“The best ever” – Those were the words a teary-eyed Finn “karrigan” Andersen had to say, speaking about all of his memories and achievements after one of the most intense CS:GO matches IEM Katowice has ever produced. Coming all the way through the play-ins and facing some of the toughest challenges along the way, the emotion and the weight of the entire campaign were obvious for all to see across the entire lineup.
For FaZe, it was their third attempt at winning one of the most prestigious events in the CS:GO calendar, and their eventual win has seen the org become the second-most successful team in IEM history. Gamelevate takes you through how karrigan and co. were able to close out one of the most grueling and demanding IEM Katowice campaigns ever.
Road to the Final
Before Katowice even kicked off, FaZe were dealt a blow with the announcement that Robin “ropz” Kool would miss out on the play-in and group stage after testing positive for Covid. Justin “jks” Savage has been on the bench at Complexity since November but was announced as a stand-in for FaZe for the event. The most famous Australian Counter-Strike pro and a two-time top twenty player, there was a lot of pressure on jks, but FaZe were comfortably able to dispatch MOUZ and Sprout and secure passage into group B at the event.
Comfortable wins over Team Liquid and Fnatic led to a face-off against NAVI, where FaZe were dealt their only loss at Katowice, though only through double overtime on the deciding map.
The loss against NAVI meant that FaZe would have to take the long road to the final on the stage, but they wasted no time in taking their good form from the play-in and groups at the Spodek, downing Gambit in two maps and conceding just 16 rounds in total.
They repeated the same feat against Heroic in the semis as well, in what was a potential showcase of the team’s experience on the stage compared to the two biggest success stories of the online era.
What’s more, all of this was achieved with jks still standing in for the side, filling in for Håvard “rain” Nygaard following his positive test at the end of the group stage.
Someone Give JKS A Contract
Just on jks, his performances at IEM Katowice have been nothing short of incredible. With just a handful of days’ notice, he has gone from messaging tournament observer RUSH: ‘”yh rush, if it’s not going well, don’t spec me man” to showcasing his proficiency in the server to almost MVP-winning levels.
Becoming the first Oceanic player to win a Tier 1 event in CS:GO, it’s an absolute crime that jks has spent so many months on the fringes and sidelines of top-level competitive play.
203 Kills, 44 multi-kill rounds, 75.8 average damage per round, and a final rating of 1.14 (1.12 across the grand final) signifies a tremendous job well done for a player slotting into a brand new team with a brand new set of roles, and we’re sure jks will already have a few DMs waiting for him when he checks his inbox later.
How The Better Team Won
The final 3-0 sweep might look convincing, however, the grand final of IEM Katowice 2022 was one of the most grueling and demanding matches CS:GO fans have been treated to in a long time.
Starting off the best of five series on FaZe’s pick of Inferno, G2 raced into an 11-4 lead at the half, only to be pegged back from 15-7 to overtime. FaZe were able to complete their comeback in a convincing display during overtime, with ropz topping the scoreboard with 32 kills and a 1.45 rating.
Mirage was G2’s map pick, and there was a sign of their hangover from their lead being bottled on Inferno as FaZe raced into a 7-0 lead. Led once again by Nemanja “huNter-” Kovač, G2 produced the 11-4 comeback this time, dragging the game out to five different halves of overtime, only to slip to an agonizing 31-27 loss.
Hunter actually finished as the highest-rated player across the entire series, with a 113-90 record and a 1.27 final rating not deserving to be on the losing side.
Dust II proved to be the final map, and it was a much more convincing affair for FaZe. By now, the cracks in G2 were starting to appear, with the confidence being sapped away after two overtime losses and the lack of coach Rémy “XTQZZZ” Quoniam’s presence really seemed to affect things.
A big call from karrigan to force buy on round 29 proved to be the crucial deciding factor in FaZe’s 16-14 win, sending the Katowice crowd into raptures.
Helvijs “broky” Saukants earned his first MVP award at IEM Katowice, closing out the competition with a superb 1.30 rating in what could be a crucial first step in the young Latvian finding his way to being amongst the world’s best. FaZe finished things as the best-ranked team at the event with their final rating of 1.12 from their 16 maps played.