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Day 1 of the North American Last Chance Qualifier was all about the long matches. The best of three series between FaZe Clan and Evil Geniuses lasted a whopping 88 rounds. Eventually, FaZe came out on top and punched their ticket to the LCQ upper bracket semifinals.
The match ended in spectacular fashion, with six consecutive overtimes; with the two teams so evenly matched, it especially seemed like the third map, Ascent, would last forever.
“It was a hard-fought battle,” FaZe’s Quan “dicey” Tran said in an interview after the game.
Another theme of Day 1 was that teams have improved by a wide margin since the end of Challengers. Many (if not all) of the teams at LCQ have been boot camping for weeks, revising strategies in anticipation of the event.
“I think now [FaZe] have a little better team play, instead of just running it down,” EG’s Alexander “jawgemo” Mor said of his opponent.
“I think [EG] improved overall as a team,” dicey said. “This series was way harder than when we first played them.”
Both teams were pushed to the absolute brink during the messy slew of overtimes at the end of Ascent. It was obvious that the two teams were evenly matched. As they traded back clutches and last-minute defuses, nerves started to fray in both camps.
“The comms were pretty hectic, but we’re used to the chaos,” dicey said.
FaZe advance to the LCQ upper semis
With the win, FaZe go on to face the winner of the match between NRG and 100 Thieves. Dicey has a history with both teams. NRG has some of his closest friends while 100T is his former team. It was difficult for dicey to pick which team would come out on top, but the one thing he was sure of was that he wanted to play NRG at some point during the event.
“I wanna play them with something on the line,” dicey said. “Either loser gets eliminated or it’s the grand finals.”
As for EG, they still have a chance to keep their tournament going in the lower bracket. Still, with so many strong teams in attendance, the path forward looks hotly contested.
“I’m feeling a little sad, but it is the game,” jawgemo said. “We are learning everyday how to get better and play against better people.”
It’s hard to write-off any team at the LCQ. There hasn’t yet been a blowout and it seems that any team is capable of winning the tournament and claiming NA’s final spot at Champions. When asked what will be difference-maker for the team that wins it all, dicey said it would be their poise under pressure.
“The main thing that will differ a top team from a good team is when it comes down to these stressful situations, the scoreline is tight, how many fundamental mistakes are you going to make?” he said.
As a team that has made a total overhaul of their roster during Stage 2, FaZe has had a messy road towards LCQ. A near miss at Challengers — where they fell just short of qualifying to Masters Copenhagen — only added more fuel to the fire. The team wants a win.
“We’ve grown so much as a team,” dicey said. “More than any other team this season. It would just mean the world to have it all pay-off.”
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.