Reports suggest that ropz and karrigan are on the verge of reuniting under the FaZe Clan banner, but is it the right move for both parties? The answer to this question is more about what FaZe need than what the young Estonian can bring to the table.
It was weird not seeing the FaZe banner at all at the final big event of the year, with ropz also missing in action. Their last showing of the year came at IEM Winter where neither team performed particularly well: MOUZ finished joint-last after defeats in an admittedly rough bracket, an overtime best-of-one loss to eventual winners Team Vitality followed by Astralis and the blameF show soon thereafter.
Estonia’s brightest topped the charts for MOUZ even with a paltry +2 K/D across the three maps they had to offer, a far cry from the team’s Flashpoint 3 heroics, which, incidentally, can now be seen as the definition of a false dawn in the dictionary.
Meanwhile, FaZe didn’t fare much better, though at least they finally managed to close out a win against Heroic, and a 2-1 defeat to Gambit would almost be acceptable if it weren’t marred by their odd inability to close out large leads in CS:GO matches, a 15-10 edge this time on Overpass that would have means a series win. Really. It was the overtime loss to BIG on Mirage that just isn’t acceptable for a team looking for contender stature.
So both teams are licking their wounds as they stumble into 2022, and it seems like wholesale adjustments are inevitable over in MOUZland considering just how well their academy team has been doing as of late. With rostermania announcements just around the corner, it seems like ropz’s move to FaZe is nearing completion as well.
The youngster was apparently courted by G2 as well, and one has to wonder whether he made the right choice.
Though the current world #4 side is also facing its own upheaval heading into the new year, moving to FaZe is definitely a vote for potential over the present.
In terms of managing the hurdles of an international squad, that’s something ropz has great experience with either way and with both teams featuring talent from all across Europe (especially if the rumored roster changes in G2 also come through as well), this is perhaps the only aspect that doesn’t make a difference between the two teams.
The existing personal relationship between ropz and karrigan has no doubt gone a long way in clinching this deal. The Estonian youngster was actually in a bit of a slump when karrigan joined the team and he’s played a significant part in his resurgence in form. Lest we forget, their mousesports adventure has actually netted them S-tier trophies along the way: ESL Pro League Season 10 and the CS:GO Asia Championships.
Roles-wise, the pickup also makes sense, with ropz seeming like a clear update in terms of impact and consistency on late-stage olofmeister. Neither the personal synergies nor the ready-made role is present on G2, and with the world’s most impactful rifler already on the squad, joining G2 may have simply been overkill for a team already somewhat top-heavy. Signing ropz when trying to fill the AWPer and the support mantles (and arguably also the IGL role) just wouldn’t make a lot of sense.
No doubt there’s also a tangible financial aspect to these decisions, and though we can’t tell whether concrete offers were made, the fact that the #10 team with a spotty record seemed more attractive to ropz than the recent Major finalists may very well have had a checkbook-related aspect to it as well.
In many ways, ropz is a proven and known quantity at this point: FaZe know exactly what they’re getting with this pickup. The question is whether it’s enough to get them back into the title challenger bracket.
So is an upgrade in the rifle department going to be enough to get FaZe Clan rolling again? Though the return to LAN did bring the sort of improvement the stats suggested in the summer, it was nowhere near enough to make them contenders. Oddly though, it was the choking of massive leads and ineffective T sides that led to their downfall, gameplay aspect you would not have expected a team full of veterans to struggle with.
Well, the added firepower should help close off karrigan’s old “kamikaze entry to win the 4v5 with the info gain” approach that has never really worked out. As for the dropped leads, perhaps it’s just the other side of the coin when it comes to the veterancy aspect. With three out of the five players on the current roster pushing the farther edge of the age bracket, they might just run out of juice in a longer match, similarly to how veteran football players are usually reserved to sixty minutes of play instead of the full ninety. There can be no doubt that the team’s age profile will also improve with ropz’s signing.
The real question is whether it is enough. Is it just a small uptick in percentages that FaZe need, a few more duels won, and a bit more mileage in games that go long? Definitely not if we’re looking at Na’Vi and Gambit, but it might be enough to level the playing field against everyone else.
With massive reshuffles across almost all of Na’Vi’s challengers heading into a new year, a strong IGL with good ideas can provide their team with an early advantage. It’s easy to forget that even this current sputtering iteration of FaZe is somehow in the top ten of the world rankings. Could they leapfrog teams like Astralis, Liquid, VP and Heroic to maybe even glimpse the top five? It’s a distinct possibility.
Photo credit: HLTV