Few thought that the BLAST Copenhagen finals would include either the Ninjas in Pyjamas or FaZe Clan given their rocky runs of late, often looking decent but not up to scratch with their competitive prime. Copenhagen proved to be a different story for both rosters.
NiP and FaZe booked their tickets to the BLAST Copenhagen finals early, looking strong in the group stage. The international FaZe roster dominated in their first three matches against Astralis, Natus Vincere, and Ninjas in Pyjamas. The Ninjas went 3-1 in the group stage, beating Cloud9, Astralis, and Team Liquid before losing their final matchup against Na`Vi.
The veto started off predictably with a Vertigo ban coming out from a Ninjas in Pyjamas side that has only played the map once in the past 100 days. FaZe followed NiP’s Vertigo ban removing Overpass, a map they permaban. The ban also served as a counter to NiP, who defeated Astralis on the map 16-7 earlier in the tournament.
NiP’s Nuke pick was a surprise considering they had lost the map to Na`Vi earlier in the tournament. Even with the loss, the stats suggested that this was a strong pick as NiP have a comparable win percentage of 55% to FaZe’s 53% on Nuke. Dust 2 was an easy pick for FaZe, as the roster had just defeated the Ninjas there with a 16-3 scoreline earlier in the event.
NiP’s Train ban was for comfort rather than a counter to FaZe, but FaZe’s final Mirage ban turned heads as Inferno became the decider. While both teams have similar win percentages on the famous map, NiP has played Inferno three more times than FaZe in the past three months. FaZe also lost on Inferno earlier in the day to Team Liquid in devastating 16-5 fashion.
FaZe took the opening CT-side pistol round, shutting down NiP’s ramp push and setting up a clean anti-eco in round two. NiP and their AK-47s found their first round by outplaying FaZe’s leftover submachine guns in round three, setting the score at 2-1 in favor of FaZe. NiP would take the following three rounds bringing the score to 2-4 and forcing FaZe to take a timeout.
FaZe would lose the seventh round despite that. With NiP’s money ballooning out of control on the less-favored side of Nuke, FaZe was forced to send its one AWP to secret with Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson in order to retain outside control. With the AWP stuck in secret, NiP crunched through outer onto the A bomb site and took the round.
Several A-site hits from NiP stalled out in the following rounds, allowing FaZe to bring the score back to a manageable 5-7. The Ninja’s fantastic T-side can be summed up by NiP’s Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson’s aggressive outside play with a crisp double kill through the outer smokes.
NiP was firing on all cylinders during their T-side, but FaZe managed to win five of the last seven rounds before halftime. NiP led 8-7 by the end of the first half.
NiP shut down FaZe’s T-side pistol outer rush with the USP’s long-range superiority. They then predictably cleaned up the resulting FaZe eco while stockpiling money they would use throughout the half.
FaZe failed their first buy round as well, taking massive grenade damage and Scout tags from the NiP side. This round had an effect on the rest of the map. The squad picked up four Kriegs off that round, allowing them to hold outer with very little trouble.
Despite FaZe collecting several eco kills in round 19, the Ninjas tightened up and brought the score to 12-7. Round 23 saw a fantastic grenade plant denial from Twist, separating the remaining FaZe players in upper with the bomb on the B-site. NiP would win the one-on-two against Nikola “NiKo” Kovač to bring the Ninjas to map point.
With the score 15-8 in favor of the Ninjas, it looked like it was all over for FaZe Clan.
But NiKo and company refused to fold and clawed their way back into Nuke in round 24 with an impressive entry triple kill by Olof in ramp room. FaZe then rattled off six rounds in a row by dismantling NiP by abusing both outer and ramp room. This run would force NiP to eco in the final round of regulation despite Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg’s massive effort to save his weapon in round 29.
FaZe won seven rounds in a row to force overtime on the Ninja’s own map pick.
Ninjas took the first round of overtime cleanly but barely won the second off a one-on-one clutch from Twist. FaZe attempted a contact ramp play in the third round of overtime, but a smart incendiary grenade from NiP’s Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora denied them access. As Plopski fell back off ramp, FaZe wrapped through ladder and took the vacated A bomb site for a bomb plant and their first round win in overtime. NiP led at the end of the first half of overtime 17-16.
After the side switch, NiP executed an aggressive B-site tactic that resulted in a bomb plant, but allowed a retake.
Tied at 17 rounds each, round 35 saw FaZe take the lead after Plopski lost a one-on-two post-plant on the A-site. With FaZe now leading 18-17, NiP had to either take the final round to secure double-overtime or lose their map pick.
With 15 seconds, Fredrik “REZ” Sterner was trapped in a one-on-two. NiP’s last chance was caught in the open of the A-site by Olof’s AWP. With that frag, FaZe pulled off a seven-round run in regulation to force overtime before taking Nuke 19-17.
Niko spoke with stage host Frankie Ward after the map, explaining that FaZe’s tactics have never been more set in stone and that he was focused on his own play. He also commented on how FaZe pulled off the comeback.
“We remained calm, which was the most important thing, NiKo said.
This Dust 2 matchup between FaZe and Ninjas in Pyjamas wouldn’t play out like their meeting earlier in the tournament when FaZe destroyed NiP on the map 16-3.
Luckily for FaZe, they won their round-two eco, granting a morale boost after Broky’s mistake. Despite the round two win, FaZe only survived round three with a single player after losing four to NiP’s pistol buy.
The early back and forth ended quickly as FaZe established an oppressive CT-side defense. Coldzera looked like his old self with an impressive double-kill while holding mid.
FaZe took a solid 5-1 lead before NiP found their second round win on an A-site execute, and rushed sites to take two more. By round ten, Ninjas in Pyjamas had evened up the score 5-5 despite some fancy movement by Niko on the A-site.
Round 12 saw another teamkill, this time by REZ as NiP pulled off a beautiful mid-to-B flash play that gave them full control over the B-site and another round win for a 7-6 lead despite the friendly fire.
The final round of the half saw FaZe’s B-site defense finally withstand NiP’s pressure. The teams switched sides on Dust 2 with FaZe leading NiP 8-7.
The Ninjas took the second-half pistol round by defusal and converted round two while only losing two players to the FaZe forcebuy. The Swedes would take the score all the way to 11-8. REZ had a smart play in round 19 as he bought time in pit as FaZe came out long doors. He stalled long enough to force FaZe to wait out the end of the round without making any progress towards a bombsite.
Olofmeister nailed a beautiful cross shot with the AWP in round 21, eliminating Plopski and weakening the NiP defense. FaZe rushed up catwalk off the Plopski pick and took advantage of the opportunity, forcing NiP onto an early save, closing NiP’s lead to one round at 11-10. The resulting NiP eco brought FaZe even with their opponents and tied the score at 11.
Each play made was met with a counterplay and each kill was traded back as these two teams fought for any sort of advantage on Dust 2. Each team found opportunities for big plays like NiP did in round 23, where a beautiful Plopski 3K on the B-site forced Olof into a failed one-versus-three clutch situation. Lekro would cut Olof’s heroics short and bring the score to 12-11 for NiP.
By round 26, however, FaZe had gotten into a groove and had won six of the last seven rounds. This streak put FaZe up 14-12 and left the Ninjas in a bad economic situation. Broky and Niko combined for three huge kills in round 27 to put FaZe on map and match point at 15-12. A final two-versus-one would see FaZe take Dust 2 16-12.
FaZe would take the final round and first place at BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen with a score of 2-0. This also makes them the only BLAST team to win two BLAST Pro Series tournaments in a single year.