Prior to olof’s departure, FaZe had been the best team in the world. Forced to play with Xizt starting in April, the pressure to perform was largely removed. Of course, the players were expected to play well, win a few matches through firepower, but failing to make the playoffs of Tier 1 events would’ve been easily forgiven given the fact they were playing with a stand-in.
Of course, it didn’t turn out that way. FaZe has won two titles with two different stand-ins over the past three months, both at IEM Sydney with Xizt and ESL Belo Horizonte with cromen. Despite playing with three separate rosters this year, FaZe has reached Top 8 at every event they’ve attended without olofmeister, and their worst result was a quarter-final elimination to Astralis at EPL, a playoff matchup they could not be expected to win.
Overall, FaZe has been the second best team in the world in the duration of olofmeister’s absence. Despite the uncertainty of the time of his return, working with olof before ECS only to need another stand-in after losing Xizt, and the potential apathy of playing at tournaments without any stakes, karrigan and company have retained the title of world-class team.
This is incredible, especially in a landscape where motivation can so easily wane. Consider this quote from Karrigan’s interview with HLTV at ECS:
I mean, we were doing quite okay with Xizt, we knew that it would be temporary and just over the summer. When olof came back, we were thinking 'now were ready to rock and roll' and were going to come up with stuff for these tournaments, but then suddenly, it didn't happen. So obviously, on the core side, it was kind of a hit to our motivation and slap to the face. But we're here, we're just going to do the best that we can, and I think we're good at incorporating new players into our playstyle.
For many teams, these few months would’ve been a write-off; stand-in situations are hard. The work you put into creating new strats and teaching the new player will all be for naught once your official roster player returns. Even worse in the case of FaZe, the work they put in with olofmeister in between stand-in’s was also lost. For most teams, that would mean cruising by. For FaZe’s it’s meant two titles and being the second best team in the world. Put in context, their results over the past three months truly are amazing.