FaZe Clan win historic IEM Cologne trophy

FaZe Clan win historic IEM Cologne trophy

July 18, 2022

FaZe Clan edged out Natus Vincere (Navi) in an epic five-map thriller at the IEM Cologne final. The No. 1 team in the world showcased just why they are the world’s best, exhibiting tenacity, fighting spirit and determination as they came back from being a map down to level the series and take home the crown.

By defeating Navi, FaZe stopped the Ukrainian team from winning their third trophy in Cologne. By winning the trophy themselves, FaZe become the first-ever team to have won IEM Katowice, Major, ESL Pro League and IEM Cologne in the same year.

FaZe had kicked off their Cologne campaign with a 2-0 win against 00NATION, while Navi started with a 2-1 win over MOUZ. FaZe then swept Spirit 2-0 to head to the playoffs, while Navi had to overcome a spirited performance from Movistar Riders to set up a date with Astralis in the semi-finals.

In this semis, FaZe faced Spanish team Movistar Riders who shocked everyone as they made it to the final four. It was Twistzz and broky who stepped up for FaZe as they made it to final in the Cathedral of Counter-Strike, the LANXESS Arena in Cologne. For Navi, it was their superstar AWP-er s1mple and b1t, both of whom went above and beyond to take down Astralis in the semis to set up a date with FaZe Clan in the finals. 

The FaZe pick of Inferno was up first, with Navi starting on the CT side. FaZe converted the pistol and the following anti-eco to take a quick 5-0 lead on Inferno. It took heroics from Navi’s talisman s1mple and their in-game leader (IGL) electroNic which saw them take the opening half Navi take a 9-6 lead. It looked like Navi might take the opening map, but FaZe, on the back of some encouraged play from broky, won seven rounds on the row to get to map point before it was FaZe’s IGL karrigan and rain who made sure FaZe took an early 1-0 lead by taking the opening map 16-13. 

The second map was Navi’s pick of Overpass. FaZe once again took the pistol, but this time Navi converted their force buy and took an early lead on the back of Perfecto and s1mple, both of whom stepped up for the Ukrainian team. Navi went into the second half on their CT side, already having seven rounds in the bag. Despite the heroics from broky and rain on FaZe’s side, Perfecto displayed why he is one of the best clutch players in the game to close out the map 16-13 in Navi’s favour, clutching out a 1v2 to make it 1-1 in the Grand Finals, 

On FaZe’s second pick of Ancient, it was Navi who got off to a stunning start on the CT side. After taking the pistol, which was their first in the series, Navi went on a seven-round streak to take an early 8-0 lead. Navi ended the first half on the third map with a lead of 12-3, and a pistol on their T side saw them go 15-4 up. FaZe, though, mounted an incredible comeback on the back of some incredible gameplay from Twistzz, rain and ropz to tie up the game 15-15 and take us to the first overtime of the Grand Finals. It was b1t, though, who managed to clutch out a 1v2 in overtime to help Navi secure the third map 19-16 and be within a map away from winning their third Cologne trophy. 

It was yet another pistol win which saw Navi take a 3-0 lead, but it was ropz and broky who stood up to give the Major champions a 10-5 lead. Backed up by some confident calling from karrigan, broky, ropz, Twistzz and rain all stepped up when it mattered to make sure FaZe took the finals to a fifth map. By blowing out Navi 16-9 on Mirage, FaZe came back from being 1-2 down in the series to take the finals to the decider on Nuke. 

It was poetic that the series decider was on Nuke, the same map which FaZe had beaten Navi on to win their first-ever Major in Antwerp earlier this year. While Navi started strongly on their T side, taking the first five rounds, FaZe managed to stay within a round at the halfway mark, going 7-8. FaZe converted the following pistol and took a two-round lead, but it was electroNic and Navi’s latest recruit sdy who stepped up to give Navi a slight lead. It looked like the fifth map was heading for a certain overtime, but it was FaZe’s Canadian star Twistzz who stepped up on Round 29 with a triple kill to get series point for the Major champions, and it was their leader karrigan who closed out the map on the very last round of regulation to help FaZe secure their first ever Cologne trophy.

With the Cologne victory, FaZe’s veteran IGL karrigan now has won IEM Katowice, Major and Cologne all in a single year. He commented about what the achievements meant for him and his team’s plans going ahead, stating:

If somebody would have told me eight years ago, when it was Cologne and Katowice, that I wouldn’t win one for eight or nine years, but would win IEM Cologne, IEM Katowice and a Major in the same year in 2022, I would laugh. So yeah, amazing performance, amazing team, amazing support in the arena, and what a final! I think it’s the first time a best-of-five final finally showcases what it can do with two of the greatest teams.

We’re the best team in the world when you look at the results of this season, four trophies to us, one to Cloud9, one to NAVI. There’s no discussion that we’re the best team in the world and I’m super happy to see NAVI perform at this level so far with sdy. They’re definitely coming back next season to try and grab that first place.

s1mple, who won a record 21st MVP award at Cologne, also spoke about the final and the road ahead for his team. The Ukrainian superstar commented:

It felt great until we lost the round of A when they did an execute twice in a row and just went out on A, we felt like we had this comeback. I think this was the hardest final that I’ve ever played, and all ten players from this final and the coaches, they get a huge amount of experience. It just failed on the CT side I think, on Mirage and on Nuke. Especially on Nuke, we knew they were going to do this execute, but we just… some of our players forgot we needed to take main, we needed to smoke the door and take main, but it’s only because of new spots.

Hopefully in the future, if we keep playing with the same roster, have the same energy and the same amount of preparation, we’re going to play much much better, and this is the part that makes me happier.

Counter-Strike now heads into a one-month summer break, following which the action resumes at the BLAST Premier Fall Groups from August 19.

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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