No matter what happens from now on, mousesports’ comprehensive win over FaZe Clan at the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals has proven without a doubt that the removal of their IGL was clearly the wrong decision for the star-studded side. The trajectory of the two teams could not be any more different, and the result serves as total vindication.
The ESL Pro League finals have already served up a plethora of juicy storylines off the back of a grueling LAN group stage and the opening skirmishes in the final encounter. Beyond the Astralis/Liquid kerfuffle for the ages, perhaps the second most interesting plotline is how the event marks the first real trial by fire for karrigan’s mousesports side. It’s a test they passed with flying colors so far, with a guaranteed top four finish at the time of writing. Fates conspired to pit them against the Dane’s former side in the decider match, and it turned out to be an absolute bloodbath as chrisJ – seemingly the one universal constant in the world of CS:GO – obliterated the ailing collection of stars on the other side of the server?
Even with an IGL as tenured as karrigan, the mousesports project was not at all guaranteed to be a success with the organization once again gambling on young talent. The scattershot nature of the LAN scene since the major also made it somewhat tough to judge the true potential of this side, but there’s good reason why ropz had to actively call for a slowdown on the hype train after their destruction of MiBR.
Remember when we called mouz the “budget FaZe Clan” with them both being international teams? At this point, this comparison sounds more like an insult considering how the former big boys are doing nowadays. Of course, there’s the added irony of the whole “NiKosports” thing to consider, with both teams seemingly lobotomized the more space the admittedly excellent Bosnian got to form proceedings according to his wishes. Just consider the investment required to put together this mousesports roster compared with what FaZe would have got by shipping out NiKo instead of their IGL and think about the possibilities they’ve passed upon. Let’s just say the resources invested into NEO and YNk were not optimally spent.
Of course, karrigan pulled no punches in his interview with HLTV after the match, saying that “it feels good to win against your old teammates”. No doubt the comprehensive nature of the victory also cheered him up. The twist in the tale is that this victory now put them on a collision course with one of the two best teams in the world, with FaZe getting a comparatively easier run on the other side of the bracket, albeit at the cost of having to win an extra best-of-three series against G2. No matter how that semi-final encounter pans out tomorrow, mouz clearly established themselves as a top five contender, and with a side as young as this one, it’s perhaps the most future-proofed roster in the scene right now. Not bad for an org that seemed to have embraced the whole “rag-tag group of rejects” thing after NiKo’s departure.