For just over three years, Nikola Kovač aka. Niko has been the definitive face of Faze Clan. Signed as one of the hottest prospects in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive world at the time during his stint with Mousesports, he essentially led the charge as Faze Clan became the Real Madrid of the game.
The likes of Coldzera, Olofmeister and Guardian all followed Niko to Faze as the side won ten events over their tenure together. Their biggest moment together came at the ELEAGUE Major in Boston back in 2018, which Faze Clan rose up the CS:GO odds to become the favourites against a Cloud9 side ranked comfortably behind them in the world rankings in the grand final.
Faze’s shock 3-2 loss marked the first and only time the side reached the final of a Major, and their failure to win the biggest prize in Counter-Strike would haunt the European org up to today.
Niko is still one of the best players in the world and being free to just work on his rifling at G2 will undoubtedly help get his numbers back up amongst the world’s best again. But there’s no denying his departure will leave a massive hole in Faze that only a few individuals in the world are fit to fill. Let’s take a look at a couple of them here.
Owen Butterfield aka. ‘Smooya’
Smooya is probably the second best British CS:GO player in the world after ALEX, and a readily available prospect having been released by Chaos Esports earlier this year, Smooya could be the man to bring some charm and character to this Faze Clan roster.
Still only 21 years old but with a wealth of experience, Smooya potentially brings the best of both worlds with him wherever he goes. He recently spoke about the issues of burnout and fatigue within the game on the HLTV podcast, but also revealed that he’s still been following all the latest meta trends and strategies so would come into the roster fighting fit and up to date on the competitive circuit.
According to HLTV, Smooya averages 0.73 kills per round, 0.62 deaths per round and contributes to 73% of his team’s rounds with either a kill, assist, death or survival. His rating of 1.12 represents a slightly above average performance, but is fairly steady at the top tier of the game’s competitive circuit, which is where Faze Clan need to be.
Gabriel Toledo aka. ‘Fallen’
One of the most famous and influential faces in all of Counter-Strike, Fallen could be exactly the kind of star name Faze Clan need in their ranks.
The face of Brazilian Counter-Strike as he led Luminosity and SK Gaming to back to back Major Championship wins in 2016, Fallen has revolutionized the game countless times over the years. At one time one of the best AWPers in the world, his understanding of the game and calling as an in-game leader proved to be the foundation for his side’s successes.
With Niko acting as Faze Clan’s in-game leader, there’s a massive leadership hole in the org’s current roster. Not only would Fallen have a great reunion with Coldzera, the world’s most expensive CS:GO transfer and bedrock to Fallen’s success as his talisman during his time in Brazil, but he would provide the entire side with a specialist IGL spot so often missing from Faze during the crunch moments in match ups.
Not only that, but the commercial weight of bringing in such a legendary and influential player from such a passionate part of the world is also something that Faze Clan shouldn’t turn their nose up at.