With NiKo and Coldzera side by side, can they really stay dormant for long?
FaZe Clan are possibly the most disappointing team of all time. Never has such a team been built and, despite previous glories, this team is now a sad, sleeping giant.
They were always the superteam - CS:GO’s Galacticos - but, rather than take their already stacked roster, they doubled down on their identity. The removal of karrigan from the roster was going all-in on a chaotic, hard-carry-through-mechanical domination move. Hey, it's better to be the best version of FaZe than a knock-off version of Astralis, right?
Uh, wrong. karrigan has gone on to create a mountain out of a mouse-hill and FaZe - bar one BLAST Pro success - have struggled with coldzera and broky.
NiKo’s hubris appears to be the biggest issue. His hubris being, that he’s a control freak. Not content with being the star of the show, he believes he knows how best to use his talents, more so than the IGL who helped him to the best results of his career. Upon taking over the team, his numbers have dropped and his team have struggled without his presence - not for the first time in his career.
He has been ‘replaced’ in the fragging department by coldzera, which doesn’t sound too bad on paper, but it’s hard not to see similarities between the two. Both of them require a pretty similar space and structure around them to truly succeed. coldzera is quite widely known, and rightfully so, as a baiter, while NiKo is similar, but with less notoriety for it. They are both passive players who often require some space being made for them by the aggressive players.
When you have two passive players as well as an AWPer, a team that on paper wants to just click on heads and not care for tactics, strategy or any of that nonsense, becomes a team that gets stuck behind a smoke, or waiting outside a bomb site with no actual playmaking ability. Astralis have both gla1ve and dupreeh, Liquid have Stewie and ELiGE at times, whereas FaZe have only rain, who isn’t really set up for success.
Not only that, but both want to be a secondary AWPer and be able to pick it up whenever they want. cold, especially, has been a terrifying second AWPer and arguably a top 5 sniper in the world at times, while NiKo is incredibly proficient with it also. But they can’t both AWP as well as olofmeister, which means there is going to be some treading on toes.
Whilst it seems NiKo and cold have similar ideas and philosophy, they are both the protagonists in their stories.
I know what you’re thinking, though. Are cold and NiKo even the biggest problem? It seems obvious that with those two on the roster, the bigger issue would be the supporting cast. olofmeister has not been in stellar form, and neither was GuardiaN in the same role beforehand, which may indicate it’s a role issue rather than a player one. That said, GuardiaN has been pretty awful so far on NaVi, also.
rain is a useful player, but since karrigan left has been nowhere near the same player. Again, much can be attributed to the fact that he is hung out to dry by his role, and is no longer set up in the same way. While before he was given a barrage of utility to aid his push, he now has to run through a brick wall to try and give NiKo and coldzera the inches of space they need to take over the game.
broky is the joker in the pack, but we’ve not really seen what he’s capable of for the most part. He’s clearly talented, but he’s been relegated to the role of coldzera’s new TACO, which is probably the best use of him in such a stacked line-up, but the Latvian could likely do better in a good role on a slightly weaker team.
All that adds up to is a team that is weaker than the sum of its parts, and much of that blame must go to the leader of the pack. NiKo took over to play around himself and his good friend coldzera, but as that hasn’t worked, he may have to find a way to incorporate the talents of rain and olofmeister instead of using them as sacrificial pawns for the king and queen.
The only real fix is to bring in a real style of play, one that uses the talents of their players in a way that they haven’t thought of. Often, people do not know what is best for them - Machiavellian, I know, but in the case of NiKo, nothing could be truer. He doesn’t know how best to use his own talent, and needs somebody to take the reigns from him.
How one goes about finding an IGL with enough game knowledge to lead a superstar team, whilst also dealing with egos, I’m not sure. That is probably the reason FaZe went with the NiKo experiment in the first place - but they need a real solution.
broky could feel pretty hard done by if he was the one who made way, but he makes the most sense. Alternatively, olofmeister could be moved on to a Swedish team, with broky becoming the main AWPer. Either seems ok, but the next move they make has to be for a leader and it has to hit.
Main image via ESL