Can Faze Kick On?
Despite regularly turning up to tournaments with some of the most star-studded rosters found anywhere in the world of Counter-Strike, there’s no denying that Faze Clan hasn’t managed to net the kind of trophy cabinet an org of their size demands. They arrived at IEM New York under some serious pressure, sitting all the way down at 17th in the world as the tournament kicked off.
And whilst we can’t say that they absolutely bossed proceedings, there was enough in Faze’s performances to take them all the way to top spot at the competition. Closing out games and matches has proven to be Faze’s biggest issue over the years, so their 3-0 whitewash in the grand final and three 2-0 wins out of four will be what really pleases Niko and co.
The next step for the European side will be to take this form with them into bigger tournaments for the remainder of the year.
A Step Too Far For OG
2020 has so far been a pretty good year for OG. Having been a side pushing the top ten places in the HLTV world rankings before March, the online era of CS has helped launch the European org up the rankings with a 3rd-4th finish at Dreamhack Autumn open and CS_Summit 6.
Their 2-1 win over Fnatic in IEM New York’s semi-finals was perhaps the orgs most impressive result of the year however, sealing them a place in their first ever grand final.
It always looked a tough fixture coming up against a Faze side with so much quality and so much on the line, but OG can take a serious amount of pride in their performances at New York and take their good finish with them going forward.
Vertigo Is Here To Stay
Ever since it replaced the fan favorite Cache map in early 2019, Vertigo has definitely become the black sheep of CS:GO maps. It’s rough technical bugs and unique design made it hard for pros to really get to grips with, the CS:GO odds for the map swung more wildly on sites like Unikrn than any other in the pool, and it was generally left out by fans and orgs alike in vetos and picks at major events and tournaments.
However, in the chaos of the online CS era, it seems like Vertigo might have found a way of existing in the top tiers of competitive Counter-Strike. Over the course of IEM New York, Vertigo was played five times which made it the third most played map in the event, just one pick off Inferno and two behind Mirage.
Could we be seeing more Vertigo in the CS world going forward?
Is Fnatic Back?
Despite entering the online era as CS:GO’s best side, Fnatic have fallen flat over the past five months or so. A combination of burnout, lack of ideas and general disdain for playing online events rather than huge stages filled with thousands of hardcore fans have contributed to Fnatic tumbling down the ladder and putting in some noticeably dire performances at the likes of ESL Pro League, ESL Cologne and the BLAST qualifiers.
And whilst finishing top four in an event with only eight teams might not look that impressive, it marks a significant rise in fortunes for the Swedes. Having to beat G2 and Complexity to make it to the semis, most CS fans, including myself, were expecting to see Fnatic bottle it and down tools for another competition.
Digging deep and finding the winning formula to push through and pull themselves into a more respectable position is definitely the progress Fnatic fans wanted to see.
Online CS Still Sucks
IEM New York was a nice placeholder for the CS community, but once again the biggest lesson we learned from watching it was just how much we miss seeing these great plays and moments of drama play out in front of us in a packed stadium.