With FaZe Clan’s August addition of Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye, the team’s best star players may finally have the space to operate.
Some could argue that FaZe’s star-studded CSGO roster is the game’s most underachieving group of all time, given the level of talent on its roster. Soon after it entered Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in 2016, it was clear that the wealthy organization intended to build its team by spending a boatload of money.
But while that tactic may work in many traditional sports, FaZe became CSGO’s best example of the dangers of building a team in this way. As the theoretical level of individual skill on the roster increased, its results became worse. By early 2020, FaZe’s expensive roster bought to win CSGO Majors had only appeared in a single Major grand final, when Cloud9 beat FaZe in a memorable series.
Today, FaZe has changed its strategy. Players like Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács are long gone. Another FaZe star, former Fnatic legend Olof “olofmeister” Gustafsson, took an extended break from competition after a year and a half of sometimes underwhelming play. After a trial run with a young and flashy Aurimas “Bymas” Pipiras, FaZe signed a less flashy player in his place.
With its addition of Kjærbye prior to ESL One Cologne 2020, FaZe has what it needed all along.
The problem FaZe ran into in its early attempts wasn’t a battle of egos between the roster’s famous players. It was because there wasn’t enough room for each of their roles to fit onto one team. CSGO only has so many corners to jiggle peek. Its players all had their matches spent in the spotlight, but with so much aggressive talent on a single squad, there wasn’t enough room to let it flourish. Kjaerbye joins FaZe while still young, but he has the experience of a veteran to go along with FaZe’s other experienced players.
Much like the team’s usual signings, he also possesses the potential for explosive games. Oddly enough, that’s not the main value he brings to FaZe. Heading into Cologne’s closing days, FaZe needs to foster his more solid and average play.
What Kjaerbye brings to FaZe something it has lacked since the team’s start, a solid foundational player who just plays well whether he’s fragging or setting others up to frag. In Kjaerbye, FaZe found someone capable of holding his own in most rounds, but isn’t dependant on hot streaks or standout performances.
With more room thus being made for stars Marcelo “coldzera” David and Nikola “NiKo” Kovač, fans should see FaZe should settle into a solid rhythm heading into ESL Pro League’s season 12 as its stars adjust.
Kjaerbye isn’t a nobody. He’s a CSGO Major MVP winner. But he doesn’t have to live up to his Astralis pedigree to help FaZe succeed. In fact, the best-case scenario for FaZe and its remaining stars is that Kjaerbye plays evenly and makes room for his teammates. FaZe needs him to be simply reliable and giving so that its stars can shine.