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With FaZe Clan locking in ninth place at IEM Fall, their chances to attend the PGL Stockholm Major now rely on one of either ENCE, Team Fiend, Copenhagen Flames or Movistar Riders failing to qualify.
For the four underdogs, they only have to win a single match in the IEM Fall playoff bracket to ensure their own slot. If any of the four teams lose all their matches and places eighth, their dreams of glory are finished and FaZe are through to the Major. That means that FaZe Clan have just become staunch supporters of Astralis, G2 Esports, Team Vitality and Ninjas in Pyjamas, the other four teams in the playoff bracket, all of whom are already qualified for the Major.
“I’m not a big fan of this way of qualifying,” FaZe’s Håvard “rain” Nygaard said, “but it’s going to be an intense weekend at home at least, watching games, cheering for four other teams.”
The four underdog teams, with the exception of possibly ENCE as a dark horse contender, were not expected to qualify for the Major. Due to the best of one format, which may have made some unlikely upsets possible, as well as undeniably strong play in the group stage, the teams battled their way into the playoffs and Major contention. Now they’ll have to topple some of Counter Strike: Global Offensive’s best if they want to lock in their spots and dash FaZe’s hopes.
Leaving it all on the table
After failing to make the playoffs of IEM Fall, FaZe Clan did everything left in their power to qualify by toppling OG, who are now out of Major contention, as well as BIG, who have already secured their own slot. In particular, their best of three match against BIG concluded in dominant fashion, with a 2-0 victory over the German squad.
“Our hunger is way more than what they had, cause they already qualified,” rain said of his team’s mentality going into Game 2 on Overpass. “If we just stay hungry and stay focused, we’re going to win this match no matter what.”
By placing ninth at the Regional Major Ranking event, FaZe now sit at a total of 1498 RMR points, just a meagre 92 points above the four underdog teams. They would have guaranteed their spot in the Major had they placed top two in their group, but a tough loss to the Bulgarian team, Fiend, made that impossible. Now they’re forced to wait and watch.
What’s at stake
Within FaZe Clan, there are two players who stand to lose more if their team misses out on the Major. For Helvijs “broky” Saukants, the team’s young AWPer, pulling this off would make this his first ever Major, a milestone in the career of any player. On the opposite end of things, Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson is one of a dwindling list of players that have attended every single CS:GO Major. But for the Swedish CS legend, that’s not the main reason he desperately wants to attend PGL Stockholm.
“It’s home, of course,” olofmeister said. “I want to play at it much more than any other Major. It’s five minutes from where I live. I can bring my family, I can bring my friends. So this is something I really really want to play. It’s more about playing in my home country than keeping the streak alive, I would say.”
For the members of FaZe and their fans, a tense weekend awaits as they watch to see how the IEM Fall playoffs shake out.
“Now it’s up to the other teams,” rain said. “We did what we came to do and hopefully we qualify.”
Coby Zucker is Upcomer's resident CS:GO writer. He's also played League of Legends at the collegiate level and is a frequent visitor in TFT Challenger Elo. He's a firm believer that Toronto should be the next big esports hub city.