acquiring the final five rounds needed for a 16-4 bloodbath. One key note for FaZe here was that the addition of olofmeister has allowed NiKo be a pure rifler. NiKo was previously the secondary AWPer (sniper), but that role is now primarily filled by olof, allowing NiKo to focus more on other aspects of his game, which were already amongst the best in the world.
Map two was an even larger blowout than Mirage as Overpass was a swift 16-3 win for FaZe. Once again, a different member led the way as GuardiaN’s dynamic AWPing, which included playing aggressively in bathrooms/Long A at times, immediately followed by passive angle holding, meant that C9 could never get a read on where he would be, allowing him to secure 21 kills in 19 rounds.
Team Liquid a surprise finalist
The best-of-five Finals saw FaZe Clan square off against rising NA squad Team Liquid, who had defeated SK Gaming, considered the best team in the world, 2-1 in the Semifinals. They had also prevailed over Astralis 2-1 in the Group Stage so were a credible threat.
It was not to be on map one though as in an absolute rout, FaZe Clan claimed all 15 rounds on their CT-side on Inferno. FaZe Clan were unable to attain the 16-0 though as Liquid secured the opening three rounds of their own CT-side, but FaZe garnered the final round needed for a 16-3 domination.
On the second map of Overpass, FaZe endured their most challenging clash of the tournament, requiring 30 rounds to claim the win. Each team performed well on their T-side, a rarity given the tendency of Overpass to favour a CT with fast rotations and long angles. While Liquid did bounce back after a poor 4-11 first half, FaZe Clan managed to pull victory out of the bag in the last round for a 16-14 win, securing a 2-0 map lead. NiKo led the way for FaZe Clan again, opening up the round early (5 opening kills) and dropping 26 frags to sit atop the scoreboard.
In a continuation of their previous play, FaZe stifled Liquid early on map three, Mirage, securing an 11-4 CT half. For the second straight Mirage game, FaZe won every round in the second half, acquiring the five needed for a 3-0 map sweep and the title of ESL One New York champions. Both NiKo and rain led the way, each grabbing 23 kills in the 20 rounds of play.
The additions of GuardiaN and olofmeister appear, at least early on, to have been a masterstroke by FaZe, who must now maintain this form in subsequent matches. That SK Gaming did not make the Finals is notable and something to watch in the future.