Steven R. May 13, 2019
FaZe Clan has made some serious changes to its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive roster.
The team announced on Twitter that it has added former Virtus.pro captain Filip "NEO" Kubski to the lineup. He will take over in-game leadership duties effective immediately.
“Today we welcome Neo who begins his role as a substitute effective immediately,” the team said. “We’re proud to have such a legend join our roster. Neo will be representing us in upcoming tournaments as an IGL, starting today.”
It is unclear whether Neo is joining as a substitute for a certain number of events or is joining on a trial basis. Regardless, the move is an interesting one for FaZe.
The European organization has long sat near the top of the CS:GO professional hierarchy, but has fallen off a bit over the last year. This led to the benching of longtime captain Finn "karrigan" Andersen in December, a move has yielded mixed results.
FaZe has remained a high-end team since then, but has struggled to stay consistent without a strong in-game leader. Officially, that job has since fallen to Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, but the star player hasn’t been able to reliably pull off the double duty of calling shots and making plays. FaZe’s success has typically hinged on NiKo’s ability to make those plays, and dividing his focus is something he has openly vented frustration over.
There is no questioning Neo’s abilities as an in-game leader, as he captained Virtus.pro during its dynasty years. Adding him to the team theoretically allows NiKo to play to his full potential, which could help FaZe hit the next level once again.
Though the statement reads that Neo is joining as a substitute, the news comes alongside the departure of Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev. AdreN joined the team in January as a stand-in from Gambit Esports ahead of the Katowice Major and has enjoyed moderate success with the team, most notably taking first place at BLAST Pro Series: Miami and the ELEAGUE CS:GO Invitational 2019. He is now a free agent.
The new FaZe will make their debut in week four of ECS Season 7 with Neo facing his old team, Virtus.pro.